Saturday, April 01, 2023

April Showers: What Fools These Mortals Be!

Pieces of April: Three Dog Night 
YouTube Video by Jim C.

In April:
 April Fool's Day or All Fools' Day
It is celebrated yearly on the first day of April when people play practical jokes on each other. The victims are "April fools" and hoax stories may be reported in the newspapers on the day itself but explained subsequently. Well known in Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil and the U.S., it has been popular since the 1800s.  The earliest recorded connection with 1 April and fooling can be found in 'The Canterbury Tales' by Geoffrey Chaucer [1392]. 
In Singapore too, we used to trick each other with April Fool jokes. As a younger person in the 60s, it was worse. And there are songs about April and fools! Either Elvis Presley's A Fool Such As I or Rick Nelson's, Poor Little Fool would have been a good choice for today's posting but here's one you might not have heard of.  It is a ballad written by Marty Robbin's friend Don Winters which was on the flip of his big hit, Devil Woman from 1962.

April Fool's Day: Marty Robbins
YouTube Video from: David R. Rogers.

April Fool's Day (composed by Don Winters)

"It should be April Fool's Day cause you've been foolin' me
All the things you promised just weren't meant to be
You lied, you lied you cheated, you never could be true
It should be April Fool's Day and the joke should be on you.

It hurt me so to see you go your secret love and you
As in the past, for now, at last I found someone too
Your secret love has left you and I found someone new
It should be April Fool's Day and the joke should be on you."

Puck is an illustration of a character from 
W. Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.'

In another context

"Captain of our fairy band,
Helena is here at hand,
And the youth, mistook by me,
Pleading for a lover's fee.
Shall we their fond pageant see?
Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

William Shakespeare:
A Midsummer Night's Dream: (3.2: 110-115)

Familiar Songs With April In Title

Pieces of April - Three Dog Night 

April Love - Pat Boone 
April - Deep Purple
April Come She Will - Simon/Garfunkel 
April Fools Dionne Warwick 

April In Paris - Frank Sinatra / Billie Holiday / Count Basie 
April In  Portugal - Frank Sinatra / Les Butler 
April Played A Fiddle - Frank Sinatra 
April Showers - Eddie Fisher 
I'll Remember April - Charlie Parker 
April Love: Pat Boone 
YouTube Video:

Google Images 
YouTube Videos.
This post has been rejuvenated from 1/4/2013.

A Fool Such As I: Elvis Presley. 
YouTube Video by: musicislifee01.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Rolling Stones: Personally Met Them In Singapore 60s Says Jimmy Appudurai-Chua

Image: Copyrights Reserved
Jimmy Appudurai-Chua

Here's an autographed photograph of The Rolling Stones when they were very young. I must thank Jimmy Appudurai-Chua for this blog gift.  He explained:

"I met them at the Hotel Singapura in the 60s in Singapore. It was Bill Wyman who brought me in to meet all of them, as I befriended him, while he was posting some mail to his family...  

The autographs included Brian Jones and Andrew Oldham.  Brian and Bill were the most friendly of the lot, although the whole band was very nice to everyone... I will never forget the day."  

Jimmy Appudurai-Chua.


Rolling Stones in action in Singapore:

Image: Alex Schumacher.
Check them out:

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Wordle NY Times Puzzle From Andy Singapore 60s Fan: 'Unspoken Words' by Teresa Khoo


For those viewers who are unfamiliar, 
read only the last word on each box.

I've always been too honest and the five words above? Never really used them under any circumstances during my lifetime nor even heard of them. But there they were staring at me in the face when trying to solve, these past few months, New York Times' WORDLE puzzles. Guessed the meaning of four words but one freaked me out totally. 

Challenging words indeed! But most of us made it, did you?

You go ahead if you care, to find the meaning of each word.






Comments are always welcome! 

Images: Copyrights Reserved: New York Times.

Disclaimer: The post is just for fun and games. There is no objective to promote nor criticize anything here. I am an ardent fan of WORDLE, period.

'Unspoken Words': Teresa Khoo. 
YouTube Video by Red Law

This post features our Singapore pianist and nightclub artiste, the late TERESA KHOO, singing UNSPOKEN WORDS... Ms Khoo had a family of talented folks, like father Khoo Eng Teng [magician] and brother Victor Khoo [ventriloquist].

Connect with her songs, click below:

Thursday, March 16, 2023

'Gado Gado': Spicy Indonesian Salad And Song

Gado-Gado The Dish


Originally from Indonesia or Betawi, it is a spicy Indonesian salad of raw and also slightly boiled, steamed vegetables and hard-boiled eggs. The boiled potatoes, fried tofu and tempeh, with rice wrapped in a banana leaf, called lontong, are served with a peanut sauce dressing. The sauce can either be poured over the entire dish or dipped according to the diners' wish.

Gado Gado The Song:

It is traditional or folk song that centers around the home and family, is common in Asia. Indonesia is no exception. Gado-gado is a very popular dish from the kitchen tables of the thousands of islands in the Indonesian Archipelago. It is the first song with a food theme that I learnt as a child of the 40s in Singapore.

The other popular one with a similar theme is Rujak Uleg (Indonesian Salad) with lyrics in Javanese. The ingredients for both include fresh and boiled vegetables like long beans, bean sprouts, sliced potatoes, tame-pay (fermented beans), fried tofu and prawn crackers. The gravy is pound fried groundnuts with chilli sauce.

Keroncong Instruments with Indonesian musicians.

Gado Gado The Lyrics [with English interpretation]

Gado-gadonya, Bung, dari Jakarta
(Gado gado brother, is from Jakarta)

Sangat digemari 
rakyat jelata…
(Loved by citizens in the country)

Satu bungkusnya, Bung, sa-tengah rupiah, Bang Achmad pulang, Bung sudah sedia…
(A packet costs half a rupiah, when husband Achmad comes home his gado2 is ready)
Gado-Gado Jakarta - Orkes Keroncong Rumput
Screen Shot from YouTube Video by: RUMPUT

Jika Mpoh minah, Bung 
malas ke dapur
(If wife Poh Minah is too lazy to go to the kitchen)

Semua ada: 
tahu goreng, kerupuk udang,
campur-campur… tahu goreng, kerupuk udang,
(Everything's in: fried tofu, fried prawn-crackers, a good mix,

Bila Mpok Minah, Bung malas belanja
(When wife Minah is too lazy to market)

Beli gado-gado dari Jakarta 
(She buys gado-gado, Jakarta styled).

Gado-Gado Jakarta - Orkes Keroncong Rumput
YouTube Video by: RUMPUT

Images: Google.
Interpretation: Andy.

[This article is an expanded re-post from 23rd July, 2011.]

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Singapore 60's Music Memories Today. With Blog Contributor Stephen Han

Stephen Han [blog contributor] 
with Winston and Andy. March 2022.

"It’s very rare to have tea and tim-sum and wonderful chats with not one but two iconic Singapore singers. Andy Lim better known as Andy Young was one of them and the other is Winston Koh.

I had the privilege to watch Andy winning the Paul Anka Contest at the Rex Theatre more than 60 years ago. Winston sings the popular Cliff Richard songs and toured Malaysia with the late Millie Small of My Boy Lollipop fame.

We had useful chat and Winston recalled his sting in Hong Kong. I must not forget to thank Andy for the treat and for driving me home. Hope to meet you two soon."

[The above letter was written by Stephen Han on Facebook: 10.03.2022]

Millie Small with 'Sharp Night' TV host
Zhang Wei and Winston Koh in the early 70's.

My Reply:
"Thanks Stephen for your friendship, this memory and for the numerous and nostalgic blog postings that you wrote about your experiences during Singapore's 60's music period. Yes, we must meet again soon. 👍" Andy.

The Stephen Han stories about 60s music. Connect below:

Thursday, March 09, 2023

(G) 60s Cigarette Advertisements With Theme Music

The Vinyl Record Cover Of A Brand Of Cigarette Sold In Singapore With Its Own Theme Song - Cool!!!


When cigarettes were the order of the day up to the 70s, advertisements were rampant and most of the popular brands of tobacco were sold in Singapore. These advertisements could be heard on the radio or rediffusion and seen on both the small and large screen. Newspapers, magazines and even vinyl records were promoting cigarettes (image).

By the early 70s, the Singapore government had already realized the negative effects of smoking, and implemented regulations for smoking vide restricting smoking in public places and advertising of tobacco. Now smoking is totally banned in Singapore and to get a puff, one can only do so in designated areas. It is also expensive to smoke.
These Cigarettes Were Very Popular 
During The Pop Music Era Of Rock n Roll.

On Side One of the 45 rpm vinyl (image), the title theme, Get Away From The Everyday, was sung in English on the first track while the second track had the same theme played on the organ. On Side Two, the saxophone was used to play the Consulate theme.

The back cover promoted Consulate Filter Tipped Menthol Fresh in its green box and Consulate King Size Filter Tip Virginia in its maroon box. In the 60s the people were enjoying movie theme songs, airline theme songs, condensed milk theme songs and cigarette theme songs. What other theme songs were there? Anyone?

Or, if you wish, connect to read Wen Hing's interesting article about SMOKE:

The List: Top 5 Cigarette Advertisements.
YouTube Video by: Strombo.

Image/original article: Andy Lim Collection.
YouTube Videos from Strombo.

Friday, March 03, 2023

Exciting Singapore Nightclub Singer n 70s Recording Artiste Irene Yap Tells It All

Irene, resplendent in shiny tights, 
in action at Ion Bar, Singapore 70's.
"Jambalaya, crawfish pie..."
Copyrights Reserved

UP TO 1,300 VIEWS, 100+ CHATS

When I met Irene at a dinner recently, I asked if she could write an article about her experience singing at Singapore's nightclubs in the 70's. Her reply came:

"My pleasure. Though I must say, once I started writing, the memories started coming back and it was a joy for me to recollect them."

And Irene's detailed description of her surroundings in the place that she sings can only be written by a lady author. And the musicians that sing with her? Top pop local stars! Thank you very much Irene.

Check her out:

Irene Yap and Hijacks 1981
'Hello Darling' [Conway Twitty]
Ion Bar Apollo Hotel,
YouTube Video.

Remembering Ion Bar

”Ladies and gentlemen, you've been listening to the sounds of The Pebbles with yours truly, Irene Yap. We'll be taking a short break, stick around and we'll see you later.”

That’s my typical announcement before we took a break after a 45-minute set
in the Ion Bar at the Apollo Hotel during an engagement in the 1970s.

We performed four 45-minute sets with a 15-minute break in between and an half-an-hour break for dinner in the hotel's coffee house - seven days a week from 8 pm to 12 am. 

To this day, I still remember walking down the steps from the stage for my break looking down or straight ahead.  I learned very early on that if I happened to look at a particular table of guests, they would wave and invite me to sit with them which meant I would have to walk to the table and explain politely that I was not allowed to do so.

That was the government's regulation in those days barring singers from socialising with guests at their tables. The rules have since been relaxed.

Rahim Hamid, Singapore's Nat King Cole 
from the 1960's, father of Rahimah Rahim.

I am sure many of you will have fond memories of The Pebbles comprising Rahim Hamid [image] on drums and vocal, better known as the Nat King Cole of Singapore and the father of singer Rahimah Rahim, Jimmy Topaz on bass, Yusoff on guitar and bespectacled and quiet Henry on piano. If only I could remember their last names, I was still in my teens and they were all more than a decade or two older than me.

The Ion Bar was originally situated on the right of the hotel after you stepped into the  lobby. The low tables, cushioned sofas and chairs were in neutral grayish tones and the pretty waitresses wore long navy blue gowns with high slits.

Apollo Hotel was then the largest of three hotels on Havelock Road, the others being King’s Hotel and Hotel Miramar. It opened in 1971 comprising a curved 19-storey tower block connected to a three-storey circular block. It attracted not only  lounge-goers and food-lovers but also shoppers as it housed Isetan, the  first Japanese department store in Singapore. The hotel was later renamed Novotel Apollo before acquiring its current name - Furama Riverfront Singapore.

As a professional singer in the 70s,​ I had to sing by heart as there were no music stands to look at the lyrics. The lounge was usually crowded by 9 o'clock, the patrons being mainly males and if my memory serves me right, a beer cost $6.

One regular I remember was former national footballer S Rajagopal  nicknamed "The Camel"  whose ” banana kicks“  were a delight in the days of the “Kallang Roar” at the National Stadium.

The moment he walked in with his two buddies and saw me on stage, he would freeze, put his right palm to his cheek and very slowly fold up the palm. I would do the same on stage and  both of us would laugh - it was our form of acknowledgement to each other. 

Sober Irene,
In green,
"Chotto Matte Kudasai,
Please excuse me while I cry..."
Copyrights Reserved

As a female singer, I  had to be formally dressed in long gowns. The male musicians usually wore  black jackets . Back then in most hotels no jeans or casual wear were allowed. If you were dressed inappropriately, you would get a memo from the general manager. Towards the late 70s I was thrilled when I could switch to less formal outfits considered appropriate for stage wear.

Through the years, I returned again and again to Ion Bar performing with not only The Pebbles but also with Excalibur, Sonny Bala and The Moonglows, The Thunderbirds, The Hijacks, a country and western band featuring a male singer who yodelled and a five- piece band who were brilliant jazz musicians but came together to play lounge music.  The names of the last two bands escaped my memory. Help – does anyone of you remember who they were? 

Sonny Bala was a big man with a gentle soul and played a mean guitar. He was very well -liked by everyone around him. His signature song garnering the most requests from the patrons was I Can’t Stop Loving You.

Despite my teen years, I got along with the older musicians who were all very nice and kind to me. We had a lot of laughter on stage.  One much requested song when I was with The Pebbles was Jambalaya.  One day after I started the first line, “Goodbye Joe  Me Gotta Go, Me Oh My Oh.....” 

And Rahim, Yusoff and Jimmy would chime in cheekily, using some Hokkien [Chinese dialect] expletives, just to crack me up in a sometimes tense atmosphere.

The late Jimmy Chan, pianist extraordinaire 
and recording star, from the 1960's

They loved to tease me. I started chuckling and soon I was roaring with laughter and trying very hard to sing with them, I mean with the music. At times when I turned around to Rahim to tell him of the requests I had to do, he would give me a wink and a smile. He was always so cheerful.

Jimmy Chan [image], the piano maestro who passed away last year (2022) would often swing by to catch our final set after he finished his performance at the Mandarin Hotel lobby bar at Orchard Road.

When Ion Bar underwent renovations, it was moved temporarily to a function room on the 18th Floor. It was at this spot where I witnessed a wife pulling her husband's ear when she caught him sitting with a young woman. 

The matured, bespectacled man and his long-haired companion were so engrossed in their conversation that they did not see the plumpish woman striding angrily to their table.

Pointing a finger at him, she screamed, 'Ha, I got you!'  and started pulling his ear and dragging him all the way to the doorway. As he was a good head taller than his wife, he had to bend his head as his wife kept hollering  “Is she so pretty? Huh, is she so pretty?' 

Irene, accompanied by accomplished professionals
Excalibur: Doss, Rasif, Admad and Idros at the nightclub.
Copyrights Reserved.

The long-haired lady continued to sit coolly inside the lounge before walking up to the cashier and said, '”Give me a minute, I will be back to settle the bill”.  She walked out to the doorway and had a vociferous exchange with the wife for a few minutes. Then she walked back to the cashier to pick up the tab. 

Eventually, sometime in the late 70s, the bar  moved to the back of the hotel with a separate entrance and best of all - bigger space and stage. It was a more comfortable place to perform and I remember many regular customers requesting the same songs three or four times a night, the most popular being Summertime and Hello Darling. 

It was considered to be a pretty IN-place where celebrities and TV actors from Hong Kong and Taiwan could be spotted among the audience. 

As I recall, the most requested numbers were the Indonesian ballad Mimpi Sedeh, Tagalog favorites Anak and Dahil Sa'yo,  the Cantonese theme song from the television series, The  Man In the Net, Japanese Chotto Matte Kudasai and evergreens such as Help Me Make It Through The Night  and It's Too Late. 

Another time when I went back, the popular songs were Just The Way You Are, Emotion, Do That To Me One More Time and Sexy Eyes. In my earlier years with The Pebbles, Olivia Newton John's songs Let  Me Be There and If You Love Me Let Me Know and songs by The Carpenters were very much in demand.

Sunny Bala and the Moonglows,
hit-men with their hot songs.

As the nightly crowd swelled, the management started live music from 2 pm and engaged two female singers Brenda Terona and Jacqi Magno from the Philippines. Both singers did half-an hour -set singing and playing solo with just their guitar in between sets with The Thunderbirds and Sonny Bala and The Moonglows. 

The other local singer was Elsie Sim, and we had to sing with both bands. I was lucky to take the prime slot at 9.45 pm so I only worked a couple of hours a night for that engagement.

One memorable moment was when the band Excalibur and I got a tip from a  patron on our last night as our contract had ended. When I announced our last song for the  evening, an Indonesian male guest came up to squeeze a hundred-dollar bill between the microphone and the microphone stand holder to request for another song.  

We obliged. When the song ended,  he came up with another hundred-dollar bill for another song and then did the same for the third time.  So by the end of the evening,  three one-hundred dollar bills on guitarist Ahmad’s microphone stand were flying like three state flags. Very shyly Ahmad  took the money which was split equally among the five of us. 

She caresses her microphone 8 days
a week; now that's a long while but
loving what she does is important.
Copyrights Reserved.

Then there was this regular Chinese guest who came with a group of guys. He kept nicking flowers decorating the lounge and bringing them to me on stage after every song raising much laughter all around.

When I turned 21, there was no  better place to celebrate the occasion than at The Apollo Hotel ballroom. I approached the Assistant Manager, Mr Ishizuka, who went out of the way to give me the best ballroom and best buffet spread without corkage charges – that’s the perk of being a regular singer at the hotel!

That’s why I always enjoyed going back again and again to Ion Bar because of the great relationship I had with the management namely Mr Fujiyama - General Manager, Mr Ishizuka - Assistant General Manager, Mr Kam - F&B manager (early 70s) and Mr Long - Supervisor Ion Bar (early 70s)

And although I performed in many lounges in my musical career, it was at Ion Bar that I sang in 1981 with The Hijacks for the last time  before I formally retired to get married and move to the United States with my husband.

Doris Ang and the Sandboys, 
recording artistes, Irene's good friends.

Connect with them:

So how did I end up in the music business, you  might ask. Well, it all started at a musician’s home somewhere along  River Valley Road  when I watched my best friend, Doris Ang (Hong Pei Pei),  rehearsing with the band, The Sandboys (image), for their upcoming record.  After the session, they asked me to sing a song.  So I sang a song  popularised by Rita Chao, I think, Say Yes, My Boy or Sixteen Candles. Rita and Sakura were the singing sensations of the period.

Mr Heng Ser Piah, the White Cloud Record Company boss, happened to be present. He was impressed and offered me a record deal at the tender age of 12. I was still in school and of course had to obtain my mother’s consent. Mr Heng sent me for vocal training with Ms Leung Pin, a famous singing coach, for several months. She taught me proper Chinese pronunciation and I still remember practising how to say “'por poh moh foh” .

Eventually I recorded 10 albums under The White Cloud label -  7 EPs and 3 LPs with other artistes – all in Mandarin. 

Another recollection was when I made an appearance in The Chinese Variety show, a popular programme on Radio Television Singapore (RTS), now known as Mediacorp.  I only needed to mime in front of the camera as my recorded song was played in the background.

NB: Irene has a brother who is a leader with LOCOMOTION, one of the best dance bands in Singapore and a brother who was a journalist and writer, Sonny Yap.

Andy, blogger, with Irene Yap and the late dancer,
Sunny Low, @ Tan Soo Khoon's CNY dinner, 2019.

The memorable pieces of messages Irene receives
from the patrons when she is singing on stage.

[Click Irene Yap under 'Labels' below and read
about her recording career singing Chinese melodies.]

Images and article have been COPYRIGHTED by Irene Yap and selected for a book to be published.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Guitar Echo Units By Singapore 60s Music Maker Jimmy Chng: Part 2


Hi Andy, 

Looks like there's still some interest in the article as new comments keep trickling in? Thought I'd add some comments regarding the Copicat Echo Unit. 

Vacuum Tubes Or Valves:

1. The electronics in use then was based on vacuum tube technology. This was followed by transistor (solid state) technology. There are several vacuum tubes (also known as "valves") used in the electronic circuit and one of which is the 6BR8A as depicted in the picture below.

2. Due to wear and tear, these tapes would sometimes burst whilst in operation. As replacement tapes were quite costly I had also resorted to make spare ones [like what Cedric Cork, the Vietnam War drummer, did], that is, cutting appropriate lengths from open reeled 1/4" magnetic tapes and splicing them.

3) As for the Schaller, it's true that the magnetic coated drum does get hot as mentioned by Michael Lee. Not only that. The magnetic coating on the drum would get worn out after sometime and a replacement drum is costly. What my dad did was to cut short pieces of open reeled magnetic tape and dissolved them in a solvent (acetone) and brush painted it over the worn part/s of the drum. Another cost saving measure.

Separately, a reader who's close to my heart commented that the article was an interesting read but kind of ended abruptly. I had indeed shortened the article by omitting a small part about DECIBELS' performing at hungry ghost festivals - i.e. Getai. Appended below is the part I omitted.

An example of a getai performance with the
guitar group accompanying a-go-go girls and singer.

The Decibels with Jimmy Chng 
on drums in the background.

Getai Performances With 'Decibels':

Getai [歌台] is a Chinese term which literally means, song towerstage or street concert. It is one of many activities to entertain the Chinese gods, with a related 'officer' from Hell and people who donated funds for the annual Hungry Ghost Festival celebration. It falls during the seventh month of the Chinese lunar year; around August.

From the recesses of my fading memory cells, I could recollect that our very first Getai performance was at Strathmore Avenue. The stage was on the open space between a row of SIT (Singapore Improvement Trust) flats facing the QSTS (Queenstown Secondary Technical School) school field. 

On another occasion, we played somewhere in Kampong Bahru. And on the third occasion I played (as stand-in drummer for the Wong family who were all professional musicians) somewhere off Bencoolen Street. I felt truly honoured to be invited to play alongside them.

Jimmy Chng 
The article is
Ⓒ Copyrights Reserved.