Something special happens when a talented, versatile singer teams up with a visionary, attentive and focused producer. This remarkable collection is the cream of such a collaboration, featuring vocalist Phairin Phonphibun and her late-70s and early-80s work with Thai studio legend Surin Paksiri. These 10 songs showcase Phonphibun's mastery of a range of Isan musical styles, always skilled, always singular and always soulful. Her spirit-lifting, authentic molam voice is honored here by the work of the still-active production genius Paksiri, who realizes that as wonderful as a beautiful voice is, when that voice is set, gem-like, in a fitting and inspiring musical environment, the results are timeless. All of these songs were originally released as 7-inch records on Paksiri's own label, in an era before the cassette era devolved, for lesser talents, into a production line of sound-alikes. Every song has a thoughtful, unique arrangement, with a style and sensibility which separates them from other molam and luk thung of every era. In this sense, Paksiri can be ranked along with renowned auteur producers of the Western musical world, with his attention to detail and keen musical sense evident on every track, retaining an undeniable Thai essence while introducing disco, soul and rock elements. A highlight here is the title tune, one of Phomphibun's signature songs, featured in the 1978 film "Mon Rak Menam Mun" and which so impressed Thai show-biz big boss Waiphot Petsuphan that he asked Paksiri to produce his own cover version.
* Molam: "Mo" is an artist and "Lam" is a kind of performance art where the artist tells a story using tonal inflexions. In other words, the term Molam refers to both the singer and art form. Molam pieces are not strictly speaking "songs".