Saturday, February 18, 2023

Japanese Garage Sounds, David Bowie and The Shadows Four! - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Salsify"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM  we drifted around the world of rock and roll in a vibrantly colored balloon. You heard freakbeat from Japan, garage from Canada and some psych from the UK. It was fun and I'm sure you loved it.

There were two Japanese songs on this episode with the first by The Dynamites, a group from a residential area in Tokyo named Asagaya. Originally the band performed at local clubs and US military bases as The Monsters before they changed their name sometime around 1967. According to various online sources, The Dynamites was one of several names presented to the group once they signed were signed to Victor Japan. The band was fairly short lived and ultimately only had one hit song, Tunnel Tengoku or Tunnel to Heaven, however, lead guitarist Fujio Yamaguchi continued his musical career for decades after The Dynamites' breakup. One of his more successful ventures was with a band named Teardrops which mostly played hard rock or southern blues influenced rock but also had a few tracks that flirted with reggae. There's a bunch of videos floating around with Yamaguchi playing guitar and singing at various clubs in Japan but this televised performance perfectly highlights his American influences and energetic playing style. If you can get a hold of it, there's a documentary about Yamaguchi's final performances named "皆殺しのバラード."

Additionally, lead singer Hiroshi Segawa, briefly sang in a band he helped form, named The New Dynamites, which doesn't appear to have released any recordings or at least any that I could find. However, I did manage to track down Segawa's solo album titled Pierrot which features an unusual mix between psych, country, and southern rock. The whole album feels like it could be on the soundtrack of some old American International Pictures film. The cover is also fairly bizarre with a blurry closeup of what appears to be Segawa in clown makeup. Strange stuff.

The other Japanese track you heard was Asamade Matani by The Mops with lyrics written by Yu Aku. During the show I mentioned the song was covered by Carmen Maki and how, much like Yamaguchi, Maki branched out to hard rock later in her career. If you want to check out how much Maki's work changed over the years, compare her sleepy pop songs like Town of Orphans to her late 70s work on the album Night Stalker which features Carmine Appice on drums and Earl Slick on guitar. More recently her song Tokiniwa Hahano Naikono Yoni appeared in Brad Pitt's Bullet Train (2022).

As the show continued you heard an obscure song by The Shadows Four named: I'm Begging You. There's hardly any information about the group online and what little I was able to find came from the liner notes of The New England Teen Scene, a garage rock compilation from 1983. According to the compilation, The Shadows Four were a house band for a venue named Shoreside 17 in Braintree, Massachusetts. I did find one tiny reference to Shoreside 17 in an old Melrose High School yearbook where a student mentions she'll never forget the venue before she explains how she likes to spend her free time going to dances and "Friendly's". As the liner notes continue it explains how the members of The Shadow Four also won the 1966 American Federation Award for musicians. Not sure what that means but it sure sounds fantastic. Good job guys!

Finally, towards the end of the show you heard You've Got a Habit Of Leaving by Davy Jones and The Lower Third. The original single omits the band's name but it reappears on various reissues. This Davy Jones, not to be confused with Davy Jones of The Monkees, eventually became known by a more famous name: David Bowie. In the year 2000, Bowie re-recorded You've Got a Habit Of Leaving with guitar work by a guitarist we mentioned earlier in this post, Earl Slick. For two decades the re-recording only existed in bootleg form until it saw an official release in 2021 on Bowie's posthumously released album Toy. I guess you could view the song as a bookend to Bowie's musical beginnings and his final works.

Anywho, that's about it for this episode's rundown! Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen over the air on KUCR 88.3FM on Saturdays at 9pm PST. You can also listen through, Radio Garden, or Tune-In

You can check out this week's playlist below:


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