Filed under: Thailand
By now, most of you should know Suang Santi…
In the last few years, he has appeared on a few Thai compilations – most notable being Finders Keepers‘ Thai? Dai! The Heavier Sound of The Lukthung Underground, where his name was transliterated as “Sroeng Santi”. The Black Sabbath inspired “Kuen Kuen Lueng Lueng” on that compilation is worth the price of admission alone. You also get “Dub Fai Kui Gun” and “Nam Mun Pang” – both of which had appeared on two of ZudRangMa‘s compilations – which are quite heavy as well. But this track is a bit different…
Whereas Suang Santi’s backing band – “The Suang Santi Band” – borrowed the opening riff from “Iron Man” on “Kuen Kuen Lueng Lueng”, here the intro is sampled directly from Ennio Morricone. The soundtrack music from Sergio Leone‘s “Man with No Name Trilogy” was quite popular throughout Asia, and was released in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. A vast majority of those records were not properly licensed, and some were even credited to Clint Eastwood instead of Ennio Morricone. The soundtrack was also covered by a number of bands, including Hong Kong’s Man Chau Po Orchestra and Singapore’s The Stylers, to name a few.
According to Monrakplengthai, Suang Santi had originally started out as a boxer before getting into the music business. He pioneered a crossover style of luk thung and heavy funk rock which few others attempted, and won success not only with his own recordings but songs he penned for others. Unfortunately, Suang Santi was killed in a car accident in 1982 while on tour at the age of 37.
The first couple verses of the song basically describe the hero, who is compared to Charles Bronson (“Once Upon A Time in The West“), Alain Delon (“Zorro“) and “Ringo” (“A Pistol for Ringo“). As the song continues, Suang asks: “Where does this mystery man come from, does anyone know?” Then you hear the gruff, accented voice ordering laap, khao nieow and lao khao (typical Isaan food and drink), and Suang remarking upon it. That this man is obviously from Isaan is what listeners are meant to take away. Isaan, the northeast part of the country, is often viewed as Thailand’s “Wild West“, and cowboy culture has a notable following there. Bangkok people often derive amusement from Isaan stereotypes.
This song has a “Part Two” that was included on Suang Santi last album 1 2 3 Duan Song Thaeo.
Much thanks to Peter Doolan for the information and translation.
Catalog number MN 146 on ตรากระต่ายคู่ (Tra Kratai Kkhu) or Pair of Rabbits Brand of Thailand. No release date listed.