Happiendo – Kazemachiroman (Happy End – Windy Street Romance)
Many consider Happy End the first true rock band from Japan. This is due to the fact that they were the first to make rock albums sung entirely in their native Japanese. They are very well known in Japan, however I’m not sure of their popularity in the Western World so I hope this mini-review will be of interest to at least a couple of people.
This, their second album, has a nice mix of styles to make it a great listen the entire way through – from folk songs and ballads to more classic rock and psych sounds; as well as a bit of blues. There’s even a Country and Western track. A nice, bass driven groove is also incorporated to a lot of the songs.
One of the highlight tracks, “Kaze O Atsumete”, was featured in the movie “Lost In Translation”. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know that this track captures and compliments the atmosphere and mood perfectly.
Not only is the music outstanding, but the artwork and inserts makes this gatefold cover one of the nicest Ive seen in a long time. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:
A bit of info for the collectors. There have been a number of re-issues on both CD and LP since the original 1971 release (which is quite expensive for a mint copy) . These are the LP issues:
- 1971 Original: URC URG-4009
- 1975 (?) Reissue: URC UX-8005
- 1980 Reissue: URC/SMS SM20-4127
As far as I can tell, the two re-issues are both gatefold and have the insert just like the original. And because they are also getting quite old, they can look very much like the 1971 version. You’ll need to look at the label on the record itself to make sure. I’ve also seen a more recent LP re-issue with no gatefold.
Last but not least, some samples. Actually, since it’s been re-issued on CD it’s not hard to find more, but here are a few 1 minute clips anyway: