Sunday, 23 August 2009

We will make love

Don't be misled by the title of this post. It's nothing obscene. It's just the title of a very innocent song that was very popular way back in the late 1950s.

It brings back real sentimentality. I'm thinking back to the days of my father when he first bought records to play on our radiogram. The radiogram was the rage in those days...the late 1950s to the early 1960s...and they would comprise a radio plus a turntable. Ours was a cubical sort of radiogram and the top opened up to unveil a Garrard turntable capable of playing various speeds of records, i.e. 16rpm, 22rpm, 45rpm and 78rpm.

I was going through the collection of seven-inch 45rpm records he left behind. Of course, they are now mingled with my own collection, but his collection really represented the music of his time, simple music and simple tunes and singers singing songs of love. I pulled out three of these seven-inch records. They were by Russ Hamilton, a Liverpudlian singer-songwriter who, for a brief moment in time, had big hits on both sides of the Atlantic. Those were the pre-Beatles days.

I don't mind saying that I did enjoy Russ Hamilton's songs too. I still do and that was the reason why unhesitatingly, I had bought a rare compact disc of Hamilton's songs in Singapore many, many years ago. I've also a copy of his songs on a very rare 12-inch record. Actually, this was a recent acquisition. Cost me only RM18 and yes, it contained most of Hamilton's hit songs.

Hamilton (his real name was Ronald Hulme) died in October last year, almost unnoticed by his fans and the music industry save for two obituaries that appeared in the Liverpool Daily Post and The Independent newspapers. Ironically, despite having a Top 10 record in Britain and America he made very little money. He offered young musicians this advice: "Never give anyone your power of attorney."

I saw this mentioned in someone's MySpace: "Being young & naive to a career & how it is handled, Russ became another victim of "bad" management & greedy song publishers due to the fact that he could write his own songs. Like many of his contemporaries back then, Russ' career generated millions of dollars but saw little of it & then was cast to the side to be forgotten."

Side 1: Rainbows, I Don't Know Why I Just Do, My Mother's Eyes, I Still Belong To You, Am I Wasting My Time, Drifting And Dreaming
Side 2: We Will Make Love, Little One, I Had A Dream, I'm In Love With Two Sweethearts, Wedding Ring, Till We Meet Again


stephen said...

I remember the radiogram! My uncle had one with a garrard changer on top.You just stacked the 45s and it would play them one after the other.The center of the record was removable to cater for different spindle sizes.We had many records with missing center pieces!! The radio being an all tube affair would heat up the player on top eventually making it hot! One of the problems was the motor burning out eventually.
In the late 70s,my father resurrected and repaired an old radiogram that was in the storeroom.It was great listening to it.I think it was a grundig with a magic eye for tuning the radio.
I particularly like Rainbows.A shame he didn't get to enjoy the fruits of his labour.Have a great evening- its been raining and the weather's cool and nice over here.

Dr. Lee said...

Glad you like Russ Hamilton. Pity our Asian newspaper did not publish any obituary although he was exceptionally popular here. I even wrote to the Straits Times and the Star in Malaysia but they did not border to publish it. They are political newspapers and more interested in politics, I guess. Russ is an extremely nice and humble man and I have the pleasure of knowing him very well and also did an interview with him for our radio station once. In fact he has even sent me some of his unpublished songs he wrote and sang more recently with only his acoustic guitar. I received the sad news of his passing from his twin sister. The excellent My-space site is by his nephew who stayed in Canada.