Filed under: Singapore
This week’s guest post is by the illustrious Dustin Drase. Dustin is the mastermind behind PlusTapes. The label has released a very diverse roster of artists – from the French pop of Anna St. Clair and Peruvian psych of Los Holy’s, to the lo-fi thrash noise of the Chicago Thrash Ensemble and seaworthy folk-rock of Death Ships, as well as legendary Asian garage bands like Dara Puspita and The Travellers. Dustin saved the day by swooping in to fill a last minute cancellation for this month’s guest post. Also, Dustin decided to post the entire album – a first here at Radiodiffusion Internasionaal – and I was in no the mood to argue.
The Brothers Hawk were an Asian, mostly instrumental, band that played and recorded throughout Singapore and Malaysia in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Brothers peddled in the popular “Hala Hala” or “A Go Go” styles much like other contemporaries of their time, The Travellers or The Stylers. Like these bands, the Brothers also served as the backing band for popular vocalists, in their case on three records with Wong Shaiu Chuen.
Let’s Do The Funky, on the Tatex Records label was curiously distributed by the similarly named Tatet Records Trading Co. throughout Malaysia, and Victory Records in Singapore. As is the case with many 60s and 70s records from Singapore, the covers are more exciting than the actual music. There are a number of sites around the net that post covers of records from the 60s Singapore scene, but David Greenfield’s ever growing collection is perhaps the most impressive.
The Hala Hala / A Go Go style (sometimes also referred to as Off Beat Cha Cha) takes traditional Chinese surf-style twang and mixes elements of Rumba, Foxtrot, and Quick Step rhythms. The music was made to be fairly breezy “Teen Dance Music”, and is nowhere near as heavy on the funk or psychedelic as Indonesian and other Malaysian music of its time.
I first came to the music of Singapore through the Girls in the Garage: Oriental Special compilation, which shows an admittedly slanted view of the Singapore music scene. Whereas much of the music on that compilation was meant to show Westerners the silly, broken-English side of Singapore, the Brothers Hawk seem to sidestep that pitfall and actually can sing in English as evidenced by the cowboy ballad “One Way Wind”, and the ultra groovy “Co-Co”.
Many of the Singapore bands had recurring night club gigs and were tied to one specific recording studio. They would churn out a multitude of hits and cover songs, which were sometimes released repeatedly on differently packaged albums (see discography below for a good example of this). Let’s Do The Funky is labeled as The Sound of the Brothers Hawk Vol. 2, which leads one to believe there is a Vol. 1 out there somewhere, but I have yet to see evidence of this record existing.
1. Flying Machine
2. Bombay Duck
3. One Way Wind
4. My Lady
6. Funny, Funny
7. Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum
8. Where Are You? The Jilted
9. Forgive Me, Darling
10. Wonderful Life
11. To the Frontier
12. Only You
13. Nothing in My Life
14. The Fated Dream
TLP-1011 • The Brothers Hawk • Let’s Do the Funky – The Sound of The Brothers Hawk Vol. 2
PEAK RECORDS (Singapore/Malaysia)
BCLP-8004 • The Brothers Hawk • Popular Hits Party ‘70
WHITE RABBIT RECORD (Singapore)
HE-1975 • Wong Shiau Chuen + The Brothers Hawk
HAPPY RECORD COMPANY (H.R.C.) (Malaysia) – “Happy Record Electronic Enterprise Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia”
HE-1975 • Wong Shaiu Chuen + The Brothers Hawk
HE-1976 • Wong Shaiu Chuen + The Brothers Hawk
HE-1978 • Wong Shiau Chuen + The Brothers Hawk
PEAK RECORD (Singapore)
BC-7097 • Lin Zhen + The Brothers Hawk
ORIENTAL RECORD (Singapore) – “Oriental Record Co., Singapore”
ORC-9901 • Jia Jia + The Brothers Hawk
Catalog number TLP-1011on Tatex Records of Singapore. No release date listed.