Various Artists
Classic Productions by Surin Phaksiri: Luk Thung Gems from the 1960s-80s
EM Records
Incl. insert
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1Buppa Saichon – Won Lom Fak Rak
2Sumit Satchethep – Khor Than Rak
3Kawao Siangthong – Wimarn Chamlong
4Banchop Charoenporn – Sao Sao Yah Wao Lai
5Riam Daranoi – Chai Ten
6Kawao Siangthong – Bong Kancha
7Buppa Saichon – Cha Doen Show
8Danchai Sonthaya – Yaak Taai
9Dam Dansuphan – Rak Khao Khan
10Phloen Phromdaen – Kiao Saaw Fang Khong
11Sumalee Saengsot – Sakura Khoi Thoe
12Waiphot Phetsuphan – Lam Loh Thung

This collection of 12 luk thung* songs from the 1960s-70s, all produced by Surin Phaksiri, is a superb showcase of cross-genre/multi-national fertilization, with Latin, jazz, western pop, Indian and Japanese music seamlessly melding with the musical culture of Isan (northeast Thailand), which is strongly rooted in Laotian culture; indeed, the Isan language, as featured in these songs, is a form of Laotian. Esteemed producer Surin Phaksiri, an Isan icon, always strove to drive Thai music forward, with innovative techniques and open ears, introducing international elements as well as Lao influences, including the use of the khaen. Many of the singers here, all famed and respected, have Lao roots, and it is predominantly through music that the Isan Lao-Thai culture has entered the Thai national consciousness. These lovely and joyous songs are, for the most part, previously unavailable outside of Thailand; more than half are first-time reissues. The wide range of songs here includes covers of Japanese folk and pop songs, a paean to marijuana, proto-Thai funk, a ramwong-style** dance tune, a cover of a Bollywood classic, some straight-ahead luk thung, a unique Indian-style luk thung, and a gorgeous answer song to a movie hit. An array of gems, available on vinyl and CD, with English translations of the lyrics and Soi48’s liner notes. Cover art by Shinsuke Takagi (Soi48)

  • Lukthung: A musical genre whose name means ‘country person’s song’ or ‘children of the field’. The name became established in the latter half of the 1960s and now has the status of a national genre of popular song unique to Thailand. The lyrics of luk thung songs deal mainly with the rural idyll, comparisons between the city and the countryside, life in the big city and current affairs. There are certain typical traits to the music, but no official musical form.

** Ramwong: A unique form of Thai dance music, fostered as a means of promoting national pride and unity. Similar to Japanese Bon Odori, participants form a circle and dance together. The term can refer to the particular style of music, or the actual dance.