Category Archives: Japan

Sing-Out Asia

How many groups have a plug from a Filipino dictator on the back cover of their album?

“‘Your theme and vision are identical with mine. The future of Asia is in your hands. Go out and give it to the continent.’ – Fernand [sic] Marcos, President of the Phillipines”.

Up With People’s “Sing-Out 65” tour of Asia inspired the creation of Sing-Out Asia. The Sing-Out Asia group seems to be primarily Japanese with a number of Filipinos.

This album is credited to the United Sound, though only musical director Takao Nanri is named. In 1966 Nanri had a light pop group called the Village Singers. The liner notes say he resigned from the group to direct Sing-Out Asia.

Not surprisingly, this record repeats the Up With People formula of cheery, vacant songs sung in chorus, though the stiff accented English provides a twist. It would be forgettable, even offensive to people with any musical sense, except for one track, “Isn’t There Something”, which throws a good rock backing behind the chipper harmonies.

Sing-Out Asia actually made a lengthy tour of the U.S. in 1968, probably in conjunction with the release of this record, which is almost certainly a U.S. pressing [deadwax: stamped “H”, stamped “1001” etched “(stereo)”]. Some photos and recollections of the tour were at soa1968.multiply.com (website defunct as of 2013).

As an organization it seems to be still active, with recent tours of Indonesia and Japan.

The only mention I could find of Takao’s later career is production work with Kitaro on his LP “Ten Kai / Astral Trip” and the Manhunter soundtrack, though that name is sometimes listed as Taka Nanri – so is it the same person?

Background on Up With People from Wikipedia.

Jacks

The Jacks, Yoshio Hayakawa, Takasuke Kida, Hitoshi Tanino and Haruo Mizuhashi
Counter-clockwise from left: Yoshio Hayakawa, Takasuke Kida, Hitoshi Tanino and Haruo Mizuhashi. Detail from the back of their first Express 45 sleeve.

ジャックス – ‘Jacks’ have always been an outsider group in Japanese music, too original to fit under the Group Sounds moniker of the times. Their music was often slow, dramatic and morbid. What follows is as detailed a story as I can provide on the group without being fluent or literate in Japanese myself (any help with translating some source materials at the end of the article would be appreciated!)In 1965 Yoshio Hayakawa and fellow Wako-Gakuen classmate Suehiro Takahashi (高橋末広) were in a folk group called Eri Matsubara and the Folktrio Nightingale [kana is フォークトリオ・ナイチンゲール]. After graduation in the summer of 1966, Hayakawa and Takahashi performed as a duo at their university with the name ‘Jacks’. On February 18th, 1967, the duo performed two songs on the NHK network radio show Folk Village, “Love” (遠い海へ旅に出た私の恋人) featuring lyrics by Hayakawa’s girlfriend Yasuko Aizawa, and “Jijoku No Kisetsu” (地獄の季節).

By June of 1967 they had became a quartet with Hitoshi Tanino playing bass and Takasuke Kida on drums. Takahashi soon left the group so Haruo Mizuhashi joined on lead guitar. Each member would make major contributions to Jacks unique melange of styles:

Yoshio Hayakawa (早川義夫) – vocals, rhythm guitar – Hayakaya’s singing is always expressive and often distraught with emotion; I would guess his vocal style (and lyrical subject matter) owes more to Japanese enka ballads than ‘folk’.

Haruo Mizuhashi (水橋春夫) – lead guitar, vocals – Haruo Mizuhashi definitely plugged into the sounds coming from California in 1967, especially Barry Melton’s playing on Country Joe and the Fish’s first LP Electric Music for the Mind and Body. He makes good use of contrasting delicate passages with discordant stabs of solos and riffs.

Hitoshi Tanino (谷野ひとし) – Fender bass, upright bass – Tanino’s bass playing is original and solid and he was their second most active songwriter after Hayakawa.

Takasuke Kida (木田高介) – drums, flute, vibraphone, tenor saxophone – Takasuke Kida’s jazz-influenced drumming gives a special fury to the songs with wild fills and orchestral effects.

Jacks LP Echoes in the Radio
Jacks’ first recordings, from radio broadcasts, released by Eastworld in 1986
They made their first recording with this lineup on June 10, 1967 as part of another radio broadcast on Folk Village. Kida only uses a snare and cymbals on this session, featuring the earliest recordings of two of their best known songs: “Marianne” (マリアンヌ) and “In the Broken Mirror” (われた鏡の中から).On January 28, 1968 the quartet made another appearance on Folk Village, this time recording “Stop the Clock” (時計をとめて), “Ii Ko Da Ne” (いい娘だね) and “My Road” (この道), which would be re-recorded for their first single on the Express label.

The three Folk Village shows survive on the LP Echoes in the Radio released in 1986. All the songs would be revisited by the band for studio recordings in the next year.

Harakashi Onna soundtrack
2008 release of Harakashi Onna soundtrack sessions
In the summer of 1967, they did well in a contest sponsored by Yamaha. Whether through attention from the radio show, the Yamaha contest or some other source, they were hired for the soundtrack of Koji Wakamatsu’s film Harakashi Onna (A Womb for Let), a film unavailable on DVD in the U.S. to my knowledge.In one long session at Meguro Studio on February 3, 1968 they cut twenty tracks for the film. Most of these were released on two LPs released in 1986, Realization and Remains but the complete session is now on CD, Selected Masterpieces by Koji Wakamatsu film music series: Harakashi Onna.

A number of these songs would be re-cut for later single and LP releases: “Marianne” (マリアンヌ), “Gloomy Flower” (裏切りの季節), and “In the Broken Mirror” (われた鏡の中から). “Dm 4-50” would be re-recorded for the Super Session LP in much abridged form – here the band stretches out with a long solo passage and slower pace.

“Omae wa Hinagiku” (お前はひな菊), “Gone My Yumiko” (由美子はいない) and “Jijoku No Kisetsu” (地獄の季節) would not be remade in the studio, but each was a feature of their live and radio shows.

“Vacant World” (からっぽの世界 / Karappo no Sekai) is present, but only as an airy instrumental. Instrumentals take up half the session. “Teki Wa Toku Ni” (敵は遠くに) is slow and has a bleating saxophone throughout. “Umi to Onnanoko” (海と女の子) is also a slow instrumental, but nicely atmospheric. In addition there are six instrumentals written by Haruo Mizuhashi, of which “M-19” is one of the best.

I’m very surprised to hear Jacks cover two songs on these sessions: the Carnabeats’ お前に夢中さ (Give Me Lovin’ – itself a version of the Great Scots song) and the Tempters’ first single 忘れ得ぬ君 (Wasure-Emu Kimi). Both would have been recent hits from late 1967, I assume Jacks dashed these off for the fun of it. To my knowledge, they never again would cover another band’s song, either live or on record.

These recordings show Jacks had already established the arrangements of their original songs. On the other hand, the production is definitely rougher than their later sessions. Obviously the band was learning their way around a studio. The guitarists are sometimes out of tune with each other or with Tanino. This is especially apparent on “Omae wa Hinagiku” (お前はひな菊).

Hayakawa sounds the most confident, and has his vocal inflections down. Mizuhashi lacks the great distorted tone he’d have on the later recordings, and at times he seems still to be perfecting his leads, though for the most part he’s right on. Takasuke Kida shows his improvisational skills in “Marianne”, but his touch would also be defter in the near future.

Jacks Million 45 Vacant World
Jacks first 45 sleeve, scanned from an original copy.
Jacks Million 45 back sleeve
Back of their first 45 on Million, scan from an original copy. Click for larger image.
Jacks Million 45 sleeve reproduction
Reproduction of the first 45 sleeve from the UltraVybe 7 Inch Box – greenish color is lighter but sleeve is otherwise very close in appearance to the original.

Jacks Million 45 Ii Ko Da Na
Side 2 of the Jacks first 45 on Million, scan from an original. Deadwax stamped 1-A-1, LM-35/ LM-36. Trade Mark registered by Takt Denki Co. Under the word “Stereo”, the TS-302 indicates the Takt Stereo release, (LM-36) indicates the matrix number.
Jacks Million 45 repro
Repro label of their first 45. Deadwax stamped MM-7051 A/B. Trade Mark registered by Nippon Columbia Co. MM-7051 is the catalog number of the UltraVybe re-release. Color of label is much lighter on the repro

In March of 1968 Jacks released their first 45 on Million, a subsidiary of Takt, featuring “Vacant World”, a bleak, languid song with words and music by Hayakawa. I’ve read the lyrics caused the song to be banned on radio, but since there exists a live performance of the song from a radio broadcast perhaps the ban came later. The word “唖” meaning “deaf” or “deaf-mute” may have become objectionable as an archaic or offensive term. “Vacant World” would appear three more times on 45, once on a Columbia single, and two additional times in a shorter re-recorded version used for the Express singles and their first album.

The b-side to this first 45 was a great song they had done at their first radio show as a quartet in June of ’67, “Ii Ko Da Ne” (いい娘だね). I’ve seen translated as both “Lovely Girl” and “”She’s a Good Old Girl”, but a snide “Nice Girl, Isn’t She” may be more apt. The verse and chorus structure is conventional by their standards. It’s definitely their most ‘garage’ number and one of my favorites. It was not used on their two LPs, so it remains a lesser-known track.

Jacks Milliion 45 Marianne
Their second 45, giving “Marianne” the top billing and “Stop the Clock” the B-side. Scanned from the repro sleeve.

Jacks Million 45 Marianne repro
“Marianne” 45 – (MM-7052) on the left side indicates this is the reproduction.
A few months later, in June, they released their second 45 on Million, “Marianne” (マリアンヌ), with lyrics by Yasuko Aizawa. “Stop the Clock” (時計をとめて / Tokei Wo Tomete) is another slow number in the vein of “Vacant World”. Just as drummer Takasuke Kida had added flute to that song, his vibes on “Stop the Clock” are counterpoint to Hayakawa’s voice.An amateur recording of their concert at Nichifutsu Kaikan on July 24, 1968, billed as the 2nd Jacks show, shows the group were a strong live act, performing their full range of songs with a few new compositions. “Battlefield in My Head” (敵は遠くに) / Dm 4-50 went to over ten minutes with some vamping and a long bass solo. Check out the live version of “Ii Ko Da Ne” to see how together this band could sound. This concert of fourteen songs had a private release in 1973 and a reissue in 2003.

Jacks LP Vacant World
Their first LP, Vacant World
I’m not sure what kind of response or sales the first two singles generated, but Jacks received attention beyond the underground press. They signed to the Express label (a Toshiba subsidiary) and released their first album, Vacant World (also known as Jacks’ World / ジャックスの世界) on September 10, 1968. Their album featured re-recorded versions of songs from the Million 45s in nearly identical arrangements.

The original issue is Express EP-7704 on red wax. There are also white-label promo copies with black wax but I haven’t seen stock black vinyl of this original press. It was reissued in June of 1971 with catalog # ETP-8089 (usually found with black wax but I have seen one copy with red vinyl), again in 1976 at ETP-72177, with at least two other reissues in recent years.

Below are a few of my favorite tracks from the LP:

“Gloomy Flower” (裏切りの季節 ) is one of Jacks’ most powerful songs, with a deadly opening riff by Mizuhashi. Hayakawa wrote the song and delivers the lyrics in a voice that’s almost deranged at times.

I’d like to know whether “Love Generation” (ラブ・ジェネレーション) is a sarcastic view of the hippie scene or has a different message. Mizuhashi’s solo here is very reminiscent of something James Gurley of Big Brother might play.

Bassist Hitoshi Tanino wrote “Bara Manji” 薔薇卍, a demented-sounding blues with a wild solo passage.

Jacks Columbia 45 Tokei o Tomete
Two songs from the Million 45s picked up for release by Columbia. From left: Haruo Mizuhashi, Yoshio Hayakawa, Hitoshi Tanino and Takasuke Kida. Sleeve scanned from the repro.
Jacks Columbia 45 Karappo no Sekai
Label from their Columbia 45. The ‘(MM-7053)’ on the left side indicates this is the reproduction.

Meanwhile, Columbia picked up the Million label 45 masters of Jacks most famous downer songs, “Vacant World” and “Stop the Clock” for a major release on September 21.

Jacks Express 45 My Road
The 45-only “My Road”, their first single on the Express label. Sleeve scanned from the repro.

Back cover of the “My Road” sleeve, scanned from the repro.
“My Road” label, scanned from the repro. (MM-7054) in small print on the right side indicates this is the reproduction.

Express followed with a song not on the LP, “My Road” (この道) backed with the new version of “Vacant World” on October 1, 1968. “My Road” may have been chosen for an A-side because of its relative lightness and commercial sound. It was left off both their 60’s LPs, but it did make it to their greatest hits package released in ’72.

Their second 45 on Express, with two songs from the Super Session LP. Sleeve scanned from the repro.
“Joe’s Rock” label. (MM-7055) on the right side indicates this is the reproduction.

Back of the sleeve for “Joe’s Rock”. Scanned from the repro.
“Flower” label. (MM-7055) on the right side indicates this is the reproduction.

Jacks Super Session LP on Express
Their second LP, Super Session
Haruo Mizuhashi left the group in November, signaling the beginning of the end for Jacks. He was replaced by Hiro Tsunoda (角田ひろ) on guitar. A year passed before Jacks released anything new, with one single, “Joe’s Rock” / “Flower” out on October 1, 1969, and their second LP, Super Session(ジャックスの奇蹟 /Jacks No Kiseki) out on October 10.Super Session is a jumble of styles, including a couple songs that sound like outright parody. Despite the title, the LP was not cut in one session. Some recordings date to when Mizuhashi was still on guitar, while others feature Tsunoda, including what may be the best cut on the LP, “Rock for Fallen Angel”, and his own composition, the 17-second “To Love You”.

Hitoshi Tanino’s “DM 4-50” dated back to their first session for the Harakashi Onna soundtrack while one of Hayakawa’s two contributions to the LP, “Battlefield in My Head” had been in their live repertoire by July 1968 if not earlier. “Rock for Fallen Angel” was written by S. Tsuge, the composer of nearly half the LP and features drummer Takasuke Kida on tenor saxophone.

It appears Jacks’ peak creativity came in 1967 and early ’68. Perhaps the attention they received, or the task of re-cutting songs for their singles and then again for their LPs took a toll on the band’s original output. By the time of the release of Super Session, Jacks had already broken up.

Yoshio Hayakawa released a solo LP that I haven’t heard then retired from the music scene to manage a book store until reappearing with a solo act in the 1990’s. A car accident killed Takasuke Kida in 1980. I don’t know what the other members did after Jacks.The band has had periods of revived attention, first in the early 70’s when their LPs were reissued and Live 68’7’24 surfaced; again in 1986 when another set of reissues was accompanied by the first release of the Realizations and Remains LPs of rare cuts and sessions from the Haragashi Onna soundtrack, along with their last 7″, a private pressing of a version of “Vacant World” with a song I haven’t heard yet, “Maekojo”. Additional releases have appeared in recent years, including a 12″ EP with two versions of “Vacant World” and another song I haven’t heard, “Piko no Uta” (ピコの唄) plus a CD box with additional radio broadcasts and two more live shows, none of which I’ve heard.

Third 45 on Express, repeating “Stop the Clock” and “Vacant World” yet again. Released in 1971, two years after Jacks’ breakup. Scanned from the repro.
“Stop the Clock” on the A-side this time, scanned from the repro. The ‘(MM-7056)’ on the right side indicates this is the reproduction.

Help! – I cannot read the notes from the LPs, 45s and CDs and articles on Jacks. If anyone can help translate the vital facts and info from these source materials, please write to me at chas_kit@hotmail.com – your help will be credited, and much appreciated!Click for larger images of the scans below:

Notes from Nihon Rock ki GS-hen – can anyone translate any relevant info?
Notes from the Harakashi Onna soundtrack CD.
Notes inside the “My Road” sleeve
Notes inside the “Joe’s Rock” sleeve
Back cover of Vacant World
Notes from the back cover of Super Session
Notes from Takt Days CD

Sources include Top 100 Japanese Pop Artists site.Kurosawa Susumu’s (黒沢 進) definitive catalog of 60’s Japanese rock and psychedelia, Nihon Rock ki GS-hen (Japan Rock Chronicles: Group Sounds Compendium) is essential. When researching this piece I discovered Kurosawa Susumu passed away in April, 2007, at age 52.

Special thanks to Jeff Hill for helping with the Harakashi Onna sessions and to S.D. for some kana help.

I posted a very brief article on Jacks on August 6, 2004. This update published October 18, 2009.

Yuzo Kayama and the Launchers

Yuzo Kayama was a movie idol and rival to premier ‘eleki’ guitarist Takeshi Terauchi. Eleki was an instrumental genre influenced first and foremost by the Ventures.

The songs I’m featuring below are some of the best instrumentals from what I believe is Kayama’s first LP. ‘Black Sand Beach’ is maybe his greatest work, while ‘Los Angeles no Nisei Matsuri’ certainly his toughest. ‘Violet Sky’ is like Davie Allen channeling Johnny Kidd and the Pirates. My copy is a scratchy Peruvian pressing! As I’ve pointed out before, stereo sound was standard for major Japanese labels by the mid-60s, if not before.

Kayama cut a number of vocal tunes that were among his biggest hits. They’re definitely not as cool as the instrumentals, but for fans of Japanese pop from this time, they have their charm, and some good guitar work as well.

As the musical style was changing to vocal combos in the wake of the Beatles, a new term was needed to replace eleki without using the the difficult-to-pronounce phrase (for the Japanese) ‘rock ‘n roll’. Julian Cope’s Japrocksampler recounts how Kayama, who had his own TV talk show, was interviewing drummer and band leader Jackey Yoshikawa (best known among rock fans for “Psychedelic Man” with the Blue Comets):

Yuzo Kayama – right there on live TV – demanded of his guest how could any of them possibly become true to their chosen art form if they couldn’t even manage to pronounce ‘lock’n’lorr’! … the media-savvy Kayama was surprised when Yoshikawa admitted his difficulty. But instead of merely sweating and looking foolish, Jackey turned the tables … and challenged his TV host to come up with something more appropriate. Raising his eyes heavenwards and blowing out several lungfuls of hot air, Kayama fell silent briefly before asking: ‘Why don’t we call the music “The Group Sounds”?’

If this is true, then he named a whole genre of music while it was still underway – a rare feat.

Kayama’s musical legacy is well preserved on video, with a dozen or more great performances available with a quick search, including some that were never released on record (check out this later psychedelic clip, for example).

For those wanting more info, Toronto J-Film Pow Wow has a good write-up on his career.


Yet another surprising find from the KRLA Beat archive! August 13, 1966.

Norihiko Hashida and the Shoebelts


The Group Sounds scene was contrived, commercialized, and controlled to the point of absurdity. Record companies wouldn’t let bands associate with each other! There are exceptions, but even my favorite groups have picture sleeves that are downright embarrassing.

The Japanese folk-rock movement of the late ’60s was partly a reaction against Group Sounds. By 1968, the record-buying public was looking for ‘authenticity’ and more complex lyrics, while the authorities preferred the subdued music. As a commercial genre, however, folk-rock seems to have been short-lived.

This 45 from Norihiko Hashida and the Shoebelts (a word they seem to have invented!) shows how closely ‘folk-rock’ could adhere to pop standards. “Nanimo Iwazuni” works very well on a pop level, but gives just lip service to any idea of ‘folk’. The A-side, “Kaze”, is similarly orchestrated and even more sentimental. There’s a film clip that shows the band earnestly working in the studio, playing acoustic guitars and standup bass on stage in some ridiculous garb, and receiving a gold record and munching sushi at a press party!

Norihiko Hashida had started out with the Folk Crusaders, a little more earnest but no less commercial. In the Crusaders video clips he’s the short one in the middle. With the Shoebelts he had several more releases that I haven’t heard.

Those searching for authenticity had to look underground or overseas. Most of the public followed the next pop trend, a diluted r&b sound. Folk stayed vital into the ’70s as a contrast to heavy blues and rock, but the mainstream ignored the best artists (like the Jacks) as much as their heavier rock contemporaries.

Emy Jackson

Emy Jackson CBS PS Crying in a Storm, Suddenly I'm Alone

Emy Jackson CBS 45 Crying in a StormEmy Jackson (エミー・ジャクソン) was born in Essex, England as Emy Eaton. As a teenager in Yokohama she still couldn’t read Japanese well, but her ability to speak both English and Japanese fluently landed her a job as a youth DJ for the Good Hit Parade on Radio Kanto.

Emy Jackson lyrics with inscriptionIn her notes to the excellent compilation Nippon Girls: Japanese Pop, Beat & Bossa Nova 1966-1970 Sheila Burgel writes:

Her DJ career was cut short when her colleague Reiko Yukawa found Jackson singing “You Are My Sunshine” whilst strumming the guitar and sent word to A&R man Akira Izumi at Columbia Records. Akira insisted that Jackson break with the cover-pops tradition and tackle original songs written by Japanese songwriters in her native language of English.

Emy gives a strong vocal on “Crying in a Storm” (涙の太陽) backed by the aptly-named Smashmen. The heavy drumming and surf-styled guitar really help elevate this song.

This was her first 45, released in April 1965. Because she was singing in English, Columbia released Emy’s records on the CBS imprint, a label for foreign artists. As ‘imported’ music these cost more than 45s of Japanese-language pop, but the allure of a Japanese teen singing in English may have helped break her first single. “Crying in a Storm” reached #4 on the chart of foreign releases in Music Life in July ’65 (ミュージック・ライフ外国盤ランキング), and #6 on the Turn Table Top 50 on October 18.

Michi Aoyama (青山ミチ) covered the song with Japanese lyrics in May of ’65, leading to competition for sales. “Crying in a Storm” was also recorded by Singapore’s Rita Chao.

Most of her songs were composed by her vocal coach Yasutoshi Nakajima. “Crying in a Storm” was composed by Nakajima in collaboration with singer Reiko Yukawa. Sheila Burgel again: “Jackson claims to have helped Reiko write the English lyrics”.

Her initial recording career was very brief, consisting of eight singles released in 1965 and 1966, always with a ballad on one side and an uptempo pop song on the other.

“Don’t Break My Heart”, the B-side to her second single, has a similar surf guitar sound to “Crying in a Storm”, and was released in May of ’65, just a month after her first. Her third single had two Chirstmas songs including the awkwardly put “I Saw Mammy Kissing Santa Claus” (sic).

Emy Jackson CBS PS You Don't Know Baby, Heart Full of TearsHer next was a good return to form, with the uptempo “You Don’t Know Baby” from February of ’66 (and in mono for some reason instead of the more typical stereo). Because these songs were written and sung in English, CBS had to make up Japanese titles for the sleeves. They made some bizarre choices. One example is giving “You Don’t Know Baby” the Japanese title 涙のゴーゴー (Namida no Go Go) which translates to “Tears a Go Go” – which happens to be the name of the A-side of her fifth single.

Other highlights of her early releases include the excellent and odd pop number, “Angel Fish” and her only vocal in Japanese, “Love Is Crazy Sports Car” (天使のいたずら) from November of ’66, which was also her last release of the 60’s. This song is now one of the highlights of Big Beat’s Nippon Girls CD.

Emy retired from the music business by 1973. She sang on another 45 in 1984, “CRYヨコハマ” (Cry Yokohama) but didn’t return fully to music until the early 1990s. In 1994 her ’60s work was collected in an expanded 20 track version of her 1967 LP,The Emy Jackson Album. Emy is still performing in Japan, and released a new CD in 2009, Timeless.

I had the opportunity to interview Ms. Jackson in January 2010:

Q. Can you tell me about how you started in music?

Emy: The director of a radio program asked me if I could sing. I picked up my guitar and sang – that’s it. I had no intention of becoming a singer.

 "Crying in a Storm" at #6 in Turn Table's Top 50
“Crying in a Storm” at #6 in Turn Table’s Top 50

Q. Who were the Smashmen (the band on “Crying in a Storm”)? In particular, do you remember the guitarist’s name?

Emy: There was no band called “Smashmen” – it was a ghost band to make my songs. The players were pick up musicians chosen by Columbia records through testing procedures. The back end chorus were the MGM boys from the Philippines. Regarding the guitarist – there were so many musicians involved, I couldn’t tell you.

Q. Did singing in English limit your career at all? Why were your records were released as imports in Japan?

Emy: Singing in English did not limit my career. To get my start, English was a requirement to satisfy the foreign element of my contract. At the time there were no more openings for local contracts. Therefore, it was the idea of Columbia Records to introduce me as a foreign singer. In actuality my records were made in Japan but marketed as foreign records.

Q. Any memorable live shows or stories?

Emy: I had a performance with the Ventures in Kyoto before they became famous. I had a live performance in Kyoto Budokan that was very memorable for me.

Q. I believe you retired from music for 20 years, is that correct? How did you decide to return, and how has it been since then?

Emy: I owned a restaurant and live coffee shop, Lugano, over 35 years in the Yokohama area. I got started again, singing at Lugano after raising my children. There were many offers, because of my background – I am the first pop star in Japan that sang in English that sold a million records. It had been very tough to make a comeback due to the changes in the entertainment industry. Now I have a band, the Cadillacs – we have been performing for over 20 years now. My priority to sing was country music, but could not make a living in Japan with only country. You need to sing a variety of music to make it in Japan. I am still enjoying my singing career.

Emy’s website is www.emyjackson.com (in Japanese but there’s a recent video clip on there).

Thanks to Hiroshi for providing the good scan of the sleeve for “You Don’t Know Baby”.

Emy Jackson Article

Lind and the Linders

I’d like to know more about the strangely named Lind and the Linders. Buis’ comment below has given me some info. I’ll repeat most of it here:

The Lind & Linders are strictly based in Osaka, far from Tokyo’s major conglomerate-dominated music scene. Sadly no albums materialized. Most all of their original materials are written by leader Hiroshi Kato, but strangely both sides of this 45 is not (staffer Tsuneaki Tone did, including the mindblowing strings arrangement).

They broke up in 1969 and after which Kato involved with more experimental projects, and in the 70s went to England and worked as a studio guitarist. Vocalist Tetsuya Kaga also started solo career, but sadly passed away last December [2007]. Until his death, several attempts at reforming have been occurred, mainly performing at Osaka clubs.

Kurosawa Susumu’s Nihon Rock ki GS-hen (Japan Rock Chronicles: Group Sounds Compendium) gives the lineup and has more info in Japanese I’ll try to scan and post here soon:

Tetsuya Kaga – vocals
Teruo Sakaki – vocals
Shuji Mukai – vocals
Hiroshi Kato – lead guitar
Kazuki Takagi – guitar, vocals
Kazuo Unoyama – bass
Akio Shima – drums

replacement members:

Fujimaru Hamada – drums
Koji Hori – guitar
Aki Mori – bass

Their first and third 45s from 1967 simply show a man with a guitar on the cover. The second has a photo of a seven piece group: three vocalists upfront with some bizarre mod-style hairdos and the band behind them. It features the songs “Moero Circuit” and “Do the Crap”. Why hasn’t “Do the Crap” been compiled somewhere? I’m sure there’s a reason.

They settled into a six piece group and released four more 45s in 1968 definitely in a pop vein, but often with inventive arrangements. The first of these, and their fourth 45 overall has a great b-side, “Koi ni Shibirete”. Strings double the guitar line and the song has the usual whistles and shouts to denote ‘excitement’ in GS records.

The A-side, “Gin no Kusari (Golden Chain)” is more traditional pop, but as a fan of this kind of song I think the vocal works well.

Their next 45 “Yuhi Yo Isoge” is pretty good, and was followed by Huey Smith and the Clowns’ “Ha Ha Ha (Don’t You Just Know It)” with horns.

“I Dig Rock and Roll Music” is their mildly psychedelic tribute to Donovan, the Mamas and Papas and the Beatles. I thought it was one of the few original songs from a 1968 compilation called Group Sounds World Top Hits, but Milton corrects me in a comment below that it’s a Peter, Paul and Mary song. The transcribed lyrics are, as always, a hoot.

That’s all of their work that I’ve heard – their last 45 “Yoake no Jujika” features a Christian cross on the cover I wonder what that was about?


Back of the sleeve for “Koi ni Shibirete”

Akiko Wada

This is japanese pop with a sound that reminds me of soundtrack music more than anything else. Great sleeve, for sure. Wada was born in Osaka of Korean parents.

“Doshaburi no Ame no Nakade” (In the Pouring Rain) / “Boy and Girl” is her second release, a big hit in early ’69. Akiko had a starring role in one of my favorite Japanese films, Stray Cat Rock: Girl Boss, which also features a version of her singing “Boy and Girl” backed by the Mops.

Akiko Wada is now a well-known TV personality in Japan.

UpdateIn 2008, Akiko did a big 40th anniversay in show business at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, a very good and exhaustive overlook of her career.

The Carnabeats with and without Gary Walker


Their fourth 45, with one of their finest B-sides, “Chu! Chu! Chu!”

In early 1967, teenager Ai Takano was playing drums and singing at the Red Shoes club in Yokohama. When an opportunity to join the Freelancers fell through, Takano and ex-Swing West guitarist Jiro Kitamura formed Robin Hood adding friends Keikichi Usui on vocals, Hiroshi Koshikawa lead guitar, and Paul Tadao Oka on bass.

Within a week of forming they had a contract and a new band name, the Carnabeats. They immediately went into the studio to record their first 45, a cover of “I Love You” by their main influence, the Zombies. It was a huge hit, the biggest of their career, and led to the release of the Zombies original version on 45 in Japan.

They put out a total of ten singles, a split LP with the Jaguars, and their own LP Carnabeats First Album, all of varying quality before breaking up in 1969, but here and there are b-sides and odd releases that together make for a good collection of music.

The B-side of their second 45 “Koio Shiyo Yo Jenny”, is a cover of the Canadian band the Great Scots’ “Give Me Lovin'” every bit as good as the original.


Note Robin Hood figure still on van!

Back cover of “Chu! Chu! Chu!” sleeve.
The b-side to the worst kind of overwrought ballad, “Chu! Chu! Chu! (Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!)” shows how the Carnabeats could range from silly pop to rocking moments within a single song. Still, this is maybe their wildest performance, containing a stupendous fuzz break and slamming drum work by Takano.


Their next 45 was a collaboration with Gary Walker (Gary Leeds). “Cutie Morning Moon” must be one of the strangest of all Group Sounds records. Produced by Scott Walker, “Cutie Morning Moon” is wonderfully moody and uncommercial. Not many have heard the flip, “Hello Gary”, which is merely a dopey Gary Walker goofing over the backing track of “Cutie Morning Moon”. Later on, the Carnabeats opened for Gary Walker and Rain’s Japanese tour.

From japrocksampler.com:

Although The Carnabeats were friendly with other Group Sounds acts, the band’s management insisted that they maintain a distance in public in order to appear cool and aloof, and Carnabeats drummer Ai Takano later described Jaguars singer Sin Okamoto visiting his house after dark to keep up the deceit.

However, a professional friendship developed between the band and The Walker Brothers. Ai Takano later described drummer Gary Leeds, who appeared on the B-side of their super-groovy Strangeloves style hit ‘Cutie Morning Moon’, trying to sing and play the A-side song and failing miserably.

“Go Go Stop” is from what seems to be their rarest 45. It’s a fine b-side that hasn’t been comped before to my knowledge.

Last up are a couple tracks from various artists LPs from the time. “Love Only For You” is a track from Let’s Go Group Sounds #3 and “Twinkie Lee”, with a brief but rockin’ guitar solo, is from Group Sounds World Top Hits.

After breaking up, Tadao Okada joined the Japanese cast of Hair while Ai Takano joined the Eddie Ban Group and then the Golden Cups, performing with them at their last, disastrous gig in Okinawa. Ai has since passed away.