Friday, June 04, 2010

Asian 60s Music Hits Appeal To Western Ears

CDs like the above (image) are re-issues of 60s music recorded previously by our local Singaporean, Malaysian singers and bands who have put in much time and effort to press them on types of vinyl. Now, these compilation CDs are for sale on the internet. Without copyright and free legal advice to help our musicians, nothing can really be done to channel the earnings to them. But the production of these yesteryear hit collections has been in practice for many years. So who cares anyway.

The writer below explained that the selection was his "favourite find" and he wasn't concerned which of them were hits but rather, which ones appealed to "this pair of western ears." Even the susu chap junjong jingle (Milkmaid Milk advertisement) attracted the writer's western ears. It is given away as a 'bonus' track. Interesting indeed. Perhaps the compilation is done and sold just to cover the cost?

(Original article above: Andy Lim.)
                                   Rocky Teoh: Malayan Elvis Presley: Record Selection

Read the story below about this enterprising person who came to Singapore 11 years ago to buy up the types of vinyl:

“Funny thing happened to me back in 2001, during my first trip to Singapore. I was in a clothing store in Causeway Point, and an old ‘60s tune was blasting out of the stereo speakers. It sounded like your typical ‘60s pop hit, but the lyrics were sung in Malay! I was entranced, and wouldn’t be satisfied to just hear it just once. I spent the rest of my trip combing the local antique stores and flea markets, grabbing all the vinyl I could find.

My first purchase was The Mysterians’ Forget the Time b/w My Girl Les, found at an antique store on Orchard Road. The cover, featuring the band wearing black masks and standing in the green background, is such a classic that I spent a few weeks admiring it before finally purchasing a turntable so I could hear it. But when I finally did, lo and behold, an obsession was born.
                                          Charlie and His Go-Go Boys: by llvlalaysiaboleh

Nine years and five overseas trips later, my collection now boasts more than 600 rare titles from the region, which also includes Malaysia and Indonesia. In this first volume, I present a handful of my favourite finds. Some of these bands experienced regional success at best, while others disappeared after one or two recordings. Very few left behind any written history.

I didn’t concern myself with which songs were hits, but rather which ones happened to appeal to this pair of western ears. I have included a variety of tunes, from rockers to ballads, covers and originals, all sung in a variety of native languages. A few instrumentals have been thrown in for good measure. Now on to the music, Let's A Go, Go, on Silver Tortoise. CD."
無可奉告 鐘玲玲 Betty Chung 1968 - from Francisca Raquiza.

#1 Flamingo By The Bees, #2 One To Nine Walkin' By Patrina, #3 The Second Spring By Hai Fei, #4 Just Because By The Dee-Tees, #5 You've Got To Move On By Leroy Lindsay with The Mysterians.

#6 Mean Woman Blues By Rocky Teoh, #7 The Girl From Alishan By The Blue Beats, #8 Let's A' Go-Go By Charlie and His Go-Go Boys, #9 Oh! Salina By M.Ishak Dengan Five-55, #10 Things We Said Today By S.K. Pauline.

#11 Bang Bang By Betty Chung, #12 Wooly Bully By Charlie and His Go-Go Boys, #13 Then I Kiss Her By Lotus Liew, #14 Mun Li By Orkes Tropicano, #15 Let's Dance By Lotus Liew.

#16 These Boots Are Made For Walkin' By Charlie and His Go-Go Boys, #17 Swim Swim Swim (She and I) By The Spacemen, #18 Merindu Kasih By The Click IV Dan Jaffar-O, #19 My Girl Les By The Mysterians, #20 Dream Wonder By The Tones, #21 Beli-lah Susu Chap Junjong (Bonus track) By Malay-Tamil-Malay.

Just wondering. Collecting the types of vinyl can be an eye-opener because of the artwork on the sleeve covers but listening to some of the songs? That is a problem. Not too sure about Betty Chung's, Bang, Bang.

The article above flagged by Mark Wong.

1) Another similar article posted on Sunday, March 14, 2010:


Roger said...

Without doubt he is all the richer for the experience. Unique taste surely.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

The heavily quoted phrase, 'the mysterious East' still prevails so I guess this person is excited to have found so many songs from the west sung by local Singaporeans and Malaysians.

We take for granted that the writer is a caucasian. Maybe he isn't?

Anonymous said...

Andy, This is my project, and I would like to address some issues here.

Obtaining licensing was a great concern. I gave it a solid effort. I have a stack of inquiries at home in which I didn't receive replies. Licensing isn't even available for most of this music, and the artists are either dead or have disappeared. But let's be honest...Even if licensing were obtained, it would have only made the record companies richer, and the artists wouldn't have seen a cent. That's the ways it goes with all of these recent local Universal and EMI releases, but nobody is screaming about them.

Through the few artists I have contact with, I sought to offer them a portion of the profits, which are expected to be low because I've given so many copies away, and also I am selling it for a very low price (I am not doing this to get rich). I didn't get a reply. Next, I sought a suitable charity in which I can donate funds instead, perhaps a Singaporean charity that benefits children of the region. I was advised not to, because Singaporeans would only try to "one-up" my efforts, making me look bad.

My song selection HAD to be different from local releases. Something like "Recollecting Singapore 60's" or that 100-song Universal set wouldn't go over well here. They were all about nostalgia for Singaporeans, and suited its market fairly well. For the 20 year-old hipster crowd here in the US, they don't care about what song you were listening to when you had your first kiss on the other side of the world. They want something fun, unique, and exotic. Unlike previous compilations released in the US and The Netherlands, it wasn't my interest to portray SE Asian pop music as a freak show. Instead, I wanted it to be fun. I wanted to show that people were rocking out all over the world, just like we were. I wanted it to be exotic, yet familiar. At the same time, I am not a historian, so I was careful not to portray myself as one. That's why I did not include stories about the bands, and that is also why I chose to tell my personal story on the cover. My trips are not record-buying trips. Rather, they are trips to visit my Singaporean wife's family, who happens to approve of my CD. In fact, their only regret is that I did not include Siglap Five, which featured a cousin (now deceased) of my father-in-law. Maybe next time...

That commercial jingle at the end was placed there for one reason...I tried hard to represent every language spoken in Singapore, but I hit a dead end when it came to finding Indian vocals. Seems to be virtually unheard of in Singaporean pop music. But with this commercial, at least I could show that I tried. I listed as a "bonus track" because I didn't want to list as a regular band track. There is also another Malay track on the disc that is not included in the track listings.

If you have any ideas for compensating surviving artists, or a suitable charity that I can donate to, please contact me. As most sales are done through a distributor, my profit margin is even smaller, and it will be a couple of months before any money reaches me. But I am a believer that artists should profit from their art, and from the beginning, I have been ready to help. Perhaps you can point me in the right direction...


Sid Presley

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Sid,
Thank you for writing and reading my blog Didn't know you are even reading my personal and non-professional blog.

I had chanced upon your page while looking for Asian artistes to blog. What attracted me was the colourful CD cover and your write-up which I found forthcoming, appropriate and interesting.

As I have written on my personal profile, I just wanted to 'relive' the 60s and reading your song list made me search on You Tube for some of the songs I didn't even know had been recorded, eg: 'Bang, Bang'. It was indeed a humbling and learning experience.

More than anything else I think your project has made many of us realise the importance of heritage and why we must turn back the pages of time to look at ourselves in the mirror.

The connection to your site is available on my posting for anyone who wishes to communicate with you.

Again thanks for writing.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sid,

I was trying to find out more about the Singapore-Malaysian scene and found this awesome database (you might probably know) at:


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Michael,
I am not Sid so you need to go to his blog.

Thanks for visiting anyway.