Sunday, September 16, 2018

Anneke Gronloh Is Gone: A Tribute From Singapore

June 1942 to September 2018

More than 3,900 

 readers to date  

She has one of the most powerhouse voices in local 60's pop music history. With her trademark Dutch, Indonesian electrifying 'r' consonant pronunciation and pretty sparkling eyes, you remember her as Anneke.

At 76 another pop singer from the 60's has passed away. Anneke Gronloh famous for her hit song, Boeroeng Kakak Tua, Nina Bobo, Asmara (Love)  and a cover Mama He's Making Eyes At Me, died, according to news items, of a lung ailment. Altogether, especially in Europe and South East Asia, she was a huge success and sold millions of records.

I have always loved her singing on the first vinyl record I bought, the one that brought her accolades in our local pop 60's scene, with the four magical Indonesian folk songs: Boeroeng Kaka, Nina Bobo, Bengawan Solo and O, o, o, Papadja. This combination on one Extended Play vinyl was a commercial success, cleverly packaged to please both young and old.
Nearly every lady singer who appears in a 60's music show in Singapore would go on stage to perform Gronloh's Boeroeng Kakak Tua with the unending Lechrum, lechrum, letchrum, ooh, la, la. Even little children sing this refrain everywhere. She was loved by many of her fans, even today. 

Ms Gronloh was hugely popular in Singapore and the East and had been a regular visitor on this island many times, with the late Blue Diamonds brothers, Ruud and Riem de Wolff, pop singers on their own merit and just as successful. And their favourite stay-place was the Goodwood Park Hotel. They formed a great team these three Indonesian/Dutch friends (an LP with the Hotel facade below).
Strange that two of my grandchildren and I were singing Burung Kakak only last week at home as we shouted in unison the famous refrain.

Rest in Peace, sweet Anneke. I have more than 20 of your English, Indonesian and Dutch Long Plays, Singles and EP's so it'll be Anneke Gronloh remembrance night for us at home. 

Condolences to her family.

Check this one out:
Images: Google and a Personal Collection.
Video: YouTube.
My own personal collection of Anneke EPs. Lovely to look at and mostly in mint condition.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Mid Autumn Festival: 2018 Moon Songs

Check the different western songs that use the moon 
as symbolic ideals of love,
hate, lust, good, evil, situations and place, etc.

Teresa Teng The Moon Represents My Heart.  

"You ask me how deeply I love you, how much I love you. My feelings are real, my love is also real, the moon represents my heart. You ask me how deeply I love you, how much I love you. My feelings will never move, my love will never change, the moon represents my heart. The gentlest of kisses has opened my heart. The deepest of love affairs, I think about it till today. You ask me how deeply I love you, how much I love you. Just think about it, just take a look, the moon represents my heart."

(Translated by George Murphy).

                                        Frank Sinatra Fly Me To The Moon.  Video.

I call them moon songs. Personally, the two best moon songs ever. If you have some in mind, and there are hundreds or thousands of them, whether in English, Chinese, Malay, Tamil or other languages please contribute. My best wishes to all. Watch that moon soon!

With English Lyrics:

Bad Moon Rising
Bad Side of The Moon Blue Moon
Blue Moon of Kentucky
By The Light of The Silvery Moon
Blue Moon

Carolina Moon 

Dark Side of The Moon
Everyone's Gone To The Moon
Heading for the Moon
It's Only a  Paper Moon

Moon at the Window
Moonlight Bay
Moonlight and Roses
Magic Is The Moonlight

Moon River

Moon Above Malaya                                            
Mr Moonlight
Song About The Moon

Yellow Moon

Brain Damage
Dancing In The Moon
Moon Child
Moon Shadow

Moon Daydream

Moonlight Drive
Maiden of the Cancer Moon
Moon Dance
Dancing In The Moonlight

Pink Moon

Sisters of the Moon
Havana Moon
Dark Moon
Blue Moon Of Kentucky

And of course, Moonlight Sonata!

Nothing specific here about traditions or beliefs but more about songs with that lunar word.


Images: Google.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Remembering Burt Reynolds: Deliverance & Duelling Banjos

Burt Reynolds: 
11 February 1936 to 6 September 2018
Duelling Banjos (HD) performed by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell. Video by David and Broliath: 12 million YouTube viewers!!!

I am not much of a Burt Reynolds fan. I remember him in Boogie Nights (1997) and Cannonball Run (1981) but the song that went with the movie which impressed me was Duelling Banjos (1972) from the screen hit, Deliverance. It was also another of the New Zealand melodies that kept ringing in my mind - even today - when I studied there in 1973. 

The others were I Don't Know How To Love Him (1970) by Helen Reddy, Beautiful Sunday (1972) by Daniel Boone, and Killing Me Softly (1973) from Roberta Flack.

Deliverance was playing at one of the bigger cinema complexes on Lambton Quay, the main shopping street in Wellington, and had been showing for days. I was free after a gruelling morning test and wanted to break free when I saw this huge poster of Burt Reynolds with his bulging muscles acting beside another big star, John Voight.

What the heck I told myself; I had another half day to kill in boring Wellington, so I bought a ticket.
I was introduced to the song, one which kept my eyes on the screen and ears on the speakers. There were strains of Yankee Doodle in the song and I bought the vinyl later around the Quay's street corner.  More interestingly, the composer was Arthur Smith, the man who created Guitar Boogie, a song every guitarist should be familiar with. 

A rare combination that bonded into a memory: Burt Reynolds + Deliverance + Duelling Banjo + Arthur Smith + New Zealand. 

Good-by Mr Reynolds. May you Rest In Peace.
Images Google
Video YouTube

Monday, September 03, 2018

Silver Strings @ Pasir Ris East CC 15 September 2018

Left: Rickie Chng (lead), Nick Stravens (keyboard), Andy (vocals, blogger), Richie (vocals), John Cher (drums), Mike Bangar (rhythm), Audie Ng (bass, bandleader). YWCA Dinner and Dance 2018.

The Silver Strings
In Concert
(Free Tickets from Pasir Ris Elias CC)
15 September 2018
Pasir Ris Elias Community Club

If you've missed The Silver Strings before, don't forget to catch us this time around. Two other bands will be in attendance. 

Only some past concerts since 2008, are featured below. The Strings appeared with some other artistes but not all names are mentioned.
Andy, Mike n Herb, Veronica: Vivo City Roof Garden Concert 2008

European Beatles Tribute Artistes: Orchid Country Club 2009
Esplanade 2010
Platinum Music World Orchard Road 2013
Boys' Town Bukit Timah 2014
RELC International Hotel Orchard
Orange Grove 2014
Rick Astley, Dick Lee
'Rollin' Good Times' Media Corp Channel 5
Moe Alkaff, Irene Ang
Promontory @ Marina Bay 2015
Silver Arts
The Plaza @ The National Library 2016
Jack Neo, Chua En Lai, Aileen Tan, Suhaimi Yusof
'NOT THE 5 SHOW' 2016
Vernon A., Justin Ang, Peter Chua
Kallang Wave Stadium 2016
Kallang Theatre 2017

Ceylon Sports Club 2018
The photographs from The Silver Strings albums and scrapbooks featured above are only some of the concerts that we have appeared in. Other performances were at The Pek Kio CC, Marine Parade CC, Sentosa Island, Kallang Mall, Jamiyah Home, etc.

Images and the write-up is by Andy Young, who also sings with the band. This post does not promote the band but shows the pictorial history of its members and venues where we had performed.
Pasir Ris, Elias Mall, The Marquee, Singapore. 
15 September 2018, Saturday evening from 7pm.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Simon Lee Tak Kwang (MBE): My Dad By Michael Lee

A big thank you to Mr Michael Lee who allowed me to post his story below about his father, Mr Simon Lee, a musician who came well before anyone else during Singapore's big band scene. Mr Lee Senior was awarded the MBE, i.e. the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in 1958.
The story of Simon Lee Tak Kwang (MBE)
By his son: Michael Lee

Professional Career:

My father’s birth year was 1909 (Year of the Rooster). He lived at 10, Cuppage Road, Singapore. He completed school at St Joseph’s Institution with a Junior School Certificate. He was also a bodybuilder who was less than five feet tall but could lift a weight of 250lbs. 

He joined the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) as a junior clerk in 1928 and became chief clerk in 1945. He continued working with HDB from 1959 till 1966. He was appointed a temporary clerical supervisor for one year. 

He was entrusted to revise the Singapore Improvement Trust Standing Orders for The Housing and Development Board (HDB). He was respected by Lim Kim San, Goh Keng Swee and Howe Yoong Chong for his honesty, integrity, dedication and determination.

Stamford Raffles is known as the founder of Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew as the founding “father” of modern Singapore. However, in my humble opinion, my dad can be said to be the foundation of modern Singapore. He risked being beheaded by the Japanese. 
Musical Career:

My dad was the Billy Vaughn of Singapore in the 1950’s and 60’s. He also played a lot of Glen Miller and Edmundo Ros Latin music, together with dance music, which was popular in those days. 

His music ranged from the Kronchong, Joget, Rongeng, Latin-American, Ballroom, Marches, Hawaiian, Chinese and most evergreens. Any music that could be played on a mandolin, alto or tenor saxophone, the accordion or clarinet, my dad was able to deliver.

He played with various bands – the Kronchong and Marches were his favourites.

Later in the seventies, he still played the banjo and mandolin but more often he used a similar mandolin-like instrument and carried on playing the keronchong and marches. Before and immediately after the World War 2, he played with many bands using the mandolin. 

His specialization, of course, was playing Dixieland and his main instrument if I recollect correctly, was the clarinet. It is not an easy instrument to play as the musician needs good teeth, strong gums and a pair of powerful lungs.  As my dad grew older his teeth left him and with dentures, it became more difficult to play the clarinet.

Some of the songs my dad was renowned for were: In the Mood, La Cumpasita, Sail Along Silvery Moon, Harbour Lights, Red Sails in the Sunset and Tequila
I can honestly say that for these songs my dad was one of the best on alto- saxophone in Singapore during his time.

He often played with RTS (Radio Television Singapore) members like Renaldo Lachica, the Otegas, Louis and Rufino Soliano, Domingo Requiza and other RTM members too. Other musicians he played with were, Jimmy Topas, Baby Low, Tony Danker, Paul Low, Edward Chew and Roland Gabriel (the Rhythm Revellers). The former solicitor-general and Singapore Law Society president Francis Seow played the double bass sometimes until he migrated to the USA. 
My father was also involved with an Indian band at Tekka, current Little India (a tourist sight along Serangoon Road). He was the only Chinese playing amongst his friendly Indian musicians. 

During the 1959 pay-cut era for civil servants, my dad played at our Military Bases to earn extra money. He also played at ballroom dance halls like the Raffles Hotel and Victoria Memorial Hall. The two band names my dad often played with during the lean period were "RR" for Rhythm Revellers and the Combo A La Carte.

Often for charities or some house functions my dad and the late Singapore magician, Khoo Teng Eng (Teresa and Victor's father) were like KFC and McDonald – if you find one you are likely to find the other.

As far as I know, my dad was the only Singapore musician with an MBE The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) medal. I think it should be made known to Singaporeans that there was a Singapore musician with an MBE too. The late E. W Barker, who loved music just as much, liked my dad too.  Remember The Beatles? They made international headlines when they received theirs on Oct. 26, 1965.

I shall always remember and respect my dad for his achievements and music- standing during a moment in Singapore's history when the Lion had just been aroused from its deep slumber to a new roar.
Michael Lee (above), the writer, who was born in Singapore, now lives in Sydney. This article and its photographs have been authenticated and copyrighted by the writer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Happy Teachers' Day 1st September 2018

To Sir with Love
Those schoolgirl days of telling tales and biting nails are gone
But in my mind I know they will still live on and on
But how do you thank someone who has taken you from crayons to perfume?
It isn't easy, but I'll try
If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters
That would soar a thousand feet high 'To Sir, With Love'
The time has come for closing books and long last looks must end
And as I leave I know that I am leaving my best friend
A friend who taught me right from wrong and weak from strong
That's a lot to learn, but what can I give you in return?
If you wanted the moon I would try to make a start
But I would rather you let me give my heart 'To Sir, With Love'
Lyrics/Music: Don Black / Mark London
Lirik To Sir with Love © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
(This posting will be deleted if there is any objection. Do write in.)

Friday, August 24, 2018

Jimmy Fong: Penang Boy In Australia: By Majorie Chiew

Majorie Chiew is a good friend and a journalist from Malaysia.  She recently wrote about a singer whose songs I enjoyed listening to on YouTube. He is Jimmy Fong who is now a resident of Melbourne, Australia. He was from Penang. Below is Majorie's article. I thank her for it.

When Penang-born Jimmy Fong Chin Chew first heard Country Roads by the late John Denver on the radio in 1969, he listened attentively.  Then a young boy, Fong did not speak English; Chinese was his mother tongue. Gradually, his English improved when he was in high school.

“Although I didn’t understand a lot of the lyrics then, I learnt the tune first and lyrics later,” said Fong, now in his 50s.

Currently, Fong is a singer, songwriter and performer based in Melbourne, Australia. He is back in Malaysia to perform two shows, on June 2 and 9, in Penang and Kuala Lumpur respectively.

In 1994 Fong met his idol, the American singer-songwriter Denver when he toured Malaysia on the invitation of the then Sultan of Kedah, who was also a big fan. Denver performed Country Roads and requested a local artist (Fong) to perform with him.  (Denver passed away on Oct 12, 1997, in an aeroplane crash. He was 54.)

Fong has released four albums – Just When You Thought (2013), My Time With John Denver (2015), Down Memory Lane (live album) and Dancing Fireflies. The last two were released this month.

Some of his popular original songs include Balancing Act, Build That Bridge, Jonker Street, Helang Langkawi and Just When You Thought, which was a debut album), which are his personal favourites too. His latest song Memories Of Penang (April 2018) can be found in his latest album

In 2011, Fong was one of the top 10 finalists, out of 3,500 entries, in a national songwriting competition aired live on Malaysian television, TV2. In 2013, Fong got together with some fellow musicians in Melbourne to produce his own musical show, My Time With John Denver. 

Then in October 2015, Fong was invited to perform in Aspen, Colorado, for the John Denver annual festival. Later that month, he performed in New Mexico (Denver’s birthplace), the United States, in a fundraising concert.
Jimmy Fong with the late John Denver, when they performed privately for the Sultan of Kedah in 1994.

Fong was invited back to perform again at the annual John Denver Festival in October 2017 and he was given the Soaring Eagle Award by the Rocky Mountain Foundation For The Performing Arts for his outstanding musical talents and accomplishments.

Fong studied in Penang’s Union Institution (primary school) and Chung Ling High School. At age five, he started playing the harmonica and, at nine, he taught himself to play the acoustic guitar.

Fong likes listening to all types of music. “I even gave death metal a go but I hated it. I play many types of guitar,” said Fong, who owns 17 guitars.

In the mid-70s, after Form Five, Fong became a full-time musician and performed in pubs, clubs and hotels in Penang. It was after one of his gigs in Penang that he met the love of his life, Julie Wear, whom he married in 1981.
Fong has a three-piece band and a home recording studio in Melbourne. In February, he formed another band, Jimmy Fong & The Baby Boomers, in Penang. Fong plans to develop his show Down Memory Lane and turn it into a platform to raise money for charity.

Last year, he raised RM20,000 in two Down Memory Lane shows in Penang, Malaysia.

Written by Majorie Chiew (above).
Majorie hosted me when I was in KL, Malaysia a few years ago. Till today I have not returned her hospitality. Anytime you're in Singapore...
Thanks, Majorie.

Published by

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Hot Pants, Tight Pants: Rare Singapore Records Banned

 Look around today. Most ladies, young, old, fat, thin, tall or short, pretty or otherwise, of any colour and creed, are wearing tight pants or shorts today, two of the most popular fashion highlights on the streets.

Similarly, in the 60's and 70's, ladies were wearing sexy shorts and tight pants too. Below are two vinyl records to prove.

Rare Singapore Vinyl Records: True Or False?

Tight Pants:

This record is called Tight Pants, a vinyl produced by Johnson Seah with studio engineer Vincent Lim and arranged by our own Singapore band called, Family Robinson. The label is Libra Records.

Tight Pants was a restricted record by RTS (Radio Television Singapore) in the 1970's, which means it has never been played over the airwaves.

The flip number of this Singles record is Same Old Feeling. It's another 45 RPM and it looks like both songs are Singapore originals. 

Anyone can help me? Just with the band and song information?


One of the most popular pop bands in Singapore 60's and 70's was The X'periment (spelt exactly: without the E, an apostrophe after the X and without the plural S). 

The group recorded an Extended Play with three songs: Time To Get It Together - S. Roberds, Hot Pants and Satisfaction Guaranteed. It's produced by Reggie Verghese and distributed by
EMI Orange label.

I have never seen anything like this vinyl anywhere on the internet, let alone on eBay or Hardware Zone. What made me put this vinyl up is because it costs $90.00 and labelled: Promotional Sample: Not For Sale and being told by the salesperson that it's rare. 

Can anyone verify this vinyl? Thanks. 

Western pop regressive?

Horseshoes: Freakish Fashion Footwear?

Images: Andy Young Collection.