Friday, January 01, 2016

4 Methodist Ministers Record 1969 Vinyls

A New Year Posting:

I found the above record during one of my vinyl hunts in Malaysia and chanced upon this gem. Inscribed on the back cover of the little EP is an introduction to the foursome:

"The four young Methodist Ministers who make up The Christones are all highly accomplished soloists in their own right. They have been singing together throughout churches, schools and over Radio and TV Malaysia and Singapore, and have been highly acclaimed for their unique blend of evangelism and musicianship.

Their distinctive style of singing folk and religious songs in close harmony has earned them high praise from many musicians, and has led them to be described as the finest popular group ever to emerge in this part of the world."

On this little Extended Play record the group had selected four popular hits and each recording had been arranged by different members of the group all of whom are qualified musicians. Each arrangement was original and under the leadership of Samuel Liew.
Where Have All The Flowers Gone by Pete Seeger was arranged by Samuel Liew. Aura Lee, an American Civil War Song was the original, Love Me Tender sung by Elvis Presley. It was by Poulton, arranged by Hunter, Parker and Shaw.

Come On People, was arranged by Philip Chan and I believe, could be the one original song by this group. Finally the fourth and last song, I Believe by Drake, Graha, Shirl and Stillman was arranged by H. R. Wilson with Bernard Tan on the piano. I Believe was also introduced to many Singapore listeners in the 1960's by the Tidbits, a female local, vocal group.

This recording had been released around 13th September 1969 and sold through advertisements in the newspapers under the banner, a folk singing group, the pride of our country and distributed to record shops all over Singapore and Malaysia under a distributor called, Tribunal Far East Corporation.

The group from Singapore and Malaysian churches could only make a tour to promote their records when all were on leave at the same time. Philip Chan (32), Ho Chee Sin (35), Won En Mien (32), and Samuel Liew (31) were practising pastors when they came to Singapore to sing at the Barker Road Methodist Church in June, 1971 for a Special Song Service Session.
What is interesting is that the selected numbers are not Christian songs or hymns or carols but ordinary sing-along melodies that anyone can connect with. Where Have All... was recorded by The Kingston Trio in 1961 followed by dozens of covers.  

The tune of Aura Lee was made famous by Elvis Presley's derivative adaptation Love Me Tender and found on many children's learn piano hits.  I Believe sung by Frankie Laine spent 18 weeks on the UK Hit Parade Chart with a deluge of cover versions by Perry Como, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra and other Hollywood pop stars.

If you are familiar with this group and know their whereabouts, do write in to tell us. The print on the cover indicates that it is Volume One. Just wondering how many more volumes this group had recorded?

Happy New 2016 Everyone!

Images: A Private Collection; Google.
Article: Copyrights Reserved.


Linda said...

Hello Andy, I didn't know about this group; thank you so much for sharing this post! Happy 2016!

Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,

Happy New Year! I have this record and like it. I have seen two others by them: 'Christmas with the Christones' and 'Sing Along with the Christones'. All were on the same label.

Have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016.



ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you both for comments. Would be great get a copy each of the two records.