Thursday, 5 July 2018

Vodka Collins (Hiroshi Oguchi-ex The Tempters,PYG) & (Alan Merrill-pre Arrows) “Pink Soup” 1997 Japan/ USA Prog Glam Rock


Vodka Collins (Hiroshi Oguchi-ex The Tempters,PYG) & (Alan Merrill-pre Arrows)    “Pink Soup” 1997 Japan/ USA Prog Glam Rock
full dezeer
https://www.deezer.com/en/album/12091198

full spotify

https://open.spotify.com/album/4b8kTqybAwniUj7PmtCBvE

Vodka Collins official website

http://the-aleecat.com/Vodka_Collins.html

Alan Merrill oficcial website

http://www.alanmerrill.com/pages/discography/1973-1980.php




Pink Soup was written and recorded in 1996, and in just three days straight by one of the most enigmatic names in the history of rock music, Alan Merrill, lead singer and guitarist with the Tokyo based Vodka Collins, here in their second great incarnation of the 1990s. 

This much sought-after album was released only in Japan and it has taken 20 years to make it available worldwide for the first time. 

There are no *good* reasons why Alan Merrill’s name might be unfamiliar to you. He wrote and was the original artist, with his UK band Arrows, of one of the best loved, most iconic and most frequently covered rock songs in history, “I Love Rock N Roll”, but that is just one of hundreds of catchy, commercial songs he has written over 50 years in the cut-throat world of the music business. 

Merrill, a true creative, has been fighting uphill for most of his career against the tide of unscrupulous and greedy elements only too ready and willing to make a fast buck off someone else’s talent. By rights, his name should be as familiar as that of any Rock N Roll Hall-of-Famer, or of Rick Derringer or Meatloaf, both of whom Merrill has served as sideman, but people and circumstances have caused his name to be unfairly overlooked, so that his catalog of songs is still relatively undiscovered and would serve as a rich vein of material for many up and coming artists or established big name acts. 
Pink Soup is a very personal, no holds barred document of an intense episode in Alan Merrill’s life, encompassing something of a mid-life crisis, an existential melt down, intense highs and lows and an emerging sense of the cynical and worldly humor he needs to survive life’s battles. 

The scene is set in the demi-monde, an amalgam of the clubs and bars of three continents, and it develops like a modern Rake’s Progress, beginning and ending between the thighs of a porn star, via the driving punch of the title track and its ending reprise, repeat to fade where passion becomes mechanical, a loop to be broken out of. 

“Theo” is a simple and straight blues, fun to sing. It celebrates Theo Van Gogh, the supportive and loving brother who held the artist Vincent together for as long as he could. “Every artist needs a brother…” seems like a wistful statement from Merrill, himself the only child of two successful musicians 

“Les Animaux de Partay” is a kicking lively number observing the types of people that are around in the scene. It is not a flattering observation of the self-destructive hedonists and the cold opportunism that surrounds him, but it is a great song. 

“It Hurts” is a beautiful slow song, one I am sure we can all relate to some period in our lives “It hurts to be in love with you” We can feel his pain. This is a sensitive man, a poet suffering great emotional injury, struggling to survive in an uncaring world. 

“Motive Confusion” is an odd short jazzy breakdown that follows that developing theme of the sensitive man having to toughen himself up to deal with the onslaught of hard things happening to him. 

“Is This Chuck Berry?” This is a perfect slice of pure traditional Rock N Roll. A happy and a welcome reminder of Merrill’s love and mastery of the genre. 

“Church on Devil’s Ground” An angry, searing rock ballad with a kick-ass chorus on the subject of a heart betrayed and discarded. You get a real sense that this betrayal is the root of how this album came to be made and how the slightly sad and cynical theme developed. 

“Feet (All Around the World)” a wonderful song that works well with the band, and acoustically as Alan Merrill now performs it in his live set. Movement and the joy of travel and change is emphasized. 

“Tumbleweed” A very short and simple story of freeing a tumbleweed develops huge significance within the rootless and adrift theme of the album. 

“Boys in the Band” Rowdy riffs, the love of music and the carnality of raunchy rockers fill this with life and energy. 

“W.O.W” “In a world of whores, Love is just a vice” A vision of hell for the idealist draws forth its own code of ethics and morality. 

“Roppongi Roppongi” A love song for a place, the playground where every vice can be satisfied. So catchy!. 

“Skying” A loose jazz inspired love song about a kiss, bringing back the humanity and innocence of a moment between two people that is not some cynical transaction, and here we know that the spirit is undimmed and although our hero has been through so much he is still essentially himself. 

This album is a literal masterpiece of tone and feel and the music irresistible. The most unpretentious concept album you will ever hear. There is nothing contrived here; it is just three days of some crazy inspiration that came out as great, listenable rock music. 
Easily in my top five albums of all time by anybody, this was well worth waiting the twenty years since it was released solely in Japan. 
It is released here in the West for the first time with the original artwork as intended…..by….ludovicaa …..~


One year on from the superb Chemical Reaction comeback album, Vodka Collins regrouped for what might well be their masterpiece, an album that not only confirms the vivacity of its makers’ reputation, but keeps pushing them away from the landscapes they’d sketched out before and into a bold new direction of harder (but no less hooky) rock. Blessed with one of the most unusual covers of any recent rock album (the Mamas & the Papas were censored for less), Pink Soup opens and closes with the propulsive shuffle of the title track, five minutes to start with, a mere reprise at the end. There’s a hint of early Dire Straits floating around the edges, but any such comparisons are dismissed the moment the lyric reveals itself as a barely-disguised paean to oral sex. Elsewhere, “Les Animaux de Partay” rattles across a distinctly Bo Diddley-esque rhythm – the Pretty Things on speed – while “Feet (All Around the World)” has a smart Midwestern rock shuffle, coupled with “Roppongi Roppongi,” later in the cycle, there’s a pronounced John Mellencamp influence to be gleaned from the proceedings, although never so much that Vodka Collins lose sight of their own gift-of-the-grind. “The Boys in the Band,” a song so powerful that it went on to title Vodka Collins’ first “best of,” is thunderous enough to be the Stones or the Dolls, and it’s not alone. This is a powerful album from one of Japan’s hottest ever bands; and, if there’s any one regret, it’s that Vodka Collins never made it on to Western shores. There were landscapes there, just begging to be changed, and Vodka Collins could have changed them…..by Dave Thompson….~


Arrows frontman Alan Merrill was a young American pop star who had found success in Japan in the late ‘60s, when he realized he wanted to change his image before it was too late. After encountering drummer Hiroshi Oguchi through session work, the two artists decided to start working together on a project in 1971. Vodka Collins was a hard-working glam outfit that included bassist Take Yokouchi, and the trio started doing enough work to where they were getting noticed by the Japanese media. They scored a record deal and toured relentlessly through Japan, although they were oblivious to the fact that their management was robbing them of most of their money in the process. Tokyo-New York came out in 1973, right when the band was starting to understand how woefully underpaid they were. Merrill threatened to walk out of a 10,000-seat gig if his manager didn’t begin to show them more profit, but his bluff was called, and he got on a plane to London that night to form the Arrows. Their short-lived history made a fan out of T. Rex singer Marc Bolan, and some have even claimed that David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust project was inspired by the band. 

They seemed finished, but the 1990 re-release of Tokyo-New York in Japan was so big that Merrill and Oguchi re-formed that year for a series of reunion shows. The reaction was so positive that, by the mid-'90s, the group was recording new albums with rhythm guitarist “Monsieur” Hiroshi Kamayatsu and bassist Masayoshi Kabe. They signed to Polystar to release Chemical Reaction in 1996, then switched to Tower Bounce Records for 1997’s Pink Soup. By 1998, the band’s situation was again quite tense and unhappy, as their label hastily released the inferior Boys Life collection of B-sides. On top of that, rumors of heroin abuse and Oguchi’s ties to the Yakusa were too much for Merrill and he flew back to America, while Kamayatsu and Kabe quietly left the group at the same time. Despite the group’s bizarre and disjointed history, they left behind a very interesting career and one great '70s glam rock record. ~ Bradley Torreano….~

Alan Merrill 1972 live show at Hibiya Park Tokyo with Vodka Collins.

Alan Merrill with Vodka Collins, outdoor show at Hibiya Park, Tokyo Japan, 1973

Alan Merrill アラン・メリル and 加部 正義, Kabe Masayoshi recording the Pink Soup album 1996. EGM studio, Tokyo Japan

Masayohi Mabo Kabe and Alan Merrill (left to right) on the Pink Soup tour of Japan, 1997
On tour - Alan Merrill アラン・メリル and Monsieur Hiroshi Kamayatsu かまやつひろし Vodka Collins ウォッカ・コリンズ 1973 Japan.

Vodka Collins albums This is Artist’ third studio album, recorded in 1996, in Tokyo Japan. It was written entirely in the studio by lead singer / lead guitarist Alan Merrill over the course of three intense days of non stop recording, including tracking and mix. The band are Alan Merrill, Hiroshi Oguchi (drums), Monsieur Kamayatsu (guitar / vocals), Masayoshi Kabe (bass). Until now this album has only been available in Japan. ….~ 

People magazine Japan, Vodka Collins Pink Soup album promotion at Tower Records Shibuya, Tokyo Japan.

Photo of Alan Merrill by Yuji Hashimoto.

The band PYG, Takayuki Inouye with glasses and mustache here. Hiroshi Ogcuhi second from left.

The band Vodka Collins Practice Of Silence Japan tour (Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo) 1990

The band Vodka Collins Practice Of Silence Japan tour 1990, the band lineup- Alan Merrill, Hiroshi Oguchi, Shinohara Nobuhiko. Adriana Kaegi, Donnie Kisselbach, Janique Svedberg, Cheryl Lee Poirier, Robin Lemesurier

Vodka Collins' 17 year old bass player and founding band member, Take Yokouchi at Hibiya Park Tokyo live outdoor show 1973

Vodka Collins at Bar Amrta, Nishi Azabu Tokyo Japan 1997

Vodka Collins at Club Machina, Osaka 1997, the Pink Soup Bon Appetit tour of Japan.

Vodka Collins band members Alan Merrill アラン・メリル and Monsieur Kamayatsu かまやつひろし

Vodka Collins' drummer 大口 広司 Hiroshi Oguchi 1997.

Vodka Collins live at Club Machina in Osaka Japan 1996.

Vodka Collins' drummer 大口 広司 Hiroshi Oguchi 1997.

Vodka Collins live 1996

Vodka Collins live band line up 1972, left to right Alan Merrill, Take Yokouchi, Hiroshi Oguchi, Monsieur Kamayatsu.

Vodka Collins on stage August 1996 with at the club Geils in Saga Japan

Vodka Collins on their tour of Japan 1996 at Hakata station. Left-right Hiroshi Oguchi, Monsieur Kamayatsu, Alan Merrill.

Vodka Collins Pink Soup (1997) album flyer. On the TowerBounce record label,

Vodka Collins playing an outdoor balloon festival in Saga Japan, 1996

Vodka Collins ウォッカコリンズ 1973. Alan Merrill アラン・メリル & 大口 広司 Hiroshi Oguchi.

Vodka Collins ウォッカコリンズ lead singerlead guitarist Alan Merrill アラン・メリル , Tokyo Japan 1973. Photo by Koo Saito.

Vodka Collins ウォッカコリンズ Osaka 7-25-1997

ウォッカ・コリンズ Vodka Collins at スター気分 Sutâ-kibun in Ōmuta, Japan. Ōmuta-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture (Kyûshû). (九州) 福岡県 大牟田市

ウォッカ・コリンズ Vodka Collins at スター気分 Sutâ-kibun in Ōmuta, Japan. Ōmuta-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture (Kyûshû). ..

ウォッカ・コリンズ Vodka Collins at スター気分 Sutâ-kibun in Ōmuta, Japan. Ōmuta-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture (Kyûshû).

ウォッカ・コリンズ Vodka Collins at スター気分 Sutâ-kibun in Ōmuta, Japan.

加部 正義 Masayshi Kabe Mabo


Tracklist 
1 Pink Soup 4:17 
2 Theo 3:45 
3 Les Animaux De Partay 3:55 
4 It’s Hurts 5:19 
5 Motive Confusion 3:45 
6 Is This Chuck Berry? 2:37 
7 Church On Devil’s Ground 4:29 
8 Feet (All Around The World) 3:45 
9 Tumbleweed 3:34 
10 Boys In The Band 2:39 
11 W.O W. 2:31 
12 Roppongi Roppongi 4:32 
13 Skying 2:59 

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