Human Beinz: In Japan

Human Beinz
In Japan

Released on vinyl in 1969, and only seeing a digital release now courtesy of the fine folks at UK crate-diggers Sunbeam, the Human Beinz’s In Japan is a fine document of the era, with an even better backstory. Thumbnail version: hard rock/psych group hits it big with the stone-cold R&B/frat smash “Nobody But Me”. Fans, disappointed by the inadvertent genre bait and switch, stay away in droves from the follow-up single, “Turn On Your Love Light”. Except the Japanese, who drive the song to the top of their pop charts for six weeks in 1968 (The band’s Japan-only Xerox of “Twist ‘n’ Shout”, called “Hold On Baby” also topped that country’s charts). The band was contractually obligated to tour Japan, but broke up on the eve of the tour. Subsequently, its label recorded this show from Tokyo’s Shibuya Public Hall without the band’s knowledge; such were the cloak-and-dagger dealings of the late-’60s garage scene.

The songs sound pretty good for a secretly-defunct band being surreptitiously recorded by a buck-seeking label. Classic garage aficionados will be happy to pick up this CD edition of the record and safely stash the rare and expensive vinyl version. Discovering Japan’s popular covers (“Foxey Lady”, “Mr. Soul”, “I’m Alright”), the aforementioned big-in-you-know-where hits and a few exercises that illuminate paths not taken (the gentle psychedelia of “This Lonely Town”; the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac workout of “Boogie”), the concert reveals the true story about the Human Beinz:they were a talented little bar band that got subsumed by a world-conqueror of a song. There are worse fates.

RATING 7 / 10