Gotta pay attention these days to catch some of the reissues that pop up in small corners and are gone before they’re even announced. This might be especially true of some of the great ‘60s and ‘70s Japanese Folk albums that are slipping into the ether. Light In The Attic has been pretty key, with the release of Even A Tree Can Shed Tears, which does a good job of getting its hooks into the Kansai folk scene which seemed to hover around URC records. Though the comp omits the work of Makoto Kubota, a storied musician who’d found his way into playing bass for Les Rallizes Denudes through some friends at school, winding up in some of the band’s later incarnations as they evolved and imploded. He’d follow his impulses to the U.S. for a time, splitting residences on the East and West coasts, absorbing the burgeoning hippie influence and then take those notions back home to Japan.
When he was arrested for growing marijuana in 1972 he began to formulate the ideas that come to fruition on his 1st album, Machibouke. Written in his prison cell, the album would eventually be recorded with members that would make up his band The Sunsets (which would also include friend Harumi Hosono). They’d find a particular balance between the music of Okinawa and Hawaii, but here he was channeling the American influences that he’d picked up abroad. With a strong folk, blues spirit, the record fits into the URC niche, echoing some of the same country-flecked folk takes that Kenji Endo, Sachiko Kanenobu, and even Happy End in their lighter moments were digging into. There’s some nice overlap with the Mushroom label sound as well, with bits of Chu Kosaka and early Garo sounding like they sprung from the same wells. The record has been out of print for years, but is back in a small run from Japan this year. Its a hard one to knock into a cart for a decent price, but worth it if you can find it.