Monday, January 26, 2015

Singapore Vinyls Share Platform On World Stage

1. Singapore Pop Artistes
2. International Pop Artistes (UK).
Support SG50: Highlighting Memories.
Information for the Young 'Uns Today.

Internal Record Sleeve:

It is common knowledge in the 1960s that Singapore pop artistes and international ones are promoted together on inside sleeve covers (jackets as the Americans call them).

The inside sleeve (image 3) found within the covers of vinyl records is proof enough.  As an example, in the new 7-inch EP/EMI releases for 1968, big stars like Cliff Richard and Lulu (image 2) are featured on the same soft cover with local recording artistes The McCoys and Sugiman Jahuri (image 1).
3: Internal soft sleeve vinyl covers from EMI Records.
Panoramic Record Sleeve:

Similarly, this soft sleeve cover (image 4) shields a record in between. Again the Chinese singers (right), well-known in Asia, are juxtaposed with top world singers like Nat King Cole, Herman's Hermits, Judd Solo and Keith West (left).

4: Advertising Layout on a Double Sheet Soft Sleeve
Single Record Sleeve:

Singles (record with two songs on one vinyl) are stored in colourful sleeves to advertise future releases. The 5th image shows this trend when 4 record covers are displayed attractively on each corner of the sleeve. One picture would feature an Asian star, i.e. Siew Fong Fong's pop Chinese Long Play L.O.V.E. which comes with 3 other LP covers, namely, Bobby Gentry, Glen Campbell and a Hawaiian Favourites selection.

Extended Play Record Cover (Jackets):

Then the promoters get really serious when Extended Play record covers illustrate the same trend. European pop singers like Maria Zamora, Herman van Keeken and Mieke Telkamp share stardom on the front sleeve with Asian/Dutch powerhouse Anneke Gronloh. She sings in Indonesian, English and Dutch, rising to fame with an Indonesian hit Asmara (Love).

No Sleeve, No Cover, No Record:

In today's media exposure, do we still find our local pop stars featured together with international ones under the same banner? I doubt it.  I guess Asian singers have done exceptionally well today and have a niche of their own in the music world. Then again, what's there to advertise?  

                                Kit Chan's iTunes Buy n Downloads

Information's a click away on the website and you just download from iTunes or wherever.  So if you wish to buy Kit Chan songs, just pay through Credit, download and get your songs:

Images: Private collection.
Copyrights Reserved (c).
  Asmara by Anneke Gronloh, Asian hit promoted with European ones.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Laser Discs: Memorabilia Or Rubbish? Keep Or Bin?

It used to be called MPH or Malaya Publishing House, a building along Stamford Road where book lovers and students used to gather to get their fix. Those were the earlier years  and books cost a few dollars. Name the books and MPH would have them in stock. Not all though, because in Singapore some titles were banned remember? Even some classic pieces couldn't be found on the shelves. Well...
                               Old MPH building with a new look.

As the years went by the shop sold other things as well. In the 1990s, after buying a book or two from the ground floor, I would amble to the first floor and target the LDs or Laser Discs on display.  They didn't come cheap and would cost as much as $50 (big money then) or more a piece. 

Since movies were also my concern I would eagle for these shiny and large silver discs.  Take one out from the sleeve and this humongous CD would glitter under the display lights. It was heavy too.

Buying the old Elvis Presley movies was more exciting than buying a new book. But since they cost a bomb I could only purchase one or two pieces each time. Images below show some of the titles I have. 

While doing a CNY spring cleaning recently and looking at my LDs I thought I had spent money on a worthless collection since they are the precursor to DVDs and are obsolete today.
Question: Is an Elvis LD counted as Elvis memorabilia?
But I realised I would never discard them. These LDs are harder to come by as more people are keeping them as memorabilia. There are also companies on the internet that are willing to purchase them for the same price and store them in their Laser Vaults (whatever that means).  With enough space to keep books, records and travel mementos in my home I have decided not to get rid of them.  
As I was surfing the net searching for comments about the status of LDs, I found these gems below:

1. I sold mine for next to nothing and regret it. For the money you'd get, you might as well keep them. 

2. Still have mine and my old player although haven't used it for ages. Not sure what the e-bay market is like, it went through a boom and then collapsed a couple of years ago, not sure if that's changed.
3. Just like vinyl records, the laser disc may have little value, but the cover may end up being worth something, depending on the cover art. 

4. It's the vinyl of the movie world. There is a magical quality to it, and who cares if your kids scoff at it? There's no way I'd give up my vinyl collection, no matter how many million songs you can fit on an iPod. 
A Laser Disc Player @ $450 a piece in the 90s.
5. What galls me is seeing some of the discs I paid $60-$100 for selling for $10 and under. Sigh. Oh well, I enjoyed them at the time.

6. Another vote for hang onto them. You won't get much and laser discs are lovely things to hold.

7. If space isn't a problem I'd say keep them as well...  I agree that Laser Disc packaging looks lovely, so it would a huge shame if you did end up binning... 

8. I've begun collecting laser discs recently, however only movies that are not on retail DVD, so I can convert them to DVD on my own.
Fun Information on LD sleeve covers.
For me? Another good reason why I will keep them. The sleeve notes are fun to read. And informative too. And once you hold them in your hands you wouldn't want to part with them. 

Then again you could store all the songs and movies in a thumb drive?

Silly huh? So how? Keep or throw away? Let me know.
Comments from:
                  You Tube Video: Elvis' Memories by Wanda Harrell.

Elvis Presley Memorabilia:
The novelty retro items and vintage toys produced red in the mid 1950s reap the best value for money and have potential to greatly increase in value. The genuine posthumous Elvis stamps too are collectibles.

Walk The Music Memory Trail. Check other postings
by browsing the Content Bar on the right.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"Reliving Singapore In The 60s" By Brigitte Rozario


Hi everyone,

Below is an article taken from the Malaysian website called, 3age.  It is written by Ms Brigitte Rozario, a journalist, editor and writer.

Thank you Ms Rozario and 3age for enlarging this music lovers' circle.

                                  Reliving Singapore in the 60s
                                  By *BRIGITTE ROZARIO

THE 60s may have ended more than 40 years ago, but fans of the decade are still enjoying the music as they reminisce younger days and popular culture of the time.
If you have ever searched the Internet for local music, you would have come across Singapore 60s: Andy’s Pop Music Influence.
The man behind the website is none other than Andy Young, the frontman of The Velvetones (whose members later formed Firebyrds), Swallows and The Silver Strings, bands that were active in Singapore in the 60s.
The 74-year-old music blogger launched the site in 2008.  

“The Silver Strings called me back to sing for a charity gig at Vivo City Singapore in November 2008. I did, and met music friends I hadn’t met for years.

“As an English Language and English Literature graduate, I love to write. So, I thought it’d be a good idea to start the blog and use it as a ‘kopitiam’ where music-minded folks could chat,” says Andy, who admits to not being a professional singer, not even in his younger days.

The site is not just for the young at heart. It’s also to keep the younger generation aware of their heritage.
“The ‘memory trails’ are my own stories of past experiences. Many band stories are my own and from my music ‘kakis’. Readers from Britain, Canada, US and Australia who left Singapore after the 60s have also written in to tell their stories. There’s one Allan Thompson RAF who has written more than a dozen stories for the blog. They volunteered willingly when I asked. I guess they just cannot forget Singapore in the 60s and 70s,” says Andy via email from Singapore.
Besides information about singers and bands from the 60s, there are also videos from YouTube.
But the blog is not just about music of the 60s; it also talks about music from other decades and popular culture like pen-pals, food, gadgets and books.
According to Andy, it was always his intention for the blog to be not just about music.

“I guess popular culture just came along the way, so in language you get, ‘Man, dig that crazy chick …’ and long, long hair was exciting. Remember the Malay term, ‘Ikal mayang, terbayang bayang’? In the 70s it applied to guys, too!” says Andy.
His favourite Singaporean singers/bands of the 60s are Silver Strings, Swallows, Quests, Thunderbirds and Checkmates.
“Versatility is the key here. They played all kinds and sounded great both live and in recordings,” says Andy.

The Silver Strings band members @ a charity dinner for Boys Town, Singapore.
He also likes vocal groups The Flamingos and The Bambinos and singers like TF Tan, Robert Song, Eunice Sim and Rahim Hamid.
“I think we should be proud of what our own chaps can do. Singapore music is a unique blend of cross cultures from both the East and West and it was in the 60s when it all started with a lot of trials and experimentation by our local boys and girls. Also doing covers was the trend and imitating the West was the norm then,” says Andy, who studied in New Zealand, Scotland, Canada and Australia, yet still returned home to Singapore.
His love for local artistes extends across the Causeway to Malay artistes of yore like P. Ramlee, Saloma, Zainal Alam, Anita Sarawak, Jimmy Boyle, Bryan Jeremiah, Frankie Cheah, Falcons and Strollers.
There is a need to preserve the music of the past. Thankfully, Singapore and Malaysia have sites like Andy’s where music and pop culture of the past can be relived and enjoyed.
“There is a fear (of losing the music of the past) but no one will (preserve it) unless there is a market and money to be made. Hopefully our archives will start moving soon,” sums up Andy.

Images: Private Collection.
Writer: Brigitte Rozario (credentials @ side bar.)
Website: 3age.
(Reproduced by kind permission.)

SG50: The Pioneering Spirit Walks The Singapore Memory Trail.


About the journalist:

*She created and developed children’s stories about a boy named Beebo who often gets into trouble. The Adventures of Beebo & Friends! is now a series. Three of the five books are now out - ABC and Special Wheels, Let it be and Explosions & Storks, and Laughing Forest / Trees Cry Too.

She also has a football blog –
In 2014, she started a children/parenting website at

In what little free time she has, Ms Rozario dabbles in photography (focusing on music bands) and web development (focusing on WordPress).

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

SG50 Singapore Memories: Tanah Merah Kechil by Yeo Hong Eng

Since this blog is about 60s music the reader must not assume that The Little Red Cliff is a book about Cliff  Richard's childhood as a communist.  The British pop star has never been one. The book is about an area in Singapore called Tanah Merah *Kechil (Malay) or literally, *Earth Red Small.

Yeo Hong Eng is another Singapore blogger who has finally turned his blog into a book. When he told me that he had been working on it for the past 10 years I was surprised.

"Not 2 years?" I asked.

"No, 10 years."

Hong Eng is a good teller of tales, using his computer keyboard as a tool, crafting words on screen as a sculptor would his chisel on marble. Very intricately he worked on this book to shape and form his story.  The cliche, the devil's in the detail, is proof enough as you turn the 435 pages of his masterpiece. Be warned, you need to take time with this piece of literature.

The book discusses life from the 50s and 60s in Tanah Merah Kechil in the east coast of Singapore and describes how Hong Eng's family struggled, to make a living during the lean years after the Japanese Occupation (blurb).

The story details the development of the land they lived on for farming and sand mining purposes.  Explanation of coconut being processed into cooking oil and bamboo into food are interestingly told. A tough life it was indeed as he recalled land reclamation, disasters and battling with the elements. 

Shooting Match Sticks

To keep the balance however, he writes about the fun side too, i.e. their adventures in school, daily home cooked meals, self constructed toys like auto-wheels, sling shots, kites and the incredible shooting match sticks.  He describes celebrated days that included community festivities with much kampong camaraderie.  

What interested me most was Chapter 14 where Hong Eng discusses Our Entertainment and writes about music.   Besides enjoying free movies and reading Chinese story books he was fascinated by his father's H.M.V. gramophone player:   

Dad had a huge black box and music coming from it. There was a black disc rotating and a head with a needle lying on the disc  (page 301).

The discs were black records that were very expensive and fragile and would shatter once they were dropped.  Some of these records had labels from Victor, others from Decca and Columbia. The records his father borrowed were mainly Mandarin songs with some *Hokkien and *Teochew operas.
The reader needs to find out from the book how Hong Eng explains the intricate workings of the gramophone player and where the little needles were kept.  

One point to note.  Although the illustrations by the author were clear and helpful, the rather dark photographs printed on ordinary paper could have been much better on gloss.

Having experienced that particular period in Singapore's history myself, flipping through the pages was like floating back in time.  

Readable, absorbing, the book is worth checking out. A great gift for SG50.

*//: ch spelt c (since 1972). Small Red Earth.
  Hokkien, Teochew = Chinese dialects.

N.B. Born in Tanah Merah Kechil in 1946 immediately after the Japanese surrendered, Hong Eng was in his 60s when he retired from teaching in primary schools. He is into his second book.

Images from Yeo Hong Eng and The Little Red Cliff  
Partridge: A Penguin Random House Company, 2014.

8th January, 2015.

Elvis Presley is 80 years young today. Wow! And still rockin' n rollin' as he would have only a short while ago in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Happy Birthday Mao Wang (Cat King).

Fun in Acapulco was released in 1963. Elvis was 28 and singing Bossa Nova Baby.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

HT Long Gifted Singer Speaker Will Go A Long Way

                                         HT Long with Anyone
My New Year Posting

"I used to serve the King of Rock n Roll but today I serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords."
Meeting In KL:
When I went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia recently I thought it would be a good idea to visit HT Long (Malaysia's Elvis Presley) during one of his performances.  Over the mobile phone we made an arrangement to meet at the venue where he was appearing.

But the meeting came to naught because I didn't realise traffic jams were so bad in the capital that a two kilometer taxi-ride could take more than an hour.  My family and I were living at Ascott Sentral service accommodation and taking a cab from there during peaks would have entailed some planning. 
Ascott Sentral K. L.
So the rendezvous was cancelled and HT had to explain to his audience that his special guest (I had no idea) could not be present that night. Because of the non-event we promised to meet in Singapore.

Meeting In Singapore:
On Sunday the 21st of December in Singapore I nearly missed HT again when I took about an hour looking for a church that I thought was a building with a steeple and a cross on top. I went round and round in my car to Lorong 6, 8,10 and 12 at the Geylang area searching for 5A/5C Guillemard Road.
5A/5C Guillemard Road, Singapore
The Google Map showed its location but I only found The New Horizon Church (administered by Senior Pastor Rev. Lawrence Koo) when I abandoned my vehicle beside a double yellow line ten minutes away from Wing Fong Building at the Kallang Road side of Guillemard. It was housed on the 3rd floor in an unobtrusive corner of the row of shop houses and a long walk from my car.
The congregation @ New Horizon Church.
A Testimony:
I was not disappointed. HT Long was something else. He not only sang Elvis songs to his  congregation of about 200+ people but entertained them and kept them in stitches with his jokes about himself, his family and his past when he gave a testimony as to "how Christ saved me".

HT was a joy to listen to as he pieced together his "condemnation of Christians in my younger days" up to the time when he realised his folly.  He spoke with much wit and veracity about his journey from Elvis to Jesus and how his family, especially his brother, played a big part in his conversion.
A Gifted Speaker:
Between anecdotes, he sang Elvis numbers like The Wonder of You, Love Me Tender, Falling In Love With You, It's Now or Never and other hits. Like my comment on his FB: Yes it was inspirational and HT is exceptional. He is not only a great singer but a gifted speaker.  He will go a long way to carry the message of Jesus Christ.

"I used to serve the King of Rock n Roll but today I serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords," stated HT during the service.  At the end of the event, CDs of his recordings were sold and proceeds channeled to the Feed The Hungry and Needy Project

It was an interesting morning and as I reached my car I noticed that there was no traffic violation ticket on my windscreen. 

I drove away listening to HT's rendition of, I Just Can't Help Believing.

Cut and paste below: You can listen to HT Long's Sermon @

Images from Google, HT Long, New Horizon Church, Singapore.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Reason For This Season: From A Believer


                             Oh Christmas Tree - Boney M - Video: samo kriterij                            

When Carols Became A Beacon:

Hey Andy, 

Your posting on 'trees' comes timely to help me keep my word to think about a Christmas write. I think of: 

                Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, 
               Of all the trees so lovely (2x)
               Each year you bring to  me delight
               Meaning in the Christmas night
               Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, 

               Of all the trees so lovely.

              Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, 

              With faithful leaves  unchanging (2x)
              Your boughs are green in summer's glow
              And do not fade in winter's snow
              Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree
              With faithful leaves unchanging.

O Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree) is a German Christmas song. Based on a traditional folk song, it became associated with the Christmas tree by the early 20th century and sung as a Christmas carol.

Boney M's version sets the mood for the season.  This group sings my favourite carols: Joy To The World; The First Noel; The Little Drummer Boy, with such soul that they truly lift up one's spirit.
For a believer, the reason for this season is the Lord Jesus Christ. As a child in a mission school, I learnt to sing, Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so; What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear....  The lyrics didn't leave much impression on me then... just enjoyed the tuneful melody.

It is only these last 27 years that I look back and realise it is truly an Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a child like me...And to think that this was written by an ex-slave trader.

Well, Andy, Christmas is round the corner,  Feliz Navidad (Boney M)
Here's to a blessed 2015 to you and your family.  Keep the blog going.

A special Christmas posting from CYLin.

Images: Google.

                  Boney M - Feliz Navidad - Video: The Jack Earth.
Feliz Navidad is written in 1970 by the Puerto Rican singer/songwriter Jose Feliciano.

December 2014 - January 2015. 

Promoting Trees On Jan's T. 


Joe Cocker Is Dead: 22nd December, 2014:
Joe Cocker (1944-2014), who made the Beatles song, With A Little Help From My Friend, into a soul anthem had passed on. He was 70 years young. His other hit covers included, The Letter, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, You Are So Beautiful and many more. Altogether he recorded 23 studio albums and 40 albums. Born in Sheffield, he lived in Colorado, in the US.
With Jennifer Warnes, Up Where We Belong (An Officer And A Gentleman), became hit number one, winning a Grammy and an Academy Award in 1983. One of the most humble entertainers, Joe Cocker was made an OBE in 2011. 

RIP good sir. You live forever as a 60s rock superstar.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Platters: "But Only God Can Make A Tree."

Early one morning, about two weeks ago, I saw a very old tree being trimmed along a road that I pass frequently. I have fallen in love with this tree and so have my grandchildren because whenever we walked by it we would feel and touch the rough, scarred surface of its enormous trunk. 

Strangely, the tree seemed to react to our touch as some tiny pieces of bark and green moss would stick on our hands.  A tree whose hungry mouth is prest, / Against the earth's sweet flowing breast.
                                                  This trunk feels to our touch.

When we asked the gardeners who were trimming it what had happened they explained that a thunderstorm which occurred a few days earlier had ripped part of it and, like a surgical knife, removed a large giant arm off.  This black stump lay quiet and still on the ground today.  A tree that looks at God all day, / And lifts her leafy arms to pray. 

Singapore is exceptional because this tiny little island, in ratio to its land mass, has more than enough trees everywhere; many were specially planted by its citizens. 

And November is a month for trees because that's when our first PM consciously reminded every Singaporean to plant trees, lots of it, during this month. 

                           Promoting Trees On Jan's T.
At the same time the month is also one where damp devastation takes place so when the monsoon blows and cries and sings its songs of woe, trees come down, forced by the destructive nature of the weather.  This wicked clime worsens in December and January.   

Upon whose bosom snow has lain, 
Who intimately lives with rain
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

The beautiful growth is a heritage lychee tree that doesn't fruit under Singapore's condition.

Songs I Love:

Trees is a song by The Platters. It was recorded in 1961 and based on a poem written by Alfred Joyce Kilmer in 1913 and set to music by Oscar Rasbach in 1922.  This particular composition comes with 7 other songs by the group with Only You as one of 1001 songs you must hear before you die.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair
Upon whose bosom snow has lain
Who intimately lives with rain
Poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree
Poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree
(I think that I shall never see...)

Above is the large arm that was amputated by lightning.  Below is the aftermath
There are many songs about trees or lyrics that have the particular word in them. Here is a short list of 20:

Annie's Song - John Denver
Big Bad John - Jimmy Dean
Cottonwood Tree - Marty Robbins
Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree - Andrews Sisters
Draggin' The Line - Tommy James/The Shondells

Dream A Little Dream Of Me - Louis Armstrong
Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
Lemon Tree - Trini Lopez/Peter, Paul and Mary
Lemon Tree - Fool's Garden (1995)
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds - The Beatles

No More Walks In The Woods - Eagles
Norwegian Wood - The Beatles
Oh, What A Beautiful Morning - Ray Charles
Rockin Around The Christmas Tree - Brenda Lee
The Happiest Christmas Tree - Nat King Cole

The Lumberjack Song - Monty Python
Tie A Yellow Ribbon...  - Tony Orlando/Dawn
Trees - The Platters
What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
Wooden Heart - Elvis Presley
You and Me - Moody Blues

It is a heritage lychee tree.
This posting is specially for the 3 Jays, whose love for trees and most of nature takes them to the Botanical Gardens nearly every week.

Images and article: A Personal Collection.
You Tube 'Trees' by The Platters - Video from: Mr. Tripeo47.
Poem by Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1913)/ Music by Oscar Rasbach (1922). 
Book: Tony Visconti and Robert Dimery, 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die.  (The Fifties Page 67). 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Hong Kong Pop 60s: Irene Ryder (黎愛蓮) Part 2

The Hong Kong protests are still on. Will it ever end? We turn the clock a bit and remember the island's pop music hey-day.

Best Female Vocalist:

Her song Cry Me a River won her the honour of The Best Female Vocalist and with the release of her first and second album, Irene and Solitaire, she again gained the same honour. The winnings went on for five years.  

Irene had also appeared in two movies, Tiger vs. Dragon (1972) and Rage of the Wind (1973) both directed by well established director Wu Si Yuen.   However her career came to a stand still when she had a near fatal accident in 1979.  

2 Decades:
There was a lapse of nearly two decades when Irene was not much in the limelight but in 1997 and by popular demand after recording four duets with her good friend Joe Junior, Irene returned to the recording studio to do her own album, The Legend.  

When she regained her self-confidence she decided to perform live again and although it had been quite an absence she managed five successful concerts in Hong Kong with him. 

For her repertoire, Ms Ryder usually performed golden oldies.  It was a highlight of her shows. The songs  would include Frankie, You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, To Sir with Love, The End of the World, Kiss Me Honey Honey, Stupid Cupid, Seven Lonely Days, Kowloon Hong Kong and other hits.

During her peak, Irene had recorded many covers of top songs from the 1960s and 1970s.  There are also compilations of her songs released in the 1990s and 2003.

Her Long Plays:
Irene Ryder – EMI Regal - SREG-9603 - (1971)
Irene Ryder – EMI Regal - SREG-9611 - (1973)
Irene Ryder - Solitaire  –   EMI Columbia S-3ESX-220 - (1974)
The Best Of Irene Ryder – EMI Columbia S-33ESX-225 - (1975)
             Irene Ryder - First of May - Video: shatinterry.

Irene Ryder attending HT Long's Concert in HK.
 Images/Video: Google, Uncle Ray 101CD Box and You Tube (Shatinterry).

Information: from Shatinterry (You Tube), Wikipedia and Websites.