FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND
At first, I must admit, that I don't have much informations about this awesome band. But let's see, what we have. I think, that FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND were one of the few eastern bands, which were more poular outside of Japan. Today bands like ETERNAL ELYSIUM have a lot of influences from them. The roots lay back in 1967. Under the name FLOWERS they released in 1969 their first album, titled "Challenge".
It was more in a Psychedelic vein, not so heavy and varied like the following records. In 1970, Joe(vo), Hideki Ishima(g), Joji Wada(ds) and Jhun Kowzuki(b), released on Atlantic the second album "Anywhere", now under the whole name FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND. You find some coverversions from songs like "House of the rising Sun","Black Sabbath" or "21st Century Schizoid Man on it and "Anywhere" is together with the following album "Satori" their heaviest. It saw the light of day in 1971 (Review below).
In 1972 they released the "Made in Japan" LP, again on the Japanese division of Atlantic. It's in the same vein as the forerunner album. Absolut heavy and filled with eastern influences.Together with "Satori", the band proved once again, that they were a strong unit. This was sadly the last album, but Atlantic released in 1973 the double record-set "Make Up". The album contains three live tracks, one of them is "Satori Part2". "Make Up" isn't so heavy as the forerunners, but still a good one. Aside of the music, the whole package was fantastic of "Make Up". The original album comes in a leather outer-bag and fold-out cover. I don´t know, when the band split-up and if the members still make music today,but FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND will have their place in the history of progressive Heavyrock. They played interesting music, a lot of good songs...sometimes very doomy...!
"FLOWERS" released in 1969 (Synton Rec.)
"ANYWHERE" released in 1970 (Atlantic Rec.)
"SATORI" released in 1971 (Atlantic Rec.)
"MADE IN JAPAN" released in 1972 (Atlantic Rec.)
"MAKE UP" 2LP released in 1973 (Atlantic Rec.)
FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND (Satori) LP
As I said above,"Satori" is the second album, after they had changed their name. It contains five long songs, titled "Satori Part I-V". The whole album had a very special atmosphere.It's not easy to describe, maybe mystical, dark and melancholic are some words I like to drop. In some songs, as in "Satori Part I", they play some kind of a proto epic Doom, brutal heavy riffs with nice tempo-changes. The clear and high voice of singer Joe completes this great song. But it's different to BLACK SABBATH.
I think,you can hear, that FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND are strongly influenced through ancient Japanese/Eastern music. Like the second song "Satori II" ,an instrumental, which starts with a hypnotic psychedelic guitarsound and then turns into a instrumental part with Eastern percussion. But the song doesn't "freak-out" into a endless jam. The band played still very compact. "Satori III" is a very doomy instrumental. The song is like a crossover between Doom / Heavyrock and this typical ancient touch. It changes into a heavy groovy part which goes into something experimental and then back to the opening theme with an oriental-like ending. Really fantastic!
"Satori IV"starts more progressive to change then into a groovy Blues part with a harmonica. Joe had a very unique vocal-style on "Satori Part V",maybe not everybodys flavour. The album closes with this song,that goes more in it the Heavy-Prog direction. At least, the production sounds very clear and powerful. Finally, I will give you the advice to discover the world of FLOWER TRAVELLIN' BAND, if you're into early 70's Heavyrock. The original is not easy to find, but there is a CD re-release on WEA, only released in Japan. Good luck!