It's time for another cool and groovy instrumental album here on Stereo Candies. "Moon Stars" (星星 月亮) was released during the late 60s by New Wave Record Co. (新風) in Hong Kong; if you follow this blog, by now you should be familiar with this label since I posted a few of its previous releases: NWLP 5, NWLP 6 and NWLP 8.
I can't provide an exact release date for this LP catalogued as NWLP 9, but other releases by the same label bearing a later catalogue number - which are proven to have been published in 1969 - clearly place this album sometimes earlier, probably in 1968.
This LP is credited to The Apollo (太陽神樂隊), an Hong Kong prolific studio band that reached a cult status in the region during the late 60s / early 70s. Their name has probably been borrowed from the Teisco / Kawai manufactured Apollo model guitar from that time period.
They recorded a lot of instrumental albums, a few of them for New Wave Record Co. (新風) and most of them for Life Records (麗風); they were also featured as a backing band on countless releases by popular singers like Teresa Teng (鄧麗君), Pancy Lau (劉鳳屏), Frances Yip (葉麗儀), Stella Chee (奚秀蘭), etc. It should be noted that in the early days of the label, they were the only available band at Life Records headquarters, so this comes as no surprise...
Their instrumental records, often arranged by band leader Oscar Young (楊道火), a key-figure in the Hong Kong / Singapore music scene of the late 60s / early 70, usually feature a prominent guitar sound that has spawned a lot of imitators.
The album comes in one of the most gorgeous and promising covers that I ever encountered in a lifetime of crate digging... Unfortunately, as often happens in these cases, the music isn't up to the level of the sleeve, but anyway "Moon Stars" remains a more than decent example of its kind.
Labeled as a guitar music album, it mainly features the electric guitar as solo instrument, but as usual the organ is another important part of The Apollo recipe: it provides accompaniment and counterpoints that are mostly recorded on separate tracks and panned on the far sides of the mix to reach for that early days massive stereo effect.
Thanks to OCR technology I was able to import the original texts and tried to obtain an English translation using on-line tools. The results are not perfect - to say the least - but they give more than a rough idea about the song titles.
By the way, I would be really grateful if someone could help me with this release: I need a correct translation of the songs titles. If you can help and share your knowledge please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you so much!
"Moon Stars" (星星 月亮) contains the following tracks:
01. 一吻定情 [One Kiss To Mark Our Love] (2:04)
02. 偷心的人 [The Man Who Stole My Heart] (2:27)
03. 第二梦 [The Second Dream] (2:32)
04. 水長流 [Water Always Flows] (3:35)
05. 山前山后百花开 [When the Flowers Bloom On Mount Qian Shan] (2:09)
06. 知道不知道 [Do You Know or Do You Not Know?] (2:45)
07. 茶叶青 [Green Tea] (2:02)
08. 初一到十五 [The First To the Fifteenth] (1:31)
09. 故乡之歌 [The Hometown Song] (2:21)
10. 抛红豆 [Scattering Red Seeds] (2:16)
11. 恨不相逢未嫁时 [I Wish We Met Before Getting Married] (2:43)
12. 星星.月亮 [The Stars, the Moon] (2:11)
All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in December 2012 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files, both formats include completely restored PDF artwork. Please have a look at the comments for the download links.
Here's what I discovered searching information about the music included on this release:
The original version of "一吻定情" (It Began With a Kiss) is a Japanese song recorded by singer / actor 橋 幸夫 (Yukio Hashi, available here) in 1964. 黃菱 (Wong Ling) performed the original Mandarin version, that you can listen here, in 1967 and 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau) also performed a superb version of the song on her "劉鳳屏之歌" album in 1970; I strongly encourage you to check this other post of mine.
"偷心的人" (The Man Who Stole My Heart) was recorded in 1968 by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong) in her album "偷心的人" which also starred 電星樂隊 (The Telstar Combo) as backing band.
"第二梦" (The Second Dream) is another song recorded by Japanese actress and singer 李香蘭 (Shirley Yamaguchi) in 1944; the original is available here.
"水長流" (Water Always Flows) was first recorded in 1969, it originated from a 1959 Japanese song popularized by 美空ひばり (Misora Hibari). The song was also performed by 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau, available here), 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, here) and 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng, here).
The original version of "山前山後百花开" (When the Flowers Bloom On Mount Qian Shan) was recorded in 1962 by 劉韻 (Liu Yun, available here). The song was also later covered by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, available here), 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau, here), and 奚秀兰 (Stella Chee, here).
"知道不知道" (Do You Know or Do You Not Know?) was performed by many female singers including 劉韻 (Liu Yun, available here), 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, here) and 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng, here).
"茶叶青" (Green Tea) was originally recorded by 華怡保 (Ruby Wah) in 1961. The song was also later performed by 張露 (Chang Loo, available here), 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng, here) and 鳳飛飛 (Feng Fei Fei, here).
"初一到十五" (The First To the Fifteenth) was originally recorded in 1965 by 劉韻 (Liu Yun, available here). ) for the movie "落馬湖" (Gun Fight at Lo Ma Lake). This song was originally a ShanXi Ballad / 山西民謠 .
"故乡之歌" (The Hometown Song) was one of the signature songs of 林沖 (Lam Chung, available here). Once again, this number originates from a Japanese song; it was also performed earlier by 張露 (Chang Loo, available here),
I wasn't able to find any relevant information about "抛红豆" (Scattering Red Seeds)... "恨不相逢未嫁时" (I Wish We Met Before Getting Married) was originally performed by 李香蘭 (Shirley Yamaguchi) in 1944; it's a poignant ballad lamenting about untimely love that came too late. It's a popular song covered by many artists, including the late 邓丽君 (Teresa Teng, available here).
The title-track "星星.月亮" (The Moon, the Stars) seems to be an original composition created by the band especially for this album, you can listen a preview clicking on the video here below.
A few more information about The Apollo (太陽神樂隊) and the New Wave Record Co. (新風) catalogue is available here:
In the next months I will post more Hong Kong/Taiwan/Singapore/etc. Pop/Instrumental records released in the late-60s / mid-70s. As usual, I would like to provide information about these releases and their authors.
Unfortunately the Internet doesn't offer much information - written in English - about these artists and this is the reason why I need help: if you can translate from Chinese to English please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you so much!
It's been difficult to obtain these vinyls, some are not in the best conditions and I'm currently working hard to properly master them. It seems that these artists and their music are poorly known in the West, of course it's a real pity because they made stunning releases: I'd like to share them with you with a proper presentation, hope that someone will be able to help.