Hong Kong Beat Swings Sixties Hong Kong – Side 4

Side 4 Swinging Sixties Hong Kong – Yeah Baby! Featuring a number of great self-penned tracks as well as some excellent covers and rearrangements –

  • First off, ‘God of Song’ Sam Hui penned Merseybeat influenced ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ from his band, The Lotus. Strains of the Beatles’ ‘All My Loving’ along with some very nice close harmonies and Georgesque guitar licks
  • Joe Junior’s turn for a self-penned offering ‘A Letter from Susan’. The opening made me think of The Who in their Tommy era, then it bops along as a nice US bubblegum pop tune
  • Teddy Robin and the Playboys cover the Monkees huge hit ‘I’m A Believer’, with Teddy doing a fair impression of Davy Jones. This guy could really twist his voice around different styles
  • Next is a beautiful summer-of-love like beat ballad from the Sons of Han. I wish I could find out more about this band other than just that they recorded on the Diamond Label, and wish I could track down this tune. It’s an absolutely stunning effort if it was a locally penned tune. The song information credits “S. G. Tebbutt” but that draws a blank with all kinds of search combinations, as does the song title ‘Suspended Love Affair’ – the only search hit being by the Sons of Han. Deserves much more recognition
  • Michael Remedios and the Mystics offer a really good cover of soul singer Garnet Mimms’ upbeat gospel-fused 1968 Verve label hit ‘Stop and Think It Over’. Remedios really had a good voice for soul music, sounding a little like Jackie Wilson in this performance
  • Kong Ling (江玲) smashes the 1950s country ballad by Les Paul and Mary Ford ‘I Really Don’t Want to Know’ into the swinging sixties with a great swinging chacha-tinged rearrangement. Elvis also did a fine cover of this tune but doesn’t get close to the infectiousness of Kong Ling’s foot-tapping, finger-snapping and head bobbing version. Don’t forget to catch the slick piano work on this track
  • D’Topnotes go Hawaiian with ‘Love to Dance (Hala Hala)’, a lau-inspired-chacha-esque song written by their father, legendary Shanghai and Hong Kong band-leader, Lobing Samson. Guaranteed to get the aunties at the wedding dinner on the dancefloor!
  • A bluesy cover of the Rolling Stones ‘Heart of Stone’  from The Downbeats, with a decent Jagger-style vocal and nice guitar work that I reckon would make Keith Richards take a listen. Couldn’t find out much about this talented Filipino band who seemed to like to cover Stone’s tracks, perhaps because lead singer, Pepe Smith, was known as ‘Mick Jagger of the Philippines’
  • Another band with little available information about them, Mod East, offer a self-penned tune ‘Stranger to Love’ that has some rhythmic and vocal echoes with Peter and Gordon’s Lennon-McCartney penned ‘World Without Love’
  • Another self-penned track, this one from Anders Nelsson with his band The Inspirations. Some nice piano work, drum fills and use of fuzz box on this US garage-rock style tune ‘What Can You Do’
  • The Fabulous Echoes, fronted here by their Sri Lankan singer Cliff Foenander, who delivers a perfect vocal on this cover of 1961 R&B doowop classic by The Jarmels ‘A Little Bit of Soap’
  • Final offering is perhaps the cream, and one of the few Hong Kong sixties self-penned tunes in my personal all-time favourites playlist, a dreamy Beach Boys-inspired surf ballad with lush harmonies penned by Denis Yu of Joe Chen’s band The Menace, titled ‘On The Isles’. This is definitely one to put on repeat, slip on the shades and grab a cool drink or two while relaxing next to the lapping waves

Side 1 can be found here, Side 2 here and Side 3 here

When I arrived in Hong Kong in the second half of the 70s, Cantopop – with artists such as Sam Hui, George Lam, Roman Tam, Teresa Teng – was already rising as a genre of Cantonese-language western-influenced 1960s soft-pop music – think The Carpenters, Fifth Dimension and so on. Even the ‘harder’ sounding songs were softer rock from the likes of the Beatles – ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Michelle’ are probably still two of the most requested, and murdered, songs in any karaoke lounge with anybody over 40. It seemed the one sole rock band of any popularity at the time was Beyond, singing a kind of Hong Kong garage rock that took its influences from American rock and folk music – perhaps not surprising with the influence of US rock music during Hong Kong’s time as an R&R spot during the Vietnam war.

In the 80s the genre exploded of course with the arrival on the scene of huge artists like Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, Leon Lai, Prudence Liew, Priscilla Chan, Sandy Lam, and others, adopting musical influences as wide as disco, folk, rock and synthpop. And so the Golden Age of Cantopop was born. I have two other blogcasts highlighting music from these eras can be found in the blogcast archives.

It came as a bit of a surprise when I started to DJ here in the 80s and began to dig more into the oldies from Hong Kong’s music past to satisfy older local clients. While cha cha and ballroom styles were still popular at that time with most people over the age of about 30 – and still are – I discovered that Hong Kong in the 60s had enjoyed a swinging and rocking scene, incorporating styles from UK beat music, US garage rock and psychedelic folk, alongside sweet Mandarin songs from the 40s and 50s and swinging jazz updated to the modern style.

The cause of this was of course influence from overseas on one side. Hong Kong had a huge Chinese diaspora all around the World – and you can still find village elders who’ve returned after decades overseas speaking with a Liverpool, Essex, or New Jersey accent – and on the other side there had been a massive influx of people from all nationalities and race decamping from post-war China. This brought to Hong Kong a number of highly accomplished Chinese ballroom singers, Macanese and Filipino band leaders and musicians, all coming together in the melting pot that was Hong Kong at the time.

While a lot of recordings from the time have been sadly lost, the sterling work of RTHK DJ Ray Cordeiro, who holds the record as the World’s longest working DJ and was a key mover in getting these artists and their music onto the radio in the 60s, and later entertainment impresario Anders Nelsson who grew up in Hong Kong, has helped keep these names and their music alive so that there’s a rich vein to tap into, so much that Hong Kong Beat’s tribute has been split into three 30ish-minute long sides.

Acknowledgement to Long Distance Voyager for fascinating insights about the Fabulous Echoes

Hong Kong Beat Swings Sixties Hong Kong – Side 3

Side 3 keeps swinging with more of Hong Kong’s 60’s English Pop Wave, featuring

  • The Anders Nelsson Group. Anders Nelsson was also the founder and member of 60s bands The Kontinentals and later 60s group The Inspirations. A US born Swedish national who grew up in China and Hong Kong, Nelsson possibly represented the eclectic mix of nations and music styles that defined the English music scene in Hong Kong at that time more than anybody else, and he later became a leading local music and film industry figure, and music impresario. He was one of the few musicians to be writing his own materials in those days but is probably better known to most Hong Kong people as a movie and TV ‘baddie’
  • Tony Myatt, a 1960s Hong Kong radio DJ, covers Jeb Stuart’s 1962 R&B twister ‘I Betcha Gonna Like It’. Tony went on to host radio shows in UK including BBC Radio 2’s ‘Nightflight’ and Capitol Radio’s ‘Topless Tone’
  • Kong Ling with an infectious twist version of Eartha Kitt’s ‘Somebody Bad Stole De Wedding Bell’
  • The Fabulous Echoes with a nice swinging soul version of  Barbara George’s 1960 US R&B number 1 and Billboard number 3 hit ‘I Know’
  • A soulful ballad rendition of José Feliciano’s Tom Springfield-penned song ‘Adios Amour’ by Macanese/Hong Kong band The Mystics
  • Fabulously smouldering version of Them’s ‘Gloria’ by Teddy Robin & The Playboys, with Teddy doing a passable impression of Van Morrison
  • Danny Diaz & The Checkmates cover the Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs rock n roller ‘Ring Dang Do’
  • The Satellites with a nice swingy cha cha-ish version of Ray Charles’s ballad ‘No One To Cry To’. Can’t find anything else about this band unfortunately
  • Hong Kong family group of four sisters and one brother, The Reynettes, with a high energy live recording of Fontella Bass’ ‘Rescue Me’. You can really feel the energy on the dance floor with this one
  • The D’Topnotes, possibly the best known Filipino family music group of Hong Kong 60s, with a skating and back-dropping cover of Jackie Lee’s northern soul classic ‘The Duck’, complete with cheesy sound effects
  • Joe Junior with his second band the Side Effects and a swinging cover of Pete Seeger’s anti-war folk anthem, made famous by Peter, Paul and Mary, and the Kingston Trio
  • Hong Kong British singer Marilyn Palmer covers Shirley Bassey’s ‘Kiss Me, Honey Honey, Kiss Me’. Sung in a kind of Connie Francis style, it was a huge local hit for her, exactly hitting the ever-popular Hong Kong penchant for cha cha and still gets enthusiastic cha-cha-heels out on the floor even today.

Side 1 can be found here and Side 2 here

When I arrived in Hong Kong in the second half of the 70s, Cantopop – with artists such as Sam Hui, George Lam, Roman Tam, Teresa Teng – was already rising as a genre of Cantonese-language western-influenced 1960s soft-pop music – think The Carpenters, Fifth Dimension and so on. Even the ‘harder’ sounding songs were softer rock from the likes of the Beatles – ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Michelle’ are probably still two of the most requested, and murdered, songs in any karaoke lounge with anybody over 40. It seemed the one sole rock band of any popularity at the time was Beyond, singing a kind of Hong Kong garage rock that took its influences from American rock and folk music – perhaps not surprising with the influence of US rock music during Hong Kong’s time as an R&R spot during the Vietnam war.

In the 80s the genre exploded of course with the arrival on the scene of huge artists like Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, Leon Lai, Prudence Liew, Priscilla Chan, Sandy Lam, and others, adopting musical influences as wide as disco, folk, rock and synthpop. And so the Golden Age of Cantopop was born. I have two other blogcasts highlighting music from these eras can be found in the blogcast archives.

It came as a bit of a surprise when I started to DJ here in the 80s and began to dig more into the oldies from Hong Kong’s music past to satisfy older local clients. While cha cha and ballroom styles were still popular at that time with most people over the age of about 30 – and still are – I discovered that Hong Kong in the 60s had enjoyed a swinging and rocking scene, incorporating styles from UK beat music, US garage rock and psychedelic folk, alongside sweet Mandarin songs from the 40s and 50s and swinging jazz updated to the modern style.

The cause of this was of course influence from overseas on one side. Hong Kong had a huge Chinese diaspora all around the World – and you can still find village elders who’ve returned after decades overseas speaking with a Liverpool, Essex, or New Jersey accent – and on the other side there had been a massive influx of people from all nationalities and race decamping from post-war China. This brought to Hong Kong a number of highly accomplished Chinese ballroom singers, Macanese and Filipino band leaders and musicians, all coming together in the melting pot that was Hong Kong at the time.

While a lot of recordings from the time have been sadly lost, the sterling work of RTHK DJ Ray Cordeiro, who holds the record as the World’s longest working DJ and was a key mover in getting these artists and their music onto the radio in the 60s, and later entertainment impresario Anders Nelsson who grew up in Hong Kong, has helped keep these names and their music alive so that there’s a rich vein to tap into, so much that Hong Kong Beat’s tribute has been split into three 30ish-minute long sides.

With thanks for much information from Hong Kong English Pop Music Blogspot

Hong Kong Beat Swings Sixties Hong Kong – Part 2

Side 2 of this offering of music from the English Pop Wave of Hong Kong Swinging Sixties, brings a mix of tunes infused with rock, pop, beat, and surf sound influences, featuring –

  • Another offering from The Zoundcrackers – an early success for Macanese music, TV and movie artist José Maria Rodriguez, known by his stage name as Joe Junior, here with a soft cover of ‘Once Upon A Time’ originally by Boston counter-culture group Teddy and The Pandas
  • Joe Junior & The Side Effects. This was Joe Junior’s band after the break up of the Zoundcrackers, here with a jangly beat cover of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich’s ‘We’ve Got a Good Thing Going’
  • The Magic Carpet. Can’t find much information about this sixties sunshine pop band, other than Uncle Ray has fortunately included them on his 101 collection of Hong Kong sixties hits, with this cover of The April Fools ‘Things Go Better With You’
  • Here covering Australian beat group The Easybeats ‘It’s So Easy’, Danny Diaz & The Checkmates, were a Filipino rock ‘band of brothers’ – Danny, Romeo and Rudy and brother-in-law Michael) – on the Diamond label and were highly successful on the Hong Kong scene after beating all other bands in the ’69 Levis ‘Battle of the Bands’ challenge. The Diaz family were all musicians and had a huge influence not only on the local music scene in the 50s and 60s but also on international pop music. As told by Danny Diaz, in the 1950s there was a soldier called Terry Parsons stationed in Hong Kong who was always getting into trouble sneaking out of barracks to hang out and sing with the Diaz family. That soldier won Radio Rediffusion’s Talent Time show several times and, at the urging of radio DJ Ray Cordeiro and the Diaz family, would take singing more seriously. After returning to the UK where, once his break came, that soldier would become known as one of the best if not the most perfect natural baritone voices of the time, Matt Monro. Thank you to the Diaz family for your influence!
  • Another superb song from Mona Fong (Li Menglan [李夢蘭]), swinging ‘Wooden Heart’ in a way that just made Elvis’ version sound, well, wooden
  • Kong Ling (江玲[Kong Yan Lai]) was one of the “Sweethearts of Hong Kong” singing in the Kowloon nightclubs of the 50s, and later recording with The Fabulous Echoes, here covering The Crickets ‘More Than I Can Say’ with a swinging cha cha style sung in English and Mandarin lyrics
  • Another from the Fabulous Echoes this time with Tang Kee-chan performing a Hong Kong take on Pat Boone’s ‘Speedy Gonzalez’ suitably modified to Hong Kong life with ‘Speedys’ part sung in Cantonese. Tang, known as “The King of Comedy”, was a well-known Hong Kong comedic actor and radio personality
  • Instrumental surf-sound influenced and garage rock self-penned TV show theme tune ‘Norman’s Fancy’ from Teddy Robin & The Playboys
  • The Menace were another HK Diamond Records band led by musician Joe Chen, another who went on to become a huge influence on the music scene in the Cantopop era, here with a self-penned sunshine pop song ‘Strawberry Sundae’
  • Another offering from The Mystics fronted by Michael Remedios, a psychedelic soulful version of New Zealander John Rowles’ epic power ballad ‘One Day’, with some lovely organ fills instead of the original orchestration and a highly creditable vocal by Remedios who was regarded as one of the top male singers in Hong Kong at the time
  • A swinging uptempo cover of the Mamas & Papas’ California surf-sound song ‘You Baby’ from the D’Topnotes
  • The Reynettes were a Hong Kong family group of four sisters and one brother, who were popular performing at many of the nightclubs of the time and in Singapore, and gave us maybe one of the most endearing – yet, to some, jarring – self-penned theme tunes celebrating sixties Hong Kong ‘Kowloon, Hong Kong’

Part 1 can be found here

When I arrived in Hong Kong in the second half of the 70s, Cantopop – with artists such as Sam Hui, George Lam, Roman Tam, Teresa Teng – was already rising as a genre of Cantonese-language western-influenced 1960s soft-pop music – think The Carpenters, Fifth Dimension and so on. Even the ‘harder’ sounding songs were softer rock from the likes of the Beatles – ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Michelle’ are probably still two of the most requested, and murdered, songs in any karaoke lounge with anybody over 40. It seemed the one sole rock band of any popularity at the time was Beyond, singing a kind of Hong Kong garage rock that took its influences from American rock and folk music – perhaps not surprising with the influence of US rock music during Hong Kong’s time as an R&R spot during the Vietnam war.

In the 80s the genre exploded of course with the arrival on the scene of huge artists like Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, Leon Lai, Prudence Liew, Priscilla Chan, Sandy Lam, and others, adopting musical influences as wide as disco, folk, rock and synthpop. And so the Golden Age of Cantopop was born. I have two other blogcasts highlighting music from these eras can be found in the blogcast archives.

It came as a bit of a surprise when I started to DJ here in the 80s and began to dig more into the oldies from Hong Kong’s music past to satisfy older local clients. While cha cha and ballroom styles were still popular at that time with most people over the age of about 30 – and still are – I discovered that Hong Kong in the 60s had enjoyed a swinging and rocking scene, incorporating styles from UK beat music, US garage rock and psychedelic folk, alongside sweet Mandarin songs from the 40s and 50s and swinging jazz updated to the modern style.

The cause of this was of course influence from overseas on one side. Hong Kong had a huge Chinese diaspora all around the World – and you can still find village elders who’ve returned after decades overseas speaking with a Liverpool, Essex, or New Jersey accent – and on the other side there had been a massive influx of people from all nationalities and race decamping from post-war China. This brought to Hong Kong a number of highly accomplished Chinese ballroom singers, Macanese and Filipino band leaders and musicians, all coming together in the melting pot that was Hong Kong at the time.

While a lot of recordings from the time have been sadly lost, the sterling work of RTHK DJ Ray Cordeiro, who holds the record as the World’s longest working DJ and was a key mover in getting these artists and their music onto the radio in the 60s, and later entertainment impresario Anders Nelsson who grew up in Hong Kong, has helped keep these names and their music alive so that there’s a rich vein to tap into, so much that Hong Kong Beat’s tribute has been split into three 30ish-minute long sides.

With thanks for much information from Hong Kong English Pop Music Blogspot and acknowledgement to the 2019 ABC-CBN documentary project On the Record: An Instrumental Hong Kong Documentary

Hong Kong Beat Raising Awareness About Our Home On Earth Day 2022

Many artists have written songs about how wonderful our planet is, many have written about the dangers it faces from human action and conflicts.

Again this year, Hong Kong Beat presents a collection of songs about our home hoping that these messages will reach out.

Hong Kong Beat’s homage to the humble cowbell

“I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell!”

In uttering that line during the April 8 2000 epic Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Will Ferrell’s fictional take on the recording of Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”, Christopher Walken set in motion a super-meme that has been used in everything from TV shows and movies, animation films, charity events, to online games. Its use has become so widespread that Walken has bemoaned audiences shouting out “needs more cowbell” during his stage shows, and Ferrell has commented that he thinks it has probably ruined Walken’s life. Blue Oyster Cult also weighed in saying that they loved the skit and it has probably lessened the eerie nature of the original track.

According to Ferrell the skit was inspired when, hearing the cowbell played during the song, he wondered “what kind of life does that person have?”. Despite the widespread popularity of the meme, the song in fact has a very muted use of the instrument that was almost a staple of rock music in the 70s. Even the band members were unhappy with its use, with drummer Albert Bouchard – who, despite contrary claims, was the cowbell player – saying that they thought it sounded “like crap” and, in a similarity to the skit, it was their producer – David Lucas, not the skit’s ‘The Bruce Dickinson’ – who insisted on including it. It was kept in only after heavy modification with tape and being played with a timpani mallet to deaden the sound so it actually sounds more like a wood block than a cowbell. To me that adds to the humour as it parodies the prominent use of the percussion instrument in so many other songs of the time, and since.

So in homage to the SNL skit, the meme and BOC’s genre defining song, Hong Kong Beat offers this set for rockers who have the fever!

Hong Kong Beat ends the year with a Retro Swing party!

Ever since people began going to Prohibition-era speakeasies and dance halls, a tune with a swinging beat has never failed to get the feet moving and the fingers snapping.

Since the revival of swing in the 1980s by big bands like Royal Crown Revue, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Cherry-Poppin’ Daddies, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, younger musicians, DJs and producers have been inspired to dive into the vast catalogue of music from the past 90 years, combining it with hip hop, house and EDM, even Eastern European folk and klezmer music as electro-swing.

Tunes as diverse as charlsteson and ragtime classics, Latin mambos and tangoes, jazz staples, lindy hop, boogie woogie, and even 60s gogo, have been reworked, remixed, refreshed, and had electronic tricks and ballsy bass tracks added, to excite new generations of discos and nightclubs goers.

Hong Kong Beat presents an hour of electro-swing from a recent retro swing party.

Jazz… Nice.

 

Cantopop All-stars 80s Dance Party with Hong Kong Beat wedding and party disco

Music in Hong Kong in the 1960s was mostly a choice between Chinese folk, and western pop and rock from the likes of the Beatles, the Carpenters, and such like.

Then, in the 70s, the advent of what was to be termed ‘Cantopop’, Cantonese language songs, mostly written for the city’s burgeoning TV and film industry, brought new stars, as well as crossovers from traditional Chinese music and opera, to the popular market.

Most songs in the 70s were still strongly influenced by pop and folk, as ballads or mid-tempo two-step, jive, and cha cha, however the end of the decade saw the birth of music for a younger generation, the ‘late boomers’, who demanded dance music like the disco, synth pop, and hi-nrg of the West.

Many of the songs were covers of Western hits, but there was creativity and showmanship among the talent as well, and this created new idols, leading to the Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop, and more Queens than you could shake a sceptre at.

Here are just some of the hot tunes Hong Kong Beat played back then.

 

Hong Kong Beat wedding and party DJ wishes all my Irish friends, followers and clients a great St Patrick’s Day!

“May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow,

And may trouble avoid you, wherever you go.”

Have a great St Patrick’s day listening to this selection of great rock, pop and reeling tunes from some of the Emerald Isle’s finest artists.

Hong Kong Beat wedding and party disco celebrating International Women’s Day with some R&B and dance music

This year, International Women’s Day has perhaps never had more relevance.

Hong Kong Beat expressing support for all women resisting and speaking out against harassment, abuse, neglect, discrimination.

Come on guys, if somebody treated you the way some men treat women, you’d floor them.

Show respect.

Hong Kong Beat

James Brown sang “it is a man’s world”, asserting things like ‘man made the car, the train, electric light, the boat, the ark’…

Unfortunately some men stop thinking at that point, as proof of their supremacy, but James went on to say “it would be nothing, nothing, not one little thing, without a women or a girl.”

He was right, but only to a degree, because, without a woman, none of us would be here. Period.

Men, this is the 21st century. It really is time for us to cherish and respect womankind as an equal.

Wishing all women a happy and hopefully fulfilling International Women’s Day and, although I know there are many parts of the World where this means nothing at all, just wishing that at least one more man will find enlightenment towards our better half.

(Dedicated to my dear wife and wonderful daughter)

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Hong Kong Beat wedding and events DJ wishes all a Happy Year of The Dog!

February 2018 marks the start year of the Earth Dog in the Chinese almanac bringing with it masculine energy, an outgoing and fun-loving vibe, and maybe even getting a little reckless…

So what better way to celebrate such a year with Hong Kong Beat than a mix of some heavy rocking and belting tunes about dogs, and well, their canine cousins.

Kung Hei Fat Choy, and wishing all a healthy, prosperous and successful Year of the Dog!