Sunday, May 02, 2010

Western Union Band With Chris Vadham: Paper Roses, Paper Dreams... Yesterday's Sorrows

Chatting with Audie Ng who managed WUB in the 70's:

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)
Image: Ebay.
Original article: Andy Lim.


Lam Chun See said...

Sausalito must be one of the biggest local hits ever.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes but the band's other hits have been minimised, unless of course, the enthusiasts get their LPs. A worthy effort.

Chris Vadham and his brother Moses are very talented musicians. They have also recorded in Malay.

I guess music has no barriers and a piece of music can be translated and recorded into any language.

Anonymous said...

Clean vocals, solid guitar backing without noise or tin-can guitar sounds like other groups in the sixties. Very pro. why not put them on CD. Many will buy, esp. me.

Anonymous said...

During mid '80s when we are very young used to listend the Band. though we were young i just love their music... especially Paper roses paper dream...

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you very much for providing feedback regarding WUB.

I love this group too, versatile and entertaining also when they are on stage.

When I first heard them I wondered why Singaporeans do not patronise our local music as much as they do imported music.

We are just as good aren't we?

Phil said...

Where can I buy their music?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Sorry for late reply. You can buy them from the second hand record shops all over Singapore.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

This posting has one of the highest number of readers on the blog.