Sunday, 18 June 2017

Powerhouse (Shinki Chen) "Powerhouse" 1969 Japan Psych Blues Rock

Powerhouse (Shinki Chen)  "Powerhouse" 1969 Japan Psych Blues Rock
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Japanese heavy blues rock album comprised of covers only with strong influences from Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Ten Years After  and late The Beatles. Two tracks lasted over 15 minutes each! Guitarist Shinki Chen later played in Food Brain (1970) and Speed Glue & Shinki (1971) and recorded great solo album in 1970.


 And what about Powerhouse. At first band titled themselves as Midnight Express Blues Band, but by releasing their debut single the band changed their title to the common. The album was released at March 1st, 1969. Despite on non-having their own songs (all tracks - covers on The Beatles, The Yardbirds, jimi Hendrix etc.) this album, as for me, is important in Japanese rock history. This was the first full attempt to present to Japanese listeners local blues rock (alonside with the debut album of Blues Creation band). And also I have to mention about members of the band. In this band their own musical careers started such musicians like guitarist Shinki Chen and bassist, "Japanese Eric Clapton" George Yanagi......~


Powerhouse's S/T album from 1969 is one of the rarest Japanese vinyl records out there. The album was originally released as a red vinyl only and nowadays it's an incredibly valuable collector's item. This band is probably best known for their guitarist Shinki Chen who is a legendary figure in the Japanese psych/prog rock history. 

The album consists of cover versions of some famous Western songs. The band sounds pretty nice with their bluesy style. There are some psychedelic influences as well and the singing is kinda funny. Of course this album isn't anything very unique or original since all of the tracks are covers. 

"You're Better Man Than I" is the strongest song here if you ask me. Unfortunately the rest of the songs on the A-side are mediocre. Listenable but still mediocre. Shinki offers some strong guitarwork on the B-side but the lack of original material is the biggest problem in this record. Overall I'd say that this disc deserves 2,5 stars out of five because even if the band sounds enjoyble the material is still not very interesting....by...CooperBolan ....~ 


An album of psychedelic blues covers of western rock and blues standards by this Japanese act. On the plus side they're technically good at what they do and it's interesting enough as a curio. However for me new ideas are scarce as it sounds very similar to a lot of their contemporaries whilst their one attempt at covering a song by somebody working in the same milieu ("Foxy Lady" by Jimi Hendrix) is, perhaps inevitably, not nearly as good as the original. And, despite usually being a big fan of English language songs sung in a Japanese accents (albeit by female singers), I'm not sure that this guy really works for me. 

Having said all that, their version of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da", possibly my least favourite track that The Beatles ever released, is actually decent enough for such a terrible song. The last two tracks, clocking in at over half an hour combined, are also pretty good, being mostly long passages of the guitarist wigging out that only very occasionally overstay their welcome. 

Really this is a decent enough album but I wouldn't really go any further than that with the praise. Worth a listen if you come across it but hardly essential...by...keresaspa ....~ 


members
- Eiji Takemura - vocals 
- Shinki Chen - guitar 
- George Yanagi - bass, vocals, harmonica 
- Shinichi Nogi - drums 






Tracklist 

A1 Back In Ussr 
A2 Hootchie Kootchie Man 
A3 I Want To Know 
A4 Foxy Lady 
B1 You're Better Man Than I 
B2 Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da 
B3 Spoonful 
B4 Good Morning Little School Girl 

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