Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tracing 'Sidaislers' Or 'Friday Girls' from 1967 Vinyl

In March 2011 I posted a quiz and asked if readers could name the choir I featured.  After more than a year I received mail (below) from a research writer regarding the choir. Here is the posting again with the answers intact and images to help you along the way:

Some Sleeves Speak:
"The first thing that strikes most people about The Sidaislers (above vinyl record image) is our name. It merely means that instead of walking up the middle aisle of the aisle, we stick to the side aisle!

We have often been confronted with an embarrassing, 'Well, what are The Sidaislers? I mean, well... what are you?' The answer comes in two words: We sing. We sing of what the world means to us, we sing of Singapore, we sing of love, hope, faith and of running and catching the wind.

We have grown tired of sitting down and arguing with people about faith and charity. So instead of yelling pointlessly for hours on end, getting bad tempers, sore throats and headaches, we sing. We have found that music is a language everyone understands, and so we use music as our medium of communication.

Started in 1965 by the St Andrew's Cathedral, the group originally consisted of girls from St. Margaret's Secondary School. We later expanded to include men and girls from the various denominational groups and are now based at St Andrew's Cathedral.

The Sidaislers have appeared over TV Singapura and Malaysia and made broadcasts over Radio Singapura and Rediffusion, besides singing in churches and concerts halls.

This album is a live recording of one of our performances. Two of the numbers, Dem Bones and Go Tell It On The Mountain, are spirituals which have been rearranged by the group, and the Christmas Calypso On A Day is an original tune based on words by Dr D. T. Niles.  Morning Town Ride is one of the many folksongs sung by us, while The Great Spirit, composed by the Colwell Brothers, is one of several MRA songs often sung by the group."

Here's the letter that was written in June 2012:

Hi Mr Lim,
I came across your post on Can You Name This Singapore 60s Mystery Group and was wondering if the group you were referring to was the Sidaislers?

I'm a freelance researcher/writer working on an upcoming documentary on Singapore's national music, and am actually trying to track down existing members of the Sidaislers or Friday Girls (images), whom I believe was involved in the creation of songs such as Singapore Town and To Build A Rugged Society.

Was wondering if you might by any chance have any clues to the whereabouts of any of the members, or could provide any further information, as I've not been able to find much about them. If possible would greatly appreciate it if you could drop me a mail.

Thank you!

When I replied DC came with another note:

Hi Andy,
With regards to the Friday Girls, I believe that they were also a part of the Sidaislers group from St Andrew's Cathedral so my leads pretty much stem from there.

I actually met a Mr C. recently, who used to be part of the Sidaislers, but unfortunately he doesn't remember who any of the girls are, only that they were students at St Margaret's and that they were mostly Eurasians.

Also came across a book entitled Songs of the Sidaislers in the reference section of the National Library, which contains lyrics to some of the songs they performed. The words and music for the song, There is an Island have been credited to a Susan Cheng but I'm afraid I don't know anything else about her. The other names mentioned in the book were Vernon Perreau and Albany To if that rings any bells.

There was also a Michael Cheng mentioned, but I understand that he passed away many years ago.
I believe they performed as part of the Sidaislers in a National Day Special on RTS in 1967 or 1968 if that's of any help.


Information from record sleeve (image 2) Philips 338706 PF: From left to right are  Peggy Daroesman, who is the lead singer, Sandra Bruford, Yvette Chin, Susan Cheng and Rolana Barker.

"The group is accompanied by *The Boys singing Rigi-Rigi and  (1967), an Indonesian song. This was the A-side of the group's very first record. They were teenagers at that time The Friday Girls had gone into the recording studios of Philips, Singapore as the backup vocals for Heather Batchen from The Thunderbirds, but ended up with their own record contract (from You Tube comment by Joe Wu, Seattle USA)."

*The BOYS, the top selling band at Philips (Singapore): ROBERT SURIYA was the lead guitarist; PETER THOMAS, rhythm guitarist; MOSES TAY, bass guitarist and keyboardist; while ALPHONSO SOOSAY was the drummer.

If you can help DC with her research please write to me in confidence on the Comment page and I shall convey your message. And to the Friday Girls, if you are reading this, write in. Keep our heritage alive.

Images/article: 1 ami Records/back sleeve cover. 2 Philips Records. Andy Lim Collection.


DC said...

Hi Andy,

Thanks very much!


JAMES SEAH said...

Hi Andy,

Sorry I don't follow the musical recording groups and bands scenes in Singapore in the 1960s. Except for "The Quest", Keith Locke, Crescendos, The Trailers and other popular songs played over Rediffusion in the old days.

I don't remember the "Sidaislers" and "Friday Girls" as I tried to recall.

My apologies.


LAM CHUN SEE said...

Sorry. Never heard of these names.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you all for the response. Please keep your letters coming. I know we'll strike gold soon.

IRENE YAP said...

Nope, never heard of them. Sorry cant be of any help.

IVAN CHEW said...

Is Georgiana in this list? I was wondering if she would know.


Yup I was contacted by the same research writer too, but I couldn't help much beyond what was in the liner notes of the Singapore 60s cds.

FL said...

Hi,Andy, though I myself is an ardent follower of 1960s/70s, honestly, I haven't heard of this group Friday Girls then. With due respect to this girl group, I think they were not well-publicized then. During the 1960s, without internet then, there were very sources where you could obtain info on new local singers or groups, from I remember the "Radio Weekly" tabloid and Rediffusion. Our radio and TV during the sixties were very lacking in providing such info except for popular ones like The Quests, Crescendos,etc.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Yes, FL. You are right as they were not long in the music industry.

But the fact that they recorded two Singles proved that these could have sold well or at least much better than those groups and bands that only recorded one Single. I am just guessing.

If there's anyone out there who can help please do so. I understand from a reliable source that one of the Friday Girls is still in town so if you read this posting do oblige and tell us about the group.

Thanks for the visit and comment FL.

ERWIN said...

hi andy,
Currently visiting the leader of the sidislers - Rev. Albany To. If you would like to ask specific questions, please email it to me to ask him.


SERENITY said...

Hi Andy
I read with interest your previous post about the Sidaislers. I'd like to get in touch with members of the group. Was wondering whether you could link me up with them, or whether you have their contact information. Grateful if you could contact me via my email. Thank you.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Dear Serenity,

Thank you for visiting and writing. Glad you are keen to get in touch with the group because I have tried many times too but without success.

I hope someone who knows them would read your mail on this posting and I shall duplicate another for the actual posting. If there is a connection this time I will surely send it to you.

(The above email from Serenity and my reply are duplicates of the ones posted on "Singapore Boy's Passion for Model Sports Cars."

Sammylon said...

hi there one of the friday girls member Lana Moss which i found have a facebook page you can talk to her and maybe get more info about the friday girls her facebook link is here:

i hope this helps

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Sammylon.

Recently I met another Friday Girls connection as one well-known Singapore actress and comedienne has a father who was one of the guitarists that appeared and accompanied the Saidaislers on the vinyl recording.

Do visit this blog again.

Sammylon said...

wow that's great i am trying to know more about the friday girls after digging out one of their first singles Rigi Rigi and Ole Sio from my grandfather's collection.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

This post has been rejuvenated on TWITTER. We're still searching for the lost girls. Does anyone know where they are?