Crystal Abidin is his daughter, a PhD teaching in an Australian U. She wrote an article about her dad and uncle (Jerry Murad) for this blog. Of late she has written a book: 'Internet Celebrity, Understanding Fame Online', available soon. The Captain has obliged, in concise form, the Dukes story for this blog, since many of my overseas readers have asked about them.
He was Murad (now known as Jerry Murad) who had completed school but was asked to come back to help the two teachers. Zainal Abidin was the youngest at secondary one. Four of the others were in secondary two, and two others in secondary three (Safdar Hussein and Richard Young).
They always had campfires, and sometimes combined with other schools for the event (one of the schools being Gan Eng Seng Secondary School). At one of the campfires, guitars came out and there was a sing-along session and an idea was born.
They decided to play music at all gatherings and called themselves The James Cook Boys. They enjoyed their music sessions so much that they decided to enter the Nestle Talentime as a comedy sketch group together with music. They won the first prize and was encouraged to have proper instruments and line-up.
All practice and rehearsal were first conducted at Richard Young home at Purvis Street. In 1963, Richard’s brother Fernando Young decided to join the group as the Lead Singer, and also became the band manager.
The James Cook Boys decided to play at the RAF and British Clubs on Saturday nights, and the group was renamed The Dukes. Fernando than focus only as the manager and the first regular gig the group had was Sunday T-Dance in the afternoon and the then Prince’s Garni Hotel at Orchard Road. More locations followed after that. One of them was in the Celestial Room, across the road to the old Cathay Cinema.
The first line up was Jerry Murad leader/lead guitar, Richard Young drums, Safdar Hussein rhythm guitar, Zainal Abidin bass guitar and the four Secondary Two boys percussions. The first few performances were for the school annual concerts.
Their first music was Apache which was so famous then recorded by The Shadows, a famous group from Britain. Zainal became the President of the school's Literary and Dramatic Society and the James Cook Boys were always called back to play until Zainal completed his Secondary Four.
These last few years we have appeared in quite a number of concerts, namely the ones at the National Library for Seniors, at Pek Kio CC, then during a charity dinner with Vernon, The Meltons where Jerry and Neufaces also performed and lately at the big gig in the Kallang Theatre with 5 other top local guitar bands.