Saturday, November 16, 2013

RAF Based UK Pop Bands In Singapore 60's

After the appearance of the currently new Silver Strings in the last few postings we turn the clock back once again to the 1960's when kopi-oh meets teh-tarek (translated from Malay: when black coffee meets pulling tea).

The welcome sign outside the hotel bar read: "Go underground where anything can happen. And usually does. Tonight and every night from 9pm to 3am." Entry was cheap. And the advertisement was for the eve of Christmas and New Year. 

For 10 Singapore dollars you got a first drink and novelties. (I remember going to England in the early 80's and it was about S$8.00 to the British Pound). And two bands entertained, one the highly respected, Thunderbirds with Heather. And the other? Well, let's discuss the other...
The T-Set. Barry's on extreme right.
This group was one guitar gang performing in the 60's, imported as a package from the British Isles. No Singaporean among the members. Even the group's name had a British ring to it; the patrons who came to Hotel Malaysia were amused when they heard that T-Set was playing at The Pub which, of course had an English setting. Yeah, imagine, "Shall we have tea at The Pub today dear?"  Or more likely, "Gimme a Tiger!"
A Cuppa: not too familiar sight today. "When Bread Talks, Kopi Tiam."
Barry Walker, who wrote to me about this group was the lead guitarist and singer.  In the 60's the same members used to play as a group in cabarets in England but decided to come to Singapore to try their luck. 

Familiar with the local scene - Barry was around for four or five years since 1966 -  he had recommended T-Set to play, and at the Orchard Road area too. (Barry is featured on this blog with his other groups The Figure and In-Sect. Click Barry Walker under Labels below).

Better than coffee anytime!  A Goodwood Hotel Advertisement.
The other members of T-Set were Roy who played bass guitar, Chris the drummer and Mick who played keyboard.  These gentlemen were still unattached when they appeared at the club in the mid-1960's and except for Chris who had a quiet demeanor was already a father. 

According to Tea-Set, who loved to perform in Singapore, audiences here were polite and usually reserved.  Locals would rather sip their beers quietly and chat with their mates at the bar while Caucasians would dance to their music.
A Pinta: "Time for a Tiger."
On the other hand when they played back home patrons there could be rowdy, reckless and walk off during a session if they dislike the band's performance. A band member remarked that he would love to come back to live in Singapore permanently.

So guys, if you remember T-Set from the good old days when they played at the Penthouse Disco with two other groups called, Limited Stock and Faith , give us a write. Doesn't matter if you're in England or in Singapore. The boys would love to hear from you! 

Original article. Do Not Copy.

Thanks to Barry Walker for the images.
Other images: Google.

Written a couple of weeks back, I am dedicating this Barry Walker article to James Seah from our bloggers' group. He just loves the smell of Tiger...

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