Maki Asakawa LP “Asakawa Maki no Sekai” – Express 1970
First album by the legendary singer who sadly passed away in 2010. She was a true legend, known as a jazz / blues singer at US Army bases in Japan before getting her big break in a series of concerts organized by underground playwright Shuji Terayama in 1968. evidently she was under a saint Germain des Près influence with her all dressed in black and nicotine smokes. This first album is my my favorite so far, hinestly it tokk me soem years to fully appreciate it. it’s a mix of blues, jazz and even some funky tunes with some concrete sounds between tracks. I’d say she had the blues.
EX / EX to EX+
Maki Asakawa LP “Maki 2” Express 1971
Maki Asakawa’s third record(2nd studio), “Maki II.” “Maki Asakawa is the perfect late night beatnik torch singer – head to toe black, enigmatic smile, existential angst and a smack ‘n’ black coffee voice.” Alan Cummings
Dark clad, nicotine stained and black sugarless coffee drenched female vocals against an avant-jazz backing, excellent for those late night booze drenched evenings. Jazzy-styled acid folk with superb female vocals. Jazzy influences touch on fragile acid folk with psychedelic overtones.
EX+( a very few stains) : EX / mostly EX+
Ruriko Asaoka LP ” Minyo O Tozune” – Teichiku
gatefold cover + obi
Fantastic and quite unknow album by a legendary actress and singer, the best album of this month. A very surprising album with these folkloric covers, same as Eri Chiemi, Hibari Misora but here we have a lot of tradionnal instruments, backed voices and a very typical bass of the early 70′s (like 1st Meiko Kaji album). Ruriko Asaoka is more sensual than Chiemi, it brings something different to this repertoire, I’m really a huge fan of this material, if you are both in Itoh Kiyoko and the minyo vibe this album is just the best I’ve heard.
EX (gold obi has a few wrinkles and some fingermarks) / a very few scuffs, plays EX /EX+
Ruriko Asaoka LP “Kiri no Yoru Anata to” – Teichiku 1971
gatefold + attached booklet + obi
Ruriko Asaoka had obnly a few albums and this one is maybe the harder to find and remains unknown for many ears. Once again this one is indispensable for Asaoka’s fans and people who loves Kiyoko Itoh too and Carmen Maki’s “Peoms in the midnight”. This album is very specific because it’s half narrations with musical backgrounds and half with typical kayo songs. Instrumentation is varied and rich ornaments such as flutes, harps, strings, and typical bass from the 70’s. So this is the most cinematographic album in Asaoka’s discography, she’s very expressive, yo ucan close your eyes and sink in your dreams. Some would say Ruriko Asaoka is sexy, yes thats’ true, she was maybe the most elegant singer and actress and even in the 70’s, her charm was deeply rooted in the 60’s. Highest recommendations like all Asoaka’s albums comes in a stunning illustrated gatefold, with a Daliesque touch
Also, check below, I’ve found another copy of “Ruriko Asaoka ai o utau” LP album
EX (some wears and dirt) / a solid EX close to EX+
Yukiji Asaoka 10″ LP “Tsukiji Akashi Machi” – Toshiba 1962
One of the most accessible early Asoaka album, once again as I wrote it a lot of times, this is the cream of good enka / kayo music, if you’re like me, loving the popular songs with minyo influence, Yukiji Asaoka is one of the best singer and all her early albums are like a part of japan’s history. Highly recommended, quite hard to find in good condition after 50 years !
EX/ EX to mainly EX+ (a very few visible scuffs)
Yukiji Asaoka 10″ Red Wax LP “Meigetsu Akagiyama” – Toshiba 1962
One of the best early Asaoka release, among her 10″ albums it’s my personnal favorite. True enka treasure with minyo influences, if you want a true Japan’s piece, I’d recommend you to collect this type of stuff nad go back to the 50 & 60’s movies. Maybe it’s abit an idealistic vision of Japan, I don’t know but sure the music here is far from any fashion, if enka and ballads are into your veins, that’s for you.
EX (minor wears) /graded VG+ because of marks and scuffs, but plays EX (excellent copy overall)
Yukiji Asaoka LP “Matsu no ki kouta” red wax – Toshiba
Attention : Yukiji Asaoka’s masterpiece ! One of here rarest and my favorite coming from the early 60′s. Yukiji Asaoka a a legendary actress and singer, she had one dozen of 10″Lps and a very few 12″ LP from this period. This one is particularly interesting because it gathers some straight enka songs, some minyo influences and has a few tracks with a south american production that could explain she was signed later in 1966 for a bossanova influenced album on Crown label. I’d say it’s the perfect bridge between traditions and the cuban vibe à la Eri Chiemi. Yukiji Asaoka is more tempered than Chiemi, she’s a different charm with a slower diction and sometimes a mischievous vibe. So it’s a great synthesis of Asaoka’s highlights, she was not in one distinct style but when she decides to break your heart in pieces, believe me you can only fall in sand but hopefully Asaoka will save you and bring you a rebirth from one song to another one.
EX+ / EX+ with obi and its innersleeve
Ché-Shizu LP “Glimmering star” – Aleutian Retto 1999 ltd to 250
Second and last vinyl release by Chie Mukai folk band, this time Tori kudo wasn’t in the line up and Mukai’s voice and erhu were assisted by Ikuro Takahashi (Fushitsusha / LSD March), Nishimura Takuya & Koma Keita. It’s probably the most satisfying Ché Shizu album, the most narcoleptic one’s with Mukai’s haunting erhu, piano and her floating voice on some never ending ballads. Sound is a bit cryptic and it brings something more, it sounds very intimist and makes like these long forgotten melodic lines were hidden in our memories. Mukai is an important figure on the Tokyoist scene for almost 3 decades, she had been a long time musical partner with Urabe Masayoshi and Ché Shizu still remains as her only folk and songs oriented project. Finger crossed there’s a new album someday…
EX to EX+ (spine has minor wears) / EX+
Izumi Chidori 2 LP gatefold “Best 20 deluxe” – Teichiku
Nice collection with the heroic Izumi Chidori who was an actress in the 70’s and also a very special singer in her early years. Just look the cover and you’ll get a slight idea of the music you could hear on this compilation. Some enka/ Kayo songs with a yakuza vibe, very cinematographic, very expressive and exhuberant. Music and voice are like a rolling ball, knocking all walls around you. I’m pretty sure Izumi Chidori could be a star in some DJ’s hands…when anti heroes have more to say than the so called heroins….
EX / EX
The FOLK CRUSADERS LP “Kingen Nisennen” – Capitol (CTP-9022)
gatefold cover with attached booklet
Originally released in 1968 (no idea when this edition was released but it’s definitively a latest one) this album is probably the most famous album by this popular band. Sadly it’s not so well known here and this album still remains neglected here on our shores. Kazuhiko Kato was the most famous musician from the band with working later under Sadistic Mika band. Kato commited suicide by hanging in 2009 but music survives and songs still knows a lot of covers such as Phew recorded superbly a couple of years ago for her masterpiece “five finger discount”. Nobody wrote it but in my opinion it has a lot of similitudes with Happenings Four “Outsider no sekai” but Folk Crusaders recorded this album 2 years before. So, music is a very unpredictable patchwork of styles or melancholic ballads, drunken cowboys under amphetamines & LSD, pysché folk with cut ups, tape manipulations…Music has a lot of charms, hard to believe it has been covered by a large range of singers as Phew and Keiko Mari 40 years before. Artwork is gorgeous, definitively one in my personnal top 10 album.
EX to EX+ / EX+
Ari Hanabusa LP gatefold “Aishi te ha ikenai” – Victor 1974
Born in 1950, Ari Hanabusa is a singer who started her career in 1968 but apart a very few informations I don’t know her very well, in fact I’ve discovered her thanks to my friend F. in UK who sent me another mysterious album with her. Strangely I find this album very nice despite it’s deeply rooted in the 70’s, usually my tastes are more in one or 2 decades before. We have here an archetypal collection of kayo songs wit ha few op accents, Ari Hanabusa has a fragile voice, very thin and delicate, there’s a true innocent feeling coming from her voice. In fact she remains me a litlle of Cherish band singer, the melancholic mood has really something comparable with the ones’ you can hear through Shuji Terayama songs. It’s s really rooted in japanese enka pop with a rich and varied orchestration. Quite a laid back but like a walk in an hidden garden, like a later Sono Mari, one of the best recent discovery, thanks again F. !
EX+ (a few stains inside) / EX+
Kiyoko Itoh LP “Sinmon & Garfunkel, country best sung by Kiyoko Itoh” – CBS
Gatefold + obi / WHITE LABELS – “NOT FOR SALE”
Mega rarity for this unknown, hidden album in Kiyoko’s discography, I think you can have a slight idea of its content with a such title.
If you’re familiar with this place, you probably know how we fetichize Itoh Kiyoko, along Carmen Maki’s first albums she’s just our favorite singer for years. Of course this album has a different place because it’s quite unexpected to hear such covers like “El Condor Pasa”, “The sound of silence” and some more hits like these. Ok, I must admit I’m sometiems like “old socks”, I love ancient hits and Simon & Garfunkel still sound good for my ears ; I’m sometimes a subect for mockery with friends and I haven’t any problem with my various musical tastes. Ok there are also some more country songs on this album, I’m sometimes dubitative, because honestly this a style I don’t like so much. So to be honest the B-Side isn’t perfect for me but my son finds these songs quite funny if you feel like a cowboy spirit. MEGA RARITY, got only 3 copies in my life.
EX+ / EX+ to Near Mint
Meiko Kaji LP gatefold “Yadokari – original best” – Teichiku 1973
Known as the third album, acid kayo for Sasori fans.
EX (some shelfwears)/ EX to EX+
Meiko Kaji LP “Otoko onna Kokoro no aika” – Teichiku 1975
One of the last album with mostly some well known enka / kayo standards such as “Tokyo Nogaremono”, “yume wa yoru hiraku”…
EX / EX to EX+
Meiko Kaji LP “Best kayo 16” – Teichiku
EX / EX+
Le Son de L’os LP “old Sun” – New vague records
Le son de l’os could be seen picking up where Onna-Kodomo left off in the mid-1990s or early Nijiumu.
Current line-up is Yuko Hasegawa (Onna Kodomo), Shizuo Uchida (Kito Mizukumi Rouber / Hasegawa-Shizuo / Suishou No Fune) & Mashiro Deguchi (Gendai Sokkyo), the band was signed for a first album on P.S.F. 2 years ago. If you are in Nijiumu, in nighty improvisations, slowed down kind of blues or miniatures folk songs with bass, vocals, guitar…
Ltd to 285, comes in a nice silkscreened cover done by Alan Sherry, dedicated to our friend Joel Nickelson who died before he had completed his first 2 releases on his label. Thanks to Alan who has helped Joel’s family to finish and sell this project along Majutsu No Niwa reissue.
or $35 with “Grass pillow” previous CD album released on PSF
LSD MARCH LP “Totsuzen hono no gotoku” – White Elephant records 2002
ltd 200 white vinyl
Ltd to 200, 95 came with a blue cover, later reissued under the title “Suddenly, like flames”, this album had Ikuro Takahashi, Masami Kawaguchi with Shinsuke Mishishita’s leader this album is maybe one of the most accomplished album from Japan who finds its source in the Velvet Underground after les Rallizes Dénudes. Really nice, sounds anyway very personnalnmurky recording with FX solos, had this kind of depressed blues that could hae been recorded 20 years before.
EX+ / EX to EX+ (not the best pressing but a solid copy anyway)
Kan Mikami LP “Yuyake no kioku kara – Live in Aomori” – Victor 1977
white promo labels
fantastic release from the early years with Mikami Kan facing its public with his acoustic guitar and passion. One of his best live release with great classics such ‘Yume wa yoru Hiraku” and “Lake full of piss” and a special mention to the great audience. I’d have loved to hear Mikami there, taht’s not to say he’s bad now but now he’s more like an actor, he just grew up I guess.
EX+ / EX+
Kazuko Matsuo LP gatefold “Shirutaku Naino” – Victor 1967
Subtitled Kazuko Matsuo in person…Nice live album by one of the sweetest voice which has a very personnal melancholic vibe, a night mood with a latin touch. Tracklisting is just perfect with rtitles such as “Ginza Blues”, “the girl of Kasbah” and one of my personnal highlight “Una sera di Tokyo” also frequently covered by Sachiko Nishida and more frequently by Ché Shizu / Chie Mukai / Tori Kudo. If you’re looking after a sensual singer Matsuo Kazuko is one of the best;
Miki Minoru box 4 LP “the music of Minoru Miki performed by the Ensemble Symphonia” – Columbia 1970
comes with 2 illustrated 60 pages booklets with instruments and scales.
Miki Minoru was a promoter of traditionnal japanese and korean musical instruments and after Toru Takemitsu he was the one of the best overseas well known composer. Strangely hes been neglicted by a lot of people in contemporary music despite his varied repertoire. Miki Minoru founded the Nihon Ongaku Shūdan in 1964 also known as Ensemble Nipponia, for which he has composed extensively and collaborated with Keiko Nosaka developing the 21-string koto and reviving the instrument’s repertoire with many new works in a variety of genres and combinations, including five concertos for koto and orchestra. But music here in the box set is not typically japanese, you can hear some western jazz / impro idioms with great folk sides. I must say the sound recording is exceptionnal, you can hear a lot of details and spacialization has rarely been so rich with all the acoustic instruments. I’d say PLAY IT LOUD if you want to hear all subtilities. If you are in Makoto Moroi and his shakuhachi compositions, Miki Minoru is less austere but he was also a brilliant composer and his musicians were probably among the best. Compositions are Tennyo, Jo No Kyoku, Paraphrase after japanese ancient music; You’ll hear how koto sounds are not only for musical backgrounds, muzak for lifts , restaurants or liquid soaps commercials. Just take a Miki Minoru shower !
EX (some minor wears on the outer box, obi is VG) / vinyls are EX+
Miki Minoru LP “Slected works of Minoru Miki vol 1 – The young sprout” – Camerata 1976
Performed by Ensemble Nipponia, excellent
Noise LP “Tenno” – Org Records 1997
Originally released in 1980 on ALM records with Tori Kudo and Reiko Omura (who became later Kudo’s wife and known as Reiko Kudo) and recorded by Fumio Kosakai, this album is one of the most important album of the underground scene from the 80’s. Most songs are (over) driven by a lo fi & doomy organ with Reiko’s fragile voice, echoed trumpets, some would say it’s like an awakened nightmare. Alienish, coming from nowhere, I’ve seen once maybe it could be a mssing link between Suicide and Nico…essential, a key document and this edition looks better than the original one.
Hiromi Sairaiji LP gatefold ” Hatoba” – Columbia 1972
That’s a long time I haven’t a copy of this album that many people like me discovered some years ago through Tiliqua mailorder. Johan from Tiliqua first heard it at Ikeezumi’s PSF boss headquarter so we need to thank them for sharing a such treasure. This true fantastic enka/ballads album stills needs to be wisely known and heard. Sairaiji was also an actress and she was 19 years when she recorded this first album composed by the legendary Toru Funamura. Many songs here are quite well known but Hiromi Sairaiji high and nasal voice is just unique, she howls as she lives her last hours, there’s so much passion, it’s just hard to believe , just like a violent wind entering and breaking windows. Many peopele have some difficulties to recognize japanese enka singers, believe me, after the first song you’ll hear how Sairaiji is so special, crazy and extreme. Almost a given price, comes with obi, this is the EXTREME BLOODY ENKA STUFF.
EX (some wears) / EX to EX+
Hiromi Sairaiji LP “Sairaiji Hiromi no atarashii uta natsukashii uta” Columbia 1972
gatefold with attached calendar poster
3rd album record within a year, this one is a bit less enka rooted, it has a more kayo / pop directions with some up beat songs. More varied, a bit less extreme but I suspected her producers were amazed with her voice and they wanted Sairaiji covering a large selection of songs. It’s indeniable they had fun during the recordings, not sure they met a true success but it seems Sairaiji was really supported by her producers. One more odd album in the enka / kayo troubled waters. Comes with its rare gimmick obi
EX to EX+ (some stains inside) / EX to EX+
Minao Shibata Box 5 LP “Works of Minao Shibata” – Victor 1978
Minao Shibata was born in 1916 and his works show a development from Germanic Romanticism to serialism and electronics in the 1950s and then to more avant-garde techniques, including graphic notation and aleatory writing. Many of us have only heard of him with is participations through the nice Oto No Hajimari compilation that gathers pioneer documents from NHK studio. Like Makoto Moroi, Joji Yuasa, Minao Shiabato worked with orchestras and had also recorded some electronic music with filters, modulators. This box is quite uncommon and brings a little of light of one other nice japanese composer.
EX to EX+ (a few stains) / EX to NM
Suishou No Fune LP “Bonsai No Ie” – 8mm records 2011 ltd to 250
from the label : “The new installment from Pirako Kurenai and Kageo’s Suishou no Fune is finally ready, and it’s a true gem. Recorded in a Bonsai Shop in Tokyo, summer 2010, ‘Bonsai No Ie’ is a dream made out of floating guitar textures and vanishing vocal lines. Four spectral, naked pieces that stand as the core of Suishou no Fune’s poetry, where delicate folk moments, abstract blues riffs and oniric ballads concur in the realisation of the definitive psych experience. Close your eyes and abandon your senses to a journey through the land of ethereal joy and endless abandon”
Yuji Takahashi + Masahiko Satoh LP “Samarkand -Taklamakan-Lob nor” – Denon 1983
Consisting of one acoustic side + one electronic side and originally recorded in 1974. Prepared piano, Mini moog, EMS synth AKS, Fender Rhodes
EX+ / EX+
Tenjo Sajiki LP + Ken Togo CD single “Baramon” – Tenjo Sajiki records 2004
Originally released in 1972, maybe it’s one of the most underrated Tenjo sajiki release with J.A. Seazer
“By 1972,Baramon saw J.A. Seazer and Kuni Kawachi (of the Happenings Four and Kirikyogen) splitting the compositional scores on a bizarre musical manifesto for sexual liberation. So far so Hair, but rather than a tribute to free love, Terayama instead composed an eloquent plea for the liberation of the sexual underclass suffering discrimination, in the form of a ‘gay revolution.’ It wasn’t Terayama’s first engagement with the Tokyo queer scene — one of the earliest plays he wrote for the Tenjo Sajiki was a vehicle for transvestite actress and chanson singer Akihiro Miwa, who was rumored to have had a dalliance with Yukio Mishima. Baramon’s opening is a blast — a densely narrated and impassioned call to arms set to a Nazi military march that links sexual second class citizenship to imperialist social control and warmongering. Featuring the actual voices of numerous smutty, cross-dressing scene queens, the record’s content was deemed so subversive that it was only sold under the counter of Tokyo gay bars. Like a biker backstage at the Cage Aux Folles, fuzzed out guitar riffs and heavy swelling organ-based psych rock tracks rub shoulders with the lachrymose ballads and tawdry, mascara smudging chanson still favored in certain Shinjuku nighteries.’”
– The Wire, Alan Cummings
EX+ / EX to EX +
Tokk – Ensemble Tokyo LP
Toshi Ichiyanagi / Yoshiro Irino / Maki Ishii / Toru Takemitsu
” Music for Living Process / Strömung / Nucleus / Munari by Munari / Corona for Pianist” – Victor 1976
Massive and mythic album featuring Toshi Ichiyanagi, Takehisa Kosugi, Yasunori Yamaguchi among some more names.
Not only there are famous names but compositions are great classics and these versions are quite unknown.
EX to EX+ (corners are slightly bumped)
There’s only the facial obi, it has been fixed with adhesive on the back cover.
Vinyl plays EX+
Kazuki Tomokawa LP “Senshu” – Bourbon records 1978
rare early compilation with one of our favorite singer that compiles his first albums with some of his tracks produced by J.A . Seazer
Ultra Bide LP “Utra Bide the original” – Alchemy 1984 ltd to 500
Ultra classic for this band coming from kansai with Jojo Hiroshige on bass; Just punk, just rock as any good punk music !
Highly recommended, a great classic, comes with insert
V/A LP “Forty Minutes And Eleven Seconds” – 2011 red wax lted to 500
With Takehisa Kosugi , Christian Wolf, John King, David Behrman, Jesses Stiles
Sold through Merce Cunningham fundation, interesting and official document for Kosugi’s partcipation; I’d say It’s quite funny because in a way Kosugi sounds a bit like Burning Star Core, sounds like easy to do for Kosugi and could be considered as the best Spencer Yeh would make ! Kosugi doesn’t make enough and Yeh just makes too much.
New / $35
V/A Orchestral Space at Nissei Theatre 1966 volume 2 – Victor 1967
gatefold with attached booklet
György Ligeti – Inannis Xenakis – John Cage – Roger Reynolds – Motohiko Adachi
EX+ /EX +