So after hurricane Food Brain we come to more calm music. Here's an album "Outsider No Sekai" by Happening Four band today.
Happenings Four with their header keyboardist Kuni Kawachi were formed in 1964. During 8 years living they released 5 albums and some EPs. Unfortunately I haven't found their first two albums and the album which is presented today is the third in their discography.
From different resources I got to know that their first two albums were created in Beatles style, and the title of debut album speaks itself - "Happenings Four Magical Tour". Third album was played in another style - closer to folk/blues rock, but with its interesting, a little bit psychedelic stuff. I enjoyed this album... after I heard it for the second time. But it is quite nice. It is from that style - you enjoy it or hate it.....~
A pretty light and commercial dual keyboard-led psych-pop group, who released their debut ‘Touemi Ningen’ [Capitol, 1968], which has been compared to early Procol Harum. The next was obviously Beatles-influenced – ‘Magical Happenings Tour’ [Capitol, 1968]. The cover had a slightly amusing picture of the be-costumed band, with hair up in erect top-knots, laid into a ¥10,000 bill. I’ve only heard a couple of tracks from it, which are far inferior to, and quite unlike, the Beatles.
‘Outsider No Sekai’ [Capitol, 1970] was loaded with very straight and dated orchestrated pop music, but often [not always, unfortunately] a subtle weirdness permeates the tracks, and a few tracks are just odd on their own. This juxtaposition of the very straight and the rather weird reminds me Sound of Feeling’s album ‘Spleen’ in approach, but not nearly as out-there, avant-garde or as interesting overall.
You could also say that some tracks are a bit like the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band but without the comedy [though one strange track with a squeaky ‘Chipmunks’ voice raises a smile, and musically could practically be a Raymond Scott creation], and there’s also a bit of mid- and far-eastern folk. As Happenings Four + 1 they released another album, ‘The Long Trip’ [Capitol, 1971], which is reputedly much more on the early progressive side of things, with the band in this period compared by Julian Cope to Procol Harum and Greenslade. Keyboardist Kuni Kawachi would also work with Tenjo Sajiki, J.A. Caesar and Flower Travellin’ Band.....~
Progressive countries of Japan took shape not from scratch. Before the public began to carry out the brain with its infinitely virtuosic fusion and avant-brigades, melodic groups like the heroes of the current review flourished on the mountainous Asian islands. The ensemble was formed in 1964. Then there were five of them and they were called Sunrise. The process was fueled by the brothers Kawachi: Cooney played on an electric organ, and Chito quietly rustled through percussion. In the sixty-sixth Sunrise provincials moved to Tokyo and began to spud metropolitan nightclubs for concerts. A year later, the team, having lost a guitarist, was reduced to the size of a quartet. A quick change of signage followed (on Happenings Four) and, accordingly, the internal repertoire policy was transformed. After two successful singles, the naughty Oriental guys decided to play The Beatles. The venture was supported by the leadership of the Toshiba concern, and in 1968, the HF delivered a longplay "The Magical Happenings Tour". Caucasoid "chips" unexpectedly liked by all. The performers, taking note of this, soon presented fans with the album Classical Elegance Baroque'n'Roll (1969), which contained weighted versions of the songs of the same Beatles and Simon with Garfunkel. In 1971, the six-string samurai Mitsutani Kimio joined the guys, and the brand Happenings Four was enriched with the “+ 1” postscript. However, more important is the fact that with the infusion of "fresh blood" pop psychedelics made a new round in development. In 1971, the six-string samurai Mitsutani Kimio joined the guys, and the brand Happenings Four was enriched with the “+ 1” postscript. However, more important is the fact that with the infusion of "fresh blood" pop psychedelics made a new round in development. In 1971, the six-string samurai Mitsutani Kimio joined the guys, and the brand Happenings Four was enriched with the “+ 1” postscript. However, more important is the fact that with the infusion of "fresh blood" pop psychedelics made a new round in development.....~
The history of Happenings Four is an important one, despite their musical contributions to the Group Sounds scene being mainly disappointing and trite. For they were one of the few bands with the guts to try to break the GS mould and bring something new on board. They began in 1964 as a quintet named Sunrise, and were led by brothers Kuni and Chito Kawachi, on organ and percussion respectively. Playing a Latin based rock, Sunrise was completed by bassist Pepe Yoshihiro, percussionist Pedoro Umemura and guitarist Hiroshi Satomi. In 1966, Miki Curtis discovered them and took them to Tokyo, where they signed to the mighty management team Asuka Puro. Vocalist and conga player Tome Kitegawa joined at this time, and they were booked into night clubs and cabaret to develop their act. In 1967, when guitarist Hiroshi left to form Hiroshi Satomi & Ichibanboshi (‘The First Star’), the Kawachi brothers decided to sack percussionist Umemura and changed their name to Happenings Four. Signing to the Watanabe Pro management team, they gained immediate interest because of their novel guitarless line-up. Their debut single was okay, but gained press attention because of its incredible sleeve design, by legendary pop artist Tadanori Yokoo.
In 1968, the second single ‘Kimi No Hitomi O Mitsumete (Looking Into Your Eyes)’ fared better, as did a third ‘Alligator Boogaloo’. Inspired by Miki Curtis’ tendency to ham it up, Happening Four successfully played up to the Japanese cliché with hair in top knots, and kimonos, releasing their debut LP THE MAGICAL HAPPENINGS TOUR in a gorgeous fold out jacket, depicting the members on an 10,000 yen note. In early 1969, Kuna Kawachi offered up his own version of the sounds coming from Britain’s The Nice and Soft Machine with the second album CLASSICAL ELEGANCE : BAROQUE’N’ROLL. This LP contained heavy versions of Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel songs in a sleeve of imaginary bucolic bliss, in which a pink clad and moustachioed Jason King-styled shepherd groover rests upon the roots of ye olde oak tree as his flock of sheep graze quietly in the Bach-ground. Later in ’69, Kawauchi enlisted Nobuhiko Shinohara on keyboards and vocals to boost the prog credentials of the oputfit, who now altered their name to Happenings Four +1. The band split in 1972, whereupon Kawachi recorded commercials, and contributed to the Love Live Life +1 project, as well as recording his classic LP KIRIKYOGEN with members of Flower Travellin’ band. ....Julian Cope.....~