Here comes another nice instrumental album from Hong Kong! "Apollo 10" (or "我在你左右", which can probably be translated as "I'm By Your Side") was released at the end of the '60s by New Wave Record Co. (新風).
As with most of the label's output, the exact release date for this LP catalogued as NWLP 10 is not written anywhere on the cover. Anyway, other releases by the same label bearing a later catalogue number are proven to have been published in 1969; moreover the album contains a few songs popularized by the movie "负心的人" (Jilted, or Heartless Person) which was a huge success in Hong Kong during the same year. So, proof is enough for me to easily guess that "Apollo 10" was released in 1969 too.
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.
Labeled as a guitar music album on the cover, "Apollo 10" (我在你左右) mainly features the electric guitar as solo instrument but, as usual in the Far-East instrumental albums of this period, the organ plays another important role in the arrangements, providing accompaniment and counterpoints that are often panned to 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!
"Apollo 10" (我在你左右) contains the following tracks:
01. 會情郎 [Beau] (2:22)
02. 我在你左右 [I'm By Your Side] (1:52)
03. 男人的眼淚 [Men's Tears] (2:43)
04. 他還是永在我心上 [You Will Remain In My Heart Forever] (2:37)
05. 養鴨人家 [Beautiful Duckling] (2:04)
06. 淡水河邊 [Tamsui River Edge] (2:46)
07. 負心的人 [Ungrateful People] (2:32)
08. 幾度花落時 [When the Flowers Fall] (1:40)
09. 母子淚 [Mother and Son] (3:00)
10. 關達拉美拉 [Guantanamera] (3:15)
11. 提起愛情煩惱多 [Love Brought More Troubles] (2:25)
12. 往日的舊夢 [Unforgettable Dreams] (2:23)
All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in September 2013 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 "會情郎" (Beau) was popularized by Chinese singer and dubbing artist 静婷 (Tsin Ting). According to Wikipedia, she is best known as the Marni Nixon of Hong Kong cinema: she dubbed many of Shaw Brothers' Huangmei Opera movies from the 1950s to the 1960s. Here's her version of the song.
The music of "我在你左右" (I'm By Your Side) originates from a Korean song entitled "샌프란시스코" (San Francisco) performed by singer 백설희 (Baek Seol Hui) in the '50s. The song had a great success in Hong Kong in 1969 when it was used in "负心的人" (Jilted, or Ungrateful People), a popular movie which launched 汤兰花 (Tang Lan Hua) career. Here's her version of the song and another version performed by 美黛 (Mei Dai).
"男人的眼淚" (Men's Tears) was originally performed by 黄清元 (Wong Ching Yian), who is nothing less than a living legend in the Singapore and Malaysia music scene.
"他還是永在我心上" (You Will Remain In My Heart Forever) is another song taken from the movie "负心的人" (Jilted, or Heartless Person); it is performed by 汤兰花 (Tang Lan Hua) in the tear-jerking finale sequence.
I guess that "養鴨人家" (Beautiful Duckling) could be the theme song from the 1965 popular movie of the same name starring 唐寶雲 (Tang Pao-Yun); I'm not completely sure about that, though... And I also guess that "淡水河邊" (Tamsui River Edge) is a Taiwanese song inspired by the river located in the Tamsui District in New Taipei, which is popular as a site for viewing the sun setting into the Taiwan Strait.
"負心的人" (Heartless Person) is the theme song from the movie of the same name discussed above. The original version was performed by 汤兰花 (Tang Lan Hua, available here); other versions were later performed, among others, by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, here) and 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau).
"幾度花落時" (Whispering To Ask Several Times, in lack of a better translation...) was performed by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, available here) in 1969 on her successful "今天不回家" (Don't Go Home Today) album.
The original version of "母子淚"(Mother and Son) was performed in 1969, once again, by 汤兰花 (Tang Lan Hua, available here); I wouldn't be surprised if also this song was taken from the soundtrack of "負心的人" (Ungrateful People), but I'm not sure about it.
...and now for something completely different, here comes no less than a version of "Guantanamera" (...translated into "關達拉美拉"...) complete with chorus... Well, this argues in favour of how popular on a global level was this song at the end of the '60s.
"提起愛情煩惱多" (Love Brought More Troubles) was popularized by 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng, available here) in 1968; the song was also performed later by other singers, including 張慧 (Cheung Wai, here).
"往日的舊夢" (Unforgettable Dreams) was originally performed by 美黛 (Mei Dai) sometimes in the '60s, you can listen to it here.
Here's some of my favourite tracks taken from "Apollo 10", please enjoy "會情郎", "我在你左右", "他還是永在我心上" and "負心的人"!
If you enjoyed this post, I'd like to remind you that I already dedicated to the New Wave Record Co. (新風) a few entries, here's the direct links for NWLP 5, NWLP 6, NWLP 8 and NWLP 9.
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.