Like samizdat pamphlets, there is a certain aesthetic to the shabby pirated records which used to be pressed in parts of the world where copyright law was cheerfully ignored. Such an operation was Chung Sheng (中聲), a Taiwanese label which used to sell cheap knock-offs of mainstream releases to US servicemen based there. Whatever the GIs were fighting for during the Cold War, it evidently was not the capitalist system of intellectual property rights.
Bobby Goldsboro played guitar in Roy Orbison’s band before embarking on a solo career. Honey was his most successful solo album. The LP is a collection of love songs, alternating between declarations of undying love and Dear John letters. The honey is mixed with lemon juice, you might say. This is one of the acidic tracks, a venture into the land of strained marriages, what you might call Wynette County. Goldsboro wrote the song, but the singer of “With Pen in Hand” is more plausibly a woman, and it had the greatest success performed by the American pop and country singer, Vikki Carr.
Even so, Goldsboro performs it well, his country-tinged baritone coming through though even on this dodgy pressing. Chung Sheng, which translates as something like “in the sound”, produced dozens of titles, in sleeves which were just folded sheets of paper in a plastic bag, with photocopied pictures and a handwritten track-list. The sleeve claims that the record is in stereo, which it certainly ain’t. Nor is it on centre, but it plays okay.
- Artist: Bobby Goldsboro
- LP Title: Honey
- Track: A3 “With Pen In Hand”
- Format: 12”, 33⅓ rpm
- Label: 中聲 (Chung Sheng Records)
- Manufactured in: Taiwan
- Catalogue number: CSJ-707
- Year: 1968
Many of the records discussed on this blog, and hundreds of others, are for sale via Discogs.