Album Review

Tam, Phuong – “Magical Nights: Saigon Surf Twist and Soul -’64-’66” – [Sublime Frequencies]

puplaif   5/25/2022   CD, International

Phuong Tâm was one of the first Vietnamese singers to record rock and roll music. 

As a young girl, she was intrigued by the rock and roll sounds emanating from a nearby neighbor’s radio and she knew from a young age that she wanted to be a singer. 

In her teenage years, she began performing at Saigon nightclubs, where she met and connected with other Vietnamese musicians. Together they wrote, recorded, and performed original Vietnamese rock and roll songs incorporating surf, twist, soul, and other influences. Phuong’s powerful voice brings both grit and sweetness to these songs about love and loss. 

In 1975, Phuong and her family fled Vietnam, ultimately setting up roots right here in San Jose. Thanks to some serious digging and collaboration spearheaded by Phuong’s daughter Hanna, we’re able to enjoy Phuong’s musical legacy today. Magical Nights revives 25 of Phuong Tâm’s songs, recorded in Vietnam from 1964 to 1966, and re-gifts her music to the world after nearly being lost to the forces of cultural erasure. 

you heard it 77 times on kfjc! most recently:
  • 4 days ago, Kimbrosia played Double Eight (Doi Tam)
  • 5 days ago, Zoltan played Sorrow At 18 (Buon 18)
  • 5 days ago, Zoltan played Magical Night (Dem Huyen Dieu)
  • 7 days ago, Lucky Jae played Double Eight (Doi Tam)
  • 7 days ago, Mister S played The Sadness of the City (Buon Len Thanh Pho)
David James says

Thanks for this excellent review. I've been following other international musicians from the period, including Sinn Sisamouth. Wondering if Hanna has been interviewed by KFJC. A discussion of these historic sessions would be fascinating.


puplaif says

Thank you for your comment. Check out Ann Arbor's upcoming special, Phu'o'ng Tam and the Music of Saigon in the Sixties which will feature an interview with the artist and producers of the album.


unameLeftBlank says


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