Saturday, August 18, 2018

Hot Pants, Tight Pants: Rare Singapore Records Banned

 Look around today. Most ladies, young, old, fat, thin, tall or short, pretty or otherwise, of any colour and creed, are wearing tight pants or shorts today, two of the most popular fashion highlights on the streets.

Similarly, in the 60's and 70's, ladies were wearing sexy shorts and tight pants too. Below are two vinyl records to prove.

Rare Singapore Vinyl Records: True Or False?

Tight Pants:

This record is called Tight Pants, a vinyl produced by Johnson Seah with studio engineer Vincent Lim and arranged by our own Singapore band called, Family Robinson. The label is Libra Records.

Tight Pants was a restricted record by RTS (Radio Television Singapore) in the 1970's, which means it has never been played over the airwaves.

The flip number of this Singles record is Same Old Feeling. It's another 45 RPM and it looks like both songs are Singapore originals. 

Anyone can help me? Just with the band and song information?

HOT PANTS:

One of the most popular pop bands in Singapore 60's and 70's was The X'periment (spelt exactly: without the E, an apostrophe after the X and without the plural S). 

The group recorded an Extended Play with three songs: Time To Get It Together - S. Roberds, Hot Pants and Satisfaction Guaranteed. It's produced by Reggie Verghese and distributed by
EMI Orange label.

I have never seen anything like this vinyl anywhere on the internet, let alone on eBay or Hardware Zone. What made me put this vinyl up is because it costs $90.00 and labelled: Promotional Sample: Not For Sale and being told by the salesperson that it's rare. 


Can anyone verify this vinyl? Thanks. 


Western pop regressive? 
https://singapore60smusic.blogspot.com/2018/08/mao-communists-rediffusion-yellow.html

Horseshoes: Freakish Fashion Footwear?
https://singapore60smusic.blogspot.com/search?q=shadows+sonny+james

Images: Andy Young Collection.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Aretha Franklin The Queen of Soul Is Gone


Aretha Franklin: 1956 - 2018

Another top pop star has passed away. Aretha Franklin, truly a national treasure will be greatly missed. And with much R.E.S.P.E.C.T., her fans all over the world send condolences to the family of The Queen of Soul.

Some of her more familiar songs include A Natural Woman, Spanish Harlem, Think, Chain Of Fools, I Say A Little Prayer, Freeway Of Love and Respect.

I was a fan. She was one of very few singers who could convey her lyrics with much feel to her listener.  With what little cash I had during those years, bought myself a vinyl collection of her hits (above), Aretha's Gold. It's priceless today.

Ms Franklin was another victim of pancreatic cancer.

May she Rest In Peace.

Image and YouTube video: Google.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Celine Dione Marina Bay Sands SG: Fred Ching

It was catching world-renowned singer Celine Dion when she performed in Singapore for the first time ever at Marina Bay Sands® as part of the Sands Live concert series. 
Her tour started on 26 June in Tokyo and saw her return to cities she hasn’t performed in over 10 years, including Tokyo and Macao, and cities she will perform in for the first time ever, including Singapore, Jakarta, Taipei, Manila and Bangkok. 
Celine Dion In Concert Singapore July 2018:

Some of you may have missed seeing her in Singapore last week, and according to many who have seen her show, she was stupendous.  


Fred Ching (image above) is a Facebook friend and I've yet to meet him, but when I asked if he could allow me to reproduce his Celine Dion Concert experience for this blog, together with the exquisite photos of the lady, he immediately obliged. 

So here's a write-up by Fred himself, published in the same order as it was written, with the excitement that only a loving fan could describe. He is a veteran musician and one who has seen so many 'live' shows of international stars. Celine Dion is only one of them.

Thank you very much Fred.
"Watching Celine Dion’s new music video today, just 4 days after seeing her 'live'. I can’t believe how blessed I am. To be able to see my favourite singer with her awesome band in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to watch her live on stage is better than striking the lottery and means so so much. 

One of the most recognised and iconic singers in pop music history, Dion has sold almost 250 million albums during her career spanning over 30 years and earned five Grammy Awards, two Academy Awards and seven American Music Awards. 

I think my buddy booking experience went considerably smooth as both dates sold out in like an hour I was told. 
The 49-year-old Canadian, known for her powerhouse vocals, rocked the house on her debut in the Lion City and Dion sounded super awesome. I miss them already. Come back soon, please.

I can’t describe how lucky I feel because I have had the opportunity of a lifetime: Seeing and hearing pop diva Celine Dion made her debut in the Lion City on July 3. 

Dion was amazing. She sang so many of her hits and nailed every note, spot on. The opening act was The Power of Love and That's the Way it is.  The other songs performed included crowd-pleasing classics, during her ballad queen era during the nineties, like, To Love You More and It's All Coming Back To Me Now. Fans were cheering and singing along the entire time.  Her band was made up of very talented musicians. 
She teased the crowd and made us laugh; love her sense of humour.  She told the audience not to ask why it took her so long to come to Singapore and jokingly said that now she wanted to move to our sunny shores as she realised it was so beautiful.

She also showed her vulnerable side as her husband Rene Angelil and her brother Daniel both died within days of each other in 2016 of cancer with a heartfelt song, Recovering, written by pop star Pink.

The concert ended with River Deep, Mountain High and she returned to the stage with, My Heart Will Go On...
Known for her powerhouse vocals and the voice behind smash hits like, My Heart... and Because You Loved Me, she wowed a full-house crowd at MBS Grand Ballroom. 

This morning as I hold the album, Celine Dion and listen to it again with my car stereo, and when Oscar Winning Song, Beauty And The Beast came on... Oh, my gosh... It was a hair-raising and pop phenomenon; Celine Dion left me gasping for breath once again. 

Truly mindblowing and awesome. Always a pleasure to hear her bring back such good memories of a time gone by."

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Julai Tan Violinist National Day 2018: By Horace Wee Part 2

This article is one of many that good friend and guitar legend Horace Wee has written for the blog. He has always obliged me whenever I requested for one, especially if it's about our Singapore musicians.

Once again, thank you, Horace. 

Mr Julai Tan Image from Straits Times 21.7.2017 Thank you.


Julai Tan

A man of slight build but a giant of a musician. Soft-spoken and a wry sense of humour, he has transcended many generations of musicians. With the ability to adapt to different styles of music, Julai would be first on the list if anyone required a violinist. Any superlatives are unnecessary as this man's career speaks for itself.

Our musical paths have crossed many times over the years. Recording programs with the Radio Orchestra, performing at various functions and at the numerous recording sessions for English, Mandarin, Malay music during the heady days of the sixties.

An unknown fact is that Julai's  Spanish wife at that time was the one who coached me for the correct pronunciation for my recording of Guantanamera. I had expressed my desire to Julai as I am very particular when it comes to any detail related to music. There were many visits to his flat at Prinsep Street for these sessions and I have always been thankful.
There was a day at a recording session at the Kinetex Studios when all the musicians had gone for a coffee break. For some reason, I remained in the studio. While messing around, I decided to plug Julai's mandolin (yes he doubles on it) into a fuzz box and wah-wah pedal. I left it that way and waited to laugh my head off when he next picked it up. No drama, he quietly asked what had I done.

In a way, it was also his turn for some "pay-back". He had a series for string chamber music on the radio. He quietly informed me that I was to be in this program. I had asked for my role in this. He said he wanted me to play the bass clarinet and take the place of the cello. 

Profuse protests from me as I explained that I would have to transpose the parts at sight and what a nightmare it would be. Of course, he was not accepting any of this and just informed me of the studio dates. For myself, the sessions were of intense concentration. As for Julai, he just smiled and said it was the right decision.
Horace Wee (image above) needs no introduction. Just click his name under 'Labels' below to read all his articles, which by the way, are copyrighted. 

I pulled another one on him when we had to play at a state banquet with Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew at the front table. As it was a formal occasion we all had to wear white tuxedos. I borrowed mine as all my clothes were black. I had a large hole in the jacket under the left armpit and I indicated to Julai that I was going to raise my arm to show the Prime Minister how lowly paid we were. 

Ha ha ha, it was a very calm but incredulous look from him.

I last had a mini jam session with Julai at his 91st birthday. We ran through some old tunes and he was sharp as ever. Thanks for the memories. It's been a blast!

From:
Horace Wee

A Happy National Day To All Singaporeans Everywhere.

http://singapore60smusic.blogspot.com/2018/07/national-day-parade-2018-julai-tan.html
*The recording on vinyl Horace Wee mentioned. 'Charlie' And His Orchestra was Charlie Lazaroo.

The Colour Purple in Singapore came way before Oprah Winfrey (Colour Purple Movie) and Prince (Purple Rain Song.)
Mr Julai Tan had many violin recording sessions with us at Kinetex and Oscar Studios. Besides the violin, Julai is also good at the accordion. Above is an LP featuring Julai Tan on the accordion (from Randy Lee Keng: Stylers rhythmist.)

Monday, August 06, 2018

Communists In Singapore: Western Pop Regressive! Rediffusion Yellow Culture


Good friend Mr James Kwok wrote to me about his experiences as a young boy in Singapore when communist cadres were present in his own family. I thought his tale intriguing. Here it is in full bloom. 

Thanks, James for the contribution. Below is his article:

"Back in the 1950's (and into the 60's) the adults in my family regarded China as their homeland: to them, the greatest thoughts in the world were those of chairman Mao. 

They participated wholeheartedly in the anti-yellow culture campaign to remove decadent western influences (such as jukeboxes, striptease shows and the yellow press) in early self-governing Singapore. 
Those communists cadres in my family considered western pop music as regressive and mentally-retarding - because they had promiscuity-promoting words like love, kiss and darling.

So, to catch the forbidden music I had to sneak to an Indian neighbour's house to listen to Rediffusion Silver Network's request programmes and scribble down the words of the latest English pop songs. 
Back in my house, right in the face of the communist cadres, I would sing the memorised songs silently to protest victoriously against the oppression. And back in school, coming up first with the complete words of the latest pop song (for the others to copy) did give me bragging rights. 

There's also a side benefit - my doing well in English spelling and dictation. All those British and American pop singers were my heroes, and their songs were my motivational anthems, in my personal civil rights movement."

By James Kwok (image above) who has written a few articles for this blog.

Songs that have the words 'love', 'kiss', 'darling.' and music (such as rock'n'roll) that promotes "decadent western yellow culture" was banned by the PRC-loving communist cadres I had to live with.

So the prohibited list included such popular songs as Paul Anka's I Love You, Baby, and Diana; Petula Clark's I Love You With All My Heart; Elvis Presley's Jailhouse Rock and Kiss Me Quick; Neil Sedaka's Oh Carol; Bill Haley & His Comets' Rock Around The Clock and Shirley Bassey's Kiss Me, Honey Honey, Kiss Me.

Even a slow number like Russ Hamilton's We Will Make Love wasn't spared, because of that offensive last word in the title.


NB:

James Kwok Facebook site:
https://www.facebook.com/james.kwok.391?fref=nf

Read about:
China's National Anthem by Edwin Goh (Former Director of RELC in Singapore.)
https://singapore60smusic.blogspot.com/2017/10/chinas-national-anthem.html
Rock n Roll 50's Mix: Video from djdirtybeat: 51 million viewers of Yellow Culture. 😊

(The photographs are for illustrative purpose only. There is no intention to promote nor degrade any ideology.)

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Winston Koh with The Flying Phantoms

Winston Koh, traveller and singer extraordinaire with *beautiful Stephanie Kramer who was Sergeant Dee Dee McCall on NBC Series 'Hunter' - 1984 to 1991. Today is 1.8.18.
What beautiful numbers for Winston: A rare gem, or a hidden precious stone. That's what this gentleman is about. When I met Winston Koh with The Trailers, they were only brief encounters i.e. during our show at Vivo City with the Silver Strings (2008); then the Cathay Cinema gig where I appeared with The Esquires (2015) and finally the quiet appearance at the Siglap Hill Catholic Church - OLPS - with John Cher and Friends (2017). We finally said hello and Winston invited me for lunch at the Cricket Club discussing the history of The Flying Phantoms.

Thank you, Winston, for flying together and agreeing to write this article.

THE FLYING PHANTOMS (1962)
by Winston Koh The Flying Phantoms were formed in 1962 but I joined the group in 1963 when two of the members had already left to join The Mysterians. They were brothers William (Rhythm) and Dennis Chan (Lead).

With just the three of us, we started practising most of the Cliff Richard and The Shadows songs. We could sing and play many other melodies from other groups and pop vocalists too.


Eventually, we had Sam Toh and Hudson Ng joining the group and moving forward we started to play gigs at the British Camps in Singapore from 1964 to 1968. We were also popular at house parties, Tea dances, a nightclub called The Flamingo at Great World and at GH Cafe at Battery Road.

As we came to be more established and appeared on many television shows a gentleman noticed us on television. He was one Mr Smudge Smith who contacted us and wanted to manage the group. We agreed and Mr Smith became our manager. At the same time, another connection, a Mr Montero also continued to provide us with many places to perform at.

Sam Toh left the group to join The Quests and we got in a bass player by the name of Richard, where we competed for the Cliff Richard and The Shadows Finder's Keepers contest. They found a winner but I’m the keeper! Richard left us after the contest and we got in Jimmy Ng from Super XX as our bass player.

Then Dennis Chan, the lead guitarist, left for National Service and we got a Henry Tham to play the lead. Meanwhile, we were looking for another lead guitar player and we managed to find Johnny Yeow. At this point, the group had a contract to perform in Hong Kong and we renamed ourselves, The Phantoms and continued to do many gigs and functions as usual.
We left for Hong Kong in July 1969 to open up the New World of Susie Wong at Hankow Road, Kowloon. We were there for six months. Hong Kong was a music world of its own. Truly memories and melodies. We appeared in Young Beat Live Show at the Hong Kong City Hall in the following month of August and another big show called, Music Markers with top local bands and singers at Happy Valley Turf Club on 14 November 1969 with Live TV Telecast. We did well and had created a good image for Singapore's pop bands.

The Phantoms also did an official opening for a new record shop called City Music and also played during Sunday Tea Dances at The Teddy Robin Tavern and Go Down during our short stint in Hong Kong. 
We were so popular at this venue that we were offered a six months extension but turned it down because our manager had already signed a new contract with Hotel Malaysia at home. The group returned to Singapore at the end of December 1969 and had a six months contract with Marco Polo Theatre Restaurant Night Club at Clemenceau Avenue. We played from January 1970 at this nightclub, managed by Hotel Malaysia. After three months we moved to play at The Supper Club and The Pub.
After the contract ended The Phantoms only got together for gigs; Johnny and I joined the workforce and Jimmy Ng went back to his family insurance business. As for Hudson and Henry, they continued full time in music and made it their career. The Phantoms Johnny, Jimmy and I still stayed together and got two players to join the band until 1980.
The Flying Phantoms returned with original members Dennis and William Chan, Jimmy and I. We managed to recruit Arshad Hamid as our drummer. This time around we did many concerts and appearances for charity where we were paid by organizations. The fees that we acquired, we donated to the Children's Home. Besides performing with the band I also performed solo for charity at all the Public Hospitals, for Seniors and Nursing Homes. In the year 2000, I teamed up with Victor Woo, the original lead guitarist of The Trailers, where we managed a few changes with the rhythm, bass and drummer. We held many shows and performances for the Esplanade, National Heritage Board, Social and Community Clubs, the National Art Council and Corporate Organizations.

Today, I am still with The Trailers with new members and we continue to do show, functions and charity concerts.
Winston Koh at the 2008 concert at VivoCity where he appeared with The Trailers. Winston took time and trouble to write this article which was right in the middle of his busy house-moving schedule. So guys, if you know Winston, write a note to him and say hello. *Stephanie Kramer, actress, writer, singer/songwriter, was dubbed one of the most beautiful women on TV in 1988. Images/Article: 
Winston Koh Copyrights Reserved. Record cover through courtesy of Dr Steven Farram (Darwin University, Australia.)

Winston Koh (right) with Millie Small ('My Boy Lollipop' hit); at his peak, this gentleman singer's seen them all. The gentleman with the sunglasses is well-known MediaCorp actor Zhang Wei when he was a compere for Sharp Night on Channel 8. Zhang Wei is still acting on Channel 8 now.
In Hong Kong through our media promoter Mr Terry Geary a friend of ours, then the Manager Mr Michael Brown, we met with Mr Paul Leung, a composer and keyboardist who wanted The Phantoms to record his first English composition, Love, Love, Love and asked us to choose a song for the B side.

Within a short period Mr Leung booked a studio for recording on 26 September 1969.  We recorded live with him on keyboard for Love, Love, Love, since he was also a producer and owner of the AMO label.

This time around, Winston is with more famous stars 😄 from the haunt at Siglap Hill, not with Zhang Wei, Dee Dee McCall or Millie Small but in a 2017 gig below @ at the OLPS Singapore: From left: John Cher, Winston Koh, Andy (passer-by), Rickie Chng, Ted Ha, Behind seated: Shankar Paul, Standing: Michael Bangar.


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

60's Music Blog Letters Left Unanswered. Sorry!

Dozens of messages sent by readers to the COMMENT PAGE have landed in the SPAM email-box. 

If you wish, you can write in again, especially those readers and students, who wanted some assistance regarding local 60's music information or connections.

To FL (Singapore), Henri Gann (US), Dr Steven Farram (Australia), Dr YS Lee (Malaysia), regular contributors on this blog, and others, my sincere apologies. 

This post is not a fake to draw attention to my blog.
Here are a few extracts below from readers that have been posted to SPAM but have now been published under the appropriate postings.

From Jissa George:
I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts (9 May 2018).

From Daisy:
Does anyone know the whereabouts of Wilson David. I am his niece. I am from the U.S. and leaving Singapore the morning of 3/6/2018. My email address : w290290@gmail.com

From FL:
Bob Dylan is one of the great folk singers since the sixties. I like one of his hit songs, Time they a changing and many others too.

From Sally:
Thank you for sharing. I love this song. Unable to find the lyrics can anyone forward to me. Thanks. 

From Unknown:
Fall in love with this beautiful and meaningful song.

Would like to request for the song lyrics. Thank you.


From FL:
During the sixties and seventies, our local young bands were influenced by the rise of many British and American pop bands. Many of us attended the pop concerts either any the old National Theatre or Spore Badminton Hall back then.

Images: Google and A Personal Illustration.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Did Our Singapore Bands Cover Bob Dylan In 60s?

Bob Dylan: Yesterday and Today
 2,400  VIEWERS
 SINCE POSTING 


This posting 15 July 2011

A note from anonymous:

Did any Singaporean artists of the 60s and 70s cover Dylan songs at the time? Either in English or any other language? I'm collecting covers of Dylan in languages other than English, and Asian-language ones are hard to find. Love your blog. What a lively and attractive scene you had back then and very well detailed by your good self - July 13, 2011, 11:04 PM.

My reply:

Hi, anon,
To specifically target particular groups or singers who play or sing Dylan can be daunting, so do give me a bit of time as it may take a while. Thanks for visiting and the lovely pat on the back. Andy.

Reply From Vernon Cornelius:
Hi Andy,

I don't think anyone here covered Dylan in 60s and 70s. I know bands like The Quests (1966-67) performed Don't think twice it's alright, recorded, All my Sorrows, traditional by BD as All My Trials. Myself from 1969, singing All Along The Watchtower, Lay Lady Lay and much more!

In the 70s Fried Ice, Pests Infested, Stray dogs, Heritage, Mogan etc. performed BD, but I'm quite sure none ever recorded such material. In 1989 I recorded Mr Bojangles but not a BD song. 

In Chinese (Mandarin) there is great probability only the simple, Blowing in the Wind was recorded. Maybe too by Foo Soo Yin. The structure of Dylan English and music craft would've made it impossible to cover such songs unless lyrics were changed to flow better.
Bob Dylan. Lay Lady Lay: Video from Post Productions. October 2008.

I became heavily BD from 1969 and played him on Rediffusion 69-75, and from 1989 with my band Overheads performed numerous BD songs. After my Rediffusion stint I became a musicologist, and in 1972 to 1973 gave lengthy serious talks at the National Library on the History and Development of modern pop music.


Regret I didn't give you much, but this confirms much of what you already know. Sending you warmest wishes.

Vernon.

Thanks to Vernon for the answer. 
Images from Google.