Tuesday, July 15, 2014

60s Band The Dukes Were Back For Gig

                        The Dukes with Selina recorded in the 60s.

I chat with Zainal Abidin time and again on the phone and he tells me that The Dukes are now active and running. So catch them while you can. His letter follows:

Hi Andy,

I am forwarding the flyer for The Dukes performance on 4 Jul 2014 at Mandarin Orchard Ballroom. We were very hot in the 60s with The Quests, The Trailers, Silver Strings and so on. Our main Sunday performance was at the old Prince Garni Hotel at Orchard Road (see picture taken at Prince Garni in the 60s).

Every Saturday night we played at the RAF and British Army Clubs all over Singapore. We have not played together for more than 30 years. Vernon Cornelius and his band, The Meltones and Jerry Fernandez and the Neufaces also performed.  
Dukes in the 1960s
Before the reunion for the charity event, I only play the bass every Sunday for my church. Three of our members are full time musicians and music teachers. Atan from The Flybaits and Jerry Murad are the music teachers and full-time musicians. Aziz plays bass as a part-time musician. The rest are jamming at home!  Paul Shanker also plays in his own band every now and then.
Dukes today
The new Dukes lineup shows from left: Aziz (4th generation Dukes bassist now playing the key board), Zainal (me, co-founder member still playing bass), Ibrahim Gulam (1st generation percussionist and still on percussion), Paul Shanker (2nd generation bassist now playing the rhythm guitar), Zainal Akib who replaced Safdar Hussein, rhythm guitar in the early days, now on the lead guitar, and Atan Flybaits (many generations later on sax, flute and trumpet). Jerry Murad (not in picture), original lead guitarist and leader, now plays the drums.
Church of Our Lady of Lourdes Pastoral Centre

The Dukes did play for Freddy Kang's 60th Birthday Bash on 24th August 2008 at the Riverview Hotel. But that was only with Jerry Murad, Zainal Akib,  two of our children, and me. 

We got together then only for that party where many of the guests also performed with their own groups as they are all Freddy’s music kakis (friends). That night we also met Billy Martinez (son of the legendary Harry Martinez), who sang and played the piano with me on bass.
Poster for the show in July 2014
We all played for the passion during the 60s. Now, most of us are in the Pioneer Generation, and today, we really enjoy playing together again.     
Will catch up with you soon and update you if The Dukes have performances in future.

Zainal Abidin.

PS from Andy:  I realised that one of the songs he recorded with his band was Rhumba De Havana, a song title with a city name (theme for my last posting).  You need to listen to Selina first on above You Tube as Havana comes afterwards. 

According to Zainal, both songs were mentioned in the international BMG magazine in May 1966. The songs were penned by Harry Martinez, music composer and tutor to many aspiring Singapore band boys and girls. The publication was popular then and discussed banjos, mandolins, guitars and cost one shilling and sixpence.

I must thank Malaysiaboleh for posting the song, the only one of many recorded, I think, available on You Tube.  

Many readers remember the Dukes. Please write in if you have a story to tell about your experience with this group.

Images: Zainal Abidin.
Image right: BMG Magazine from
You tube video from: Malaysiaboleh.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

"World Cup Willy 1966" and "Loch Lomond" Memories Part Four

              Lonnie Donegan - World Cup Willy - ARFURSEK GEETEE 

            A football memory trail inspired by World Cup Brasil 2014
This posting under 'Soccer Songs' is the last in a series of four articles written to coincide with World Cup 2014.

Dear Andy,
Mascot - World Cup 1966
I've just remembered two more songs relating to football.  The first is a Scottish song called Football Crazy (sometimes called Fitba' Crazy in the vernacular) which was recorded by the Joe Gordon Folk Four in 1960 and covered by several other artists, including Robin Hall and Jimmie Macgregor.

The second is the truly dreadful World Cup Willie (*World Cup 1966) recorded by Lonnie Donegan in 1966 which, thankfully, sank without trace until it appeared on retrospective CD sets in recent years.

Another piece of football trivia is the fact that my maternal grandfather, Thomas Currie, played football for Kilmarnock and Blaydon Wednesday around the late 1890s/early 1900s, according to family legend.
Thomas Currie

I have tried to find confirmation of this online, without success, and any relatives who might have known for sure are now, alas, dead.

Best wishes, 

England, UK
June, 2014.


Dear Allan,

Yes World Cup Willy is familiar and so are some of the images by Arfursek GeeTee on You Tube (above), having been in London many times and seeing some of the football memorabilia in sports shops in the city.

I have never heard of Football Crazy, the Scottish football song you mentioned but know Loch Lomond (who hasn't), learning it as a teen at St. Andrew's.  We've been so colonized that Scottish influence was strong. We even had a Singapore Girl Pipers band? 

A hill climb in Aberdeen with uni-mates 1982.
I was trying to impress a university welcome group in 1982 at the U of Aberdeen by singing Loch Lomond when they  had asked about my stay in their city. It was only later that I learned the tune had been adapted to become one of Scotland's football songs.

Loch Lomond

Anyone remember the above song or World Cup 1966?  If you were in the above uni-group at Aberdeen write in too huh?

Images: Allan Thompson, Andy Lim and Google.

Image (right) from:


14th July 2014:
*The 1966 FIFA World Cup, the eighth staging of the World Cup, was held in England from 11 to 30 July. England clinched the cup beating West Germany 4–2 in the final at Wembley Stadium. So will Germany beat Argentina tonight at 3 am.

Read 3 more postings below for continuation:

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Soccer Countries, Foreign Phrases In Song Titles: Part Three

         Bon Soir Dame: The Sandpipers.  Video by 65Seasons.

Lady of Spain
The names of the participating countries in the current World Cup Soccer tournament remind me of 1950s song titles with names of cities in Europe and lovey dovey foreign phrases.

Rich and Famous

Once upon a time only the wealthy and famous could afford to fly in an airplane so the sophisticated minimum flew in style with men in dark suits, ties, bowler hats and the ladies wearing  formal dresses, high-heels, fancy hats and gloves.
Little Dutch Girl

Commercial Aviation

When commercial aviation took off in the U.S. the scenario changed.  Companies like Boeing, Douglas, and Lockheed started making large multi-engine passenger planes.  The cost of flying plummeted and the fellow on the street could finally afford a plane ticket.  (Remember an Old John Wayne movie made in 1954 called, The High and the Mighty?)

As people travelled more often, exchanging visits across countries became a norm and names of famous cities were promoted in songs and movies to exploit the situation.   Many of these 1950s songs became hits on the US and UK pop charts and even in the Malayan Peninsula (which included Singapore then) and other parts of Asia.

Songs with Country Names


Some of these titles were, Brazil, Africa, Wonderful Copenhagen, April in Portugal, Isle of Capri, Lisbon Antigua, I Love Paris,  Tulips from Amsterdam, Marjoca Isle of Love and Three Coins in the Fountain.  When folks tire of these places they learnt foreign phrases like, Ariverdeci Roma while the more polite ones, Vaya Con Dios.

Songs with Foreign Phrases

Then tourists started learning simple foreign phrases and  picked up cultural activities from their travels.  Lifestyles were exchanged as many times as exotic music and dances.  The lyric writers penned phrases like,  Bon Soir Dame, Inamorata, Besame Mucho, That's Amore, C'est Si Bon, Jambalaya, Petite Fleur, Les Bicyclettes de Belsize.
C'est Si Bon

Many drank Tequila and learned to shake their bum-bum to the marimba rhythms of, Never On Sunday, Sway, Cherry Pink (and Apple Blossom White), The Laughing Samba and Mambo Italiano. 

Songs with Foreign Ladies

When the American male got tired of  Miss USA he took home with him, Little Dutch Girl, Fraulein or a China Doll. Then there's Lady of Spain, Belle from Barcelona and sexy Anna.  Sometimes he would take her Under the Bridges of Paris to "make her dreams come true".

When she wanted to come home with him he said, Quizás Quizás Quizás. Even the Japanese were not forgotten as the west went east learning terms like, Chotto Matte Kudasai, Sakura and Sukiyaki. When it was all over they bid their darlings, Sayonara.

 A Girl in Every Port:

Chotto Matte Kudasai
Ricky Nelson summed it all up in 1961 with wild sincerity and, Travellin' Man became a cult hit because in every port he owned, "the heart of at least one lovely girl" and like Bobby Helms and Ferlin Husky, was so proud of his sweet, "Fraulein down  from Berlin Town" and, "China Doll down in old Hong Kong".   

Luckily it was the 60s, otherwise he could have contacted AIDS.  VD wasn't so vicious. Not a coincidence that Travellin' Man and Tequila were written by the same man.

Images: Google.
You Tube Song: Bon Soir Dame, Composed by Bud Dashiell.


The Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro will tonight, 13th July 2014, have around 1,000 people performing a spectacle of music and dance during Brasil's 2014 FIFA closing ceremony.

Shakira (right) and Carlinhos Brown will perform Dare; Alexandre Pires, Carlos Santana and Wyclef Jean will provide a rendition of the World Cup official anthem, We Will Find A Way.  Then a medley of Brazilian songs from Pires and Ivete Sangalo.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Singapore, UK Football Memories. Are Soccer Stars Overpaid Actors? Part Two

The Singapore, UK 1960s Football Memory Trail. 
Inspired by FIFA World Cup Brazil, 2014. 

I would like to thank Allan Thompson (UK) and Happy Tay (Canada) for this week's posting. 

1. A note from Allan about soccer chants:

Dear Andy, 

Soccer? Football? The Beautiful game? Bah!Humbug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  A bunch of overpaid prima donnas with the pain threshold of an exposed nerve. They trip on a blade of grass and lie there, writhing and groaning like spoilt brats. 

Compare them with most other sportsmen who dust themselves down and play on. Especially jump jockeys who sometimes have horrific falls and suffer very painful injuries but are back in the saddle for the next race.  

2. Happy Tay rebuts:

I'm an ardent soccer player and fan (or rather football, as we all knew during our childhood days in the 60's), and have to concur with some of the comments made against these so called "overpaid" stars. They're better "actors" then those from Hollywood. They could all learn how to play real soccer from the Women Soccer Players, who are true professionals, although they are not as well paid as those actors. 

They never curse, rant, scream at the referees, or act like overpaid stars and fake injury, by rolling and grimacing as though one of their limbs had been torn apart, but are immediately able to run after the ball, as soon as their "victim" (opponent) had been penalized by the Referee. When I was refereeing as a Class 1 Referee, I would either ignore such acts or caution these "actors" with a yellow card! 
Frank Coulston
Being a soccer player myself has helped, as I had the experience to judge between an actual foul, or just an act. Hopefully, FIFA (the World Soccer Body) will think again about this problem. 

Anyway Andy, keep up the great work for bringing forward the "Beautiful Game" during this World Cup, fittingly held in Brazil, where soccer is like a religion to them. 


3. Allan's reply and soccer trail:

Dear Andy,

I thoroughly agree with Guru's views and comments.  Incidentally, I was quite a good 'playground footballer' when I was at primary school and I played, briefly, in a five-a-side competition.  Sadly, my Dad thought that sport was a waste of time and that I should work hard at the academic subjects instead.  
He refused to buy me a decent pair of boots and I had to make do with an old pair which he bought cheaply from one of his employees.  They were too big for me and I had to stuff rolled-up newspaper in the toes!  Later, as my feet grew, the boots became too tight and he would not buy me another pair.  End of promising career.  
One of my best friends, Frank Coulston, became a semi-professional player and was in the Partick Thistle team which thrashed the mighty Celtic 4-1 in the Scottish League Cup Final in October 1971. Another friend, Ernest Yard, played for Reading and Crystal Palace.

Best wishes,   

        Nancy Sinatra - These Boots Are Made for Walkin' Video by: weissebrauen

4. Happy's Soccer Memory Trail:

Thanks Andy and also to Allan. 

Perhaps Allan and I have something similar to touch on, especially those days when we had the RAF personnel and their families stationed in Singapore.  

There are stories about Roti John (now they call it Subway) and my episodes at RAF Changi during the Indonesian Confrontation and when I was with the RAF Police since we did not have our own armed forces then.

Jalan Besar Stadium - 1960s
During my short career with the RAF, I was also picked to play for the RAF Changi Team during the 60's.  I was the only Singaporean selected to play for them. During my interaction with these footballers I remember a great soccer star called Hussein Hashim who went on to play for the Singapore Malays F.C. and the national team!

Those days, Singapore had a very strong Joint Services Team with players from RAF Changi, Tengah and Seletar.  Some of them played for the English or Scottish 1st and 2nd Division Clubs before being called for duty.  Those were the good old days of legendary Sir Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney, Johnny Haines and others.  
Football at Jalan Besar Stadium
Singapore footballers from the Joint Services, Singapore Chinese, Singapore Malays, and Singapore Indians, played together for the Annual Challenge Trophy; there was always a full house at Jalan Besar Stadium.  I was also selected for the local Combined School Teams.  We had a really strong team those days, with some moving on to represent the Singapore Team.

As you can see I also have some stories from the good old days of Singapore soccer!

Cheers, and keep up with the great work Andy!

Guru Happy.

One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you... Anyone has something to say?
Sir Stanley Matthews
Images from: Singapore Heritage Board Archives and Google.
Singer/ Songwriter: Lee Hazelwood.
Copyright: Lyrics from Michael H. Goldsen Inc.
Letters are original and copyrighted.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What Is The Evolution Of A Soccer Chant? Part One

Posting Is Inspired by FIFA World Cup Brazil, 2014. 
Effortless Singing During Matches:

Have you watched an English Premier Soccer League on television and listened to the very loud, and sometimes, irritating drone in the background throughout a match (play video, Poetry in Motion)? An American wanted to know how these chants were sung by supporters effortlessly throughout the season, in each and every game, without reference to a document or song sheet as these compositions seemed to be quite lengthy.  
       Liverpool FC Chants - Poetry In Motion - Video by showmetheFOOTBALL

From his observation, although the tunes were different, the lyrics were familiar with everyone and sung with great confidence during the match.  He questioned if they were the same words with different tunes and if the songs were made up along the way.

The Anatomy of a Chant:

According to an ardent fan the chants were not written on song sheets or previously rehearsed because some articulate leader in the crowd would have started the chant and the rest would automatically follow.  Herd (heard) instinct? A reader gave an example, "If meat pies are available for sale before and during a game and if a player on the field looks overweight, it's, 'Who ate all the pies?' as soon as the ball arrives at his feet." 

Another reader replied tongue-in-cheek that fans went to soccer song school to learn the art and it was usually a Friday night in the back room of the local pub.  

Fans had their own set of songs they picked up from the crowd when they went to watch their group playing. They also had different chants and insults that they would sing to jeer the other team. Both sides would sing their own songs all the way throughout the match to encourage their team and to disgrace the opposition.

These songs were most times spontaneous and humorous so if someone said something amusing another fan might create a song from it and the idea would spread like the Mexican Wave.  These chants consisted of only four to five lines and were repeated over and over again throughout a match. 
At the end of the day, the same tunes were used by all clubs and the words subtly changed.  Sad to say, over the years the songs had tended to become more abusive and irritated many fans.
A Caxirola

A Culture Developed:

During international soccer matches, these football or soccer chants became much rowdier and noisier as flags, blowing instruments, drums, maracas, cymbals and in the last World Cup, vuvuzelas (special trumpets - image above) were used to encourage a carnival atmosphere. This year's 2014 world cup in Brazil would feature the caxirola (wazzat?) Ah, but that's another posting...

Chants have become part of the culture that is football today as they keep the players energized, determined and goal hungry; pumping adrenalin and bursting to win. Just like our Kallang Roar in Singapore a long time ago. BTW, with our new stadium opening soon, can we ever get back the Roar?

Enjoy the games on TV during FIFA World Cup Brazil, 2014.  We Are One, Ole Ola!

               The Routers - Let's Go (Pony) - 1962 45rpm. Video by nebroskomusic

                                          The Routers
Hand Clapping Chants:
Remember the song?  One of the most recognizable hand clapping chants in UK football in the 1960s were composed by an American group from  Illinois.  Two brothers wrote, Let's Go, for the guitar pop group The Routers. It was an international hit and very successful in Singapore, played by our bands during stage performances then.

Latest News: 
14th June, 2014:
Singaporeans are watching World Cup Brasil 2014, not from their home but from the comforts of the Community Clubs all around the island. And it's free and on large screens too.

"We can enjoy the games together with our neighbors and cheer as spectators, rather than watching alone at home," remarked a soccer enthusiast.
Probably most UK football fans would be surprised to learn that one of the most instantly recognisable hand-clapping chants heard in England’s soccer grounds during the 1960s and 1970s was created fifty years ago by two brothers born in rural Illinois, Lanny and Robert Duncan.
The brothers wro
- See more at:
Probably most UK football fans would be surprised to learn that one of the most instantly recognisable hand-clapping chants heard in England’s soccer grounds during the 1960s and 1970s was created fifty years ago by two brothers born in rural Illinois, Lanny and Robert Duncan.
The brothers wro
- See more at:
Probably most UK football fans would be surprised to learn that one of the most instantly recognisable hand-clapping chants heard in England’s soccer grounds during the 1960s and 1970s was created fifty years ago by two brothers born in rural Illinois, Lanny and Robert Duncan.
The brothers wro
- See more at:

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Picture Quiz: Who's The Main Performing Star?

Hi folks,
Here's another quiz for the weekend.  You need to look at the pictures carefully but you must read for clues.
Young people at the show. My question is, who the group or singer that's on stage? Very famous.
There was a large crowd. More than 190,000 people in all. They turned out in all shapes, sizes and colors. Well-known venue.
The musicians who accompanied were young indeed. And it was a pretty full band. Can it be Justin Bieber?  Or Madonna? Rolling Stones?
Engelbert or Neil Diamond?
Ah! These ladies should be familiar enough. Now question is. Who's the singer or group?  Many stars have sung here.
Here's the crowd again. A pretty youthful group don't you think? From UK or US?
The band on stage. Tells you a lot here. Look again. Not old folks here but young guys.
Two very important clues here, my dear readers. Also scrutinize the banners. So check them out. I'm not making it so easy.  Again no prizes. It's just in fun and games. Who was the singer?  Powerhouse voice!

It's an annual festival place.  Please write in to give the answer. 
Images from: You Tube screen shots. 


LATEST: 07.06.1940.
Tom Jones, born on the 7th of June, 1940 is 74 years young today.
Also: 25th - 29th June, 2014 Glastonbury Festival, Somerset, England.
Newspaper cutting:


Answer to Quiz:
Clue 1: as to who the singer is; seen in the venue and banner picture, a pair of a large, red pair of panties.  Tom Jones has panties thrown at him when performing.

Clue 2: as to who the singer is; the green and white flag with the red dragon. Sir Tom Jones is a Welshman. Had fun I hope?
Singapore has its own Tom Jones impersonators, and they are very good; the late Ismail Haron and our guy from The Neu Faces, Jerry Fernandez.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Johnny Lion Jumping Jewels Record Merlion Song

On the Singapore Music Memory Trail

                Johnny Lion n The Jumping Jewels - Judy Video: Annie Scholkeren

The Jumping Jewels

Johnny Lion and his group The Jumping Jewels had been here many times and were so popular in the 1960s that teenage girls followed him around everywhere he went.  Whether they were appearing in the Arundel Room at Goodwood Park Hotel, at the Odeon Cinema in North Bridge Road or even at the Paya Lebar Airport where they landed, these places would be bustling with clamoring fans, especially girls.
Johnny Lion On stage at the Convention Centre Suntec City 2003.
They were as popular as the other pop singers who hailed from the Netherlands, namely, The Blue Diamonds and Anneke Gronloh. This particular line-up consisted of vocalist Johnny Lion, whose real name is Jan van Leeuwarden, with Hans van Eijk on solo guitar, Tjibbe Veelo on rhythm guitar, Joop Oonk on bass guitar, Frits Tamminga on drums from 1960-1963 and Kees Kranenburg Junior on drums  from 1963-1965.
In the lobby of hotel Marina Mandarin in Singapore.
When reporters asked him about marriage during an interview in the early 1960s, he said that getting hitched was out of the question because he just wanted to sing for his fans and make them happy. His career meant everything for him. The other members of the group nodded in agreement.
The Merlion

Jump forward 40 years and even as late as 2003 when Lion and the Jewels sang at the Convention Centre at Suntec City for a gig called, 60s Now the Return of Pop Music Legends, the place was filled to near capacity with his now Senior fans.

And the members at the Hollandse Club in Singapore were jumping like jelly beans when the gang met up with Riem de Wolff, the younger of the two Blue Diamonds brothers before their evening show.

Lion Song For Lion City:

So with that kind of popularity who did you think was asked to record a song about Singapore? When Lion was here and the offer made in May 1964, he heard the melody and lyrics for the first time.  It was called, Merlion City Singapore and one that would help popularize the island as a tourist destination.

Johnny Lion with framed award
According to a *newspaper article, the song was written by Mr Eddie Gomes a former Kuala Lumpur bandleader and his wife Trudy Conner, a singer and pianist.  When Lion heard the song sung by Connor he said he had to discuss it first with his Jewels.

A Singapore song by a Dutch singer and written by a Malaysian. That's going global right?  Or outsourcing?

Was the offer made to him because he's Lion too i.e. Johnny Lion sings Merlion? Did he finally record the song? If you have the answer please write in to enlighten us. We are all anxious to know. I'd love a copy of the vinyl record.

*Straits Times Press Singapore.
Images: Google and Jumping Jewels website at:
(This is an original posting with information from ST.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Singapore's First Female Pop Singer Impersonator?

On the Singapore Music Memory Trail

The Cathay at its oldest?
It was near the end of November 1958.  I was about to celebrate my birthday and enjoy the last few years of my teens. I couldn't forget that period because what was more interesting in the music scene was a newspaper report about young girls performing live at a major cinema.  Some of them were still at school.  

Live bands in cinemas before a movie was common in the 50s and 60s.
Singaporean movie and music fans were in an uproar because nearly everyone interested in English language movies and songs were concentrating on the finals of a singing contest held at the Cathay Cinema in conjunction with a film that had the country talking.

There was hardly any entertainment those years so you can imagine the ruckus that was going on about school girls singing on stage. And it happened before any Singapore's Millie Small, Connie Francis or Cliff Richard impersonators were around.
Mamie Van Doren (not Doris Day) with Clark Gable.
The film was a romantic comedy about teachers and featured pop singer and down to earth  clean cut actress Doris Day*.  Her male lead was Karlok Kaypor (in Hokkien parlance) or Clark Gable in simple English.  He was a 1950s Johnny Depp or George Clooney?

The movie, Teacher's Pet, won two academy awards and was a local hit those years because of our dynamic duo (Day and Gable) and more so because of blonde bombshell and Playboy Bunny's favorite cover girl Mamie van Doren (right) in a co-starring role.  Like a Marilyn Monroe copy and paste, she was sexy and voluptuous.

With all this publicity in mind, the show at 9.30 that evening was a sell-out. On stage were four girls, chosen to appear for the finals of Singapore's Doris Day Singing Competition and they included, Nancy Renjaan, Ellen Ong, Pearl Silus and Nelly Martinus. 

Image of an applause meter. Clap hard and hand will move!
Since an applause meter was used to pick the winner, supporters and fans of the contestants cheered and screamed their hearts out at the end of each song after the applause sign lit up because the more noise there was the further the hand of the meter moved.  
The sign lit up when it's time to applause.

When the winner was announced, Nancy Renjaan (image right: Straits Times Press) from the Singapore Telephone Board clinched the title and became the Doris Day of Singapore, one of the first few pop impersonators on our island.  School girl Ellen Ong was second and the others were runners-up. 

Were you at the Cathay that night?  Were you one of those who participated in the contest? Love to hear your story.  Let's hit the Nostalgia Meter button and create some noise too.

*Doris Day appeared in 39 movies and ranked the biggest box-office actress/singer.  She was the only woman on that special list, for four years, from 1960 to 1964 and ranking in the top 10 for ten years, from 1951 to 1952 and from 1959 to 1966. 

She was the top female box-office star of all time and is today ranked (believe me!) sixth among the top 10 box office performers, both male and female, as of 2012. That is a champion indeed. If you've heard, Que, Sera, Sera, that's her song.

Images: Google and The Straits Times Press, Singapore.
Original article with information from newspaper advertisements.