I first heard the late Kiyohiko Ozaki while visiting Tokyo in January, 2019. We were at a vinyl bar, Dogenzaka Rock, located in Shibuya (Definitely check it out if you’re there) where I asked the DJ/bartender to play the “Frank Sinatra of Japan.” He put on this album and I was completely blown away by this Japanese megastar with his soaring voice and those trademark sideburns.
Before he was the lead guitarist of NRBQ, Connecticut-native Al Anderson fronted the Wildweeds. The Wildweeds’ seminal single, “No Good To Cry,” which brilliantly blended garage rock with soul, peaked at #88 nationally, but was something of a regional sensation in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Melanie Safka is one of those prolific artists who was seemingly everywhere in the late-60s and early-70s, including the original 1969 Woodstock music festival and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, but who does not really get enough credit today as a seminal artist of that era. I would describe Melanie’s music and sound as Donovan + Bobbie Gentry = Melanie.