Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Stunning Japanese band Tranzam, Pt 1

You can see that these guys, currently unknown, were highly prolific in the 70s, starting from funky rock reinterpretations of classical music favourites a la Sound Creation (but superior in my opinion) in their debut called Funky Steps and a brilliant pop-rock-progressive self-titled record for number two, which are the 2 presented today.  Gotta dig the cover photo with the dark cloudy backdrop on the bottom album.

So, from the first record, a stunningly performed excerpt from tired old classic Peer Gynt:

Mellotron fans will jump out of their seats or perhaps wheelchairs when they listen to this one: these boys actually use the heaven-sent mello for their string section on top of the funkiest possible rendition of this classical trash.  It doesn't get any better than this folks.  Except when they returned the next year for a ST record.

So on this second album there is tons of good material that overall reminds me a lot of the School Band.  Obviously the Japanese were not just excellent at progressive fusion but could do original progressive pop seventies songwriting absolutely perfectly.  The fact that this enjoyable material was totally shut out of FM radio in that time period is tragic to say the least, the fact it's completely unknown today on for example satellite radio, is criminal.

Listen to Mr. Minomushi:

Let's see, what is it that makes this track an absolute top-40 stunner? There's the lovely guitar solo intro, the funkiness of the choppy electric piano sound, combined with slapped electric guitar, the refrain that goes 'oh-oh' (perhaps too similar to the Rolling Stones' Can't You Hear me Knocking?) the sheer grooviness of it all, the progression from seemingly talking to high-pitched chorus on the fourth chord above (i.e. key of A), the two breaks in the song-- to me, these are all ingredients of a successful pop song.  What can I say, other than that it breaks the heart to think the human population has missed this kind of genius for so many years.  And obviously will continue to do so.

I think personally this is the best track, but there's at least a handful more that are quite delectable.  Let's keep those Japanese lost rarities coming because boy do they ever beat the old tired garbage they play every day on the radio at my workplace... 'cuz she's buying a stairway to heaven...
And many thanks to my friends for helping to discover this one!!  I bow before you....

Interested note from my friend:

 Tranzam started in 1974 with the ex-members of Flower Travelin Band  & The Happenings Four.
 This 1st album is very rare (never released as CD)
 They formed this band to create original Japanese rock in Japanese language .
 But after releasing this 1st album, they faced the huge wall and some original members left this band,(only Chito Kawachi remained as the original member)
 But the band continued until 1981 and released a lot of hit pop singles.


  1. Funky Steps


    More to come straightaway from these boys...

  2. Wow! Thanks Julian! I've searched for the second LP for ages.
    On another note, would it be possible for a re-up of Marcia Meyer's Oregon Summer? Totally missed out on that.

    All the best,

    1. artist requested I remove that one, can you leave your email here and I won't publish it

  3. Hi, Julian. Thanks so much for the two precious albums! What are the other albums that you'll publish from these guys? Maybe their whole discography? ;)