Julian Cope presents JAPROCKSAMPLER.COM

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I've never heard this quintet, which featured a violinist and two guitarists. They were possibly Beatles-influenced, as their name means ‘Honey Pie’.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
The arrival in Japan of this so-called 'Tribal Rock Musical' was deeply disturbing to straight Japanese society, and the authorities banned the show after just two months of performances. However, the fall out accelerated the Japanese underground scene considerably, and many ensembles and loose aggregations of artists/musicians came together through their association with 'Hair'. For a full explanation of the 'Hair' influence on Japanese culture, please see Japrocksampler Book One, Chapter Four and Book Two, Chapter Five. The soundtrack released on RCA in 1971.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Eiichi Otaki – guitar, vocals
Shigeru Suzuki – guitar, vocals
Haruomi Hosono – bass, vocals
Takashi Matsumoto– drums, vocals

Happy End occupies a lonely place in the Japanese pantheon of rock divinities, for the band’s members were the first to be brave (and percipient) enough to insist on presenting their songs in the Japanese language. This was at a time when such an idea was still considered un-authentic and slightly gauche, but the band persisted and ultimately won the day. Unlike most contemporary Japanese bands of the time, Happy End also refused to sweeten their albums with scatterings of Western rock covers, which has resulted in their work having long term homeland respect but precious little of musical value to the keen Western Japrock freak. For the truth is that Happy End’s music is most reminiscent of soft rock such as WHEATFIELD SOUL-period Guess Who, a slightly heavier CS&Y and Badfinger, and contains no real musical highs such as guitar or organ solos of merit. Happy End was formed in 1969 by Apryl Fool’s highly talented rhythm section Haruomi Hosono and Takashi Matsumoto, who were both songwriters of considerable note. The band signed to the experimental and visionary record label URC (Underground Record Club), which had set its sights on celebrating Japan-o-centric culture statements, many of which are too insular for most Western rock ears. The band’s first LP HAPPY END was to these ears their best effort by far, each subsequent release being slightly blander, although the second LP LAEMACHI ROMAN has its moments. Signing to the larger King record label, Happy End had Van Dyke Parks produce their third LP confusingly also entitled HAPPY END. A concert recording from 1972 was released posthumously in 1974 as the LP LIVE HAPPY END.
The band existed between 1969-73, during which time they enjoyed no major record sales, but were always darlings of the rock critics, especially when they collaborated with Little Feat’s Lowell George on the song ‘Sayonara America, Sayonara Nippon’. They also had the nerve to back acoustic folk singer Nobuyasu Okabayashi when he went electric, even though it was considered a Dylan-like act of treachery to traditionalists. Nowadays, with all of its band members having achieved a consistent level of success, Happy End is best known for the song ‘Kaze Wo Atsumete’, which was featured in the movie LOST IN TRANSLATION. Bass player Hosono later formed the highly influencial Yellow Magic Orchestra, while drummer Matsumoto would later direct movies and write Top Ten hits for Eastern stars Agnes Chan, Masahiro Kuwana and Seiko Matsuda.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
I have never heard this intriguing 2-LP set, but Unsung editor The Seth Man had a copy as a teenager and was not enamoured, describing it as 'more L.A. than Tokyo'. The album was produced in the USA by Mothers of Invention and Velvets producer Tom Wilson. According to Seth, the first LP side was 'kinda sub-par pop with the most interesting thing [being] the first track, which was a near-"Sgt. Peppper" type homage, highly phased drums and all the rest of it ... The second record had one track apiece ... which was the reason I bought it, figgering it would yield a maximum freak out. I only remember a lot of inept koto plucking, some Western gent prattling on 'meaningfully' in a proto-"Kung Fu" David Carradine manner about a pregnant dog and a little token freaking-out in a "Mondo Hollywood" style. I was left with the impression it was about as Japanese as the Chinese takeout-styled type design on the cover...which was to say: not all that much, unfortunately.'
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Keiji Heino's large ouevre falls outside the timescales of Japrocksampler, despite his having spent considerable time in Tokyo's avant-garde scene of the late '60s and early '70s.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
This studio project, released on Victor Records in 1971, was the brainchild of future Free/Faces bass player Tetsu Yamauchi and Haruo Chikada, whose long career stretches from the Kyoto protests of 1971 to his DJ exploits of today, via his strange band Haruophnone-Biburasuton. The LP sleeve was styled like Miles Davis' hip street corner ON THE CORNER/BIG FUN period, populated with funky occidental dudes and dudettes.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
I've never heard this band, but internet bloggers claim that they recorded at least one album, ‘FULUKOTOFUMI’, which is reputedly progressive.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
I personally know nothing of this very obscure group, except that they recorded at least one album, FUMANZOKU, which bloggers claim 'contains psychedelic rock'. However, as I've been burned by umpteen Japanese ebayers using that term, I'd suggest you hear it before you purchase a copy.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
This duo was formed at the end of 1971 by future Far East Family Band vocalist Fumio Miyashita and ex-Launchers guitarist Osamu Kitajima, whose previous project had been the English freakbeat-styled Justin Heathcliff. Their sole LP SHINCHUGOKO ('New China') is discussed on page 239 of Japrocksampler.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007