Thursday, 21 March 2013

PANCY LAU (劉鳳屏) "山前山後百花開" (1969)

Pancy Lau (Lau Fung Ping, 劉鳳屏 or 刘鳳屏, also referred to as Liu Feng Ping) was born sometimes in the late 40s / early 50s in a family of musicians; her father Lau Bak Lok (劉伯樂) - also known as Tin Ngai (天涯) - was a well-known Cantonese Opera Star. He was her very first music teacher, and guided her through the entertainment world.

Her career started when she was around 8 or 9 years old singing Cantonese Opera. As a teenager she transitioned to singing songs she enjoyed: Pop music. During the early 60s she participated two times in the Sing Tao Daily Singing Competition in Hong Kong with no significant results. In 1965 at last she won the Mandarin section of the 6th edition of the contest with the song "三年" (Three Years). Upon winning the competition, she became a resident singer at the prestigious Golden Crown Night Club (金冠).

Television Broadcasts Limited (電視廣播有限公司), commonly known as TVB, commenced broadcasting in Hong Kong on 19 November 1967. Pancy Lau was one of the first musical artists who participated in the popular show "歡樂今宵" (Enjoy Yourself Tonight), which was the longest running variety show in Hong Kong's television history.

In 1968 Fung Hang Records released her debut album entitled "My Heart Is Beating - 我的心蹦蹦跳". It was the first in a long series of recordings that continued for more than fifteen years.

"山前山後百花开" ("When the Flowers Bloom On Mount Qian Shan"), the EP which is the subject of this post, was released in 1969 and features four songs that were also included on Pancy Lau's second and most successful album entitled "快回頭望一望" ("Quickly Take a Look Behind").

For a more detailed biography of Pancy Lau I suggest that you read a previous post I dedicated to her here on Stereo Candies: "The Very Best of Pancy Lau Volume 1 [1968-70]".

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

01. 山前山後百花開 (2:18)
02. 媽媽您在何方 (2:30)
03. 送君 (3:07)
04. 寂靜的夜 (2:29)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl release in March 2013 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.

All the tracks on this EP were arranged and conducted by Joseph Koo (顧嘉煇). Koo is a famous composer and arranger, and one of the most respected authors of Cantopop songs; he is considered the Godfather of Hong Kong pop music. During his career he has created more than 1.200 original compositions and many of them have become classics, including various themes of popular TV series.

In 1962, he composed his first hit (Mandarin Chinese) song "" (Dream) and later another hit song "郊道" (Country Road). In 1974, he wrote the first Cantonese TV theme song "啼笑姻緣" (Between Tears and Laughter), which became the actual first popular Cantopop song.

Here's what I discovered searching information about the songs included on this EP; the translations of the song titles are approximate in most cases, but anyway...:

01. The original version of the sweet "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) and 奚秀兰 (Stella Chee, here), among others.

02. "媽媽您在何方" ("Mother, Where Are You?") is a very sad song adapted from a Japanese composition which was originally performed in 1952 by 美空ひばり (Misora Hibari, available here - the song begins at about 00:30). In early 2013 the song was used in a bizarre commercial performed by Will Ferrell.

03. "送君" (Farewell) was originally performed in 1939 by singer / actress 周璇 (Zhou Xuan), one of China's seven great singing stars; you can listen and watch the original version here.

04. "寂靜的夜" (The Silence of the Night) is a Mandarin version of the Japanese classic "ウナ・セラ・ディ東京 - Una sera di Tokyo" (One Night in Tokyo), which was initially performed in 1963 by vocal duo ザ・ピーナッツ (The Peanuts) with the title "東京たそがれ」" (Tokyo Twilight). When touring Japan in1964, famous Italian singer Milva recorded her own version adding the 'Una sera di Tokyo' line to the refrain. The song became successfull and The Peanuts re-recorded it with the new title and lyrics.

Joseph Koo, circa late 60s / early 70s

The following clip offers a preview of the remastered single, enjoy the title track: "山前山後百花开" ("When the Flowers Bloom On Mount Qian Shan")!

More information about Pancy Lau is available here:

I'm currently trying to compile a Pancy Lau exhaustive discography, my work-in-progress is available here.

All my posts dedicated to Pancy Lau on this blog are 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.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


Sheep Records was a Swiss underground label specialized in Garage-Rock, Surf, Lounge and other Rock'n'Roll oddities. Run by Christian Müller from Zürich, along with friends Andi Frick and Andreas Egi, it was active from 1996 to 2004 and published about 30 releases, mostly on 7" vinyl singles.

In october 2006, after about two years of hiatus, all the contents of the now defunct Sheep Records website were deleted from the Internet, and replaced with a blank page announcing that "Der Kebab ist gegessen" ("The kebab is eaten"), a last goodbye and a reference to the label's cataloguing system that included the prefix "kebab" for vinyl releases and "gigot" for CD releases.

The tenth Sheep Records release was a 7" single by punk-rockers The Onyas from Brisbane, Australia. The single was released in September 1998 to celebrate the band's European tour; it was limited to 300 copies on transparent vinyl and 700 copies on black vinyl, for a total of 1.000 copies. It came in a nice artwork designed by Mike Keane.

The Onyas were formed in 1991 by guitarist John "Mad Macka" McKeering, bassist Richard "Rich" Stanley and drummer Jordan "Jaws" Stanley; their debut single entitled "Beergut" was released in 1994 by Au-go-go in Australia. Between 1997 and 1999 the band released two albums, "Get Shitfaced With The Onyas" and "Six!", and a compilation with re-recorded tracks from their singles entitled "Heterospective".

It is unclear to me if nowadays the band still exists or not: there's hasn't been any new The Onyas release since a dozen of years, but videos of recent live activities are available on YouTube... Anyway, Johh McKeering has joined Cosmic Psychos in 2006, after the death of Robbie Watts, and has also released a 7" single in 2012; Jordan Stanley is also part of The Casanovas.

Here's the track list for this release:

01. Allan Murray (2:45)
02. Blankety Blank (1:11)
03. Problems (3:56)

All tracks were remastered from vinyl in March 2013 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files, both formats include scans of the original item in PDF format. Please have a look at the comments for the download links.

The EP features two original tracks and a cover of the Sex Pistols' "Problems"; here's the credits as they appear on the back cover:

Our songs recorded July 98 at Riverbed in Capalaba, the arsehole of Southeast Queensland. The Pistols number from May at The Lode II.

Front cover by Mike Keane.

EEG of Richard's brainwaves by Dr. John Cameron.

Bert Cocaine - Drums
Dozin'Ozin - Bass
Ganja Dingaling - Guitar & Chicillo '98

Given away to anyone who turned up at Reitschule in Bern and at the Luv Club in Zurich: Onyas + Cosmic Psychos, Sept. 98.

....if we don't get there, pick us up a copy!

The Onyas in concert

The following video offers a preview of the remastered single in the form, of the title track: "Allan Murray"...

...and this is a video taken in Bordeaux, France, during their 1998 European tour:

More information about Sheep Records and The Onyas is available here:,+The

The Sheep Records story will continue in the next months. All your inputs are more than welcome, if you want to get in touch please write to stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!

Thursday, 7 March 2013


«Grand Award Records have been created to bring to the discerning, discriminating and appreciative person perfection in Spectacular Stereophonic Sound.

The unusually full and brilliantly realistic quality of this Grand Award record is the result of a remarkable new development in stereophonic recording. It is called Spectacular Stereophonic Sound.

Grand Award's Spectacular Stereophonic Sound includes a key element that is not found in other two channel recording systems - the newly developed Grand Award "Phase X" process. "Phase X" is an engineering achievement which creates a complete panorama of sound and eliminates the "hole in the middle" effect which gives the impression that unrelated sound is coming from two separate side sources.

The world's greatest artists possess an ability to achieve exciting musical interpretations. Grand Award's Spectacular Stereophonic Sound with "Phase X" assists the great artists, who record for them, to bring to you the priceless beauty, individuality and "definition" of their performances in true Spectacular Stereophonic Sound.

[from the liner notes of "Brass, Bongos, Flutes and Guitars"]

Hey, this place is called Stereo Candies, so it's time to post something that really - and literally - fits this concept. I think that "Brass, Bongos, Flutes and Guitars" by The Grand Award All Stars will do the job excellently.

The Grand Award record label was formed in 1955; its president was Enoch Light, who later formed Command in 1959 with the specific aim of capitalizing on the emerging market of stereo fanatics.

Light was a classical violinist, bandleader and recording engineer. He is credited with being one of the first musicians to go to extreme lengths to create high-quality recordings that took full advantage of the technical capabilities of home audio equipment of the late '50s and early '60s, particularly stereo effects that bounced the sounds between the right and left channels.

He was a meticulous engineer and put as much effort into the quality of his recording equipment and production systems as into the music itself. He was the first to arrange the musicians in the studio to suit the audio effects he wanted to achieve. He devoted a considerable amount of prose to describe the acoustic aspects of each number, to the point that he popularized a new LP packaging format, the gatefold, to fit it all in!

"Brass, Bongos, Flutes and Guitars" was released in May 1961; the album features twelve numbers that stock up on popular repertoire from the previous decades, but also include a rendition of "Scheherazade" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

The Grand Award All Stars members on this record include top session-men and musicians like percussionists Phil Kraus and Bob Rosengarden, trumpeter Doc Severinsen, guitarist Tony Mottola, double bassist Jack Lesberg, accordionist Dominic Cortese, saxophonist Phil Bodner and many, many more.

An advertisement promoting Grand Award Records stereo catalogue taken from an early 1960 issue of Billboards

"Brass, Bongos, Flutes and Guitars" contains the following tracks:

01. This Can't Be Love (2:44)
02. Scheherazade (3:17)
03. The Breeze and I (2:35)
04. Organ Grinder's Swing (2:21)
05. Now Is the Hour (3:39)
06. Harbor Lights (3:03)
07. Heartaches (2:22)
08. Moonlight On the Ganges (3:21)
09. Once In Love With Amy (2:56)
10. You Go To My Head (2:24)
11. Miss Otis Regrets (3:01)
12. Indian Summer (3:22)

All tracks were remastered from the original vinyl in February 2013 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with complete artwork reconstruction and printable PDF files.

Please have a look at the comments for the download links.

Here's another long excerpt from the original liner notes that appear on the back cover of "Brass, Bongos, Flutes and Guitars":

«The brilliance and excitement and sheer magnificence of the musical sounds that have been brought to records by steadily advancing techniques in recording engineering have turned the spotlight on several instruments that used to be given little consideration: bongos, flutes and guitars.

We didn't hear much of them before because they were so hard to record. The sharp, angular transients of the guitars and bongos were muffled and diluted in old-fashioned recordings and the gentle, elusive sound of the flute could not be captured in all its fascinating richness.

But engineering geniuses have advanced sound recording to such a point of honest, full value reproduction that the challenge of reproducing on records every last nuance of these delightful instruments has brought them right to the center of the modern musical picture. This sudden interest in them has opened up all sorts of new possibilities for really inventive musical arrangers - possibilities that they had to bypass in the past because they knew that the recording techniques of that day were not capable of giving a complete, honest reproduction of the sounds of these instruments.

And now the Grand Award All Stars have reached a new peak of musical beauty and excitement in their use of brilliantly recorded bongos, flutes and guitars along with the added body of a brass section that also takes full advantage of the tremendous range of recorded sound that has been achieved by Grand Award's miraculous engineers.

The unmatched skill of these engineers has won for Grand Award Records citations from the United States Department of Commerce for two successive years for the superb quality of their sound reproduction. During these two years, 1959 and 1960, the Department of Commerce selected Grand Award Records to be displayed at exhibits in foreign countries where the United States Government was showing the outstanding products manufactured in America.

«Only the brilliant full value of Grand Award's world-famous sound reproduction could bring to you - in your own home - such superb reproduction of the tremendously exciting and richly beautiful music that you will find in these unusual arrangements of carefully chosen tunes.

You'll hear an amazing succession of subtly changing, high, rippling sounds as a Chinese bell tree, a triangle and a tambourine follow one another - each reproduced with complete distinction and clarity - to introduce an exotic interpretation of "Scheherazade".

The dark warmth of two alto flutes creates a breathtaking sound on "Now Is the Hour". The amazing sonic contrast of deep, gruff trombones and high, piping piccolos adds some surprising accents to the sandpaper soft-shoe effect in "Once In Love With Amy".

And no trumpet has ever sung out more beautifully, more clearly or with such a full-bodied, sweeping tone as Doc Severinsen shows in this glorious version of "You Go to My Head" which is climaxed by one of the most delicate bongo passages ever caught on a record.

Each of these selections piles musical surprise on musical surprise, brilliance on brilliance, beauty on beauty. There is the startling exchange between perky piccolos and a subterranean baritone saxophone in "Miss Otis Regrets" and, in this same piece, the interweaving of a brooding string bass with a unison passage by xylophone and piccolo, a remarkable blend of sound coloring. There is a lazy flute duet on "Indian Summer" followed by the rising, soaring, irresistible brilliance of a fiery trumpet section. And there is the remarkable organ grinder effect created by guitar and xylophone that sets the tone for "Organ Grinder's Swing".

But half the fun is making these discoveries yourself - these and all the other imaginative uses to which brass, bongos, flutes and guitars have been put by the Grand Award All Stars as they give these unforgettable tunes the most vividly alive performances they have ever received.

Here's the complete personnel list of "Brass, Bongos, Flutes and Guitars":

Percussion: Don Lamond, Bob Rosengarden, Phil Kraus, Cliff Leman

Trumpet: Doc Severinsen, Mel Davis, Bernie Glow

Reeds: Stanley Webb, Phil Bodner, Ezelle Watson

Trombone: Bobby Byrne, Urbie Green

Bass Trombone: Dick Hixon

Guitar: Tony Mottola, Al Casamenti

Bass: Jack Lesberg, Bob Haggart

Piano: Moe Wechsler, Billy Rowland

Accordion: Dominic Cortese

Originated and Produced by Enoch Light

An iconic picture of Enoch Light

The following videos offer a preview of the remastered album; for this purpose I chose some of my favourite tracks: "This Can't Be Love", "Moonlight On the Ganges" and "Heartaches", enjoy!

A few more information about Enoch Light and Grand Award Records is available here:

If you have any other useful information about Enoch Light and "Brass, Bongos, Flutes and Guitars" - especially corrections and improvements to 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!

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