Our last article Most Expensive Chinese LP, drew some curious feedback from you and we are encouraged by it. At the same time we are not exactly please because we still haven’t found a happy home for this gem. We reckon someday when this LP finds its way to Christie’s auction (Ed: LOL), you will think of this missed opportunity. This time, we have a more down-to-earth LP to share with you which happens to be another Cantopop great that was also made in Japan.
Before all the Heavenly Kings (and horses) of Hong Kong, there was Sam Hui. Widely claimed as the God of songs in Hong Kong, Sam Hui writes and sings for the common people that touch the simple hearts of millions. In the 70s, with the regional success of his brother Michael Hui’s blockbuster comedies Sam’s records found its way to Japan.
Mr. Boo referred to Michael Hui who often played the role of an underdog, sometimes gutless but street smart fellow who go against the odds.
I was lucky to get my hands on “The Private Eyes” (Polydor MPF 1219) Japanese version. Although the LP condition didn’t quite meet my minimum used vinyl condition, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Given that it’s about 30 odd years old and pressed in such limited quantity, these Japanese versions are harder to come by.
Cover Art Shootout
I much preferred the original LP cover art of these two over the Japanese’s version. The latter cover art were too comic “cartoonish” and didn’t capture the spirit and theme of the movie. I certainly couldn’t recognize Mr. Boo as Michael Hui from the cover. It appeared the art work was designed by someone who didn’t watch or understood the movie. Putting the 2 Japanese titles LP side by side (“Private Eye” and “The Contract”), you would find both of these Japanese LP cover art bear the same style and quite likely from the same art studio.
Sound wise, although both individual pressings were from Polydor, that’s about all the commonalities. On the Japan pressing, you can expect the usual quality – quiet, glossy, flat 120g vinyl and the local pressing – vinyl thin as a saw-blade with some expected noise. The Japan copy has Sam Hui’s vocals quite distinctively projected – lighted up with good ambient around it. It also has more flesh, sweeter and a smoother mid-range compared to the local copy. However, the perceived rounder edge (only slight) did roll off a bit of trailing bite (e.g. cymbals) which may not please some rock fans. Anyway, this record is supposed to please pop fans and this rock fan (Oyster) is as happy as a clam at high water to find it.
Now this one is not for sale until I find a near mint copy and with OBI someday.