Sunday, January 16, 2011

P. Ramlee's 'Bujang Lapok' On A Chinese Record Unique Indeed: Bau Asem, Ketiak Siapa Busok?

Chinese Pop Instrumental: A-Go-Go And Off-Beat Cha-Cha Art Sea Record: MEP 3032.

There were hundreds of instrumental groups in the 60s that catered to the Chinese pop markets in Singapore, Malaya and Hong Kong. Some of them had been featured many times on this blog.

These bands included Maurice Patton and The Melodians, Charlie and The Boys, The Travellers, The Silver Stones, the popular Stylers and more. The songs were usually covers of Western pops.

Tian Lian Band:

The genre of music was familiar too since these bands recorded 60s tunes mainly for dancing. But the name TIAN LIAN BAND (images) was a surprise - a very Chinese group indeed! Never heard or seen a record by this band. After checking some websites I found that this particular band had recorded other songs on Art Sea Record.

P. Ramlee:

But what is more surprising is the song on side two. Unless you are familiar with Malay pops, Pok Pok Bujang Lapok is a tongue-in-cheek about bachelors. It is composed by P. Ramlee and used in his movie with the same title. The other three songs include, When Will You Return (tagged as 'a Chinese song'), Young Ones (a Cantonese song) and So Lonely (a Hokkien song). A gimmick perhaps?

Swinging Skippers:

Even the group name of the dancing girls in the photographs caught my eye. They are called, The Swingin' Skippers. The girls must have been popular then to have their names displayed on the cover. Don't you find their costumes so informal and simple? That's Singapore street wear in the 60s. Not much different from today? And off-beat cha-cha definitely symbolises Chinese pops.

Bolshoi Ballet Orchestra:

P. Ramlee's music is internationally acclaimed that it has even been played by The Bolshoi Ballet Orchestra of Tashkent.

Images/Original article: Andy Lim Collection.


Roger said...

P Ramlee never failed to entertain his fans with his brand of humour and music.

Unk Dicko said...

Bujang Lapok the movies were very entertaining and infectious!
I saw all at Queens Cinema.
And would see them again today if I had the DVD.
First time I heard of this Chinese band. They must have been good.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

You are right Roger. A great man indeed; and his music, movies and magic live on.

If there's a Hall Of Fame in Singapore, he should be in it.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I have seen some of them too, at the same cinema. You can buy the DVDs at Geylang Serai CD shops, if I am not mistaken.

It's the first time for me too. They could be a group that's put together to accompany singers or play pop instrumentals of the day.

Thimbuktu said...

Great to know that unk Dicko was a P Ramlee fan seen at Queens Cinema . "Bujang Lapok" was my favorite too.

Do you know where the original Queen Cinema facade facing Geylang Road found here ?

The entrance to Grandlink Square is a heritage conservation monument for nostalgic memories.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you James and for the connection.

It's beautiful how they have preserved the facade to the Queen's Cinema.

Like our Seniors (myself included), hopefully still surviving the destructive sands of time because of maintenance. Ha, ha.