Why Genial Hawaiians?

Why did Bluebird call Jim and Bob "the Genial Hawaiians" on their record labels? we're not sure anyone now knows for certain.

One man who may have known was the slide guitarist Robert Gear . Many years ago Robert wrote an article for Bev King's book " Dobroist's Scrapbook" in which he stated that Jim and Bob's radio show had been sponsored by Willard's stomach powders. Somehow Robert believed the Willard's connection to be behind the Genial Hawaiians moniker. Sadly however he passed away in September 2007 and we never had chance to ask where he came by the information.



Robert Gear was of course one of the first people, perhaps the first (?) to be involved in reissuing old Hawaiian recordings from the 1920s and 1930s with the Hula Blues compilation LP for Rounder Records which included artists like Roy Smeck, Frank Ferera, Sol Hoopii and of course Jim and Bob. Here is the cover to Gear's own 1973 recording on bottleneck and steel guitar. It was thanks to Marcia Deihl who played on the record that we tracked down what happened to Robert.




and Gear also produced the following book of transcribed Hawaiian tunes including Jim and Bob's "Song of the Range"







Something we do know about Jim and Bob is that they were no strangers to the occasional sobriquet or two. They acquired and discarded a number during their short career together ...like Mr Lani and Wiki Bird, the Strolling Guitarists and the Crooning Guitarists.