Wewantsounds is pursuing its ambitious Akiko Yano reissue program with the release of "Japanese Girl", her landmark debut album from 1976. Backed by Little Feat with Lowell George and by the cream of Japanese musicians (including Haruomi Hosono), Japanese Girl is one of the most important Japanese albums of the 70s, mixing pop, rock, Japanese folk together with Little Feat's superb classic sound. This is the very first time the album is released internationally. The deluxe LP edition includes remastered sound, tip-on LP sleeve, download card plus the original 4-page insert with lyrics and full line-up!
When Akiko Suzuki left her home town of Aomori for Tokyo in the early 70s aged just 15 to become a professional musician, she quickly started making waves on the local music scene performing at the jazz club Rob Roy. In 1973 she released a 7" with the group Zariba and caught the attention of A&R man Koki Miura. She then recorded one song, "Oinaru Shiino-ki" with Haruomi Hosono on bass and drummer Tatsuo Hayashi (who features on many Hosono albums and also Hiroshi Sato's 1979 album Orient) with a full album in mind.
After a marriage with musician/producer Makoto Yano and the birth of her son (named Fuuta), Yano and her team resumed the recording of the album and decided to pitch Little Feat for a collaboration as she loved the group. Against all odds they said yes and Yano left Tokyo for Los Angeles in March 1976 to record a full side with them. The legend has it they found it so difficult to keep up with Yano's compositions they returned some of their fee. The Session was nevertheless stunning and Lowell George even compared Yano to Stevie Wonder. The Little Feat blend of New Orleans groove matched Yano's melodies perfectly, as witnessed on "Funamachi-Uta Part 2." Originally a traditional song from The Nebuta Festival in her hometown of Aomori (part I on side 2 gives a good idea of what the original form sounds like), the Little Feat version is a formidable slow-