All posts by Chris Bishop

The Beavers

Sleeve for the Beavers second 45, Kiminaki Sekai / Why Baby Why
What a riff! With a great moody vocal to boot. Released in November, 1967 on the Seven Seas label, “Kiminaki Sekai (The World Without You)” is one of my favorite Group Sounds tunes. Check out the gloomy lyrics in the comment by Navura below!The flip, “Why Baby Why”, is more pop, I’m surprised it wasn’t chosen as the A-side at the time. The Spiders’ guitarist Hiroshi Kamayatsu wrote the lyrics to “Kiminaki Sekai” and the music for “Why Baby Why” under the name “Gen Goki”. This was the second of five singles by the Beavers. Jean-Pierre sent in the excellent “Kimi Suki Da Yo”, their third 45 from April, 1968, which was backed by slightly psychedelic pop of “Koishite Aishite”.I haven’t heard their other 45s, including their first “Hatsukoi No Oka (The Hill Of The First Love)” b/w “Hello, Coffee Girl” which Julian Cope praises in the quote below.

Their only LP consists of both sides of their first three singles (minus “Hello, Coffee Girl”), plus lots of covers – including a crazed version of “I’m a Man”. Their “Over, Under, Sideways, Down” is good too, supposedly they were considered the Yardbirds of Japan. I haven’t heard their version of “She’s a Rainbow” yet.

Akira ‘Ken’ Narita – vocals, harp
Masao Hayase – vocals
Hideki Ishima – lead guitar
Masayuki Hirai – rhythm guitar
Hiroshi Arakawa – bass
Yukio Awamura – drums

The following info is from

In 1964, future Flower Travellin’ Band guitarist Hideki Ishima arrived in Tokyo from his hometown Sapporo. He got together with guitarist Masayuiki Hirai, bassist Hiroshi Arakawa and drummer Yukio Awamura to form an eleki band which took the name The Outlaws. However, the clubs in which The Outlaws played also demanded that they employ a singer. Inspired by The Spiders’ twin lead vocalists, The Outlaws decided to recruit Akira Narita and Masao Hayase.

However, the Golden Best Japan site has a different story (based on info from Ken Narita’s blog and an issue of DIG JAPAN): that Ken Narita had been in the Jarows with Ishima in Hokkaido, and that they traveled together to Tokyo. Masao Hayase and Yukio Awamura had already formed the Outlaws and specifically asked Narita to join. Narita insisted Ishima join as well.

Japrocksampler continues:

Invited to support their heroes The Spiders, the band then changed their name to The Beavers just prior to making their stage debut.

Here too Golden Best Japan has a different take, saying the Spiders had signed the band to their production company “Spiderduction” as the Outlaws and that “Right before their debut album [I think this should read debut single] was released in June 1967, they were told by King executives to change their name to something cuter and chose The Beavers.”

Japrocksampler again:

Their first single ‘Hatsukoi No Oka (The Hill Of The First Love)’ b/w ‘Hello, Coffee Girl’ was released in July 1967 was not a big hit, but was considered something special by fans of the Group Sounds scene.

The second single ‘Kimimaki Sekai (The World Without You)’ fared better but still failed to chart, as did their [fourth] 45 ‘Itoshi No Santa Maria (Saint Maria, My Love)’.

The band’s sole LP Viva Beavers was released thereafter but, at the end of 1968, after the release of their fifth failed single ‘Nakanaide Nakamaide (Please Don’t Cry)’, Ishima recognised that the GS boom was faltering. Ishima split the band when he was invited to join The Flowers by Yuya Uchida.

Band members’ names and release dates from Kurosawa Susumu’s (黒沢 進) Nihon Rock ki GS-hen (Japan Rock Chronicles: Group Sounds Compendium).

Their third single, Kimi Suki Da Yo / Koishite Aishite

Akira Ifukube

Not garage music today, but some rare tracks from my favorite soundtrack composer, Akira Ifukube (or to give the name in the proper order, Ifukube Akira).

He wrote the music for the original Godzilla film, and also for dozens of other films: horror, monster, sci-fi, samurai epics and serious dramas. I wish I had bought every one of these CD compilations when I was in Japan, but I was lucky enough to come away with a couple of them as they’re not available here in the U.S.

The Tongues of Truth & The Grodes

In honor of the Chocolate Watchband playing the Underground Garage festival in NY this weekend, I’m featuring the original version of their most famous tune, “Let’s Talk about Girls”.

The Grodes and Tongues of Truth were two names for the same band – originally from Tucson, Arizona, but often recording in L.A. They were renamed Tongues of Truth without their knowledge by their manager and promoter, Dan Gates, dj at local KTKT in Tucson. Gates didn’t bother to tell the band about the rechristening until he announced the new single, “Let’s Talk About Girls”, over the airwaves. They stuck with it while the 45 had it’s time on the charts (#37 locally), then returned to being the Grodes. “Cry a Little Longer” is an earlier 45 on the Tri-M label, and one of their best.