Thursday, 26 May 2016


Jimi Tenor was born in 1965 as Lassi O. T. Lehto in Lahti, Finland. The resemblance to the youngest member of The Osmonds, Little Jimmy Osmond, earned him his nickname of Jimi in the early '70s.

Just like his older brother Marko, Jimi had a passion for music. He studied for many years at a music institute and can play flute, piano and saxophone; his skills were further implemented by his work experience as the saxophone player for various bands.

At 16 he was the youngest member of Pallosalama (Thunderball), an orchestra which used to tour Finland with a sort of Saturday night dance shows for older people. This act was very popular then and also appeared on the Syksyn Sävel (Melody of Autumn), a song contest on Finnish Television.

Later on he was part of the Pop-Rock group Himo (Lust) as a saxophone and keyboards player. In 1986 the band gained some success in the Finnish Rock Championships and released a self-titled album along with a few singles on the Amulet and Cityboy labels. Tenor was also responsible for the music and lyrics of a couple of the band's songs.

Other groups in which Jimi was involved in the mid-80s include The Cherry Pickers, Iloinen Poika Milloin (Happy Boy When) - a band founded by his brother - and... Shaman!

Jimi Tenor and His Shamans were founded during 1986; this new project was an experimental evolution of the more ordinary Rock band Shaman. At the time, Tenor had recently discovered the Industrial sound of Einstürzende Neubauten and Test Dept., and - as a twist of fate - had accepted a new job in a mayonnaise factory.

The group consisted of Ilkka Mattila (guitar), Toni Kuusisto (bass) Niklas Häggblom (trumpet), and Enver Hoxha (real name Hannu Mäkelä, atonal alt bass), with Tero Kling playing drums as an added member. Jimi was the lead singer, played tenor saxophone and - just like all the other members of the band - banged on empty oil barrels, a trademark of their sound both in studio and live.

Matti Knaapi, a graphic designer and inventor, allowed the band to embrace a more experimental sound helping Jimi to create special equipment in the form of self-built musical instruments bearing names like Vera (an automatic trombone), Sirkka (a man-sized mechanical drum machine), Melukone (a noise machine) and The Liberace (a peculiar-looking stainless steel object which is hard to describe).

In late 1987, after a series of concerts in Finland, Jimi Tenor and His Shamans debuted with their first single. "X-Rays / Still In Love" was released by the band on their own JTS / Shamans label with catalogue number JTS 2001, probably a reference to Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odissey" since the catalogue numbers of the other releases of their label hint at various science fiction movies and books . This release was the subject of a previous post here on Stereo Candies.

As the band's popularity grew, their second single "Closer / Some Fun" was published in early 1988 by Euros Records, which - according to the relevant Discogs entry - was a Finnish label specialised in Rock music active from 1983 until the early '90s. We also took care about this release some time ago...

In 1988 Euros also released "Total Capacity of 216,5 Litres", the band's debut album and the subject of this post. Before delving into it, once again here comes my most imploring request to the Finnish readers of this blog: I need your...

Finnish magazine Rumba included a feature about the band and a review of the aforementioned debut single in its November 1987 issue: I previously dedicated a post about it and, since that is probably one of the earliest features dedicated to His Majesty Jimi Tenor, I would be glad to include an English translation here on these pages, so that a wider public can enjoy it.

An high resolution scan and a .txt transcription of the feature/review are available for download here, if you can translate from Finnish to English and are willing to help, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you so much!!!

Jimi Tenor and His Shamans performing live, 1987

"Total Capacity of 216,5 Litres" contains the following tracks:

01. Wonderful Nightmare (2:32)
02. Closer (3:36)
03. Some Fun (1:50)
04. X-Rays (2:57)
05. Darling (3:48)
06. Trumpets of Poland (4:23)
07. New Antichrist (3:05)
08. Cowboy (4:22)
09. Blues (3:26)
10. Still In Love (3:28)
11. Thank You (3:11)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in May 2016 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with complete artwork reconstruction and printable PDF files.

Before burning this album on CD-R using the provided CUE file you must convert the original FLAC audio file to WAV format using an appropriate software. Please have a look here if you need some help.

As usual, please have a look at the comments for the download link.

Entitled after the peculiar characteristic of the beloved empty barrels which most of the band members play on the album, "Total Capacity of 216,5 Litres" was released by Euro Records in early 1988 with catalogue number SIN-1041. On the front cover the group is aptly portrayed wearing their simple black stage outfits, carrying barrels across an industrial site.

Side A begins with "Wonderful Nightmare, a perfect introduction to the band's Industrial madness, with lunatic tenor saxophone soloing and obstinate guitar/bass lines. The lyrics seems to be about a bad erotic dream.

"Closer" is quite intense and offers the usual band's trademark metal percussions coupled with an interesting horns arrangement; the refrain is infectious and somewhere in a parallel universe I'm quite sure this was a huge MTV hit!

The short "Some Fun" is a piercing noisy track which is almost autistic in its stride; alienating lyrics are sung above oppressive guitars and a steady beat, and the other elements are kept to a minimun, probably on purpose.

The aggressive "X-Rays" showcases assorted metal percussions, obsessive lyrics, funky guitar and horns, and a determined bassline. This piece aptly depicts the band's ability at combining Industrial paraphernalia with more accessible elements and was also issued as their first single the previous year.

"Darling" offers many Funky elements and musically is one of the most commercial tracks on the album, so to speak... The lyrics are about an aroused dancer afraid to disappoint his partner with too much... sexual libido!

While previous numbers were all written by Jimi Tenor, Side A ends with "Trumpets of Poland", a song co-written by Jimi and Hannu Mäkelä, whose object is not easy to decipher because of the distortion effect used on the voice... Oh, and I think I hear some keyboards here an there, even though nobody is credited for playing them in the liner notes.

Side B starts off with the straight beats of "New Antichrist", one of the most adrenaline-filled tracks on the album. Its simple and repetitive structure needs volume to be fully appreciated and I'm quite sure that for fans of the band this was a live favourite: I can imagine those mosh pits...

The calm but resolved "Cowboy" is for sure one of the best songs on the album. With its invoking New Wave atmosphere dictated by appropriate chord changes and instrumentation, it is a small masterpiece. I guess that the lyrics deal with insanity, but this could just be my interpretation... Nobody is credited for the beautiful piano lines, but I assume that the player is Jimi himself. Ilkka Mattila's guitar also deserves a special mention here.

Barrels percussion returns on "Blues" dominating the scene; while horns play their last cards and a guitar gets grated as usual in a simple and effective way, Jimi screams lyrics about submission...

With its walking bass, Jazzier feeling and overall more relaxed atmosphere, "Still In Love" wouldn't make a poor showing in one of the albums that Jimi Tenor released on Warp Records in the mid-90s, although something sinister is still floating around in the form of repeated background creakings. It was co-written with Ilkka Mattila... Cooool song!

The album ends with "Thank You", an instrumental track which was co-written by one Eero Lounela and, yes, I don't have a clue about him... Uhm...

The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album, enjoy "Darling", "Closer", "Cowboy", "X-Rays, "New Antichrist and "Still In Love"!

Here's the credits and personnel list of "Total Capacity of 216,5 Litres" as they appear on the inner sleeve of the album and on the centre labels:

Jimi Tenor (Lassi Lehto) - tenor sax, voice, barrels
Enver Hoxna (Hannu Mäkelä) - atonal alt bass, barrels
Niklas Häggblom - trumpet, barrels
Ilkka Mattila - guitar
Toni Kuusisto - bass
Tero Kling - drums, barrels

Recording engineer: Ari Vaahtera
Mixed and mastered at SC-Recording Studio by Ari Vaahtera and Jimi Tenor.

All tracks written by Jimi Tenor, except "Trumpets of Poland" by Hannu Mäkelä and Jimi Tenor, "Still In Love" by Ilkka Mattila and Jimi Tenor, and "Thank You" by Jimi Tenor and Eero Lounela.

Horn arrangements by Jimi Tenor, except "New Antichrist" and "Blues" by Markku Nikula and Jimi Tenor.

Photography: Jouko Lehtola
Cover: Jimi Tenor

Thank you: Eero Lounela
Special thanks to: Matti Knaapi, Pieni, Ari Vaahtera and Ingrid Disk


As a bonus and courtesy of YouTube, here's a rare clip of the band performing "Objects On the Table" live in Helsinki in 1988. As far as I know this track is not included in any of their official releases, enjoy!

More information about Jimi Tenor is available here:

If you have any other useful information about this post or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

RITA CHAO (凌雲) "THE BOY NEXT DOOR - 我不能沒有你" (1967)

Rita Chao, best known to her Mandarin-speaking fans as 凌雲 (…Ling Yun, Ling Ying or Seow Mei-Mei, depending on the source of information you'd prefer to rely on…), was born in Singapore, probably sometimes in 1949 or early 1950; she grew up there, where she received her education.

Anyway, according to some reports, her family originated from the city of Hangzhou (杭州), which is located in the Zhejiang Province (浙江省) in Eastern China, not so far from Shanghai (上海).

Rita, the youngest of six children with three brothers and two sisters, started singing at the tender age of 8 and was already working as a singer and actress at 14. At school she was not very interested in her academic studies, instead she excelled with performance arts: singing and acting.

Luckily enough, she was born in a family of artists: her grandmother, Zhao Yongchun (趙永春), was a known Chinese Opera singer, and her mother Jing Yu Xian (荊玉仙) was a Chinese Opera singer too. Growing up in this environment allowed her to be familiar with life in the entertainment business, and helped to mentor her future career.

Her parents and relatives saw her potential as an artist quite soon, and decided to pull Rita out of school to follow the Opera troupe on their performances. Rita was given chances to perform Chinese Opera on stage and her performances were very good.

It is unclear when and where Rita embraced Pop music... However, at the end of 1965 - when she was just 15 - while touring Malaysia with her former group, she joined a band called Super XX.

In the meantime Zhao Yongchun, determined to turn her beloved granddaughter into a star, increased her vocal training, became her manager and successfully arranged for her to perform in various nightclubs in Singapore.

Rita was discovered on the local entertainment scene by Su Yin (舒雲), a.k.a. Henry Foo, a Singaporean singer, songwriter and lyricist, who at the time was also the A&R manager for the Chinese section at Columbia / EMI.

In 1966 she was signed by the label and released her very first 7" EP. On this record, she was paired with the top guitar band from Singapore, The Quests. The EP sold over 50.000 copies, and for Rita it was instant stardom.

During those days Rita met Sakura Teng (櫻花). As the story goes, Sakura was already a star singing at various Cabarets throughout South East Asia. On one occasion before going on stage, Sakura and Rita were backstage talking; they instantly clicked and started singing together. Sakura thought they had a very distinctive sound and that night she decided to add a segment to the show in which they would sing a duet. Obviously, they received a stunning reaction from the public and decided to join forces...

Well, probably that is just the romantic version of the story...: since both singers were doing quite well, it is an easy guess that EMI felt that pairing them would give both their careers a boost. In 1967 Rita and Sakura began performing as a double act and constantly toured Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan, building a fan base at each port of call.

During her heyday Rita Chao recorded many great Mandarin covers of popular English songs and she was part of the pioneers who launched the Rock Movement in Singapore. Along with Sakura, they were both known as 'A Go-Go Queens of the Sixties"; in those days, they used to perform at the now defunct New World Amusement Park and they both lived in Jalan Besar.

Rita's career lasted about ten years. In 1975, when her last solo album was released, she declared in an interview that she was about to make a movie in Hong Kong and that she was tired of singing all the time... In 1980-81 she briefly returned on the scene releasing two albums with Sakura, just before disappearing completely.

For more than three decades there has been no news about her in the media, only during recent years unconfirmed information appeared on the Internet that she may have been suffering from a psychiatric illness that required long-term treatment.

In early February 2015 the news about her death spreaded: Rita's 90-years-old mother confirmed that the former singer passed away in July 2014; she has been suffering from colon cancer for about three years when she died at the Singapore General Hospital surrounded by her mother, brothers and sisters. Her ashes were scattered at sea after a short wake and funeral attended by family and friends. The family did not inform show business friends as they wanted the past to be forgotten...

Most of the information included in this post was translated by our best friend Brian (...thank you!!!) from a rare article found in the May 19, 1970 edition of "Hong Kong TV Magazine" available in this post on the great macaenese5354 blog.

I am also in debt with Joseph C. Pereira, whose books "Apache Over Singapore" and "Beyond the Tea Dance" are a constant and invaluable source of information and inspiration, thanks!!!

Here's the track list for this 7" EP:

01. 隔壁的冤家 (The Boy Next Door) (2:00)
02. 別纏住我 (Only Friends) (3:33)
03. Sixteen Candles (3:15)
04. 往日的舊夢 (Gonna Be Alright) (2:22)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in May 2016 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the complete original artwork.

Please have a look at the comments section for the download link.

"隔壁的冤家 (The Boy Next Door)" was released by EMI /Columbia in early 1967. It is one of the most common Rita Chao singles available on the second hand market, and also one of the cheapest, so it would be a good starting point for anyone wishing to collect her early releases... The picture on the front cover is the same that also graces her debut album issued a few months later, just... reversed. Once again, the backing band duties are performed by The Quests; now let's have a closer look at each track.

Side 1 opens with the title track "隔壁的冤家 (The Boy Next Door)", a song written by Johnny Madara and David White that was originally performed by American girl group The Secrets in 1963. The same year the song was turned into a huge hit in Singapore by The Crescendos, you can listen to their version own by clicking here.

"別纏住我 (Only Friends)" is a Mandarin cover of "Ton meilleur ami", a song originally performed by French singer and actress Françoise Hardy in 1962. An  English version of this song was popularized in Singapore by Heather and The Thunderbirds.

On Side 2 we find "Sixteen Candles", the immortal youth anthem written by Luther Dixon and Allyson R. Khent, and originally performed by American Doo-wop group The Crests in 1958. On this release Rita sings a slightly adapted version of the original English lyrics; a version with Mandarin lyrics was also recorded and released during the same year.

The EP comes to an end with "往日的舊夢 (Gonna Be Alright)", another Mandarin cover version of Gerry and The Pacemakers' hit. The song was written by Gerry Mardsen and originally performed by the group in 1964.

The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered EP, enjoy!

More information about Rita Chao 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.


This page will contain a detailed discography of Sakura (櫻花). So far only singles are included, I will add more entries as soon as possible.

If you have any useful information about Sakura - especially corrections and improvements to this discography - please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

[last update: 30.05.2016]

7" singles / EPs


提醒你 - Like I Do (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 557, Singapore)
A1. 提醒你 (Like I Do)
A2. 可愛的春天 (My Bonnie)
B1. 知心話 (Sad Movie)
B2. 心事無從說起 (Listen People)
[made in India]
[accompanied by Sounds Anonymous, an alias for The Quests]
[A1 and A2 are also included on 33 ESX 602]
[all tracks are also included on SREG 9516]

牧童之歌 - I Don't Care If Tomorrow Never Comes (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 562, Singapore)
A1. 牧童之歌 (I Don't Care If Tomorrow Never Comes)
A2. 我沒有人愛 (Nobody's Child)
B1. 做一對小夫妻 (I Need You)
B2. 要說就說 (Kopi Su Su)
[made in India]
[accompanied by The Quests]
[A1 and A2 are also included on 33 ESX 602]
[all tracks are also included on SREG 9516]

我愛牛郞 - Cowboy Sweetheart (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 574, Singapore)
A1. 我愛牛郞 (Cowboy Sweetheart)
A2. 什麼道理 (Stupid Cupid)
B1. 真友愛 (Michelle)
B2. 歡樂今宵
[made in Singapore]
[accompanied by The Quests]
[all tracks are also included on 33 ESX 602]

甚麼是愛 - Puppet On a String (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 579, Singapore)
A1. 甚麼是愛 (Puppet On a String)
A2. 會情郎 (Yam Yam Cha Cha)
B1. 永遠不分离 (My Boy Lollipop)
B2. 女大不中留 (Rock & Roll Yodeling Guy)
[made in Singapore]
[accompanied by The Quests]
[all tracks are also included on SREG 9516]

新桃花江 - Cherry Blossom (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 589, Singapore)
A1. 新桃花江 (Cherry Blossom)
B1. 为了你 (I'll Never Be The Same)
B2. 独身女 (Single Girl)
[made in Singapore]
[released as Rita & Sakura]
[accompanied by The Quests]
[track A1 by Rita & Sakura, tracks B1 and B2 by Rita Chao]
[all tracks are also included on 33ESX 606]

愛情酒 - Let's Pretend (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 590, Singapore)
A1. 愛情酒 (Let's Pretend)
A2. 教我怎能忘記 (There Goes My Everything)
B1. 痴痴的望 (Lace Covered Window)
B2. 女人心
[made in Singapore]
[all tracks are also included on 33ESX 606]

愛你入骨 - Honemade Aishite (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 603, Singapore)
A1. 愛你入骨 (Honemade Aishite)
A2. 藍色的夢 (Blue Dream)
B1. 愛上了你 (She Wears My Ring)
B2. Tell the Boys
[made in Singapore]
[all tracks are also included on S-33ESX 607]

負心的人 (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 614, Singapore)
A1. 負心的人
A2. 我在幻想 (I Pretend)
B1. 對你沒辦法
B2. 失去了你 (A Man Without Love)
[made in Singapore]
[accompanied by Tino Gatchalian and His Band]
[all tracks are also included on 33ESX 611]

Koio Surunara (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 615, Singapore)
A1. 愛情曲 (Omoidewo Arigato-O)
A2. Koio Surunara
B1. Konichiwa Akachyaan Sakura • Sukiyaki
[made in Singapore]
[accompanied by Tino Gatchalian and His Band]
[all tracks are also included on 33ESX 611]

Rita & Sakura Show - 傻瓜与野丫头 (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 627, Singapore)
A1. 拜年 (New Year Visit)
A2. 哈哈哈
B1. 傻瓜與野丫頭
B2. 愛相思
[made in Singapore]
[released as Rita & Sakura - 凌雲 与 櫻花]

美馬 姑娘 一 朵 花 (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 628, Singapore)
A1. 美馬 姑娘 一 朵 花
A2. 常相依
B1. 水長流 (Love Without End)
B2. 朦查查(Sleepy Joe)
[made in Singapore]
[tracks A1, B1 and B2 are also included on S-33ESX 615]

相思何處寄 (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 638, Singapore)
A1. 嬌滴滴
A2. 今天不回家
B1. 相思何處寄
B2. 戀夜
[made in Singapore]
[all tracks are also included on S-33ESX 619]

鄉下姑娘 (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 640, Singapore)
A1. 鄉下姑娘 (Woodpecker Song)
A2. 忌妒心 (Jealous Heart)
B1. 印度情歌
B2. 採紅菱
[made in Singapore]
[released as Sakura & Rita Chao]
[all tracks are also included on S-33ESX 620]

愛如金玉 (7" EP, Columbia EMI, S-ECHK 650, Singapore)
A1. 愛如金玉
A2. 就這樣愛上了你
B1. 不分離
B2. 花兒像人人像花
[made in Singapore]
[released as Sakura & John Yam - 櫻花 与 任約翰]

好夢易醒 (7" EP, Columbia EMI, S-ECHK 654, Singapore)
A1. 好夢易醒
A2. 越想越愛他
B1. 裝腔作勢
B2. Love Sick Blues
[made in Singapore]
[tracks A1, B1 and B2 are also included on S-33ESX 622]

等到愛人你回來 (7" EP, Columbia EMI, ECHK 664, Singapore)
A1. 等到愛人你回來
A2. 他的吻 (Half As Much)
B1. 我與咖啡
B2. 哎喲媽媽 (Ayo Mama)
[made in Singapore]
[all tracks are also included on S-33ESX 622]

Bunga Sakura (7" EP, Angel Records EMI, TAE-302, Singapore)
A1. 櫻花 Bunga Sakura
A2. 我等待你一個人 (I'll Wait For You)
B1. 害自己 (Candida)
B2. 花開要珍惜
[made in Singapore]
[all tracks are also included on S-3AEX 401]

(7" EP, Angel Records EMI, TAE-304, Singapore)
A1. 空
A2. 橋頭分手
B1. 我不明白
B2. 柯麗娜
[made in Singapore]
[all tracks are also included on S-3AEX 403]

相逄恨晚 (7" EP, Angel Records EMI, TAE-306, Singapore)
A1. 賭仔自嘆
A2. 幾度夕陽紅
B1. 相逢恨晚
B2. 何以躲避我
[made in Singapore]
[all tracks are also included on S-3AEX 407]





More information about Sakura is available here:

All my posts dedicated to Sakura on this blog are available here.

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