First & Last: Japanese Private Press, Vol. 1

Welcome to the opening installment of First & Last, a series of mixes providing a glimpse into the world of Japanese private press, or 自主盤, pronounced “jishuban”, which loosely translates to “independent board.” A number of the LPs featured here are titled First Album, or First & Last Album, as many of the artists entered the studio knowing this was their one shot to cut a record…and they made the most of it. Embracing a warts and all approach, the musicians would record whatever they could. Start a song over mid-recording? Cool. If the levels went askew (as they do in the first track of this mix), it didn’t matter. Have more material than what could fit onto one side of a record? Then that side would end in the middle of a track. Whatever it took, the record had to get pressed–typically about 100 copies, but often less, sometimes as few as 15.

Our hope is that this series will bring attention and appreciation to these artists, attention they should have received when the records were originally released. This first mix, a menagerie of songs from across the spectrum of Japanese private press, serves as an introduction to subsequent mixes. Tanoshī. | t craft

1. 伍円玉 (Goendama) – 天使たちが (1973)
2. きのこ雲 (Kinoko Gumo) – ちいさな生命に名前をください (1972)
3. 南島フォークメイツ (South Island Folkmates) – ひといきWhm (1975)
4. 緑の親指 (Midori no Oyayubi) – いつまでも いつまでも (1973)
5. ザ・ウィーズ (The Weeds) – じいじいの (1970)
6. 宿屋飯盛 (Yadoya no meshimori) – 飛んでみたのさ (1972)
7. Noah – 春の歌 (197?)
8. さとうりょうこ (Ryoko Sato) – 渚 (1973)
9. Jupiter 1 – 失恋 (1974)
10. 久利無始洋館 (Kurimushi Yokan) – 一通の手紙 (1975)
11. 日比野てつみ (Tetsumi Hibino) – 愚痴 (1972)

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