Category Archives: Malaysia

Harban Singh & The Swallows

Harban Singh & the Swallows, credited as Harban Singn on the cover.

I have three versions of this tune. Malaysia’s Geevi Lee recorded it in English as ‘Confession’; Indonesia’s Rifa Hadija recorded it as ‘Pentjuri Hati’ (Heart Stealer) and there is this version sung in Chinese by a Malaysian Sikh as ‘The Person Who Steals My Heart’. I have no idea what the original was, but it must have been popular.

There’s an earlier release on Golden Horse, credited to Harban Singh and Friends.

Lucky Sister

A Shadows cover? I scoured my Shadows collection, but couldn’t pin it. The other tracks are another Shadows/Ventures sounding tune and instro versions of Orbison’s ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘The House Of The Rising Sun’.

Presumably the record was made as a promo for the Ho Hua Company, sole distributor of Sony products in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Penang, whose ad appears on the back cover.

(Singapore or Malaysia)

Mike Ibrahim and the Nite Walkers

Probably best known for backing Mike Ibrahim, The Nitewalkers of Johore Bahru in Malaysia, also backed other singers, such as Milah Hussain and A. Ramlie. With Mike Ibrahim they recorded a number of EPs in the early 1970s that have more of a 1960s feel, one of the heavy variety!

he first three EPs they released all featured one song about Malaysian children’s games, such as “Chong Chong Nai” and “Chok Chok Kundong”. The song featured here, “Bangselebu”, is from there second EP, released in 1971. In 2007 Mike Ibrahim was reported to be preparing a new album.

Wirdaningsih and Dorado Sound Unlimited

Wirdaningsih comes from Sumatra, Indonesia and was very popular in the 60s and 70s in Malaysia, where this record was recorded. I am not sure if the backing band, Dorado Sound Unlimited, were Indonesians or Malaysians.

The song Adaik Bachinto, is sung in the Minang language, and while it is similar to Indonesian, it is a bit difficult for me to make out. ‘Adaik’ is probably the equivalent of ‘adik’ which means younger sibling, but can also be used by women to refer to themselves in relation to their male partner. ‘Bachinto’ probably has some relation to ‘cinta’, or love. Thus, the song would appear to be about Wirdaningsih’s love for a younger sibling or her love for her partner. Any Minang speakers out there who can help out on this?

There is a tasty fuzz break in the middle of the song. Wirdaningsih still performs in Indonesia and Malaysia. Her younger sister, Irni Yusnita, was also a popular performer in the 60s and 70s.

Ramlah Aziz and the Rythmn Boys


Second EP

The Rythmn Boys from Singapore backed many popular singers in the mid to late 1960s and even performed in a couple of movies. The band is said to have won a battle of the bands competition in Singapore in 1965 playing Rolling Stones songs. The Rythmn boys were M. Ayob Taib (lead guitar), M. Osman Said (rhythm guitar), M. Ali Taib (bass), A. Rahim Razak (organ) and M. Nor Ahmad (drums).

The Rythmn Boys first came to prominence backing singer A. Ramlie on his first few EPs, which were big hits in Singapore and Malaysia in 1966. The band made recordings following that with a number of other singers, including S. Mariam, Novel (from Indonesia), M. Amin, Adnan Othman, and S. Ahmad. Not all those recordings include organ and some of the record covers have pictures of the band with only four members, so A. Rahim Razak may have joined later.

Presented here are the first two EPs The Rythmn Boys recorded with Ramlah Aziz. There are good songs on both EPs, but the thing that really impresses me is the organ playing, especially on the second EP, which adds a very atmospheric tone.

The titles on the first EP are Bertemasha (Excursion), Kaseh Yang Suchi (Pure Love), Kerana Setia (Because Of Loyalty) and Rela (Consent), which seems to be another song related to Indonesia’s ‘Confrontation’ with Malaysia, in which Ramlah consents to her loved one going off to ‘defend the nation’.

On the second EP the songs are Janji (Promise), Untok Mu (For You), Balasan Illahi (God’s Judgement) and Sukma Ria (Proud Soul). A number of songs on both EPs are credited to Salleh Aziz, who may have been Ramlah’s brother, or other relation. I have seen reports of The Rythmn Boys playing nostalgia concerts over many years. Perhaps they never stopped.

(Updated from the original January 3, 2008 post to include new text and the first EPs scans.


First EP

Andriani

I usually find something enjoyable in 60s Indonesian girl-singers’ records, although some are bit too twee even for me. I had thought that was probably true of Andriani (it says Andraini on the cover, but I am sure this is a typo), who judging from her picture was very young at the time she made this record.

I had actually seen a full album of Andriani’s with the same cover as this EP, as well as one other EP before I finally grabbed this one. When I got the record onto the turntable and dropped the needle into track one I heard a more than reasonable pop song coming out of the speakers, so I was fairly happy.

But Bandel (Stubborn), the second track? I almost didn’t believe it; a wailing garage guitar intro and a driving distorted lead-in. It calms down a bit after that, but the distorted guitar makes another appearance about half way through and the whole song moves along at a nice pace. The other side of the EP is another two okay pop-tunes.

This EP was put out by Istana Stereo, which I am fairly sure was a pirate record label based in either Singapore or Malaysia. It was a common practise for these pirate labels to take an album and turn it into a number of EPs, usually with the same cover, but often numbered volume 1, 2, etc.

My copy has absolutely no information about Andriani or her backing band, but I bet the album that this was ripped off from has at least one other garage-fuelled track lurking in there somewhere.

The Family’s with F. Abdullah and Zainorin M. Don and Rosiah Chik

The Family’s with F. Abdullah and Zainorin M. Don and Rosiah Chik

This record is probably from late 1966. Apart from the Family’s being led by Ismail M. Taib, I don’t know that much about them. It seems they recorded with many vocalists in Malaysia in the mid sixties. They also used the name Orkes Family Combo (Family Combo Orchestra), or Okes Family Combo, as it is given on the back cover of this record.

F. Abdullah has three songs on this record. The best in my opinion is Hasrat Chinta (Longing for Love). The record also includes one song with Zainorin M. Don and Rosiah Chik, Kaseh dan Chinta (Love and Affection). This is a more traditional-sounding call and response song, but with a very up-tempo backing from the Family’s. I have heard one of Zainorin M. Don’s songs from the EP shown on the back cover and it has a slightly jazz feel.

Rosiah Chik is the best known of the artists on this record (at least to me). She died in 2006 at the age of 75 and had a career in music over six decades. While she recorded a lot of popular music she is remembered also for her efforts in keeping the public aware of traditional Malaysian music and singing-styles.

Ahmadi Hassan

Ahmadi Hassan is the stage name of Ahmad bin Hassan of Malaysia. The song Kemana Nona (Where Are You Going Young Girl) has a sixties feel to the opening [the riff to the Animals’ I’m Crying] and closing segments, but was probably recorded about 1974. The rest of the song has some strange bits in it, such as a sort of fairground version of Jingle Bells. The song has an Indian feel and I believe this could be a Malaysian version of a song made popular from a Bollywood movie.

Ahmadi Hassan made numerous albums during the 1970s and 1980s, but then disappeared from the music scene and concentrated on business. He was sentenced to a years gaol in the early 2000s for illegal money transactions. In the meantime he released his first album for many years. Unlike his earlier pop albums his latest release is Nasyid music; music inspired by Islamic teachings set to Arabic rhythms. The album won the best Nasyid album award at the 2007 Malaysian Music Awards.