Saturday, 25 April 2015


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 8NWLP 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:

Thursday, 9 April 2015


«To me, and I am certain to all of his many fans, Chet Baker has always seemed able to come up with just the right blend to make music sound and feel as the writer and arranger had intended it to.

Whether in a crowded nightclub, or in a bustling studio, Chet can create an atmosphere of total emotional involvement for the listener. Chet has always approached music with love rather than commercially. He has to believe in what he is playing, or the sound is colorless, cold and insensitive.

Go back a few short years and review the accomplishments of this gifted musician. He has won almost every conceivable award, not only once, but two and three times. His version of "My Funny Valentine" is considered a standard by trumpeters of all schools. He has never tried to upstage any of his fellow musicians.

Instead, he addresses himself to the subtle, more meaningful comments within the framework of a tune, whether it's jazz, blues, a ballad or rock.

Chet's voice has the same bitter sweet quality as his playing. he tends to sing the true musical values rather than the merely dramatic, and from this comes an extension of his innermost feelings. The listener, while hearing him sing, has a tendency to become involved emotionally. When Chet reaches for a particularly high note, you find yourself pulling for him to make it.

The plan for this album was to use the individual style of Chet Baker together with today's many facets of music, each maintaining their own individuality. Chet and his sound and the sound of the current musicians. Hence the album title, "Blood, Chet and Tears".

This album has to be considered sheer treasure, like searching for gold and finding uranium.

[Artt Frank, from the original back sleeve notes of "Blood, Chet and Tears"]

Despite what the liner notes say and according to "Chet Baker: The Missing Years - A Memoir by Artt Frank", Chet Baker hated recording this album, he only did it because in those dark years he was in desperate need of money for him and his family...

This record is often considered one of the lowest point in his career, or even his worst album if we exclude those recorded in 1965-66 - probably for the same reason explained in the above paragraph - with infamous The Mariachi Brass, a copycat version of Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.

"Then why are you treatin' us with such crap?" I hear somebody ask... Well, basically because crap it ain't, my friends, and the vocal version of The Sandpipers' "Come Saturday Morning" included on the LP is a small masterpiece which is worth the admission ticket alone!

In my humble opinion "Blood, Chet and Tears" is a very enjoyable album if you take it for just what it really is: an Easy Listening record that tries to make the most out of the success Blood, Sweat & Tears were enjoying back in those days.

While compiliing this post I desperately tried to find some pictures of Chet Baker taken sometimes around 1970 - when "Blood, Chet and Tears" was recorded - but I couldn't find any... That is for sure a tangible clue of how he sort of disappeared from the scene in those years.

As the story goes, in the summer of 1966, Baker suffered a severe beating in San Francisco that was related to his drug addiction. The incident is usually misdated and frequently exaggerated in accounts of his life, often due to his own unreliable testimony. It is said, for example, that all his teeth were knocked out, which is not the case, though one tooth was broken and the general deterioration of his teeth led to his being fitted with dentures in the late '60s, forcing him to retrain his embouchure.

The beating was not the cause of the decline in his career during this period, but it is emblematic of that decline. By the end of the '60s, he was recording and performing only infrequently and he stopped playing completely in the early '70s...

Artt Frank and Chet Baker, circa mid / late '70s

Drummer Artt Frank is best known for his friendship and professional association with Baker, with whom he worked on and off for many years. In late 1969 he was trying his best to awaken Chet from his bad dream, and it was him who made "Blood, Chet and Tears" happen thanks to his friendship with some of the major executives at MGM Records.

MGM offered Baker a contract for a record to be released on Verve and centered around Blood, Sweat & Tears' recent output: Chet would be playing their music in his own Jazz style, and in that way, both the record company and the trumpeter, would be able to reach a far wider group of listeners.

The album was finally recorded sometimes during spring 1970 at Sunwest Recording Studios, under the musical direction of veteran producer Jerry Styner. A young graphic artist, Laura Thompson, took a portrait of Baker in the studio, which ended up on the album cover.

Published on July the 6th 1970, "Blood, Chet and Tears" didn't sell well and Baker sadly slipped away again into obscurity for a few more years...

Chet Baker in 1974

The tracklist and credits of "Blood, Chet and Tears" are as follows:

01. Easy Come, Easy Go (2:51)
02. Sugar, Sugar (2:52)
03. Something (3:19)
04. Spinning Wheel (3:15)
05. Vehicle (2:45)
06. The Letter (3:35)
07. And When I Die (2:59)
08. Come Saturday Morning (2:48)
09. Evil Ways (3:34)
10. You've Made Me So Very Happy (3:41)

Album produced and arranged by Jerry Styner.

Recorded at Sunwest Recording Studio, Hollywood, CA

Engineer: Donn Landee

Album design by Laura Thompson.

Musicians of note: Hal Blaine, Larry Knetchel, Joe Osborne, Ray Pohlman, Mike Deasy, Tommy Tedesco, Al Casey, Joe Pass, Tony Terran, Ray Triscari, Ollie Mitchell, Dick Hyde, Gary Coleman, Miles Anderson, George Roberts, Plas Johnson, Buddy Collette, Sid Sharp Strings

All tracks were remastered from vinyl in March 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.

This is how Artt Frank remembers the day the recording of "Blood, Chet and Tears" took place:

On the day of the recording session, Chet was at my house before 7:30 am. He was excited, but pissed, and ready to get it over with. He was not the least bit happy about having to record that music, but excited about his being able to make the money he and his family needed. [...] During the drive, Chet was edgy and didn’t say a word until I pulled up in front of the recording studio.

«I really don't like having to do this album, man. I really don't. I know how hard you worked to make it all happen, and I appreciate everything you've done Artt, but I just don't feel good about having to play that fucking kind of shit, you know?»

He went on a verbal tirade about rock music, how it had nothing to say, that it was a sojourn into nothingness that had taken over the country, the record industry, and most of the good paying club gigs. He talked about how the rock musicians were making the heavy bread while great jazz musicians had to work for scale or less. The thing that pissed him off the most and found the most unfair, was that just about every one of the rock musicians smoked pot, popped pills and mainlined heroin, but society just seemed to turn their backs on it all. He couldn't understand it.

I agreed with him completely, but also reminded him that Mike Curb [MGM Records president] had gone out on a limb to make this recording date possible for him. I suggested he just go into the studio, record the thing, and be done with it. He didn't say a word for almost two minutes, then turned and smiled.

«You're right, man», he agreed.

We went inside to the front office and were immediately greeted by sound engineer, Donn Landee, and producer/musical director for the album, Jerry Styner. A huge ceiling to floor sound proof, plate glass window separated the office from the recording studio, and on the other side, a group of musicians were looking out toward us. As soon as they spotted Chet, they left and came running out. After the introductions, Chet wanted to get right to the business at hand and let Jerry know it, but in a nice way. Jerry got the musicians back into the studio and directed Chet to a high back leather chair off to the side of the musicians. [...]

Jerry got things under way and the first tune they did was "Easy Come, Easy Go". I couldn't stand it. I could only imagine what Chet was going through. They finished that one and did another called "Sugar, Sugar", and when that was finished, Chet did a Beatles' tune called "Something", which he sang. To my surprise, it sounded pretty damned good. After that, they did four more tunes, with Chet singing again on the song "Come Saturday Morning". Again, he sounded great. They played two more tunes, and the recording session was over.

Chet and I went into the engineer's room and listened to the playbacks together. A young graphic artist, Laura Thompson, had been drawing Chet while he played and handed him the finished piece, which Mike wound up using for the front and back covers of the album. Jerry Styner and Donn Landee were both completely satisfied with the outcome of the takes, so we split.

Chet was relieved that it was over with. He thought he had played well and was satisfied with his singing of "Something", a song written by George Harrison of the Beatles, and "Come Saturday Morning", made popular by The Sandpipers and written by Fred Karlin and Dory Previn. But Chet didn't ever want to have to play that kind of music again.

That night we went to a restaurant to celebrate. [...] On the way back home, I was driving south on La Cienega, and just as I crossed Beverly Boulevard, Chet suddenly became sick and wanted me to stop and pull over as fast as I could. I pulled out of traffic and over to the curb and as soon as I did, he opened the rear door, stuck his head outside and heaved up the delicious meal he'd just eaten. He'd tell me later on that he felt he had prostituted himself and he couldn't take it.

The following clips offer a preview of the remastered album, enjoy "Something", "Vehicle", "The Letter", "Come Saturday Morning" and "You've Made Me So Very Happy"!

More information about Chet Baker and "Blood, Chet and Tears" is available here:,_Chet_and_Tears,_Chet....html

If you have any other useful information about this post, or if you spot any dead links, just 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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