.'Anywhere' is the debut album by Japanese Rock group 'Flower Travellin' Band' released in 1970 by Polydor Records and produced by Yuya Uchida.
First album from the legendary Japanese rockers fronted by Yuya Utchida. Although an album consisting mainly of cover versions, Anywhere still exhibited many of the musical traits that were to come to the fore on the band’s next release, the classic Satori, an album of original material delivered with panache by the increasingly confident Uchida. An album made memorable by its risque cover as well as its ground-breaking approach to Western rock music...
Best known for its iconic, quite frankly hilarious cover art -- featuring the four bandmembers riding three motorcycles, Easy Rider-style, only buck naked (gulp!) -- the Flower Travellin' Band's 1970 debut album, Anywhere, unfortunately isn't as original where the actual music is concerned. That's because, with the exception of its minute-long, book-ending solo harmonica workouts, Anywhere was a covers album! And the second of its kind, technically speaking, following 1969's Challenge, which was recorded by the then simply named the Flowers with two different singers tackling Western rock and pop hits of the day by Janis Joplin, Cream, Hendrix, and the Jefferson Airplane. Come time for Anywhere, new singer Akira "Joe" Yamanaka had joined guitarist Hideki Ishima, bassist Jun Kowzuk, and drummer Joji "George" Wada, in the newly renamed Flower Travellin' Band, and though they hadn't yet found time to come up with any original material, their often radical reworkings of the songs they covered almost qualified them as such. This is especially true of their 15-minute improvisation on Muddy Waters' "Louisiana Blues," which they render virtually unrecognizable while introducing numerous themes of the band' own devising; and, to a lesser degree, their extended jam on King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man," which breaks off into quite the freak-out halfway through. And, while not as engaging from a creativity standpoint, the band's relatively straightforward take on Black Sabbath's eponymous tune (surely the first time anyone covered the Sabs on record) comes off uniquely idiosyncratic enough, as does their mostly clumsy stab at the enduring folk ballad "House of the Rising Sun," which unfortunately falls apart due to Ishima's exaggerated and often off-pitch octave leaps, and distractingly accented pronunciations ("...rouse of the lising sun," etc.). In sum, a curious listening experience to say the least. But those familiar with the group's subsequent masterpiece, Satori, will recognize all of these elements as building blocks for that album's unique mixture of progressive daring, psychedelic eccentricity, and muscular, heavy rock austerity. Those who haven't heard Satori, on the other hand, will see little point in bothering with Anywhere's covers, no matter how interesting...unless they find it impossible to resist with that legendary cover photo, that is..... by Eduardo Rivadavia ......
Like many other debuts from the era's hard rock groups, Flower Travellin’ Band’s Anywhere came out in 1970 boasting more musicianship than originality. But the group's cover songs flourished with innovative adaptations, starting with an awe-inspired psychedelic freakout rendering of Muddy Waters’ “Louisiana Blues” that jams out for nearly 16 minutes. The Tokyo-based quartet even elongated Black Sabbath’s namesake tune an extra three minutes, replete with singer Akira “Joe” Yamanaka approximating a young Ozzy Osborne’s throaty inflections (right down to his wailing “Ooh noo!”). A Wishbone Ash–esque cover of the traditional tune “House of the Rising Sun” proved that there was much more to Flower Travellin’ Band than cranked tube amps and mind-melting acid-rock. A sprawling take on King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" plays with such crazed changes and unpredictable arrangements that it’s easy to understand the kind of minds that thought the album cover photo might be a good idea. Two bluesy harmonica-honking instrumental originals bookend Anywhere..
A whole gang of naked Japanese men riding motorbikes and playing cover versions in 1970 – irresistible! I bought a CD of this album in New York at Kim’s in St Marks about 15 years ago and have been a fan ever since. The band was the brainchild of percussionist, singer, producer, actor, Yuya Uchida who became friends with John Lennon after opening for The Beatles at the Budokan in Tokyo and whilst visiting England, got turned onto the sounds of the day. He wondered how to bring this music to his own culture and formed the band The Flowers playing cover versions of Big Brother And The Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, Cream and Jimi Hendrix. (The Anywhere album cover art followed the theme of Yuya Uchida & The Flowers album, Challenge! 1968, by having cover versions and nudity).
A true cult band of the early 1970s, the Flower Travellin' Band (initially called the Flowers) was started in 1969 by Yuya Uchida, who went on to become a major figure on the Japanese music scene. In the months leading up to his starting the band, Uchida had spent time in London visiting a good friend named John Lennon (who he had met during the Beatles Asian tour in 1966). During his stay in London he met a huge array of artists, including Cream and Jimi Hendrix, and returned home with the idea of bringing a similar sound to Japan. The band soon caused a stir in the media, not so much for their music (which at this early stage was made up mostly of covers), but for their shocking sleeve art, which in the case of this LP featured the naked band members riding low-rider motorcycles! Anywhere opens with a 52 second original intro followed by a freaked-out 15 min version of Muddy Water's "Louisiana Blues", followed by the Sabs "Black Sabbath" (probably the first cover of that song ever to appear on LP), "House of the Rising Sun" and King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man", and then an original outro. It was not until their next album however, that Uchida would truly come into his own, penning his first LP of all original material (1971's Satori) and a true classic of the era...
Line-up / Musicians
- Akira "Joe" Yamanaka / Vocals
- Joji "George" Wada / Drums
- Kuni Kawachi / Keyboard
- Jun Kowzuki / Bass
- Hideki Ishima / Guitar
A1 Anywhere 0:52
A2 Louisiana Blues
A3 Black Sabbath
B1 House Of The Rising Sun 7:41
B2 Twenty-First Century Schizoid Man
B3 Anywhere 0:57
ANYWHERE (Atlantic, 1970)
Kuni Kawachi and Flower Travellin' Band - KIRIKYOGEN (Atlantic, 1970)
SATORI (Atlantic, 1971)
MADE IN JAPAN (Atlantic, 1972)
MAKE UP (Atlantic, 1973)
FROM PUSSIES TO DEATH IN 10,000 YEARS OF FREAKOUT (recorded '69-'70) (1995)