tisdag 29 november 2016

The Helpful Soul - First Album (Japan 1969) + Bonustracks

270:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition, utgången utgåva. En av de absolut bästa och tyvärr även en av de svåraste japanska Heavy Bluesrock albumen att hitta pga att den gavs ut som Mini LP redan 1996. Sång på engelska och original utvikomslag.)

The Helpful Soul are a fairly marginal band from the tail end of Japan's "Group Sounds" craze (so-called because "Rock and Roll" is very difficult for Japanese speakers to pronounce!)  Once heavy blooz groups like Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Iron Butterfly became all the rage, there were regional bands outside the Anglosphere waiting to catch the latest wave and interpret it for the local hippeoise.  

The Helpful Soul was exactly such a band, mostly dealing in covers of blues-based garage band turd-nuggets like "Spoonful" and "Kansas City" which differ from second-rate American and British bands of that ilk only by having more heavily accented vocalists.  Except for ONE AMAZING SONG on this album, a furious opus of disillusioned youth called "Peace For Fools" (what a great title!), which sounds like The Stooges' Fun House (a year before that record came out!) crossed with "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" -- in fact The Helpful stole the riff from the latter song for a big chunk of the 10-minute running time of "Peace For Fools".  

But no matter, it is one of the most super heavy amazing rock and roll performances ever to come out of Japan, and stacks up well alongside other underground classics like The Pink Fairies' "Uncle Harry's Last Freakout" and The Coloured Balls' "That's What Mama Said".  (Have you never heard any of these songs?  Well you should listen to Kosmik Radiation more often!)
I doubt there is any video of The Helpful Soul, but here is a recording you can listen to of the incredible "Peace For Fools", as well as a couple more conventional nuggets-style "psychedelic".

The career of The Helpful Soul was a real case of wrong place, wrong time - for they hit their blues stride just as heavy blues was becoming hard rock, and graduated to heavy rock too late to capitalise on even that brief fad. However, they recorded one outstanding track, the ten-minutes-plus of "Peace For Fools", which appeared on their otherwise bog-standard blues dirge debut LP. 

This track in itself separates them from all Japanese blues bands for it is a Kim Fowleyan masterpiece of Jim Morrison mystical doggerel/truly possessed nihilist genius. Unfortunately, leader Junio Nakahara was so inspired by witnessing a performance by Blues Creation, when his band supported them at the Too Much Festival, that he was soon after driven to change his own name to Tstomu Ogawa while his band became known as ... Too Much.

01. Blues For My Baby Written-By – Chei*, Tsukasa*, Shoji*, Nakahara* - 08:06
02. Fire Written-By – Jimi Hendrix - 02:42
03. Peace For Fools Written-By – Chei*, Tsukasa*, Shoji*, Nakahara* - 10:33
04. You Got Me Floatin' Written-By – Jimi Hendrix - 03:14
05. Spoonful Written-By – W. Dixon* - 14:48
06. Kansas City Written-By – Leiber-Stoller* - 03:42
07. Crossroads Written-By – R. Johnson* - 05:13
08. Little Wing Written-By – Jimi Hendrix - 03:50
09. Aldin's Theme Written-By – Chei*, Tsukasa*, Shoji*, Nakahara* - 02:35