Formosa Medicine Show


“ The Formosa Medicine Show is a record about hucksters, vagabonds and itinerant musicians traveling throughout Asia, particularly Taiwan, from the early 1900s to the 1950s. In writing the music for the album, the Ramblers’ bandleader, singer-songwriter David Chen, blends historical fiction with musical genres of the times, connecting the medicine show tradition in America with Taiwan’s own. The result is a 23-song collection of quirky, heartfelt and humorous stories delivered by infectious melodies and grooves spanning a variety of musical styles, from blues, swing, ragtime and hillbilly to sea shanties, Okinawan folk and Jazz-Age Taiwanese pop. ” — excerpted from Muddy Basin Ramblers Official Website

Formosa Medicine Show was my very first album, which filled with all the good memories and it’s like a fantasy to me. Even though I only participated in 6 or 7 songs in the album and I was clumsy as hell, it was such an incredibly amazing time to play with the Ramblers. Honestly, I’ve never thought my first album would be a folk swing album. I thought it probably would be something funky and soul. Well, actually I’ve never thought I would have an album.

At the time I was just a young man, just graduated from the university, who happened to know how to play a little bit jazz and blues. I remeber

I am panicking about life and future all the time, but the only thing that I never doubt is the faith for music.

I’ve been playing music with Muddy Basin Ramblers as a pianist and melodica-ist. David, an American Taiwanese from Ohio and also the band leader, asked me if I’m interested in joining them in the next album “Formosa Medicine Show” in 2012. I said yes immediately without second thought, because they never had piano in their music before. Since then, I’ve been playing with them in several concerts and gigs, feeling like I’m becoming a Rambler as well now.

What I like Muddy Basin Ramblers is their old-school versatile styles. Some hear blues, others hear jazz, some think it’s bluegrass, others call it hillbilly swing.