On Air

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 February, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 February, 2004, 12:00am

Various artists

On Air (Ray Cordeiro)


'Uncle Ray's choice with Uncle Ray's voice', as this two-disc collection is billed, comprises 35 tracks from the vaults of EMI. The first disc features 16 tracks released in Hong Kong between 1966 and 1971, while the second consists of 19 hits from the label's international catalogue that are regular plays on DJ Ray Cordeiro's late-night Radio 3 show, 'All the Way with Ray'.

The tunes on disc one - transferred from scratchy old 45s - offer a real nostalgia trip for anybody who can remember Hong Kong in the 1960s, and a fascinating insight into its popular culture for those of us who came after.

Judging from Uncle Ray's sampling of hits of the era, if the 60s 'revolution in the head' made it as far as these shores, it stopped well short of Broadcast Drive. You won't find the influence of The Beatles, Stones, Dylan or Hendrix among artists such as Buddy Wong, The Gabriels, and The Willows.

Peter Paul and Mary were apparently the main role models for aspiring pop stars and their songbook is strongly represented here.

The kitsch high point of disc one, for my money anyway, is Esther Chan's pop rendering of The Lord's Prayer - a performance anticipating Sir Cliff Richard's by 32 years and proof that if an idea really stinks, no amount of time will improve it.

The second disc reflects Uncle Ray's admirable eclecticism in easy listening, with songs ranging from Ruby Murray's When Irish Eye's Are Smiling to Deep Purple's portentous Soldier of Fortune.

There are also classic turns from Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole, and some durable 50s and 60s pop from The Shadows and the Everly Brothers, among others. On both discs Uncle Ray's spoken links are precisely what you would expect. Loyal late-night listeners will not be disappointed.


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On Air

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