*"They were the Diamond Five. Where have I heard that name before? It could be anywhere from Hong Kong to Liverpool. They first appeared in Singapore in late 1965 and although they were acclaimed wherever they played, it was not until after their radio and television appearances during their tour of Australia that they were really recognised here.
Ray Johnson's individual style and the group's interpretation of Frank's compositions is now known throughout the Far East. This record is then a tribute to you, the fans of Ray Johnson and The Diamond Four.
I hope it gives you as much pleasure to listen to it as it gave them to make. And next time you are in somewhere like the North Pole, just listen for the music of The Diamond Four. It's there too (vinyl sleeve-liner: Philips Record image)."
#Except for I've Been Around, a Fats Domino cover, the other 3 songs, Wedding Bells Soon, Help Me, Little Girl and Stay By My Side were composed by F.A. Thompson - the "Frank" that the writer above was referring to. The Philips Record (ME-0148-DE) was released around September, 1968.
Heather Batchen, Frank Thompson, Diamond Four:
Fourteen year old Heather Batchen was accompanied by this same group, a band of British servicemen from an HMS naval ship, docked in Singapore then. They recorded a single with her in 1966: Day Dreaming by Frank Thompson. It is a sentimental number, sung with much feeling and personal interpretation that became a Heather hallmark. In the same genre, the big 60s hit If We Are Only Friends is an appropriate flip on Philips ME-057-HF for Heather's vocal style.
On an EP (ME-0173-HE) called Mr. Moon she had recorded again with The Diamond Four, Do You Care and Hey, Mr. Moon, both Frank Thompson compositions. Having completed their line of servicemen duties, the Four returned to England after this second recording with Heather.
The other two songs Heather recorded on the same EP, were with The Thunderbirds and called, Because I Love You and I'll Be Yours.
#Original article/image: Andy Lim Collection.