Friday, September 12, 2008

Fight Gatchaman!

Nearly 30 years later Gatchaman still hits hard. I have been watching the original uncut version of the 1972-73 Japanese Anime TV show and it's amazing how much we lost when it was reedited for American TV as Battle of The Planets. I've have always admired the art design of the cartoon , especially the Mod influenced outfit of Jun the Swan. I am about 30 episodes in and although it can be episodic at times the deep drama underneath cannot be dismissed. Perhaps that is why it still holds up after all these years. I'm looking forward to seeing the last episodes of the second seasons as it has been said it's some of the finest animation and drama in the history of Anime. There is a huge sense of dread with the outcome of the characters the belies the colorful design and cheery endings of some of the episodes.

Destroy Galactor! is the soaring opening theme song for the first 20 episodes but later changed to the closing theme as it was originally intended. After the first 20 episodes Gatchaman's Song became the opening song of Gatchaman. Tatsunoko Productions released a 45rpm/ep through Columbia Records of both Destroy Galactor! and Gatchaman's Song on a single 45rpm. The record comes with a beautiful hard cardboard picture sleeve book with a few pictures of the Gatchaman team and some assorted monsters and villains from the first few episodes. the sleeve is a bit longer than most picture sleeves produced which makes it a unique sleeve for the collection. Destroy Galactor! is sung by the Columbia Cradle Choir and one of the best features of the Gatchaman TV show is that they list the 45rpm catalog number in the opening credits. I bought 45rpm and sleeve through Rinkya for 800 yen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Akiko Wada: Tall & Soulful

I'm hung up on 1960's Japan. Just in case you do not know ( and trust me many people are still clueless) the 1960's happened in other countries besides England. Really! Regardless lately I've been learning how to read and write Japanese and accordingly It's great to finally check out Japanese web-sites that are devoted to 1960's Japan.

Digging around recently at Buena Park record swap I came across this record by Japanese Soul singer Akiko Wada called Pouring Rain ( Or "Hard Rain" depending on your translation)( RCA JRT - 1020) $1.00 less in my pocket I was pleased to hear a great sounding soul record when I played it again later at home.

I have since found a couple Blogs about this record...and they all say it's a great record as well. Pouring Rain is a nice mid tempo song with a grooving 1960's organ playing the hook throughout the song with some solid brass playing in other parts. Akiko has a loud soulful emotional voice. Collectively the single has a good groove and fun to dance to. Accordingly I'm trying to locate the full length LP for the collection as the B-Side is great song as well.

Akiko Wada was born in Japan of Korean parents. I believe Pouring Rain is her second single. Dig that EP cover as well, she's super cute with ultra style. Did I mention she was tall?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tone Bending Fuzz

I normally never had a huge Guitar/Amp set up through the years, heck I've been playing a Fender Musicmaster since I was 18. So I thought I'd move up to the top of the line Fender single Pick up guitar, the Esquire. I have always felt the under appreciated Esquire was the "It" sound of the mid sixties. Syd Barret, Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page all used Esquires on many of their greatest songs from that era.  I also love the low "High -Tech" electronics of the three way tone switch for the single pick up. 

Now that my Esquire is about finished it is time to build up my FX pedal rig again. 
My FX set up has always been simple and just based off of three types of pedals: An overdrive/distortion pedal, a delay pedal and a Fuzz Pedal.  Because of the high cost of a decent Fuzz Pedal these days, I just decided to build my own Fuzz pedal based off the many schematics available on the internet these days. 

The pedal that I decided to build is the Sola Sound Tone Bender Pro MK II. At this point I nearly have all the parts and I should start building it next week sometime. The cost of building one is about $50.00.