Well, before the dances begin, so to speak, I would like to sincerely and deeply thank a reader of this blog who was so kind to offer me the help I needed so much, in order to properly present this and other releases from the Far East on these pages... I suppose you're reading this Brian, so THANK YOU!!!, this post is dedicated to you.
So, after a long break, it's time to feature another nice instrumental album released at the end of the '60s by New Wave Record Co. (新風) in Hong Kong. I can't almost believe than more than eighteen months are passed since I took care of NWLP 10, time really flies... Anyway, in the meantime I suddendly realised that New Wave was probably a sublabel of well known Malaysian label Life Records (麗風)... Can anyone please confirm this supposition of mine?
As with most of the label's output, the exact release date for this LP catalogued as NWLP 11 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 this album contains the title-track from 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 "梁日昭表演口琴音樂 - 一路順風" (or "Liang Re Zhao Plays Harmonica Music - Safe Travels") was released in 1969 too.
Liang Re Zhao (梁日昭) performing live in 1969
Liang Re Zhao (梁日昭), also known as Yat Chiu Leung, Y.C. Leung and Peter Leung, was born in 1922 in the Guangdong Province, China, and spent his youth in Shanghai. As a grown man, besides his activity as a music teacher, he was part of The Shanghai-Sino Harmonica Society, and became a popular performer on local radio stations.
In 1947 he moved to Hong Kong, set up the Musaphone Harmonica Society and produced his own brand of harmonica under the name "VOCO". With Musaphone he promoted all kinds of harmonicas, the traditional type (also known as the tremolo harmonica), the chromatic type, as well as melodicas. As part of his dedication to this instrument, he taught in schools, organized harmonica bands and promoted music on radio and TV stations.
During the late '50s he brought to life the Leung Yat Chiu's Big Band along with friends and family members; in 1957 they made their debut on Rediffusion Television, the very first cable television station in Hong Kong.
In the early '60s he hosted a popular radio program entitled Harmonica Music, which usually aired on sunday morning. During the years he also served many times as a judge in music contests, both in Hong Kong and China, and was featured as one of the main accompanists on many records released by famous artists of the time on the Pathé label. Starting from the late '60s he has released a few harmonica music albums credited to his own name,
Liang Re Zhao has pushed tremolo harmonica to its limit and has composed a few titles especially for his beloved instrument, including the famous "農家樂" (The Happy Farmers, available here courtesy of YouTube); he taught in many schools until the last day of his life, which sadly occourred in 1999.
Today he is best remembered for his teaching philosophy, which advocated equal opportunities for students of both sexes at a time when general education for girls - and especially music education - was still discouraged.
The backing duties on this album are performed by 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 '70s, usually feature a prominent guitar sound that has spawned a lot of imitators.
"Harmonica Music - Safe Travels" (口琴音樂 - 一路順風) contains the following tracks:
01. 情人的眼淚 [Lover's Tears] (4:11)
02. 遙遠寄相思 [Sending Sadness From Afar] (2:40)
03. 可愛的馬 [A Cute Horse] (1:53)
04. 清明的月 [The Moon at Qing Ming] (2:19)
05. 情難守 [The Difficulty of Guarding Love] (2:31)
06. 一路順風 [Safe Travels] (2:52)
07. 我還是永遠愛著你 [I Will Still Love You Forever] (2:06)
08. 一吻定情 [One Kiss To Mark Our Love] (2:15)
09. 我在你左右 [I'm By Your Side] (3:00)
10. 負心的人 [Heartless Person] (2:11)
11. 水長流 [Water Flows Long] (3:07)
12. 幾度花落時 [When the Flowers Fall] (2:34)
All tracks were remastered from vinyl in April 2015 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files. Both formats offer complete printable 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:
"情人的眼淚" (Lover's Tears) was the signature number of 潘秀瓊 (Poon Sow Keng) and was included in the original soundtrack of "小雲雀" (The Lark), a 1964 movie produced by the Shaw Brothers; here's her own version and a clip from the movie. The song was later performed by many singers, including 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, here) among others.
"遙遠寄相思" (Sending Sadness From Afar) was popularized during the '40s by 張伊雯 (Zhang Yi Wen, here); as usual it was later reprised by other singers, including 陳芬蘭 (Chen Fen Lan, here) and 鳳飛飛 (Feng Fei-Fei, here).
"可愛的馬" (A Cute Horse) is an evergreen adapted with Mandarin and Cantonese lyrics from an original Japanese song; it is often found in the repertoire of many male singers, including Taiwanese 郭金發 (Guo Jin Fa, here) and 葉啟田 (Yeh Chi-tien, here).
"清明的月" (The Moon at Qing Ming) was first recorded in Shanghai by 吴莺音 (Wu Ying Yin, here), one of the Seven Great Singing Stars of China. 黄清元 (Wong Ching Yian), who is nothing less than a legend in the Singapore and Malaysia music scene, also recorded his own version.
"情難守" (The Difficulty of Guarding Love) is another very old song originally performed by 張伊雯 (Zhang Yi Wen, here) which has become a sort of standard; you can listen to a lot of different versions on YouTube, including the one performed by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong, here).
"一路順風" (Safe Travels), the track that gives the title to the collection of instrumentals presented on this album, originates from a Japanese song which was given new lyrics. I wasn't able to find information about the original performer, but you can listen to a version recorded by 鳳飛飛 (Feng Fei-Fei) in 1975 here.
Am I dreaming or the intro of "我還是永遠愛著你" (I Will Still Love You Forever) has something in common with the bassline of Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"?!? Anyway, this is an old Taiwanese folk love song which during the years has been performed by many famous female singers including 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong), 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng), 湯蘭花 (Tang Lang Hwa), 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau) and 陳芬蘭 (Chen Fen Lan).
The original version of "一吻定情" (One Kiss To Mark Our Love) was adapted, once again, from a Japanese song recorded by singer / actor 橋 幸夫 (Yukio Hashi) in 1964. 黃菱 (Wong Ling) performed the original Mandarin version in 1967 which was later covered by 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau) in 1970.
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 Heartless Person), a popular movie which launched 汤兰花 (Tang Lan Hua) career: here's her version of the song.
"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 by 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong) and 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau).
"水長流" (Water Flows Long) originates from a 1959 Japanese song entitled "大川ながし" by 美空ひばり (Misora Hibari). It was later translated into a Taiwanese song in 1967, "快樂的農家" and recorded by 陳芬蘭 (Chen Fen Lan). The song was also recorded by 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng), 姚蘇蓉 (Yao Su Rong), 劉鳳屏 (Pancy Lau, available here) and many others.
The album ends with "幾度花落時" (When the Flowers Fall), a song recorded, among others, by 鄧麗君 (Teresa Teng, available here) and 凌雲 (Rita Chao, here).
Here's some of my favourite tracks taken from this release, please enjoy "情人的眼淚" (Lovers Tears), "我還是永遠愛著你" (I Will Still Love You Forever), "一吻定情" (One Kiss To Mark Our Love), "負心的人" (Heartless Person) and "水長流" (Water Flows Long)!
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, NWLP 9 and NWLP10.
A few more information about Liang Re Zhao (梁日昭), The Apollo (太陽神樂隊) and the New Wave Record Co. (新風) catalogue is available here: