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24.3.09

Blues Creation (1969)



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 "Blyes 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. (Julian Cope)

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3 komentarze:

ankh pisze...

link

tomjon18@wp.pl pisze...

Fajna płyta, aczkolwiek wiele takich cover-albumów pod koniec lat 60 powstało. Dla mnie numerem jeden Blues Creation jest ich 'Demon and eleven children'

Roger hippie pisze...

Excellent heavy psychedelic blues.
Thanks for this file.