Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Singapore's Easybeats: Joe Woon Founding Member

Joe Woon is Joe to his close friends but he's also known as Harry.
"After LKY," he says but won't say why.

I met him during an OLPS (Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Church, Siglap Hillperformance where he played with John Cher (social butterfly) and other music friends for their usual gigs. When I asked him if he could write about his 60's band, The Easybeats he kindly obliged. 
Thank you, my friend.

Beyond 3,200 

readers since publication
The Easybeats, a local Singapore group was formed in the mid-sixties (1966-1967). Joe Woon played a major role being the founding member.  Bryan Neale was the lead singer. He was a Britisher and was based at Selarang Camp, part of the British Armed Forces that were present in Singapore then.
It was a chance meeting when Neale was socialising at Toby's Bar in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore. The other members found they practised well together and decided that Neale took over the microphone singing RnB.
The rest of the group comprised the Alexander Brothers Neil and Danny, with Frisco on drums and Joe Woon on bass. When Frisco left, another percussionist, Philip took over. Apparently, when Neil Alexander was on stage, many members in the audience were focused on his guitar solos. He was a superb guitarist.

The overwhelming pop guitar group, fronted by Neale, found themselves performing all over Singapore as well as in East and West Malaysia. For the guys, the fame and celebrity status did not come to nought when they were voted as one of the Top Ten Bands in Singapore then.
The one event that wasn't easily forgotten was the grand show at Stadium Negara called the, Knock Out Show where The Easybeats, being of the top groups, played alongside The Quests, Shirley Nair and The Silver Strings, Sunny Bala and The Moonglows, The Mysterians and The Checkmates.

As the months passed the band gained its momentum with a recording contract. They were asked to record some songs in April 1966, with Philips Singapore (this company was one of the dominant players during the period).
If you had noticed the selection, the signature song was House of The Rising Sun, a hit made known by Eric Burdon and The Animals. The rest included, Bless You, That's Alright Jenney and I'll Never Let You Go. It was an Extended Play.

According to Joe, Bryan Neale had also recorded another four-song vinyl, with The Checkmates as a backing group. Neale was never their singer but the group got together for jam sessions time and again. Above image shows the songs they recorded, Mojo, She, Enchanted Girl and Man Hunter on Philips.

In the late 60's and early 70's singer, Bryan Neale was posted back to the United Kingdom to serve. From then onwards they had lost contact and when the Alexander Brothers passed on in the late 70's Joe Woon and his mates stopped playing and decided to take a break.

Over the years some have moved on to other avenues and Joe formed The new Easybeats in 2016, encouraged by Jerry Fernandez, to revive the band. With his sparkling new group members, they have returned to the scene.
The group today consists of Steven Tan on lead, Michael Lim on rhythm, Tony Ng on the keyboard, Jack on drums and Joe Woon on bass guitar. Mr Woon had also included in the group two lady singers, Cath Wee and Jesicca Koo.

They have since performed in clubs, charity shows, Community Club events and other shows and festive celebrations. And as the new circle gathers momentum and wheels along the Singapore music highway, let's wish them all success for the future.
Mr Joseph Woon, founding member,
provided the information for this article.

With Joe and blogger Andy Young @ 
Tan Soo Khoon's home studio jam session 2017.

Listen to the EP from Sammylon's YouTube Connect:


Images, Article: Copyrighted except those from Google.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Andy and Joe,

Very interesting. I'd love to hear that record with Brian Neale. Anybody got a copy they want to sell?

Best wishes


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

If there are offers I would probably buy it, Steve. Then the 2nd offer could be yours. 😊


Sama Sha na na - looking cool in dark glasses. Joe same Johnny Walker - still going strong and looking handsome. Chinta misti banyak. Haha, Cheerio Joe - rock steady and rock on.

FACEBOOK andy said...


John Cher
Koh Sui Pang
Rose Khoo
Jennie Law
Van Der Beek Philip
Ann Rowena Lim
James Lee
Tan Ser Kiong
Roop Singh
Ivor Lesslar

Unknown said...

Great to hear about Bryan Meals singing back in those days as he was my grandad

Unknown said...

Great to hear about Bryan Neale singing back in those days as he was my grandad

Unknown said...

Great to hear about Bryan Neale singing back in those days as he was my grandad

Sammylon said...

I uploaded my copy on youtube you guys could listen to it....
link here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K45YtSqvbVs