Sunday, 17 January 2010
Showing Off (CsH)
Rummaging through my boxes of junk, I found this notebook which had in it a list of my collection of 78rpm vinyls or records as we used to call them. The 78s were the prototype before the 33rpm and the 45rpm vinyls. I recalled the 78s from the 50s and I got hooked ever since I found a stack of them piled up in a Chinese stationery shop in Bandar Seri Begawan in 1978. The apek was happy to get rid of them at $2 each and I bought all he had! Among that harvest were songs by P. Ramlee, Saloma or Salmah Ismail as she was initially known, Nona Asiah , R. Azmi, Aman Ballon and a host of other treasures.
When I visited my brother Mus in Hull in 1981 I went crazy looking for 78s in English and there were lots to be found in various record shops in Hull and Leicester. Together with the spouse I extended my treasure hunting for Malay songs in Singapore (especially Arab Street), Penang and umpteen other shops in umpteen towns in Malaya. The best ones we found in an Indian Muslim kedai runcit (sundry shop) at Kuala Kangsar.
All in all I have 78s of 24 lady singers and 20 male singers - my absolute pride and joy! The problem with 78s is - most phonographs and hifi sets have speeds of 33 and 45 rpm. only. Fortunately in Leicester, second hand players were relatively easy to get especially from the Charity Shops or at the Car Boot sale. That was about 15 years ago. Now you can't buy them ( at the price you're prepared to pay) - for love or money!
Again I'm gloating because I have in my treasure chest 4 such machines and they're all safe in KL. The next stage is for me to learn the know-how - to transfer (and preserve) these songs to CDs. A few months ago I did something daring for a 65 year old mak ngah - when I experimented with taking a movie from my camera. The above is the fruit of my experiment, not quite brilliant but it will have to do for the time being. It left my arms aching because I had no tripod, but I'm quite proud of my handiwork. When we get back to KL I shall endeavour to improve my technique and technology and share some of my favourites on this blog.
The song 'Malaya Merdeka' was sung by Zaharah Agus. It was recorded on the Pathe Label. The blurb on the record says ' March (the type of beat that is) susunan D. Abell dengan A.Jaafar Orchestra'. 'Pulau Aman' is on the flip side - 'Pelahan dengan A. Jaafar Orchestra'. 'Malaya Merdeka' was a popular song - obviously before 1957. What is special to me is the word 'Malaya'. It's a shame that this name for my homeland has been expunged. If the names of Sabah and Sarawak are in use, why not Malaya?