Ever found yourself ordering from an online seller and noticing that the shipping costs for one album are the same as for four? I did today, not for the first time, and the two albums I had put in my cart needed another two adding, because of the postage savings, or at least that’s what I told myself, knowing it wasn’t really true but believing myself anyway. The seller was offering an Ian Dury album I didn’t have, the only one I don’t have that was released during his lifetime, ‘Apples’, which is not the greatest album but the unquenchable need to complete the set kicked in and I ordered it along with a Kilburn & the High Roads album. So that was the two. I then spent £10 on two more to save myself £1.47 shipping, I know, I can do the maths, it makes absolutely no sense, or does it?
No, it doesn’t, not really, however, I looked through everything else the seller had for sale, some 400 LP’s and found one that looked interesting. It was ‘Raindog’ by Stomu Yamashta which I then spent about 10 minutes listening to online and decided immediately that I liked it, because I did, it was great, why had I never heard this before? There was a second album by Yamashta so I bought that one without even listening to it, there, I haven’t wasted any postage costs, I’m so proud of myself.
So who is he? Stomu Yamashta (or Yamash’ta), born Tsutomu Yamashita 15 March 1947, and is a Japanese percussionist, keyboardist and composer best known for pioneering and popularising a fusion of traditional Japanese percussive music with Western progressive rock music in the 1960s and 1970s. In the latter part of the 1970s, he led the supergroup “Go” with Steve Winwood, Al Di Meola, Klaus Schulze, and Michael Shrieve. He has some tracks on the soundtrack of The Man Who Fell to Earth, the one with David Bowie, which was recently re-packaged and re-released, although I don’t think the included tracks were written specifically for it.
The first album I procured was ‘Raindog’ from 1975, track number 2 of which was named, with extraordinary foresight, after this very blog, decades before this blog existed.
1. Dunes 15:00
2 . 33 1/3 7:40
3. Rainsong 5:03
4 . The Monks Song 6:01
5. Shadows 5:08
6. Ishi 6:59
I’ve had a good look around and can’t seem to find any actual footage of Yamashta from this period, or any period really, but below you can listen to track 6. Ishi for a flavour of the album before scrolling down a bit further to listen to the whole album should you wish to, I’d recommend it.
Line-up / Musicians
Stomu Yamash’ta / percussion, composer & arranger
– Murray Head / vocals
– Maxine Nightingale / vocals
– Tsuneo Matsumoto / guitar
– Gary Boyle / guitar
– Brian Gascoigne / piano, clavinet, synth, composer & arranger
– Hisako Yamashta / violin, composer & arranger
– Daito Fujita / bass
– Hozumi Tanaka / drums
Here is the whole album:
There are what seem to be a whole range of styles going on, prog, jazz-fusion, classical and so on, but I rather like that. Apparently ‘Raindog’ was a stage show about a dog trying to make it rain on a japaneses village or somesuch, sounds terrible, but I like the music. It reminds me of lots of other things at times and occasionally of nothing else.
The other album is Stomu Yamash’ta, “Come To The Edge – Floating Music” but I haven’t heard any of that yet so won’t talk about it, other than to say it’s from three years earlier, 1972.