Audiophile Magazine review July 1996

English text beneath Chinese text

An amateur music fanatic with a fever pitch love for music put aside his heavy day time work duties, dug into his own pocket to purse to ideal, went all the way to Japan, spent some HK$700,000 and recorded a Blues recording. His love for music touched the number one guitarist in Japan Kazuo Takeda and Kazuo Takeda produced the recording and Kazuo Takeda actually asked his own backing band to play in the recording session, what can you say” This guy is Tommy Chung, he is a pioneer in Hong Kong, amid the depression in the Cd trade, what he did was a miracle. If you had read my interview with him in the June edition of Audiophile Magazine, I am sure you were intrigued. So what is this recording like? What is the recording quality given the fact that both the recording and mastering were done in Japan? I can frankly tell you this is one Cd that every music lover should get.

The reasons why it is a “must buy” are : one the music and vocals are both outstanding, there are lot of stunning guitar works, there is a very heavy Blues feel to the whole recording. Two, the recording was clean and clear but the same time there was a traditional Blues feel to it, the music dimension was detailed and fine, and the recording has not been contaminated with post production colouration. Three, even European music lovers also praised this recording. As Chinese people with a recording by a fellow Chinese, we should really give this recording all our support to our local musicians.

Of the 12 tracks on the recording, half of them were written by Tommy. There is a good balance between the up tempo and slower songs. Save and except Track No. 11 Roll On, Tommy did all the arrangement and played all the guitar parts. Two acoustic guitars on Leaving Blues were some times playing rhythm and sometimes soloing during the song. The technique is up to international standard. As to Play My Blues, there was one acoustic guitar doing the backing and National Triplate was used for slide playing. There was great harmony between the two guitars, and demonstrated the fully the true sound of the National steel guitar. The last track “Lonesome Blues” is an instrumental with only one acoustic guitar. This song showcases Tommy’s emotion and loneliness and touches you deep in your heart. This track was recorded in Tommy’s home studio, the sound was quite different.

Apart from acoustic guitars, you can hear Tommy’s skills on the electric guitar on the other tracks. For example, Track No.3 One Sunny Day, Track 4 Natural Ball and Track 9 Can’t Stop Loving, we can fluid and full bodied finger works. These are quality Blues tracks and worth repeated listening. In Track 5 Dust My Broom, Takashi Neko did a fantastic piano solo and one saxophone is a European living in Hong Kong called Andrew Pask. The song was somber and swinging, and the drums of Shisuke Sasai had a great beat in the background. The horn arrangements were done by Andrew Pask and the arrangements were very good indeed.

One of the musicians on the recording is Kazuo Takeda’s wife Yoko Hashimoto who play Blues harp on the recording. Her fantastic performance at the New Elizabeth Stadium during Danny Summer’s show was memorable. She played Blues harp on three songs, Track No. 8 One Step At A Time is an up beat Blues, the harp and the guitar were raw with energy. Track No. 10 Last Nite is a medium slow Blues, a simple track with an electric guitar and a Blues harp; the song was pure Blues. On Track No 11 Roll, Tommy sang about the humdrum daily life, so full of emotion. The guitar of Kazuo Takeda and the Blues harp of Yoko Hashimoto added so much to the melancholy of the song, the drums were excellent, this is my favourite song on the whole recording.

The whole recording has a traditional Blues sound and feel to it, the vocal and instruments were high class. If you listen carefully, you can hear some Robert Johnson and Johnny Winter, but at the same time Tommy has his own style. Tommy is broadening the music limit of music in the Hong Kong scene. Just heard on the news that Tommy will be doing a show in July at the A.C. Hall. The backing musicians will be coming from Japan including Kazuo Takeda , Yoko Hashimoto and the musicains who recorded wtih Tommy in Japan. Watch out for this show.

Reveiew by Sam Wong