Sunday, June 28, 2015

Wild Attractiveness: Taiwan Lady Drummer A Hit

              Drummer Luo Xiao Bai: Video: koreaboo
Seen this video nearly a year ago but if you missed it, turn the speakers out loud.  This percussionist's stories is all over the internet.  She has more than three million views and about 200,000 likes on her Facebook.  So Danny Boy, John Cher, Oliver Bala and the other Silver Strings drummers who helped us during our gigs, can you beat this one? 

She has confidence and plenty of class! From the You Tube recording by koreaboo this young and pretty lady does an eyeful and entertaining street performance with the drums before her. 

Yes, she is a busker on the streets of Taiwan.  But what a busker!  According to a comment on this posting, her name is Luo Xiao Bai (羅小白) but calls herself S. White (Small White = Xiao Bai?).

She is not giving a drum display but is accompanying a song she is listening to from her ear-piece.  Watch her right hand and drumstick twirls. She's at one with the percussion, an artistic blend. Enjoy!

DkS398 says:

I'm a young drummer myself (17) and I wasn't really that impressed with her skills, like everyone else saying she's a amazing and stuff.

The title 'amazing' goes to guys like Marco Minnemann, Buddy Rich, Louie B., Chris Coleman, Royster Jr, Steve Gadd, Gene Hoglan, Mike Mangini, Mike Portnoy, Steve Adler, Bernard Purdie, John Bonham, Keith Moon and list continues. 

Those guys are amazing and great drummers. I'm not trying to be rude but from an honest, experienced drummer's point of view, she's not bad. Really she's not, but she is definitely not amazing.

min suga says:

Damn, this girl so unbelievably amazing and the thing I really, really love other than the awesome drumming, is the way she looks. I don't know if anyone else noticed but she looks so, so, so happy and is enjoying her time. I love it !

At her level, she is pretty amazing. You can't compare her to Gene Krupa can you?

Comment anyone?

Name: Luo Shiro (羅仕茹); Stage Name: Luo Xiao Bai (羅小白) S. White; DOB: 23 May; POB: Taipei, Taiwan; Zodiac Sign: Gemini; Religion: Christian; Height: 161 cm; Favourite Food: Marshmallow; Colour: Blue, White, Black; Singer: Hebe (田馥甄).

Images: Google.

Video and Personal Statistics from:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Irene Hoe Walked Into The 80's With Her Walkman

I had wanted to introduce stories about cassette tapes on this blog so when journalist *Ms Hoe sent this anecdote, I thought it could do just fine. Hope you like the song selection Irene. Thank you.

"Just the sound of James Taylor's voice carries me back to campus days.

My brother Roger had let me have his old cassette player - I think it easily weighed two kilos - and I would play over and over again a cassette of James Taylor's first album that someone had copied for me.

It wasn't till 1980 or thereabouts that I spent the princely sum of $390 (yes I was THAT music mad) to acquire what was then called the **Sony Soundabout (as marketed in the USA and a few other places) and would later be renamed the Walkman (the original Japanese name) that I bought my first "original" music cassette. It was, of course, James Taylor's first album.

I sold the Soundabout to an "air hostess" (yup, that was what we called them then) on my way home from a trip and I had enough money only to make a telephone call and ask if someone could come and give me a ride home.

I was bereft of portable music till I had earned enough money to buy another. But this time, it was called a Walkman. And I still have it somewhere, though not the original headset. The sponge tended to disintegrate rather quickly.  As someone who works in an office sometimes and takes planes every so often, headphones are a must.

The quality of some of those old cassette tapes was really good. My Walkman still holds The Köln Concert by Keith Jarrett."

*Ms. Hoe was research officer in our Civil Service, leader / feature writer at New Nation, one of 7 editors who launched The New Paper and is copy editor for Digital Life.

** The original Walkman was marketed in Japan in 1979. From 1980, the Soundabout was sold in many other countries including the US, Freestyle in Sweden and the Stowaway in the UK.

Article inspired by:

James Taylor - A Big Part of my Story is Recovery from Addiction.

                      James Taylor - Carolina in My Mind - Video - Rusty Brewer

Images from Google: James Taylor. Keith Jarrett.
Video: You Tube.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Reggie Verghese: Artiste, Music Director, Producer

This posting is a short tribute to Mr Reggie Verghese who had passed away on the 17th June 2015 at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.  According to his wife Mrs Virginia Verghese, he died of heart failure.

I had met Reggie a couple of times backstage in the mid 1960's when I fronted a band or two but had never known him personally.  Polite smiles and a nod were the usual gestures of recognition backstage because our minds were occupied with pre-performance jitters rather than empty conversations.

He was pleasant, usually quiet behind his dark sunglasses but a dynamo on stage when he fed his music mates and their cheering audiences with his live wire guitar licks, lightning finger wizardry and pop guitar solos. Reggie with The Quests were huge then, selling records that surpassed the 20,000 copies during first release.

It was only in the last six years or so that I realised what a giant figure he was in the late 60's, 70's and 80's when, on scrutinizing my vinyl collection, I noticed his profile (usually in very small prints) on the back sleeve covers of Frankie Cheah, Tracy Huang, Anita Sarawak, Matthew/Mandarins and other albums. 
Some albums that Reggie Verghese produced for recording companies.

He had his own series of Reg Guitar Long Plays (33 1/3 rpm) where he recorded instrumental pieces using his own arrangements and guitar techniques. He was the music producer, arranger, adviser of these best sellers and a master behind the recording consoles.

The list is long but I have with me only a small collection of Reggie Verghese records that he had produced during his vibrant and productive years as a musician. (Listen to RV's rendition of Feelings as interpreted by Tracy Huang at the side-bar on the right.)

We have indeed lost a talented Singapore son. Rest in peace, Reggie Verghese.  We shall always remember you when we listen to the melodies you have provided.

Friends, readers and all those who have known Reggie one way or another send condolence to Mrs Verghese and Family.

Tracy Huang 'Feelings' - A Reggie Verghese arrangement. Video by Woho Weng

Images from: 
A Private Collection and Google including albums by Frankie Cheah, Anita Sarawak, Tracy Huang, Matthew/Mandarins, Tania, SuZanna Teo and Tony, Terry n Spencer.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Brief Encounter; Keith Locke And I

"Don't play that song for me/ Cause it brings back memories/Of days that I once knew/Of days that I spent... (Ertegun, Ahmet/Nelson, Betty)."

My son used to run a restaurant with live music at 25-A Perak Road.  It was called WHEELS & WEINNERS. The place was frequented by Harley Davidson enthusiasts. One was a pretty well known singer/guitarist from the 1970's Singapore circuit and I remember jamming with him during a visit.

My friends and I jammed there once a week.  Sometimes twice. The musicians would include our local guitarists, pianists, singers and others.   On one of these sessions, a friend called me prior to the actual session to inform me that he will be bringing *Keith Locke.  He told me not to concern myself with paying him as he will give what he is receiving from me to him.  I told him that was most charitable of him!

When we were introduced I thought to myself that this is not my impression of Keith from record covers pictures etc.   But he was really nice and I think we hit off and somehow we were able to gel instantly.   After the regular musicians did some songs, Keith was invited to join us on stage.  He did a few songs with us.  This was entirely impromptu and of course no one expected a great performance.  However I must say in all honesty that his singing wasn't exactly what I would expect from Keith Locke either.

Keith came a few more times after this first visit. On one visit, he was delighted to meet a fellow Jamaican.   We had conversations over drinks. Pleasantly,  I discovered that he is not one to take advantage because someone else is paying for the drinks.  He limited himself to one beer and at most two.  I have the greatest respect for such people in the "drinking circuit". 
Many are the exact opposite of Keith.  We had lots of conversations and it wasn't long before I  realized he was in a very rough financial patch.  He had come to Singapore on the enticement of people who had assured him of gigs and possibly a concert and such.  After he had arrived on our shores he realized that the fact of the matter was there was absolutely nothing concrete and nothing was forthcoming either.

The people closest to us are the people who can inflict the deepest hurts. This was what Keith was experiencing.  Keith spoke fondly of Vernon Cornelius.  Vernon had gone out of his way to take him to some of the places he was having gigs at and introduced him to the audience. He had also given him free accommodation for one month.
We had several coffees and simple lunches over a period of a few weeks. On one such coffee meeting at a McDonald's outlet, I bought him a couple of Toto tickets for him at the nearby Singapore Pools.  I wished him the best of luck.  Of course as can be expected, no such luck! 

I drove him for various appointments.  He wanted to return to England but could not.  He was holding a Jamaican Passport.   I took him to Robinson Road to an office of the British High Commision that process applications for visas.  During the waiting period for news of his application, he would take trips to KL and returned after a few days,  so as to extend his social visit to Singapore. 

During these trips I would fetch him at about six in the morning from his backpackers hotels.  One was in Joo Chiat Place and another at Upper East Coast Rd. He was truly punctual and would be waiting when I arrived.  I was always about ten minutes before the appointed time and I did wondered how long he was waiting for me already.  I found out much later that it was Jerry Fernandez who had helped him to arrange for these accommodations.  It cost S$20 per day.  The small gigs he had at Wheels and Weinners and at other venues which helped to pay for these basic necessities.  

One day we drove past the Intercontinental Hotel and as if talking to himself,  he said this was the kind of hotels he used to live in.  I could see the distant look in his eyes and could feel for him the frustrations and heartbreaks that came from failure, disappointments with "friends" and rejections.

Before his last trip to KL, he told me he was planning to proceed from there to Thailand,  to teach English to adults.  I don't think it happened.  A few days before he left, I went with him to a guitar shop at the basement of Peninsula Shopping Centre.  He bought a new acoustic guitar complete with casing, spare strings, guitar strap and the works.  The shop was also recommended by Vernon.  
The very last time that I sent him to the bus company on Kitchener Road, he gave me his old acoustic guitar to me.  He wrote a message for me on the guitar.  This was in appreciation for taking care of him and for the meagre financial assistance I had shared with him. 

He called me from KL a few times. He was living in another backpackers hotel in the KL Chinatown area..  I lost touch for several weeks.  Then I received a hand written letter from him. It was from Jamaica.  He was asking me to try to help raise money for him to return to Singapore. He was even considering the possibility of becoming a Singapore citizen by marriage!   

In the letter he mentioned a few people he knew and whom he thought may be in a position to help.  He also enclosed a Jamaican newspaper cutting which had a picture of him being a roadside food vendor with the caption "reduced to selling sweets to survive".  The headline was  "THE RISE AND FALL OF THE TOAST OF MALAYSIA".

Below the above headline were in bold print 'HOME TO A HELL HOLE".
Keith had given me an email address but after a couple of exchanges, I lost all contact with him.   I have sent Christmas, New Year, Birthday greetings.  All to no avail.

His birthday was on the 18th May 1936.  That would mean that he is 79.  I hope he is as well as could be,  given his advanced age.  I pray for him frequently.  Especially when I see the guitar he gave me.

God bless Keith!

With love from Singapore!

John Cher.

Read John's and Keith's other stories by clicking Labels below.

Material is personal and Copyright.

*Keith Locke (he was called, Mr Dynamite) recorded 10 songs with one of Singapore's top guitar group, The Quests, when he was in Singapore in the mid 1960's: 

Don't Play That Song (You Lied), Be My Girl, Push-Push, That You Are Mine, I'm on Top of The World, I Want A Home, Mockingbird Hill, Earth Angel, You Talk Too Much and Lonely Street.

Two songs that he sang at a gathering but which were not recorded were: Runaway and A Hundred Pounds Of Clay. 

Images from: John Cher; William Chan (You Tube grab); Google.


MERS slips into Singapore, perhaps from South Korea or from elsewhere but the island is ready as Tan Tock Seng Hospital has 100 beds specially prepared if the need arises for such a calamity. 

It is not as contagious as SARS but there is no cure for such a disease. Beware and avoid crowded places. PM Lee warns that it is only a matter of time before Singapore sees its first case of MERS.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), previously known as novel coronavirus (nCoV), is a viral respiratory illness, which was first reported in Saudi Arabia, in 2012.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Rolling Good Times Singapore 3: Frances Yip Interview

                                   Frances Yip sings, "Shanghai Bund"

Watch the interview with Dick Lee tonight on ROLLING GOOD TIMES (Media Corp: Channel 5 @ 9.45 pm) and let her explain how, as a police inspector from Hong Kong, she came to Singapore to sing.

According to the interview, Ms Yip has recovered well from an illness. She is in her 60's but looks 35. Just as pretty and slim as she was many years ago, Ms Yip sings gospels too besides the usual pops. Her biggest hit ever, *"Shanghai Bund", was so successful it rocketed her to fame. With some of her funds she put a deposit to buy an apartment in Singapore. Smart lady.

When Lee mentioned that she looked petite and young in her tiny dress, she replied that her retro dress was 30 years old.  Listen for the applause afterwards.

*The song which is in Cantonese, was not performed on local television.  For those who are not familiar with the dialect, a translation:

 Seung Hoi Tan (上海灘)

" Rushing waves, ever flowing waves
 Thousand miles of torrential river flowing ceaselessly
 Washing away all worldly affairs
 Bringing in a new world for you and me
 Is it happiness or sorrow
 In the rushing waves struggling
 Unable to differentiate the two
 Success or failure
 In the rushing waves unable to for see our future
 Loving you despising you
 Don't you realize that
 My love is like an endless flowing river
 Once it flows, will not retreat
 Flowing through the many bays
 And still struggling...
 My feelings I'm unable to suppress them
 In happiness and in sorrow
 Unable to differentiate them...
 Though wishing still to overcome those waves
 My heart has endured enough
 Of the rising and falling of love and of life..."

Translation by White Libra Texas.

Images: Richard Toh's Facebook and Media Corp Channel 5 screen grab.
 You Tube Video not from "Rolling Good Times".


The tragedy of the Mount Kinabalu quake that killed young Singaporeans shocked many people. As a nation we send our condolences to the families and friends of these innocent victims. They were children, teachers and mentors who came from Tanjong Katong Primary School. May their souls rest in peace.

All flags fly at half mast with a minute's silence before each SEA Games Singapore 2015 competition.

 Monday, June 8th, 2015.

Images: Google.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Beatles, Bilko, Ben Casey, Brands Essence, Bic Pens And Bicycles

           The Beatles 'You've Really Got A Hold On Me' (Smokey Robinson: 1962)

August, 1965 RAF Changi, Singapore:

When the RAF Police were called in, our friend was having a Rolling Good Time.  Allan Thomson's at it again with his Tiger and Reckless Group.

Dear Andy,
This is yet another story from my time at RAF Changi in the 1960s.  Like one of my previous ones, it ends up with personal injury caused by too much Tiger Beer and a youthful reckless streak (which the following incident cured).
Writer and This Blog's Contributor Allan Thompson RAF Changi 1960s.
In August, 1965, one of my friends (Michael) spent a week in hospital undergoing surgery to correct his sight. On his release, he suggested having a small party to celebrate the success of the operation.  Four of us (Michael, Geordie, Jay and myself) went to the Chalet Club at RAF Changi for a few quiet beers. The bar staff were playing "With The Beatles", the second album by the group, and we all sang along as it played.  

After a few minutes, one of the club's committee members came across to our table and asked us to stop singing because it was against regulations.  We did so, but, a couple of songs later, we started up again and were warned that they would call the RAF Police if we did not stop.  Michael protested that we were not doing any harm, and we carried on singing.  A little later, two RAF Police corporals arrived and told us to drink up and leave, which we did.  

We walked into the village and went into the Airfield Bar for another drink.  There was no music in the bar so there was no incentive for us to start singing again. I think it was only the infectious sound of The Beatles' music which had prompted us to join in at the Chalet Club. 
As we left the Airfield Bar, Jay produced a bicycle from somewhere and Geordie immediately took it and asked if I wanted a lift on the crossbar.  In the madness of the moment, I climbed on and we set off down the village street. As we approached a roadside makan stall, Geordie suddenly lost control and we hurtled into the stall, scattering tables, diners, crockery and food before us.  Geordie stood up and tried to placate the angry diners while I tried to disentangle myself from beneath the bicycle. 

I was festooned with rice, strips of pork, squid rings, bamboo shoots and prawns, which I tried to brush off my clothes as I rose to my feet.  We apologised to the diners and offered them some money to buy more food, and gave the stallholder a few dollars to replace the broken crockery.  We decided to leave the bicycle leaning against the wall of a building and walked along to the Changi Millie Bar (formerly called the Changi Milk Bar) where we met our two friends and had another beer.
When we left that bar, Geordie suggested that we go back for the bicycle which we mounted with me on the crossbar once again. We cycled along the village street and Geordie said he was going to enter the camp by the side gate.  He turned right to go in but, on finding the gate was locked, he went straight through a tall hedge beside it.  We removed the bicycle and ourselves from the hedge, brushing twigs and leaves from our hair, and wiping the scratches we had received during the mishap.  Instead of abandoning the bicycle there and then, we foolishly decided to continue along the main road towards the main entrance to the camp.  
"You can ride on the bar this time," I told Geordie. "I'm tired of you crashing into things."  
And so we set off along the road until we were simultaneously blinded by the headlights of an oncoming vehicle and almost frightened out of our skins by the sudden blare of a motor horn from behind us. I was still steering us straight, but Geordie, presumably in a panic, grabbed the handlebars and we shot up on to the grass verge and into brief oblivion.

The next thing I knew, I was looking up at the stars through the branches of a tree with something heavy lying on top of me, and warm, sticky liquid dripping on to my face.  Where was I, I wondered?  Then the heavy weight moved and I heard Geordie cursing as he moved off me.  We were in the bottom of a deep concrete monsoon drain, and the sticky liquid was Geordie's blood from a gash in his forehead.  We struggled out of the drain and saw that the front wheel of the fallen bicycle was still spinning slowly, and the car (a taxi) which had been behind us was sitting at the roadside, the driver looking anxiously in our direction. When he saw both of us emerge slowly and painfully from the drain, he waved to us and drove off.  

Presumably he had been waiting to see if we were still alive, and when he saw we were all right, he left so that he did not have to get involved with the Police.  I had a very painful head and my right nostril was blocked.  Geordie's wound was still pouring blood so he tried to staunch the flow with his handkerchief.  We hobbled back to the village and asked one of Sher Khan's taxi drivers to take us to Sick Quarters where the Duty Medical Orderly looked at us in alarm and called out the Duty Medical Officer.
Soon afterwards, a young doctor in white slacks and a floral shirt arrived and listened to our sorry tale as he cleaned up Geordie's wound which turned out to be superficial, and then examined my head and nose. He told me to report sick the next morning and to request an X-Ray to be carried out on my jaw. When he heard that the bicycle did not belong to us, he sent for the RAF Police who turned out to be the same two corporals who had cautioned us hours earlier in the Chalet Club.  "Rough justice," one of them chuckled as they helped us into their Land-Rover and took us to the Guard Room. We each made a fairly incoherent statement and then they drove us to our block where we stumbled upstairs to our beds.

 The next morning, my nostril was completely blocked and my right jaw was in agony. When I looked in the mirror my face seemed to be lop-sided and, if it hadn't been for the pain, it would have struck me as rather comical.  I reported sick and was sent up to the RAF Hospital where an X-Ray confirmed that I had broken my right jaw and an operation was required.  The operation was carried out that same afternoon and when I regained consciousness I was lying on top of a bed in a ward containing about eleven other patients, including two fellow Scots from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
We had a TV set in the ward but we only watched some of the early evening programmes.  The News was read in four languages, as I recall, and I remember frequent broadcasts by a choir singing "Malaysia Berjaya" with great vigour.  "George Of The Jungle", "Bilko", "Z Cars", "Ben Casey", "Dr Kildare", "The Third Man", and, of course, "George Of The Jungle", were some of the programmes which spring to mind.  I can also still remember a few of the adverts: Brand's Essence of Chicken, Kao-Wonderful, and Bic Pens (with the cartoon of a pen drawing a lassoo while the voice-over called out "Bic, Bic, Bic, Yippeeeeee!" or some such cry).  

I spent a week in hospital and I passed much of the time reading: "The Singapore Story" by Kenneth Attiwill, about the Fall of Singapore, and "A Thread Of Scarlet" by Bruce Marshall, a novel about a Roman Catholic priest.  In the air-conditioned Intensive Care ward next to ours, a young man lay in a coma with several tubes attached to his body.  
Popular TV Shows In The 1960's
One day, when I was standing on the verandah outside my ward, a very pale, very pretty young lady emerged from the young man's ward, tears streaming down her face.  I wanted to go over and offer her some comfort, but I hesitated because I was not an attractive sight with a stitched shaven area above one ear and wearing bright blue pyjamas. Fortunately, a nurse came along and led the young lady away.  I learned later that the young man, her fiancé, had died of his injuries  (sustained in a car crash) earlier in the day.

When I was discharged from hospital, I called at my place of work and was told to take the rest of the day off.  I had a severe haircut to make the shaven area above my right ear less obvious, and went to Changi Point to relax in the sun with a book and some cigarettes. I felt much better after a swim and I was pleased that the tide was full and there were no clouds in the sky.  

When I returned to work the following day, Geordie and I were called before our Commanding Officer who told us each to write a letter of apology to the owner of the bicycle (which had not been damaged in the incident) and said that he would regard our self-inflicted injuries as punishment enough.  We both felt very ashamed of our stupid actions and it was a great relief to have been let off so lightly.  I went to a married friend's house the following week-end to rest and let my shaven patch grow again.  

There was a disappointing postscript to that foolish escapade when I went to RAF Biggin Hill a couple of years later for an aircrew selection board. I passed all the medical examinations, the aptitude tests, and the interview, and I was feeling quite confident and optimistic. Then I was recalled and told that I was being turned down because, although I had suffered no after-affects from my injury, they felt they had to err on the side of caution.  

I quite understood their reasons for this decision: it was expensive to train aircrew, and, since head injuries could sometimes cause problems in the future, it was better not to risk such a thing happening during operations in the air.  Rough justice, indeed, as the RAF Police corporal remarked back in 1965, but I have to admit that I thoroughly deserved what happened to me.

To all the people of Singapore I should like to offer my belated apologies for behaving so stupidly and irresponsibly while I was living in your fine country. Sorry!

The attached photograph was taken of me recuperating at my friend's house a few days after my release from hospital.  The shaven area above my ear is plainly visible and my face was still very swollen from the surgery. As a matter of interest, that is a soft drink in my glass!

Good wishes, 

An SG50 contribution from Allan Thompson, RAF Changi, Singapore, 1960's.

Monday, June 01, 2015

A Happy Vesak Day To All Buddhists


Based on internet findings here are some singers and music makers who practise the Buddhist faith.

Annie Lennox, Cher, Courtney Love, Jennifer Lopez.

David Bowie, Herbie Hancock, Leonard Cohen, Sting (Gordon Sumner).


I am no expert on Buddhism and have tried without much success to compile a list of 60's to 80's western pops that has a Buddhist theme.  A search on the net hasn't revealed much but below is a rather shaky list  which will suffice for the moment. 

Although most of the songs have reasonably sound lyrics they do not have much with the topic beyond the titles. A few of them show familiarity with Buddhist teachings.

 1.    Karma Man: David Bowie: 1968.
 2.    Instant Karma: John Lennon: 1970.
 3.    Sold To The Highest Buddha: Gong: 1973.
 4.    Bodhisattva: Steely Dan: 1973.
 5.    Shambala: Daniel Moore: Three Dog Night: 1973.
 6.    Dust In The Wind: Kansas: 1977.
 7.    Refuge Of The Road: Joni Mitchell: 1976.
 8.    Kharma Chameleon: Boy George: 1983.
 9.    Within You Without You: Beatles: 1967.
 10. Tomorrow Never Knows: Beatles: 1966.
 11. Oh Very Young: Cat Stevens: 1974.

 If you know some, please contribute.

Click below for more information:

Images: Google.
Iinformation from Internet and may not be correct.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rolling Good Times Singapore 2: Behind The Cameras

The Silver Strings appeared on the premier episode of Rolling Good Times on 17th May, 2015 (Channel 5) but the actual live recording was done on the 4th of May, two weeks before the show.  It is general knowledge that performers had to come in early for the shoot, hours before the audience arrived at 7.30 pm.  We met at Reception at three in the afternoon . Security is always tight so if you're going for a show, don't forget to bring your identification card.

Ushered into the underground studio and beneath the cosy comfort of Caldecott Hill, we faced a large sound stage that had hosted many a variety show in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. It was cavernous enough to seat a few hundred people.  We joined the performers scattered in the front rows waiting their turn to rehearse. (Image 1: Media Corp @ Caldecott.)
Dick Lee, Tabitha Nauser, Reuby, Mathilda D'Silva, Wendi Koh
We didn't wait long when Dick Lee came on stage with 19 year old Reuby, co-host Tabitha Nauser and Singapore's Tina Turner Mathilda D'Silva. They set the mood with Dick's and Tabitha's natural TV chatter as they introduced the show with a song. The resident band that accompanied them was incomparable.

When Wendi Koh performed she went into a spin and transformed the studio into a rock n roll, free for all, disco hall with her singing. We were wowed by all of them.  Such talent and artistry.  When Mathilda came on she looked extremely sexy with her outfit and special hairdo.  You'd think Tina Turner was out there. Then Reuby performed as he eased our nerves with a ballad. (Images 2, 3, 4: Sound studio; Artistes; Resident Band with Silver Strings.)
We knew our turn came when we saw drummer John Cher's throne of kings rolling in. There were drums everywhere on the sound stage with the percussion instrument elevated on a large box.

"And you're going to sit up there?" I asked him laughing.

Then Fender amplifiers were placed, together with the toy Nick Stravens was supposed to tinker with on national television (image above).

The whole session lasted for some time as the camera crew, lighting specialists and sound men went into action testing their equipment.  The Silver Strings managed the routine as Diana was introduced again and again during practice. Paul Anka's famous baby-sitter came alive once more. (Images 5,6: Silver Strings practice with Nick Stravens in the foreground; Audience.)
For the interview segment, we were seated with Dick Lee, and as places were established we thought it was going to be a long session practising but he managed the chat so professionally, we became engrossed in a conversation that went pretty well on screen. All in one take!

After the dry run we had our meals, heavy fried chicken with nasi-lemak, Chinese sweet and sour fish or a bee-hoon dinner, all served with vegetables. Then make-up time as we went into the tiny room filled with mirrors and facing professionals in black.  I thought it was a Batman costume party. Honestly, this group was the quietest and nicest ever as they went about their duty struggling hard to make seniors look like juniors. They had succeeded with Audie, Rickie, John and Nick. (Images: 7, 8: Wendi Koh practice; Rick Astley.)
After the make-up and costumes it was waiting at the wings for our turn as we chatted and met the other participants of the show. By then it was about 7.30 pm and members of the public came streaming in as they filled up the seats in the sound studio.  We watched between the curtains. The audience too had to go through certain routines with encores, sing-a-longs and music quizzes.

The live recording started on time and we did our segment around 8.30pm.  At the end of the evening before our famous guest star came on he managed some photo shots with the Silver Strings  Rick Astley was one of the most friendly and pleasant singing stars.
Andy Lim, Audie Ng, Rickie Chng, Nick Stravens, John Cher (Silver Strings 2015 line-up)
If you've seen last week's telecast, you should know what happened afterwards. I think this first Rolling Good Times was a successful one.

If you have a chance to see it live get a ticket because I understand Media Corp @ Caldecott Hill may close soon to relocate. Uncertain though.

Nice visit for an SG50 family getaway before another iconic building disappears. (Images 9, 10, 11, 12: Rickie Chng, Audie Ng; Make Up artistes; John Cher; Andy Lim.)

Sunday Night: 24th May, 2015: The Dukes, Julie Sudiro, Veronica Young. Also interviews with the Western Union Band, Chris Ho and Najib Ali and Rahimah Rahim.
And don't forget JOHNNY HATES JAZZ in the final show on this series.


Other episodes on Rolling Good Times include 60s, 70s and 80s stars: Johnny Hates Jazz, Frances Yip, Rahimah Rahim, Ginger Bread, Maizurah, Ramli Sarip, Mel and Joe Ferdinands, Jacintha and today's stable of current Singapore popsters.

 Read Rolling Good Times Part 1. Click below:


                              Johnny Hates Jazz: I Don't Want To Be A Hero

Images: A personal collection and Google.