Dec 4, 2011
JUNI & TOO MUCH - TOO MUCH (ATLANTIC 1971) Jap mastering cardboard sleeve
Often touted as the Japanese Black Sabbath by blowhards and those who’ve not actually heard the music, the excellently named Too Much hailed from the large city port of Kobe, where the band members grew up sucking in all kinds of western influences from the LPs and 7” singles that came in on the boats.One of the band – guitarist Junio Nakahara – had spent the late ‘60s in the blues group The Helpful Soul, whose sole LP features in this book’s Top 50 on account of its deeply inspired 10-minutes plus plodathon ‘Peace For Fools’.However, as its audience could never have perceived The Helpful Soul as anything more than another Group Sounds act, guitarist Nakahara decided to jump on the burgeoning New Rock bandwagon by forming the more appropriately named Too Much.Nakahara’s inspiration came from the TOO MUCH concert that The Helpful Soul played with the newly-formed Blues Creation, in Kyoto at the end of February 1970.The hippy phrase ‘too much’ was already utterly cliched in the West by this time, but it was iconic and easily pronounceable to Japanese.In the process, Nakahara hooked up with hard rock singer Juni Lush, changed his own name to the more substantially New Rock-sounding Tsomu Ogawa(!), and dragged high school mates Hideya Kobayashi and Masayuki Aoki along as the rhythm section.They signed a deal with Atlantic Records in the summer of 1970, and wrote a whole slew of mindless proto-metal anthems, including the excellent ‘Grease It Out’, ‘Love Is You’ and ‘Gonna Take You’.These were duly recorded and sounded mindlessly, monolithically, perfectly suited to the lowbrow audience Too Much was aiming to please.Unfortunately, the Atlantic businessmen saw in the be-afro’d Juni Lush another potential star in the mould of Flower Travellin’ Band’s Joe Yamanaka, and they pressured the band into adding several mawkishly sentimetal ballads to the debut LP in order to widen their audience.The results were disastrous. No one needed yet another version of Bobby Dylan’s ‘I Shall Be Released’, particularly the Nipponashville abortion that Too Much delivered. Hey, but neither did they require ‘Song For My Lady’, the arduously phlegmatic 12-minute album closer which arrived replete with megastring sections, Michel LaGrande pianos, Moody Blues flute solos and nere a six-string razor in sight.Too Much was just not enough, and they split soon after the album was released...