Willee Sings: “The Kapolei Choo-choo”
Hawaii Reporter - almost 5 years
BY J. ARTHUR RATH - Willee Sings: “The Kapolei Choo-choo”
I’m ready to be a singing conductor on Honolulu’s new train,” Coconut Willee said jauntily, standing under a tree at Waikiki’s Queen Surf restaurant.
“Like my hat and train whistle puller?”
“Archaic, but colorful,” I acknowledged.
He was full of news: “Union workers are starting right now. Even if what they do turns out like playing with a Gilbert Erector Set—assemble some towers, then tear ‘em down--they say, it’s cheaper that way should voters say ‘Go away.’
Is that anyway to run a railroad? I thought to myself.
“Listen to my song.” Willee used a speech-sing style I think of as “parlando”:
“Pardon me boy, here comes
The Kapole’i Choo Choo,
Producing billions in dough,
As back and forth it will go.”
He borrowed the melody from a song as old as Willee’s train conductor outfit. Willee made ‘Kapole’i (Hawaii) and Chatanooga (Tennesee) rhythmically alike. Observing my doubting look, he stopped to explain:
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