Thursday, May 25, 2017

Asian Vinyl With Singapore Theater Background: Heritage & Collectors Value

He's here again and has been around studying the local music scene for many years now. Pushing aside his busy lecturing schedule, Dr Steve Farram has contributed yet another article for the blog. 

Many thanks, Steve.

Hi Andy, 

I really enjoyed reading Michael Bangar’s reminiscences in his recent post about the National Theatre and all the bands that had played there. Some time ago I wrote to you about the Australian band The Troupadors who had had their photo taken at the phone booths at the old Singapore airport for the cover of one of their records; as had The Jets and at least one other band (I still can’t remember who the other one was!) 

I said then that there was an even more popular spot for record cover photo shots in 1960's Singapore. Yes, it was the National Theatre. Here are all the ones I have in my collection and a little bit of what I know about the various artists. 

Hi-Fi Twins and The Kings 

I have read that the Hi-Fi Twins were from the Philippines. They give the appearance of being a couple of old hands on the show scene and the songs they chose to record for this EP were mainly early 60s numbers like ‘Papa Oom Mow Mow’, ‘Papa and the Mama Twist’ and ‘Boom Boom’. 

They did get a bit more contemporary with their version of the Knickerbockers’ ‘Lies’. I don’t know anything about their backing band The Kings or if they ever recorded anything else. Judy Lee, I do not much at all about Judy Lee, but she appears to have been a regular on the live scene in Singapore. 

In another entry on this blog you can see that she once appeared on the same bill as Barry Walker & The Figures and a host of other artists at the Capitol Theatre:

My favourite track on this EP is her take on the song ‘Mary Mary’. I don’t think the Monkees ever did a Chinese version, did they? I have read that Judy’s backing band on this record was her Blue Star label-mates The Jets, although it says nothing about that on the record itself. 

You cannot see the actual National Theatre building in the photograph of Judy here, but the fountains, the fence etc. make it obvious where she was 

Naomi and The Boys 

This was Naomi and The Boys first recording for Decca after a number of great records on the Philips label. My favourite track here is the Peter Thomas song ‘Bad Loser’. I don’t think anyone who is a regular on this blog needs an introduction to Naomi and The Boys! 

For those who don’t know, one place to start is Andy’s previous entry here: 

The Peels 

The Peels were a band from Bandung in Indonesia that released a number of records in Singapore. I have a few of their EP's, but they produced a lot more than I have. They seem to have been very popular in Singapore and Malaysia. 

This is the only record from my collection where the National Theatre is designated by its Malay name: Panggong Negara. I really like the song ‘Neng Geulis’. How many people in Singapore understood the Sundanese lyrics, I wonder? 

Teng Teng and The Stylers

I cannot read Chinese, but I was told the singer’s name is Teng Teng. Please tell me, anyone, if that is wrong. Teng Teng is very young in the photograph of the cover of this record, but I have seen some other records by The Stylers that seem to show a slightly older Teng Teng on the cover. 

My favourite tracks on this EP are the versions of ‘Hang On Sloopy’ and ‘Be Bop A Lula’. The Stylers backed many singers on albums and EPs (mainly in Chinese, but not always) and produced a mass of records of their own. Andy has written about them several times elsewhere on this blog, so find out more there. 

The Travellers 

I do not know much about the Travellers except that they released a number of instrumental albums under their own name and several albums and EPs backing various singers, always in Chinese. By the look of the cut of their clothes, I’d say this record was from the early 1970's. This is the only record of theirs that I own 

The Vantomites 
Judy Lee

The Vantomites offer a couple of instrumental tracks on this EP. I also have two EPs where they are backing singers Liu Zhong and Jing Jing. On those two records, they are recorded as the Vandomites on the record label. The photograph for this record seems to have been taken at about the same place as that for Judy Lee, which means you can see the fountains and so on, but not the National Theatre itself 

That’s all for now. There are probably other records showing the National Theatre, but these are the only ones I know about.

Best Wishes  
Steve Farram.
     1970 The Travellers ‎– 24 Non-Stop Dancing Music - You Tube Video by: fhlew888

These Chinese song/artist vinyl are becoming rare now. None going to print because they cost a fortune to produce and many collectors are just keeping them. Sungei Road (Singapore's Flea Mart), that was selling them, will close in July 2017. Used to cost $2 a piece. Lately, saw them for sale at $20 each.) 

The English Singapore collection, like the Malay ones, are going for more, some as much as $200 a piece. Andy.
Images: From Steven Farram.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Robert, how's the going? Tell us how Naomi and The Boys got to pose in front of the National Theatre. Neat suits too. Thanks.


Andy we had performed there so many times and we decided to do one Ep with that back drop for memory. Didn't realise that they were going to demolish the National Theatre later.


Naomi and the Boys when we switched over to Decca-Records-- We were opening acts for the Rolling Stones, Herman Hermits and Manfred Mann- all Decca Artists at the National Theatre- It meant so much to Us to have this memory also.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you, Robert. Such pieces of information are gems to many enthusiasts. Otherwise, nobody would really know what happened and a simple explanation like yours would just get locked in the vault of time. Thank you.


"Naomi and the Boys when we switched over to Decca-Records - We were opening acts for the Rolling Stones, Herman Hermits and Manfred Mann - all Decca Artists at the National Theatre- It meant so much to us to have this memory also."

Ann Rowena Lim
Good morning dearest Andy Young ❤️🥰🌹

Andy Young
Hi Ann, Good morning to you. Thanks for response.
Come on guys, let's give Robert a thumbs up. Hope you much better now Robert? From all on FB. Cheers.

Andy Young
Hi Martin, thanks for the support.

Andy Young
Hey Mr Kali Dass, thank you. Any information piece on Robert's vinyl?

Andy Young
Hi Angel, thanks. You're not reading a book now are you? Cheers.

Andy Young
Wow! Robert! Look at the immediate response. Take care bro.

Michael Lee
Hi Andy, Bring back memories of my time backstage in 1971 and 1972 helping with the sound system etc. Met many top musicians and singers. They were friendly. However, I wasn't interested in autographs etc. I was just fascinated by sound engineering - very basic back then.

Andy Young
Yes, Michael. Thanks again for your thoughts regarding sound systems. I've learnt a lot from you and Horace these past few weeks. You're very good at it, truly, after your demo recently.

Andy Young
Thanking all the 10 people who LIKE this 2016 posting of Vinyl Background Images of the Theatre.
Played there many times.. First time, with Crescendos with Susan Lim, then, Motif, the Straydogs a few times....

Stephen Han
I am no recording artist but a karaoke singer and I had a picture taken at the front of the National Theatre.

Horace Wee
Still think they could have rebuilt it. Blaming structural problems and room for highway CTE. Like the excuse for the National Library - now an access tunnel. Duh!!!! I thought they used to brag about the cantilver design of the National Theater?

Freda Hanum
The unforgetable fantastic history of National Theatre that brought in so many well known bands, artistes & shows, local and international that you can never find now.

Michael Lee
A humble opinion from a crazy eccentric certified idiot - they think more in terms of Dollars than Sense. One for the money two for the dollars nothing else really matters. Cheerio.

Andy Young
Hey guys, again thanks for pressing the memory eject button, the 18 of you who took time to LIKE this post and others who tell their stories. FREDA, HORACE, STEPHEN, JIMMY and MICHAEL thanks for the memories. CHARLIE and ANN ROWENA, just a little late but thanks for the gigantic gifs.

FACEBOOK said...

Thanking list of FB friends who LIKE this post

Stephen Han
Rose Khoo
Angela Leow
Freda Hanum
Ann Rowena Lim
Winston Koh
Jimmy Appudurai-chua
Frank Tan
Fred Ching
Jennie Law
Alphonso Soosay
Martin Ong
Charlie Yap Locomotion
Roop Singh
Peter Cheong
Robert Suriya
Horace Wee
Joey Koh
Ho Victor
Wong K C EuNike
Tan Teng Teng
Van Der Beek Philip
Richard Khan
Kali Dass S
Roland Shepherdson

FACEBOOK said...

Thank you Andy.

Andy Young
Thanking list of FB friends who LIKE this post. The list gets longer. The 11 year old blog has 2,000+ popular stories, and 10,000+ comments about SG 60s music and its influence.

Richard Paul M
The venue was a kind of Key Performance Indicator for SG artists. It was said that if you performed there meant you have made it.

Andy Young Thanks Richard. Your comment is a stamp of authenticity for everything that's local music.