Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Yuzo Kayama - Black Sand Beachdotdotdotdot
artworkYuzo Kayama is to Japan what Nokie Edwards is to America. He has his own signature model Mosrite in Japan. Except for "Black Sand Beach '94," this is a compilation of his work with his mid sixties band Kayama Yuzo and the Launchers," culled from their three 1966-67 albums. The liner notes include sheet music.
Picks: Black Sand Beach '94, Three Blue Stars, Violet Sky, Running Donkey, Hello Suzie, Crazy Driving, 4 O'clock, Demure Damsel, Kirisami No Hodo, Black Sand Beach

Track by Track Review

Black Sand Beach '94 dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This updating of "Black Sand Beach" sports really nice surf chunk rhythm guitar, and stunning lead work. The melody is fluid and the playing exceptional. The drums are a definite part of the track's magnetism, offsetting the band with interesting patterns.

Three Blue Stars dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Three Blue Stars" is melodic and fluid. Its melody line is semi familiar, especially during the breaks when it drops into a variation of "Let's Go."

Violet Sky dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Using a rhythm pattern like "Shakin' All Over," "Violet Sky" gradually builds to an oriental theme with exquisite whammy and a colorful feel. This moderately paced track sticks with you. The Ventures influence is clear, but so are the original ideas and carefully crafted recording.

Running Donkey dotdotdotdot
Mechanical Bull Surf (Instrumental)

Some double picking and some cowboy shouts together in this surf stomp and mechanical bull ride masterpiece. Very fun.

Hello Suzie dotdotdot
Surf Samba (Instrumental)

This smooth samba tune displays just how well Kayama Yuzo can play his ax, and just how versatile he is. A snappy groove in a west coast jazz jacket.

Crazy Driving dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Chunky churning power train rock for the track. Pounding drums, chunky rhythm guitar chops, and a spiffy little riff. You can almost see Eddy Angel doing this one.

4 O'clock dotdotdot
Afternooner (Instrumental)

With tone and structure hinting at the Searchers' version of Jackie DeShannon's "Needle and Pins," "4 O'clock" takes dead aim at gettin' off work, with an eye on a night out. Fun and flirtatious.

Demure Damsel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Floaty whimsical and very melodic, this fine instro lays bare images of flirtatious breezy afternoon encounters on the beach. Very pretty.

Kirisami No Hodo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Kirisami No Hodo" has a sorta little grass shack backing, with a playful lead and a light over all feel. Pretty far afield from surf, but a darn nice track.

Black Sand Beach dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the original version of "Black Sand Beach." This is a spectacularly good track with intense rhythm and guitar tone. For my money, it epitomizes eleki! Recorded in late '65, issued in '66.