It's been more than five years since I started this blog and, whatever the reason, I never posted any Christmas music. Well, I believe it's never too late for a change, so at this particular time of the year I decided to treat you with "Christmas A'Go-Go", a 7" EP by The Wandy Five.
The four instrumentals on this record are easily available on other blogs and on YouTube, but I guess that this is the first time they are presented in a clean remastered version. A small present for all the followers of Stereo Candies, if you want.
In 2017 I will keep on working to present more and more interesting releases. They won't be as many as I would like, but I'll do my best as usual in the few spare time that I am allowed.
If you enjoy the blog then let me know about it leaving some comments: the fuel that powers me is my own passion for music, but it's always nice to learn that somebody out there is downloading, listening and enjoying the music presented on these pages.
Now, on to The Wandy Five and... Merry Christmas!!!
Here's the track list for this 7" EP:
01. Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer (2:45)
02. White Christmas (2:58)
03. Mary's Boy Child (2:05)
04. Silent Night (3:09)
All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl release in December 2016 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the complete original artwork.
As usual, please have a look at the comments for the download link.
"Christmas A'Go-Go" was released by Roxy Records sometimes in late 1966, probably - and aptly - just around Christmas time. Cleverly, the back cover could be customized by hand to include the names of both the donor and the recipient, making it a perfect gift for young people.
Given the relative ease with which the record can be obtained on the second-hand market, I understand that probably many copies were sold during those pre-Christmas days, exactly fifty years ago.
At that time, the A Go-Go craze had taken hold in Singapore and every band tried to incorporate elements of such style (...also known as Hala-hala, a Cha-Cha-descended style...) in their music. Moreover, plenty of records featured that magic word on the cover, usually in big fonts, cashing on the trend.
So, an A Go-Go Christmas record in Singapore in 1966? Good move, Roxy!
The four Christmas carols included on this release are so well-known that it wouldn't make much sense getting into them as usual. Let's spend a few words about The Wandy Five instead.
According to the information I found on the Internet, it looks like The Wandy Five were a group of Malay local musicians active during the '60s in Singapore. The group was founded by Hj Wandly Yazid as one of the many projects of a versatile mind.
Wandly Yazid (1925-2005), born in Sumatra, was a renowned musician, composer and arranger. He was educated in Dutch primary and high schools, and graduated from the Teachers Training Institute, West Sumatra.
At seventeen he began to study music. He learnt to play the violin and the clarinet, as well as water-colour and oil painting in Bukittinggi, Sumatra.
In 1947, passion for music and the arts brought him to Singapore, a vibrant city where the film industry was thriving. Here, he studied the piano and also learnt to play the saxophone.
Soon he formed his own orchestras, Wandy Yazid Orchestra and Megawati Orchestra, and composed music for films by the Nusantara Film Company and Malayan Film Unit. In 1956 he became member of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra as a violinist.
Wandly founded the Fajar Record Company in 1959, where he composed and arranged songs, and accompanied singers like Julie Sudiro, Orchid Abdullah and Rosiah Chik. He also trained various young singers who later became very successful, including Ernie Djohan and Rafeah Buang.
In 1964, at the age of thirty-nine, he was appointed Music Director of Cathay-Keris Films. He composed and arranged songs and background music for many classic films, and is best remembered for "Gurindam Jiwa", the lovely theme song for a romantic film of the same name. Originally performed by R. Ismail and Rafeah Buang, with lyrics by Hamzah Hussein, the song is now an evergreen favourite.
During the late '60s, he left a few more traces of his work with The Wandy Five accompaning singers Rahim Ali and A. Amin on a couple of singles.
In the '70s, he joined the Singapore Broadcasting Orchestra as a violinist, performed with his own group, Café Vienna Trio, and also gave solo piano performances at major hotel establishments. Retired in 1992, he continued to perform and gave lessons to young music students.
The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered EP, enjoy!
More information about Wandly Yazid and The Wandy Five 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!