Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ray Johnson, Diamond Four, Frank Thompson

Some Sleeves Speak (Sleeve-liner from above vinyl):
*"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.


Anonymous said...

On Sun, Dec 5, 2010 at 11:12 AM, Nick wrote:

Nick has left a new comment on your post "Ray Johnson, Diamond Four, Frank Thompson":

Hello Andy!
Just Googled this, my dad is Ray Johnson & he was shocked, not to mention surprised to see this.

He & his shipmates formed the Diamond Five, or Ray Johnson & The Diamond Four when they were on HMS Euryalus, on first commission in 1964-66.

Do you know of any other copies of the EP that are in existence?

For your information, should you not already know,the other members of the band were Ellis Parkinson (Parky) (deceased) with the shades( bass guitar), Freddy Mills (drummer) & Alex (Dolly) Gray (rhythm guitar) & obviously Frank Thompson, lead guitarist.

Kind regards

Nick & Ray Johnson

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Nick and Ray,

Thanks for writing. I am always glad to connect with Singapore 60s music people from near and far.

Your note is also a pleasant surprise. I appreciate you providing details about your dad's band and the name of each member.

I shall write to you as soon as I can regarding your request.

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for reference to this band for a while, so I am glad to find this. Ellis was my next door neighbor in Preston, Lancashire in the 50s and 60s. I believe the whole family moved to S Africa in the 1960s. My recollection is that his surname was Turner, not Parkinson. David

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you for the information. I cannot verify your statement but if you were a neighbour and that these are the same family, you may be correct. I guess it's another piece to the puzzle solved.