Chinese Music




Albums of Chinese music intended for the non-Chinese world are in very short supply. And many of the pop standards associated with China are not Chinese in origin; "China Nights," for instance, is Japanese. Despite having an incredibly rich and diverse musical culture, China seems to have lacked a major representative in America during the "hi-fi" era. Where was the Chinese counterpart to Tak Shindo?

At least one major label attempted an album of Chinese-themed pop, which is to say western standards with titles and instrumentation suggestive of China. Bob Lin Wu's Music for a Chinese Dinner at Home came packaged as "Dinner Music," complete with recipes for Chinese dishes instead of more illuminating liner notes. While Chinese-sounding versions of such chestnuts as "Chinatown, My Chinatown" made fine if irreverent entertainment, any sense of true Chinese music remained a mystery.

Most Chinese LPs are on Lyrichord, which did an extensive and commendable job but is only one label. Poetic, deeply affecting, and authentic but not stifling, this music should have been captured more extensively, or at least released more widely.

Buying: Albums of Chinese pop are sufficiently rare (except perhaps the mysterious imports with no English lettering) that most are recommended.



Chinese LPs on Lyrichord

Rating
5Prof. Wei Chung Loh: Chinese Classical Music; Lyrichord LL-72 (mono only)
Sung Tso-Liang Orchestra: Chinese Drums & Gongs; Lyrichord LLST-7102
6The Shantung Music Society: Shantung--Music of Confucius' Homeland; Lyrichord LLST-7112 (Prof. Liang Tsai-Ping, director)
8Lui Tsun-Yuen Plays the Pipa & Chin: Exotic Music of Ancient China; Lyrichord LLST-7122
6Lui Man-Sing & his Group: Chinese Masterpieces for the Erh-Hu; Lyrichord LLST-7132
Chinese Folk Songs; Lyrichord LLST-7152
7Lui Tsun-Yuen: Chinese Classical Masterpieces for the Pipa & Chin; Lyrichord LLST-7182/LL-82
Prof. Liang Tsai-Ping & Group: China's Instrumental Heritage; Lyrichord LLST-7192/LL-92
Lotus Lantern; Lyrichord LLST-7202
6Precious Lotus Monastery/Good Fortune Monastery: Chinese Buddhist Music; Lyrichord LLST-7222
8Chinese Taoist Music; Lyrichord LLST-7223 (rec. John Levy)


Other Chinese LPs

Rating
7Grace Chang: Hong Kong's Grace Chang; Capitol [of the World] T-10272
6Cham-Ber Huang & his Oriental Theatre Ensemble: The Music & Food of the Orient; Music Minus One MMO-123 (boxed set w/recipe book)
6Vicky Lau (narrator): China Listening; Sphere/Betty Crocker Magazine
6Alexander Laszlo: The Secret Music of China 10"; Columbia CL-6055; (c)1949 (tone poems/music with sound effects)
6Bob Lin Wu & his Orchestra: Music for a Chinese Dinner at Home; RCA Victor LSP-1936; 1959
5All This and Ginny Tiu; Era ERA-EL101 (kid funk/Chinese/piano/exotic rock; "Inka Dinka Doo")
5The Ginny Tiu Revue; Monument MLP-8030 (kid funk/Chinese/piano/exotic rock; 1 wack drum cut)
6Various: Hong Kong!; Capitol [of the World] T-10267
7Various: Taiwanese Aboriginal Melody; Ring Ring RR-7001 & RR-7002 (2-LP)


Partly Chinese[-Themed Pop] LPs

Rating
7The Western World of Tsai Chin; Decca LK-4717; 1965 (UK Decca; torch/Chinese)
7Xavier Cugat: Music for Latin Lovers; Pye/Mercury MPT-7530 (England; in US on 12" LP Mambo!; "China Boy")
7Ole Jensen & his Music; Chappell LPC-1034; 1970 ("Eastern Encounter"; production/space-electronic)
7Phil Kraus: The Percussive Phil Kraus; Golden Crest CR-3004 ("Chinese Lullaby")
7The Polynesians: The Magic of Hawaii; Crown/Custom CS-1089 (Hawaiian/Tahitian/Chinese; "Hawaii China Doll")
6Leopoldo Silos: Toragee--The Romantic Music of Asia; CBS/Epic LF-18042; 1966 (exotica/Japan/Korea/Philippines/China/Thailand/Malaysia/strings)
6The Dave Terry Orchestra: New York, New York; Kapp Medallion MS-7525 (beatnik; "Chinatown My Chinatown")
6Joel Vandroogenbroeck: South East Asia; Gema/Coloursound CS-46 (production; Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Cambodia)
5Various: Hi-Fi in an Oriental Garden; ABCS-224
7Various: National Music--Far East Vol. 1; Chappell Index Series CIS-5032; 1960-69 (production/SE Asia; compilation; Robert Farnon, John Leach, Nino Nardini, Roger Roger..)
5Various: Songs & Sounds of the Orient; Japan Air Lines JAL-5581-666; 1966


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