Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Novena Church Vinyl Record by 'The Primitives' Parts 1 & 2

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The old Novena Church
My Good Friday and Easter Sunday Posting
3-5 April 2015
Part 1           

A group was formed and a recording made:

Redemptorist Brother Casimir Godebye (1922-2006), whose artistic talents contributed to the work of attracting many to the faith in Singapore, arrived in Singapore in July 1956 from Australia. He studied art and music before joining the Redemptorists in 1940. 

In the 1960's Brother Casimir took over the Novena church choir and started a youth group called *The Primitives. They gathered each Saturday evening to clean the church after the last Novena session and had fellowship and sing-along sessions. He used to say that music is needed to attract and hold the young people to religion.

In the mid-1970's he left the world of bands, choir and pop music, lived as a hermit in a retreat in India where he learned Christian meditation. He conducted classes when he came back to Singapore.  He passed on since at 84 years.
Extended Play Record Cover of The Primitives
Some Sleeves Speak:

Glad that I found a vinyl copy of the youth group recording entitled, Sing-A-Long With The Primitives.  It is the only one by this choir if I am right, and it is a rare recording on the small Extended Play (EP). I was on my usual shopping around in a little town in Singapore.

The short literature on the back cover reads, "Our Folk Group is known as The Primitives, and we have come together, not with the intention of singing for fame, but simply to project the image of Christ.  This image is very much part of our work and prayers which we offer together.

In this album, we have chosen four numbers, one of which Cumbaya is our most loved song because there is always someone somewhere, pleading searching, praying. 'Come by here, my Lord come by here.'  We hope that after hearing our record you also, walk a little closer with Christ."

Record Information:

Side One: Rock My Soul In The Bosom of Abraham and Cumbaya
Side Two: When the Heavens Begin to Rock and Confidence.

The Primitives with altogether 60 teenagers (part of the choir at the redemptorist group) took three weeks of hard work to build a giant 50-foot by 20-foot Nativity Scene on 23 December 1968, to help project the real message of Christmas.

Hey, if you are in the picture above, part of the helpers or if you know anyone of them, please write in.

The church is now closed for a $45 million upgrade.

Information: A Catholic News Article: 2006 (Edited).

An SG50 Memory Trail Posting.

Images: Private Collection and from Mr Francis Oei.
This posting is original. 

Part 2

16 September 2017.
The new Novena Church @ 300 Thomson Road, Singapore, 307653.
Novena Church at Thomson Road will re-open on 29 September 2017 @ 6.30 pm. after a 3-year renovation. 

2nd Recording found:

After two and a half years and putting up this post again Mr. Francis Oei wrote to me (16.09.2017) on Facebook, and sent me the covers of his second vinyl. Thank you, Mr. Oei.

Mr. Francis Oei on Facebook.

He wrote:
"Hi, Andy, where you got this record... done way back in late 60's. I am in the recording with my wife Doreen before we got married... we did a second EP with Havana Gila... etc... awesome... thanks for sharing. 

The second EP is The Glory Road. We were the original Primitives with Brother Casimir... great memories."

So there you are my dear readers. I shall try to interview Mr. Oei and try to get a history of these two recordings. 

Back Sleeve Print:

Songs: Side One: Christ My Friend, Let's Pray. Side Two: What Now My Love, 
The Glory Road.

"This is our second release and we hope that our music and songs will again bring to you the joy and happiness that was ours when we recorded it for you. Together with the Folk Singers we introduce The Primitives' band known as The Associates whose main aim, like ours is to bring souls a little closer to Christ, and we pray that one day you will work with us, ON THE GLORY ROAD."



Hi Andy

The one on the right is supposedly from Elvis Presley but what about the original from The Primitive Choir?

Anyway, it is good but has got many back-up singers.

Cheers and enjoy the coming Good Friday and Easter Holidays.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Rickie for the question and visit. I am trying to upload the EP on You Tube soon. Hopefully I will manage it. So you might have to wait for a bit.

PETER CHAN said...

Do you have the actual sounding recording Andy? Would like to hear.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes sir I will try and get it up on You Tube. Will be a bit of a headache cause I've never done it.


Dear Andy,

I always enjoy reading your stuff as they are factual and literally amazing.

All the music histories of the 60s stories you penned were so systematically placed, anyone (young & old) reading them could picture the electrifying era/moments we went through (money cannot buy). Alas, the fleeting of time was so merciless that decades had already passed us by. Anyway, no one could turn back the clock!

I noticed your blog about Rita Chao.
It was sad to read from your blog that the sweet Ms Chao had left the world, I was shocked and was absolutely oblivious of her passing! She’s such a sweet, shy and quiet natured person that I fondly remembered.

I admire your propriety in always writing good things of others and you really deserve all the respect. You took so much time and effort in just doing all these to keep the music circle alive, one that is few and far between of your creed.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you Ronnie. Glad you appreciate the blog. More importantly I am happy that you reply to the postings that appear on the blog knowing that you are very busy with your schedule.

I am also glad you are as active as ever with your own group The Burns. Keep the guitars burning, Ronnie.

CYLIN said...

Andy, cumbaya/kumbaya (come by here) was one of my favourites sung at girl guides campfires and at singalong sessions at guide meetings. It's a beautiful melody though a little melancholic . The lyrics are straightforward and repetitive.
'Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya (3x)
O Lord, kumbaya.
Someone's singing Lord, kumbaya (3x)
O Lord, kumbaya.

We'd sing on and on with 'someone's praying Lord/ crying Lord/... and there would be actions, one of which is the raising of hands. Yes Andy, nostalgia is in the air, more felt this past week. And with the holy weekend round the corner, there's even more heartfelt emotions knowing the reason for Good Friday and Easter.
Have a good weekend and thank you for the timely posting.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank YOU Lin for the interesting piece of information and for visiting the blog. Yes, nostalgia and the holy weekend. The vinyl record just dropped into my hands last week when I was wondering how I could write an Easter posting without a suitable topic. Actually, little miracles I call them.

chakapchakap said...

Eggs were a traditional symbol of fertility, and rebirth. In Christianity, for the celebration of Eastertide, Easter eggs symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus: though an egg appears to be like the stone of a tomb, a bird hatches from it with life; similarly, the Easter egg, for Christians, is a reminder that Jesus rose from the grave, and that those who believe will also experience eternal life.

An extract from Wiki.

chakapchakap said...

The word found in the Greek text for "bosom" is kolpos, meaning "lap" "bay". This relates to the Second Temple period practice of reclining and eating meals in proximity to other guests, the closest of whom physically was said to lie on the bosom (chest) of the host. (See John 13:23 )

While commentators generally agree upon the meaning of the "Bosom of Abraham", they disagree about its origins.

From Wiki (Edited).

IRENE HOE said...

Thanks, my Novena attendees really appreciated this, Andy.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ma'am, If your Novena attendees read my blog, I'm glad. Have a good Easter too.
God Bless.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

The New Novena Church re-opens its doors on the 29 September 2017.

A picture of the new church has been included.

This posting has been revived to introduce to new readers and youth about the Church's recording of an EP in the 1960's.

Make some more recordings today.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

A Francis Oei wrote in to provide me the second recording of THE PRIMITIVES. I met him through Facebook.

So Part 1 was written in 2015 and Part 2 in 2017 (yesterday).

Thank you again, Francis and the magic of Facebook and Technology.



Cora Loh
Leo Vincent Solomon
Siew-khim Robb
Khoo Angeline
Deborah Whigham
Darren Joseph Woodford
Seventh Son Halim
Paul Tay Holmberg


I used to go here with Inge our armah. Some weeks we would do this and some weeks the Buddhists temple. Wonderful