Saturday, June 24, 2017

Guess The Names of Our 60's Music Drummers

This quiz has been very popular. More than 700 viewers in less than one week. Thank you all for participating. Try it out if you haven't - 28.06.2017.


Singapore has many good and accomplished drummers. Below are pictures of 10 of them from the 1960's circuit. Most of my readers can do this quiz blindfolded. Come on, guys. It's too easy.

I must mention that these drummers with their bands are recording artistes and they all would have cut a single or an EP vinyl. If you have been reading this blog, they would have been mentioned using the same pictures.

Do you know who they are and from what bands they were from?

1) One of the earlier percussionists in our 60's scene, he was with the Thunderbirds too. A top drummer-boy.

2) This drummer is a good looker, quiet, and used to wear a mask with his group.  He burns the drumset when he plays.

3) The band name may help in recognising him. One of the earliest in the group. Thanks to Zainal Abidin for the information.

4) With this stylish group from the early 60's to the late 80's, he has since passed on. Thanks to Randy Lee for the information.

5) Another handsome gentleman who's as popular as his solid-sound guitar group. Check him out.

6) The costume is a tell-tale. One of the earliest drummers for the group, he has since passed on. Thanks to Freddie Kang for the information.

7) A friendly guy who is an expert with sound, our drummer is a writer now.
He's on Facebook today.

8) A quiet man but still as active, he lets his drums do the talking. The group name is a definite giveaway.

9) Famous for their picture with a big bird, this group has a drummer who's another heart-breaker with the ladies.

10) It was difficult to separate this top drummer away from his group. He's Drummer Z but definitely not the last. In fact, he's one of the best and still buzzing his drum-sticks.

So there you are readers. Fun and games. Just write your answers on the comment page. I'm also on Facebook under Andy Young 60's Music.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri to my Muslim friends and readers.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Joe Peters From His Facebook Portfolio

Joe Peters from his Facebook Portfolio:

Consultant Musicologist
Former Specialist Professor
Former Associate Director (Multimedia)
Studied at U of WAustralia
Studied Music Education, Ethnomusicology
and Performance at UP Diliman
Studied Political Science at U of Singapore
Went to St Joseph's Institution
Lives in Bedok, Singapore

When I wrote to Joe Peters to find out if we had met at a *Freddie Aguilar University talk some years ago, he wasn't sure but said: "You are writing a great blog and I do read that. Keep doing it and try and tell the musical story of Singapore when we were younger!"

My reply: "Thanks, Joe, coming from you that's something. Just giving back what little I have. The only problem, I wish I could put them all in a little book."

*Composer and singer of, Anak, a Philippino pop hit from 1977. He is a one-hit wonder. 

Images: Facebook.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Louis Soliano Singapore Jazz Legend: By Melanie Lee

The article below about drummer/singer Louis Soliano and written by Melanie Lee is published with both their permission. It is the most popular story online these past few months and taken from *SEACG Website. 
Thank you, Louis and Melanie.

I grew up in a family of professional musicians. I was taught piano and violin since the age of five, but I was more interested in playing games. However, when I was 14, I accompanied my dad, a multi-instrumentalist, to a studio recording for a silent movie at Jalan Ampas. It was there that I fell in love with drumming after I heard the drummer playing.

With that interest, my father showed me how to play the drums, and how it can be the loudest and softest instrument at the same time. I would practise at home, and the neighbours would complain about how noisy I was. By 16, I was already playing professionally in places such as the Cathay Restaurant, Golden Venus Bar, and Seaview Hotel.

'S Wonderful (George Gershwin) by Louis Soliano @ Paragon (20 Oct 11) (HD)

In 1966, I was working with my Uncle Alfonso Soliano’s band at Chao Phya Hotel in Bangkok. There was an American officers’ club at the hotel and I was spotted by an American entertainment agent. He offered me a gig to perform at American military bases in Vietnam for US$700 a week. 
I thought that was a good pay, but it was only when I got there that I found out that we would have to perform three shows a night at each military base — that meant 21 shows in a week!
In the three years, I was in Vietnam, I was always on the road travelling from one base to another. Gunshots were heard daily everywhere, and I had to carry a revolver myself for protection. Sometimes, when we played, we could hear heavy shelling and gunshots in the background. But we were young — we had energy and were not afraid of anything.
Today, I’m a father of four and a grandfather of six. Many of my friends have passed away and some are in old folks’ homes. I thank God that I’m still able to live another day doing what I love. I keep trying to grow myself. I hope to do a big-band concert in the future, working with young musicians in Singapore. I’m so glad to see how jazz here has grown with all this new talent.
At the end of the day, I hope that the great songs I bring to my audiences take them back to a special time or place in their lives.

Seventy-five-year-old jazz veteran Louis Soliano has been performing drums and vocals for 60 years in Singapore and around the world. He is considered one of the top drummers in this region and his vocal style is often compared to that of Johnny Hartman and Nat King Cole. 

Soliano has played alongside many famous musicians, including Stan Getz, Lea Salonga, Matt Monro and Anita O’Day. In 1997, he took home the Artistic Excellence Award by the Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (COMPASS) and in 2014, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Singapore International Jazz Festival. He released his solo album Improm2 in 2004.

Anita O'Day, Matt Monro, Lea Salonga, Stan Getz appeared with Louis Soliano.

"Singapore Jazz Legend Louis Soliano Improvises 
Life And Music."

By Melanie Lee (image right ). Article from:
*Singapore's Essential Arts and Culture Guide:

Images: Google
Video: YouTube 
By Red Taurus

May Not Be Complete Louis Soliano Awards:

Gene Krupa of Singapore Trophy.

Compass Artistic Excellence Award for his outstanding musicianship.

He released his solo album Improm2.

FLCM (Fellowship Diploma of the London College of Music) music diploma for his Percussion Performance from the University of West London, London College Of Music Examinations.

Lifetime Achievement Award from Mr Lawrence Wong, then Minister of Culture, Community and Youth at the inaugural Singapore International Jazz Festival (image).  

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"Another One Bites The Dust" A Story From Matt Tan

Here's Matt Tan, who was with Fried Ice in Singapore 60's, writing from Canada. He has posted some videos of his playing on YouTube. Thanks, Matt. Appreciate your contribution to this blog:

"I never had a reason to pick up a guitar till today!" (Frank Zappa)...

Do you remember the days when we were playing in a band, as young kids just starting out, the only time we hear about the loss of a famous musician is when an accident happened eg. plane crash... and we lost Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, Richie Havens... and much later SRV. 

Or in the sour events, we hear of them dying on drug overdose, for those who were unfortunate to think that drugs actually could make them play much better... wrong, and shame, we lost Janis, Brian Jones, Lenny Breau... 

And yet another cause would be illness, we lost Ollie Halsall, Wes Montgomery, two of my favourite guitarists, from different genres, Wes was already great, but Ollie was one whom I think would have been as great as Jimi or Jeff or Eric, had he lived.

Stormy Monday Blues Gregg Allman: R.I.P. A Canadian Guitarist Tribute

Today, it's different, we are losing them to old age... every month we hear someone who once influenced us to play the guitar or play music has left for the big sky. Who else is left? The ones gone include:

Chuck Berry (March 18, 2017)  

B B King (May 14, 2015) 
Alan Holdsworth (April 15, 2017)

Al Jarreau (February, 2017) 

John Wetton (January 31, 2017) 
Prince (April 21, 2106)

Leonard Cohen (November 10, 2016) 
Jack Bruce (25 October, 2015)
Chris Squire (January 28, 2015) 

Jon Lord (July 16, 2012), 
Keith Emerson (March 11, 2016)
Greg Lake (December 7, 2016)

Michael Jackson (June 25, 2009)
Luciano Paarotti (September 6, 2007) 
Frank Zappa (December 4, 1993) 

Another one bites the dust
Another one bites the dust
And another one gone and another one gone
Another one bites the dust...

(Freddie Mercury (24 November, 1991)

These stars left a long time ago: Charlie Mingus,  Thelonius Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Joe Pass, Larry Carlton; And even further back in time: Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon, Billie Holliday.

There's not many of them left, huh???   that is why I am back to playing the guitar. (Feb 27,2017). Someone has to carry those axes.

"Hope I die before I get old" (My Generation, 13 October 1965). I would rephrase that to,  "Hope I die before I get too old to play my guitar !"

Talkin' about my generation.

Well, people try to put us down.
Just because we get around.
The things they do look awful cold
I hope I die before I get old.

Why don't you all just fade away?
And don't try to dig what we all say
I'm not trying to cause a big sensation...

Ironic, things hasn't changed that much, only this time "people" could be referring to us "older generation"

John Sebastian – Younger Generation 
Why must every generation think their folks are square?

And hey pop, my girlfriend's only three.
She's got her own videophone,
And she's taking LSD
And now that were best friends, she wants to give a bit to me.
But what's the matter daddy? How come you're turning green?
Can it be that you can't live up to your dreams?

But some things do not change:

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no telling who that it's naming
For the loser now will be later to win
Cause the times they are a-changing...

Contributor: Matt Tan.

Matt Tan (left) with his friend Horace Wee in the 60's, also a frequent contributor to this blog.

Check out Matt's music on Youtube  and subscribe:

I'd Rather Go Blind, Hey Joe, Red House, Sleepwalk, Supernatural, Castles Made of Sand, House Burning Down, May This Be Love, Little Wing, Burning Of The Midnight Lamp.

Friday, June 09, 2017

When Vespa Scooters And Talentimes Were In Vogue

Vespa scooters were a rage in the 1960's world. At the movies, Audrey Hepburn rode a Vespa in Roman Holiday, Rock Hudson and Gina Lollobrigida were on a Lambretta in Come September and Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee did the same.

Similarly, in Singapore; these exquisite and sexy contraptions outshone the motorcycles for a while. I had one too, breezing along from my home in the East to the College at Paterson, on a blue Vespa. Roads then were not as congested.
The Vespa Club Singapore at Siglap Road in the East Coast, was a social club for, obviously, Vespa scooter owners, since the Lambretta, a well-known competitor, was also trying to take a stake on Singapore roads. Both two-wheelers were from Italy.

The club had a Talentime or singing competition on the 17th of December, 1961 and Aminah Aziz (above) won the title of Vespa Club Talentime Champion, when she sang, I Love You More Than I Can Say.
Aminah won from five other finalists at the Contest held during the weekend. Taking the second spot was me, (image above in the Radio
Weekly pix, while the other finalists were George Ho, Baby Razak, Peter Hayko and Paddy Nyer.

Talentimes were popular in the 50's and 60's. They were held by nearly every commercial, social or private club. Youth who love to sing would participate because the exposure was good and the chance of gaining some experience of public singing was an attraction.
Remember there was no karaoke those days and the only way that a singer could be backed by a band was to participate in Talentime. Many bands and singers that played at nightclubs and cinema halls were usually winners of such singing talent contests. The Trekkers, The Jets and The Decibels, were some of the bands that could have either participated or won in such competitions.

Image 1: Google.
Image 2: Radio Weekly, Singapore (music tabloid).
Image 3: Henri Gann, Trekkers.
YouTube Video: Videoclips Roman Holiday.
Original article: Andy Lim.

Monday, June 05, 2017

School Bully: Stopped By 'Trailers' Band Member

James Kwok helps this blog with stories of his own about Singapore in the 60's. After reading about the Trailers and their Phoenix Song 50th Anniversary reminder and success, he wrote me a letter about rhythm guitarist, Edmund Tan.

James recalled his primary education at Rayman School (established in 1954) situated @ Rayman Estate. Following its closure in 1984, the school was converted into a centre for disabled people (VAPC). Rayman Estate today is known as Whampoa Estate.
                              The Trailers (Edmund Tan: sits right)
Hi Andy,

The Trailers guitarist Mr Edmund Tan Teck Chiang (image: sitting right) was my Primary Three classmate in Rayman School at Whampoa (its premises has been taken over by the Handicapped Welfare Association).

Rayman School in what used to be called Rayman Avenue, off Towner Road which today is  Whampoa Drive. (Towner Road still exists today, but the section from Balestier Road to under the CTE is now Whampoa Drive).

Our teacher in Primary 3B (1956) was a Ms Alice Tan, the teacher in charge of Girl Guides. After the three exams, she would gather her Guides in our class to practise songs. Naughty boys like Edmund and me would imitate them, and change some of the words to the songs to make them sound funny.  

Recently after visiting the FOY (Friends of Yesterday) website, I met an old friend, who told me that Edmund Tan is one his cousins, but have lost contact with him ever since Edmund went overseas.  If he has been working in Singapore perhaps my friend doesn't know that. 

I told him that I wanted to get in touch with Edmund, who was a kind of a big brother protector to me. I received a double promotion from Primary One in 1955 to Primary Three in 1956, so I was the smallest boy in class. But I still managed to come out first in class after the first term examination (image left: James Kwok). 

I became the target of some unhappy boys who did not do well, but somehow Edmund got them to leave me alone.

My friend told me that he has lost contact ever since Edmund got married.

James Kwok.


So Mr Edmund Tan from the pop 60's band The Trailers and a former Rayman Primary School student, wherever you are, James wants to meet you again.


"Bullying In Singapore Schools Today:

Results showed that approximately 1 in 5 primary school students surveyed was a victim of bullying, defined as any action apparently intended to victimise and repeated at least twice every single month over a span of one school year. 

Bullies and their victims tended to be of the same gender, the same ethnic group, and in the same class at school. However, more bullies and victims were boys than girls, and there was the greater tendency for boys to bully girls than for girls to bully boys. 

Students of any ethnicity were equally likely to be bullied. Similar proportions of children reported being bullied at each primary level - A Survey of Bullying in Singapore Primary Schools (2007)."

Children's Society’s website at

Images: A Private Collection.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

President Donald Trumps Sings, Rattles and Rolls

In season 12, NBC's America's Got Talent follows Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B. and Howie Mandel in their talent search, showcasing unique performers from across the country. 

The Singing Trump: Presidential Impersonator Channels Bruno Mars - America's Got Talent 2017

Here's my favourite POTUS tribute artist, in a singing role. Beats Vladimir Putin with his, Blueberry Hill.

I know many shared this a few days ago. But I just can't resist this guy.

Check Labels below to read about his favourite singers and bands. Or just connect here:

Video from YouTube.

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.