SINGAPORE 60's: ANDY'S POP MUSIC INFLUENCE: ON THE MUSIC N MEMORY TRAIL IS MY OWN BLOG N ROLL PROJECT. NOSTALGIA IS PERSONAL HISTORY N PICTURES TELL STORIES. POP MUSIC NOT PILLS. ANDY YOUNG. (November, 2008). IT'S DONE WITH MUCH TIME AND LOVE.


JOSE MARI CHAN: 'BEAUTIFUL GIRL' VIDEO ANTHONY LOZADA.

Friday, February 05, 2016

'Charming Bird' (迷人小鳥), 'Enter The Dragon' (龍爭虎鬥) Singers' Vinyls

A Happy 2016 Lunar New Year To All.

新年快樂

A Chinese New Year Posting

Are Charming Bird (迷人小鳥) and Enter The Dragon (龍爭虎鬥) stars Connie Chan Po Chu (陳寶珠), Betty Chung (鍾玲玲) and other singers' vinyl records depleting?

The local Chinese vinyl records seen below and on this blog are collected by enthusiasts from many countries who sometimes come to Singapore and other S. E. Asian cities to buy them. The group includes Caucasians, mainland Chinese, Hong Kong islanders, Malaysians, Japanese and other nationalities.

The practice has been going on for years.  I am uncertain if our locals are aware of it but some buyers are not hoarding them because they can sell them for a higher price but because they appreciate the unique pop culture where English songs are translated and sung in Chinese and of Chinese singers rendering English songs. Such vinyls have depleted due to these collectors.

Because it's the Chinese New Year season I rummaged through my record cupboard again to write on a few gems.  

The selected Extended Play (E.P.) vinyls, 7 inches in diameter, have a few common factors i.e. (1) except for the guitar group, the singers are Chinese ladies from the 1960's; (2) the titles on the back sleeve covers are in the two languages and (3) they were more popular with the Chinese educated crowd.
EPs were small enough to carry around for portable play during picnics, T-Dances and private, C.N.Y. parties. 

This personal selection has four artistes including two big stars and a band with a very unique name.
Vinyl 1:

There are thousands of these vinyls on sale from the 1960's. They are mostly covers of English hit parade songs. The one above is by Grace Chi. Simple and sweet she looks like the girl next door. She must have been a star in her own right given that her records sold well. 

There is no information about her so if you are able to tell more, please write in. The EP (Extended Play) has a Po-Lo label and the singer renders them with a strong Chinese accent. Could this be a reason why some Caucasians buy these vinyls? The four songs are The Kingston Trio's 500 Miles, Jimmy Rodgers' Bimbombey, the singalong, You Are My Sunshine and one called,  It Happened Last Night.  She is accompanied by the David Soo Wah Poh Quintet.
Vinyl 2:

Judith Ho sings an Elvis hit in Chinese on this Polar Bear Brand EP titled, Summer Kisses, Winter Tears. The other three songs are Stupid Cupid, Lipstick On Your Collar and Shakin' All Over. Two were Connie Francis hits and the other by Johnny Kidd, all sung in Chinese (Mandarin). 

Ms Ho has a reasonably strong voice, but, as explained the record suits dancers rather than listeners. No comparison with Connie Francis. But buyers could be the same patrons who would have heard the songs in Chinese in cabarets doing the a-go-go at the Happy World and Great World amusement parks in Singapore. Again there is no information about Ms Ho.
Vinyl 3:

The EP was chosen more for the unique name of the band rather than for its songs.  It isn't Shadows' music but on the turntable the melodies heard had the usual Chinese-guitar-band sound and acceptable by record buyers then.

THE VANTOMITES play four instrumentals with a definitive oriental flavour called, Easy To Remember You, Met You In My Dream, Chase and Because Of You. All the songs are unfamiliar and could be original compositions but like the usual bands during the 60's, create the atmosphere for lively jiving fun. And for $3 a piece.  The synopsis on the back sleeve cover describes the history of the group, their dreams, aspirations and musical ventures.
Vinyl 4:

Recorded in 1967, this vinyl was a cash-in for its producers with songs from a very early screen musical with three titles, The Charming Bird, The Charming Little Bird or The Young Lovers.  The subject could be a reference to the singer Ms Connie Chan Pao Chu (陳寶珠) or the plane sketch behind her.  It was the period from 1967 to 1969 when airbuses were the talk of the aviation industry and the public excited with flying in larger planes.
A Flight Stewardess was called an Air Hostess then. No coincidence here as the song titles are: Air Hostess, Thousand Miles Flying, Twin Birds and Spring Dream. The songs are in Cantonese and sung by a super star who is both an actress and a singer. This lady has made dozens of movies from 1958 to 1972 and like *Taylor Swift today, has put many boys and girls in a swoon just by hearing her name. She did 31 movies in 1967 alone.


Vinyl 5:

This EP has pretty, sexy and talented Betty Chung (鍾玲玲), another Hong Kong singer and actress in the limelight.  She became popular in the mid sixties, with her recordings of English covers and Chinese songs from 1966 to 1977. Unlike some Asian singers, Ms Chung speaks in impeccable English without the hint of an accent. 

In this recording she sings, Bell A-Go-Go, Sugar Town, Puppet On A String and Summer Wine in Mandarin. With her clear voice, perfect pitch and pronunciation, Ms Chung has gone a long way into her career. She had a part as Mei Ling in Bruce Lee's mega-hit Enter The Dragon in 1973 (image).

Both vinyls 4 and 5 were produced by Pathe/EMI records, a quality and best selling brand name those times. The recordings are excellent. And Vinyls 1 and 2. Who are these ladies? Still unknown today but with sweet voices, these ladies will remain a mystery. The Vantomites too. Are the members still around?
It is a pity indeed that thousands of these records have been whisked away by buyers from everywhere, knowledgeable of the fact that they are treasures from our South East Asian countries. And what do our sellers get from the exchange? Money. What a waste.

I have gone round record shops and must verify that these EPs are hard to get today. There are still shops selling them but not at the price sold three years ago. This category of records include our local hits by our Singapore pop bands and singers.
(Similarly with Malay Pop Yeh-Yeh records which have been bought over by our neighbours. And the Indian vinyls? Don't see many around.)

*Taylor Swift: Top best selling singer of all times with 40 million albums sold and 130 million single downloads current.

Disclaimer
This article is a personal opinion/observation. 


Images: Google

You Tube Videos: 
1) 500 Miles by The CoverHeaven.
2) Sugar Town by Francisco Raquiza.

47 comments:

John Cher said...

Hi Andy. Enter the Dragon was ironically the Hollywood production that Bruce Lee did not see himself. Bruce and Steve McQueen were friends. Steve was big in Hollywood. Bruce was big in Hong Kong but only a rising star in America. When Enter the Dragon was in production in HK., The Getaway (Starring Steve McQueen), was in production in Hollywood. Both completed movies were released for exhibition almost at the same time. Bruce had died by then and Steve McQueen said that if he could send a telegram to heaven, it would read 'DRAGON SMASH RECORD OF GETAWAY' By the way, the film was banned in Singapore (Because of Bruce Lee's long hair) and I went to JB to catch the movie. It felt a little eerie to me when I was watching the show. Betty Chung had only a minor part in the movie.
Thanks Andy for stirring up these nice memories!
Cheers!

DW said...

Happy and Healthy Year of the Monkey to You and Family. Cheers

LL said...

Same to you. Happy New Year.

LL said...

Xīn Nián Kuài Lè! 新年快乐! Happy New Year!

Christa said...

Thanks for this!

ZAINAL ABIDIN (LEADER, BASSIST, 'THE DUKES') said...

Let me be the first one to wish you all A Happy Chinese New Year. God Bless.

YEN CHOW said...

Happy Lunar New Year to you!!! Of course to your family too. 新年快乐 !

OLIVER BALASINGAM (DRUMMER WITH SILVER STRINGS) said...

Happy Chinese To You and Family

A KOH said...

Greetings from London Andy. Thank you and a Happy Chinese New Year to you and folks.

DURIAN DAVE said...

I watched the DVD version of CHARMING LITTLE BIRD aka YOUNG LOVERS Besides the songs which have the original burnt in subs, the dialogue has unremovable Chinese subs (which stinks for doing screen captures).

The story itself is pretty poor. Besides plenty of on location shots, including old Kai Tak International Airport, the big action finale on the freighter is the only saving grace of the story. Prior to that, it's pretty slow going.

Edited and written on February 6th 2006 exactly 10 years ago.

JD said...

Hello Andy,

A Happy Lunar New Year to you and your family as well.

We are going out to a Beijing-style restaurant this weekend to ring in the new year.

Warmest regards

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Many thanks for the new year greetings and good wishes. No one has made comments about the vinyl records and their scarcity that will soon become a reality.

Maybe it's not true. Perhaps there are plenty of them out there still because of the amount produced in the 60's and 70's - hundreds of thousands.

JAMES KWOK said...

Peace & Prosperity
Happiness & Health
To you & all your beloved
throughout the New Year

RICKIE CHNG (LEAD GUITAR 'THE ESQUIRES') said...

Hi Andy

These were the popular tune of the yesteryears. The simplicity of the song tells it all, simple yet straight forward and even the drums is played cleanly unlike today with lots of additional variation.

Have a nice Chinese New Year, 2016.

Cheers
Rickie

MERLIN LIM (SILVER STRINGS, ORIGINAL RHYTHM GUITARIST) said...

Andy! For you also my bro. JOY, BLISS, HAPPINESS n GOOD HEALTHY TO U n FAMILY

DICK YIP said...

Gong Xi Ni

SHAIK MOHAMMED said...

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy Chinese New Year! May this year be lessed with abundance of happiness, prosperity, good health n wealth.

JOHN CHER (WRITER/ PERCUSSIONIST) said...

Hi Andy. May the Year of the Monkey bring you good health, good luck and good fortune! Happy New Year! Cheers!

JERRY FERNANDEZ N FAMILY said...

My dear friend n family, Blessed n prosperous lunar new year. Good health, wealth n profound happiness along the way. Cheers and God bless.

SUNNY WEE said...

chinese new year greetings

ANTHONY TAN said...

Good morning bro Andy, wish u and family and loved ones a happy chinese lunar new year 2016

WILFRED LIM said...

chinese new year greetings

RICKIE CHNG (LEAD GUITAR 'THE ESQUIRES') said...

cny greetings.

GEORGE YSC. said...

May Bro Andy n Family enjoy a happy and healthy lunar year.

LIM KUAN MIN said...

a blessed joyous and healthy Year of the Monkey to you and family.

BIBI AND ALVIN said...

CNY GREETINGS

es said...

Wishing you and folks a great year of the MONKEY ahead. May you continue to experience God's faithfulness n blessings.

JIMMY CHNG (THE DECIBALS BAND) said...

A BABA CNY GREETING

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you all for SMS's, FB and even TWITTER messages. You guys have really been supportive and because of this blog, former friends, neighbours, colleagues and overseas connections have been in touch asking about music from the 60's.

Please read previous postings and their comments. I shall put them up for all to read soon.

A special thanks to Henri Gann from the U.S.A who wrote and contributed videos, stories and insights about Singapore music when it was still in its infancy. His group 'The Trekkers' were one of the first to record Shadows' music and other US instrumental groups at the Rediffusion Studios in Singapore. Henri has released these recordings on You Tube, some of which I shall soon post on this blog.

TRACY NG said...

Sir a blessed Chinese New Year and good health.

YEN CHOW said...

Wishing you a Prosperous and Happy Lunar New Year.

ANDY FACEBOOK said...

Thanks for all FB comments and Chinese New Year Greetings from:
AARON CHO
MERLIN LIM
JOHN CHER
LARRY SEE
JOYCELYN LEONG
LARRY CHEN
SHAIK MOHD.
TIN LEONG LIM
DICK YIP
FOO JONG FOOK
ALPHONSO SOOSAY
SHERRY NG
YEN CHOW
LINDA TAN

EDDIE WEE said...

Wishing You a Prosperous Chinese New Year

AUDIE NG said...

CNY VIDEO

VICTOR WOO (THE TRAILERS - LEAD GUITAR) said...

Hi Andy
Here is to a happy and prosperous lunar new year. Be safe and Huat Ah!

JC said...

A very happy and blessed Chinese New Year to you and your family.

Mrs P said...

Happy Chinese New Year, I wish you prosperity, wealth and success!

FABIAN FOO said...

Happy Chinese New Year, I wish you prosperity, wealth and success.

VICTOR KOO said...

Gong Xi Fa Cai to you, Sir.

RONNIE SEE of RONNIE AND THE BURNS said...

Dear Andy, Thank you and wishing you and al in the family A HAPPY UNAR NEW YEAR filled with Good Luck, Good Health, Happiness and lots of success.
Warmest Regards,
Ron and Family

AHYAR JAMMARI said...

Wishing you and family a happy healthy and prosperous New Year.

TAN SOO KHOON said...

Huat ah!

ANDY FACEBOOK said...

Thanks to the following for constant FB support
DENYSE TESSENSOHN
PRISCILLA GEORGE
BELINDA POH
TAN SOO KHOON
AUDIE NG
HSIANG-CHE KAO

chakap chakap said...

Connie Chan Po-chu, pop singer, actress and very famous in the 1960's was born in 1946 to impoverished parents and as a result, Chan was adopted by two renowned Cantonese opera stars and became one of Hong Kong cinema's most beloved teen idols.

She made more than 230 films in a variety of genres: from traditional Cantonese opera and wuxia movies to contemporary youth musicals; action films to comedies; melodramas and romances. She was dubbed "The Movie-Fan Princess" because of her popularity.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Went shopping around today near Beach Road area, saw a shop selling 'antiques' and found about 50+ pieces of Chinese, Malay and English 7 inch single vinyl records. They were dusty, scratchy with torn covers. I thought I would buy them but was told that it costs $10 each. I stopped immediately and smiled at the shop keeper. "Too expensive," I told him.

But he was a nice gentleman who said that it was the market price today.

Another stack of Malay LP's were available but these were bootleg versions. I did not ask him the price. I doubt I can afford them.

Thank you all again for the CNY Greetings and good wishes. Truly appreciate.

HENRI GANN said...

It was nice meeting you. I hope you are enjoying the Trekkers music. I met with my drummer George Wang today...

Thanks Andy

(Formerly from Singapore with THE TREKKERS guitar group. He now lives in the US).

DEBRA CHONG said...

Hi Andy,

Apologies for the late reply. Hope I'm not too late in wishing you a Happy Lunar New Year! :)

Best wishes for you and you family in the year ahead!

Regards