maybe the best thing ever (stephen cheng’s always together)

I took the long way around, but I’ve become a serious fan (and collector) of Rocksteady. I also love strange musical hybrids. Rocksteady itself is hybrid form of earlier Jamaican musics, with American R&B and Soul. Stephen Cheng’s Always Together is another thing. Made sometime in the mid to late 60’s for the Chinese immigrant population in Kingston, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Rocksteady with Chinese vocals and phrasing. It’s killer. The vocals were apparently drawn from the traditional Taiwanese folk song featured bellow.  The original is rare as hell, but it’s recently been reissued if you need it for yourself.

 

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4 thoughts on “maybe the best thing ever (stephen cheng’s always together)

  1. Hi, I stumbled onto your blog entry on Stephen Cheng’s rocksteady song. I am actually his son and happened to be looking up other work of his on YouTube the other day and discovered this song that I had never known about. He know that he had visited Jamaica but never knew that he had done any music close to reggae. Your explanation that this was done for the Chinese immigrant population in Kingston would explain why he might have recorded this.

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  2. I did some research and was able to find several stories in the Kingston Gleaner newspaper about my father doing several concerts in Kingston in May/June 1967. He was singing a combination of classical,popular and Chinese Folk Songs.at these concerts. He was sponsored by the Chinese Benevolent Association. I would guess that some time during his visit he was introduced to Byron Lee and the Dragonaires. Interestingly enough, several years later, he formed a Chinese folk rock group called the Dragon Seeds and he actually returned to Kingston in 1972 to do a concert there with that group.

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