The Western Union Band (WUB) needs no introduction. Like some of the top guitar groups in Singapore 60's, they have made a mark on our local music scene, especially with their 70's recordings.
Everyone loves Sausalito (1972), the song synonymous with the group but compositions like Yesterday's Sorrows, I've Got Love, Driving Me Crazy and the uniquely enchanting, Paper Roses, Paper Dreams are only some of the original songs composed by singer/songwriter and anchorman *Chris (Kris) Vadham and his brother Moses.
These originals stood out among the covers they record. According to the 1978 recording sleeve We've Got Love, the line-up was Vadham on lead vocals and guitars, Danny Lim on guitars, flute and backing vocals, Abel Gan on keyboard and backing vocals, Peter Mangkok, bass and Daniel Wee with drums and percussion. This group had recorded for Libra in the early 70s and EMI in the late 70s with changes in the group.
The band started in 1971 and parted company around 1980. WUB were a hit when they played at the Orchard Road circuit in Singapore, comfortable at the Jane Fonda-movie inspired night spot called, Barbarella.
Sausalito - Chris Vadham by Mr Rainbow
Then there was this Katong bar in the east coast where they played quite regularly. It was called Moonshine. The area was a hotspot for the gatherings of Katongites who frequented the cinemas and bowling alleys. At the Hong Kong Hilton patrons told them that they were comparable to the best bands in the region when they played at the hotel's club called The Den.
Western Union Band were formidable as a group and had cut 4 singles and 4 LPs inclusive of the ones mentioned and Chris Vadham, who had since passed on in London, was a truly respected musician in this region.
Four LP's could be a recording record in the 70's because if they didn't sell, contracts would have been torn after only one LP. And there were quite a number of Singapore artistes who never recorded again afterwards beyond one LP.
"But my paper roses don't let me down..."
*Chris and Moses Vadham have successfully recorded in Malay in the 80s. The album Mimpiku Retak Seribu, under the Philips label, is an example.
Information: Audie Ng (Leader/Bassist: The Silver Strings)
Original article: Andy Lim.