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Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Fumio Nunoya – vocals
Hisao Ono – guitar
Tsuneo Matsumoto – bass
Masami Naito – drums

Dew was formed in January 1970. Dominated by vocalist Fumio Nunoya, ex-singer with New Rock act Blues Creation and Group Sounds act The Bickies, both of which he had formed with Kazuo Takeda, in 1969. Nunoya was also with band Taboo whom he formed with future Happy End star Eiichi Otaki. Evidence of only two Dew songs survive, both recorded at the Genya Protest Festival, and both featuring on the soundtrack LP on Elec Records. However, the band split up soon afterwards.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
I have heard nothing and know nothing about this quintet other than that they are 'alleged to have been based in the US'.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Kazuo Imai – guitar, viola da gamba (upright descant viola), electronics, snake charmer
Kaoru Okabe – found object
Yasushi Ozawa – bass
Tomonao Koshikawa – piano, potentiometers
Hiroshi Shii – wand, water stick
Masami Tada – sound performance, natural materials used as thrown percussion, FX
Tatuo Hattori – FX, electonics
Kazuaki Hamada – percussion, FX
Masaharu Minegishi – whistles, sound performance
Chie Mukai – kokyu (Chinese upright fiddle)

This large ensemble was formed in March 1976 by students of Taj Mahal Travellers leader Takahisa Kosugi. Their sole LP* is number 33 in the Japrocksampler Top 50. They briefly re-formed as the superb Marginal Consort in 1997 - in many ways this new ensemble was far superior as is evidenced by their outstanding album release.

* Henk Zuurveld notes that the original album was released in 1976 by ALM Records. The LP's label number is: al-3001 and also includes an insert.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Perhaps the most legendary of all Japanese rock musicians, the Sino-Japanese Shinki Chen is certainly those islands’ most celebrated guitarist, and is nowadays discussed in hushed tones and regarded by many as their equivalent to Jimi Hendrix. Indeed, with his imposing 6’ 1” frame, perpetual cigarette dangling from his lips and long Afro hairstyle, Shinki at the height of his powers cut a dash remarkably reminiscent of Guns n’ Roses’ guitarist Slash. Shinki was born in Yokohama City, on May 30th 1949, and claims that he began to play guitar aged fourteen, “I guess because there was one around”. At that age singing and playing in a folk group, Shinki afterwards joined a Liverpool-styled beat group led by his friend Keibun Hayashi, before joining a Ventures-type surf group with a female vocalist. Gradually developing an obsession for The Kinks and The Yardbirds, in 1966, Shinki joined his friends’ band Midnight Express Blues Band as drummer. On guitar was Masayoshi Kabe, when went by the nickname Maboo. Kabe says of the Midnight Express’ repetoire: “Our repertoire was the Yardbirds, the Shadows of Night, Them, and stuff like that.” Kabe remembers his first meeting with Shinki thus:

“Shinki brought a girl… his girl… to my place and asked: ‘Maboo, will you be her boyfriend? (laughs)’ And I thought, what a guy. At first he came saying he wanted to teach me guitar. But later I found out he had another girl (laughs). And he just wanted to push this one on to me (laughs). Her name was Bella. So that’s how we met.”

But when Masayoshi Kabe left to join Group & I that December, Shinki turned to the position of guitarist. With future Golden Cups’ drummer Mamoru Manu now sitting in on drums, Midnight Express Blues Band continued to rehearse with Chiharu Hachou on guitar, Shinki’s old friend bassist Keibun Hayashi, and vocalist Eiji Takamura, who took the stage name Chibo. In 1967, the band re-named itself The Bebes after a cool shop of the same name in Yokohama City, owned by their new manager, who ran Towa Productions. The Bebes performed throughout 1968 at military bases, international schools, ABC in Yokohama and at the Nakagawa Saburo Discotheque, but ran into big problems because of Shinki and Chibo’s ever-lengthening hair. Sharing their management company was Masayoshi Kabe’s equally rebellious Group & I, and both bands were shuttled off to the suburbs around Tokyo to develop their showmanship, as neither band could find a booking at the more sober jazz kissas. Indeed, Shinki and Chibo prided themselves on having hair as long as that of their English heroes, and refused to sing in Japanese or wear the de rigeur Beatles-informed Group Sounds uniforms of the day. However, when Kabe’s Group & I followed The Bebes lead and re-named themselves Golden Cups after a chain of coffee houses, their popularity increased dramatically, and the Cups were offered a recording contract. Feeling themselves falling behind, and with musicians coming and going, The Bebes agreed to record their own version of The Beatles’ ‘Back in the USSR’, slowing it down to a crawl and recording for Toshiba Records the longest song ever to make it on to 7” single. And in the process, Shinki’s friend George Yanagi joined as bass player as the band changed its name yet again, this time to Powerhouse. Powerhouse played no original songs, but their cover versions were enormously long and unfolding things, their version of The Yardbirds’ ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’ and the inevitable ‘Spoonful’ both clocking in at over a quarter of an hour each. With FX pedals still in their infancy and being the sole preserve of Western musicians, Powerhouse were forced to approximate fuzz boxes by punching holes in the cones of their speakers. However, as their sole LP, 1969’s A NEW KIND OF BLUES was neither Group Sounds nor original, the band folded, and Shinki went into studio session work and working in the theatre ensemble for the musical HAIR. Playing the HAIR songs with such future stars as Joe Yamanaka, Hiro Tsunoda and Hiro Yanagida, Shinki yearned for a new band. In April 1970, inspired by the success of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper’s SUPER SESSION LP, Hiro Yanagida suggested that they form a band called Food Brain. Two quick live Food Brain concerts took place on May 9th and 10th, featuring Hiro Tsunoda on drums, but none of the musicians were real songwriters, and everything was improvised. On May 29th and 30th, the sole Food Brain LP was hastily recorded, with Masayoshi Kabe playing a bass that just happened to be lying around in the studio. Nowadays, Food Brain is a horrible sounding thing, but its effect on the musicians involved was astounding and inspiring. However, when Hiro Tsunoda left for shows in Montreal, the band recruited D’Swooners drummer Eddie Fortuno to play at the THIRD WORLD HEAD ROCK festival, on July 23rd, with Blues Creation and Zuno Keisatsu. Thereafter, Shinki recorded the musical soundtrack for the movie SHINJUKU MAD, during which time he was bumming around Shinjuku itself and sleeping at the railway station.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Konimara – vocals
Masabuni - synthesizer
Rey Ohara - percussion, hand drums

This virtually unknown free chant’n’ritual ensemble made one brilliant LP DEBON for Voice Records in 1974, before disappearing back whence they came. Often compared to Faust, they actually come across more like some Cajun inbreds at a cannibal sacrifice, the chanting exhibiting an apocalyptic bluesy quality somewhat akin to Exuma the Obeah Man, or Captain Beefheart circa STRICTLY PERSONAL and MIRROR MAN. Hand drums, sleigh bells, tambourines, blues harp, and many many vocals go into the sonic stew that makes the sound of Brast Burn.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Masayoshi Takanaka – vocals, guitars, bass, piano
Michio Ara - vocals, electric guitar, inspiration
Toru Hatano – fuzz guitar, keyboards, string & electric FX organ, drums, vocals
Keizo Ishiyama – bass, vocals
Hitoki Goto – rhythm guitar, bass, money, idea
Hoko Ide – organ, piano
Donand Dog III – vocals, piano
Akira Asami - piano
Takefumi Yoshida – sitar
Kenichi Sato – tambura
Oshine – drums
Humio Mori - drums
Toru Hatano – drums, keyboards

Taking its cue from late ‘60s bands such as Bob Markley’s West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Brush was the pet ‘vanity’ project of future Flied Egg/Strawberry Path bassist Masayoshi Takanaka. Not really a band as such, more a loose aggregation of like-minded musicians, Brush revolved around Takanaka and patron Hitoki Goto, who paid for all of the recordings in return for being allowed to record some of his own material. Those involved in this collective obviously wished to be perceived as a band, as eleven of the thirteen musicians involved appeared together in press photographs and on the LP sleeve itself. The self-titled LP, which was released in 1971 on the tiny TPR record label, covered all bases and suffered from that irritating eclecticism that was to ruin Takanaka’s future bands. Songs ranged from the gentle West Coast hippy songs of ‘Daybreak’ and ‘Almost Cut Your Hair’ (not the underachieving David Crosby abortion of almost the same name), via the Dylan-alike ‘Greyhound’ and the sappy sitar raga of ‘Tilanga’ to excellent full-on raging sonic experiments like ‘Die A Dog’s Death’. All around, however, there is nothing else of greatness to be excavated from this sole Brush LP.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Haruo ‘Panta’ Nakamura – vocals, guitar
Toshi Ishizuka – drums, congas, bongos
Hiroshi Nar (Narazaki) – guitar

Coming on like a politicised Tyrannosaurus Rex in the style of Terry Stamp’s Third World War, Zunou Keisatsu were a radical protest band with a penchant for changing members and line-ups often depending on who was straight enough to make it all the way through the gig. They were formed in the late ‘60s by vocalist and guitarist Panta, who had formerly played with festival obscurities Peanut Butter, Mojo and Spartacus Bunt, and Brain Police songs were all built around the guitarist’s fist-in-the-air people-at-the-barricades lyrics. Taking their name from the early Mothers of Invention song ‘Who Are The Brain Police?’ the band survived long enough to make six LPs and continued until the end of 1975. However, there are two obvious peaks in their career, the first being their rousing duo performance at the GENYA anti-airport protest festival, when Panta and conga player Toshi shared a bill with Blues Creation, Masauki Takayanagi’s free rock New Direction For The Arts, and Keiji Haino’s Lost Aaraaff. Performances of the songs ‘Pick Up Your Gun’ and the seven-minute chant ‘World Revolutionary War Declaration’ received such a positive response from the crowd that the nihilism of closing act Lost Aaraaff was greeted with large rocks hurled from the Sanrizuka fields. Their second career high happened the following year in 1972, when, unable to secure a record deal, they self-released their debut LP (which was recorded live at Kyoto Gymnasium) on their own Be-witch record label, with a controversial front cover that starred an infamous criminal who had dressed as a security guard to achieve his heist. The punk packaging included a gold-printed 13” x 13” mailer and Xeroxed inner sheets. Drummer Toshi Ishizuka later played with Kan Mikami, Jokers and Mikami’s insane ‘90s trio Vajra. Sometime member Hiroshi Nar joined Les Rallizes Denudes, suffered some temporary mental illness, and nowadays records with The Niplets.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Taking their name from the infamous Mops song in which Hiromitu Suzuki sings ‘please kill me’, Blind Bird was an obscure festival band whose career peak was reached on September 30th 1971, when they appeared on the bill at Kyoto’s MARUYAMA ODYSSEY, alongside Too Much, Murahatchibu, Blind Bird, Attack and Julie Sawada’s short-lived super group Pyg. Thereafter, they turned up at the Tokyo festival ROCK INVITATION NUMBER ONE, in early April the same year, this time playing with Blues Creation, Too Much, Murahatchibu and the folk duo Garo. Unfortunately, no records appear to have been released.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007
Kazuo ‘Flash’ Takeda – guitar
Fumio Nunoya - vocals
Takayuki Noji – bass
Shinichi Tashiro – drums

Blues Creation was formed by guitarists Kazuo Takeda, Koh Eiryu and singer Fumio Nunoya, in early 1969, after the dissolution of their Group Sounds outfit The Bickies. Highly influenced by Cream and The Yardbirds, Takeda joined forces with school friends Takayuki Noji, Shinichi Tashiro, and lead singer Fumio Nunoya. Formerly vocalist with Taboo, a heavy band led by future Happy End guitarist Eiichi Otaki, Nunoya was also searching for an even heavier sound, and the results of the new American-influenced experiment were released in October 1969, as BLUES CREATION, on the Polydor label. Nowadays, the results sound fairly tame and typical of the time, and though their versions of ‘Smokestack Lightning’ and ‘Spoonful’ feature some nice slurred vocals from Nunoya, it’s difficult to find any 1969 Japanese band that did not attempt the latter song at one time or another. Singer Fumio Nunoya soon found himself edged out of artistic decisions by the supremely confident Takeda, and thereafter left to form his own band Dew. Whilst searching around throughout 1970 for a new singer, guitarist Takeda heard the new even more strung out music of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Eric Clapton’s solo LP CLAPTON, and Leslie West’s Mountain, and decided he should take the opportunity to start again from scratch. Takeda enlisted bassist Masashi Saeki and drummer Akiyoshi Higuchi for the new line-up, and eschewed the previous covers style in favour of his own compositions. With the new Blues Creation fronted by singer Hiromi Osawa, Kazuo Takeda recorded what has come to be regarded as his masterpiece in the form of DEMON & ELEVEN CHILDREN. Despite its obvious influences, this eight song barrage of sound was both complex and supremely individual, and showed clear influences from his fellow countrymen and free-thinkers the newly-formed Flower Travellin’ Band. Opening with the super stoner anthem ‘Atomic Bombs Away’, the LP included such other delightful song titles as ‘Brain Baster’, and featured a classic original ‘Mississippi Mountain Blues’, which mirrored the heaviness located within the grooves of Flower Travellin’ Band’s juggernaut ‘Louisiana Blues’. Later on in 1971, CARMEN MAKI & BLUES CREATION was released by Polydor, which utilised the massive (and unexpected) success of Blues Creation as a vehicle for the promotion of the beautiful young female blues singer Carmen Maki. The LP featured songs mostly by Takeda, plus covers of such standards as ‘St. James’ Infirmary’, and had been recorded during the sessions for DEMON & ELEVEN CHILDREN. This LP was also well received, but Maki’s cardboard and shrill pedestrian presence so detracted from the overall heaviness of the sound that each song became a plod-o-thon of brain crushing dimensions. Maki’s so-called Janis Joplinisms are even less believable than the reedy squeelings of her US contemporary Zephyr’s Candy Givens (if that’s possible), and nowadays sound wretchedly inappropriate and forced. Furthermore, elsewhere Carmen Maki sounds almost autistically restrained and Sade-like (yup, I’m not shitting you) compared to the brilliantly orgasmic and heart-stopping interpretations of Janis’ (and Jimi’s) work that Flowers’ singer Lemi Aso had achieved eighteen months before, on The Flowers’ excellent LP CHALLENGE! The end of 1971 saw the release of BLUES CREATION LIVE, the sleeve of which featured just the long-haired Takeda in a wide-brimmed floppy hat, re-inforcing the idea that this was really just a vehicle for the guitarist’s talents. This album was recorded at the Japan Folk Jamboree, and is a full-on gem of a record, but Takeda was now widely known as a true Japanese guitar hero, and – as ever – had set his sights higher and higher. He split Blues Creation the following year, before splitting for London in late 1972. Outside of his Japanese environment, Takeda played many guitar sessions and slowly began to gain confidence in himself as a lead vocalist, so much so that when he returned to the Japanese music scene, in 1973, to support Mountain, it was as the lead singer/guitarist of a new power trio called simply Creation. The urbane and gregarious Takeda hit it off with Leslie West and Mountain drummer Corky Laing, but became even bigger mates with bassist Felix Pappalardi and his wife Gail Collins, who had written most of the lyrics for Mountain’s hits. However, Creation did not release their first LP until 1975, by which time Takeda – nervous of his new role as lead singer – invited rhythm guitarist Yoshiaki Iijima to join drummer Masayuki Higuchi and bassist Shigeru Matsumoto in the new line up. Unfortunately, like Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi and Jimi Hendrix, Kazuo Takeda is the last person to require a rhythm guitar player to flesh out his sound, and so the recorded results of this debut were overall pretty bland and homogenised, despite the LP having been produced by legendary Flower Travellin’ Band producer Yuya Utchida, and featuring a classic sleeve that featured eleven young boys having a pissing contest! Takeda was unhappy with the production and was determined that the next LP should be recorded in the USA. Takeda contacted Felix Pappalardi and asked him to produce the second Creation LP. Pappalardi, temporarily deafened by the high volume at which Mountain always played concerts, had already decided to concentrate on studio production, and so he and his wife began to write songs with Takeda at their Nantucket home in Massachussets. In April 1976, the results were released in Japan as CREATION WITH FELIX PAPPALARDI and in the US as FELIX PAPPALARDI CREATION. Unfortunately, the international acclaim that Kazuo Takeda so longed for was still unforthcoming, although the record was once more a mighty success in Japan. The final Creation album PURE ELECTRIC SOUL was a live recording released in 1977, and its sleeve mirrored the band’s debut, again featuring a crowd of pre-teen boys crowding against the front windows of a bus.
Posted by Julian Cope, Sep 01, 2007