Recently, I found out that rock icon Mike Hanopol thanked me on Facebook for a commissioned feature I wrote about him. He had been in the news lately for his bout with COVID-19, which fortunately he recovered from.
Part of his message stated: “Maraming salamat at you have shown the importance of OPM.”
True enough, the bass playing co-vocalist in the Pinoy rock power trio that became known as Juan Dela Cruz Band and who embarked on a successful solo career with the megahit “Laki Sa Layaw,” is one who can’t be missed out when we’re talking about Original Pilipino Music (OPM). His contribution is of such value it paved the way for later generations of Filipino rockers.
Small wonder his album Awiting Pilipino, which spawned the song that introduced listeners to the term jeproks, is among the new reproductions from Vicor Music’s classic vinyl series, along with other key releases featuring Resty Fabunan’s Maria Cafra, Yoyoy Villame, and Gary Valenciano.
The vinyl-collecting community had been found to be receptive to the local label’s move to unearth its gems to satisfy the craving of audiophiles. Previous releases like those from the late great Ric Segreto (“Segreto”) and Rico J. Puno (“The Way We Were”), as well as those from living legends Rey Valera, Martin Nievera, Freddie Aguilar, and Sharon Cuneta, are said to have “become a big hit.” “Segreto” apparently “sold out its stocks twice.”
Hanopol’s album originally released in 1977 is deservingly described as “a successful solo debut from the Pinoy rock singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.” Apart from “Laki Sa Layaw,” it also contains the songs “Mr. Kengkoy,” “Kayabangan” and the title track, all of which belong among his top five most-streamed hits on Spotify.
A few years ago, I went to the house of the stylish rocker famous for his beret and headless guitar and we chatted about his experiences as a musician. By the time I paid him a visit, he had become the first Filipino rabbi.
For the other new Vicor vinyl releases —all manufactured abroad on 180-gram vinyl, the Maria Cafra’s self-titled record boasts the hit “Kumusta Mga Kaibigan” while Gary Valenciano’s Next album provides the Danny Javier-written “‘Di Na Natuto” and the Cecile Azarcon composition “Reaching Out.” Of course, the 14-track Best of Yoyoy Villame has his finest and funniest tracks top-billed by “Butsekik,” “Si Felimon,” and “Mag Exercise Tayo,” to name a few.
Vicor had likewise reissued Juan Dela Cruz Band’s “Himig Natin," Basil Valdez’s “Ngayon At Kailanman,” and a couple of more Manila Sound treasures.
Priced at P1,900 per title, these records are said to be perfect for collectors itching for quality classic albums. Interested individuals may reach out to Vicor on Facebook to know where and how to purchase such precious items for the discerning ears.
In the midst of the digital revolution in music, the comeback of vinyl as the format of choice of its niche market is a welcome development for old souls like me.
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