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Hana
by The Bluegrass 45
So, I just stumbled onto a documentary about country and bluegrass in Japan. Titled Far Western, it tells a remarkable story of the transplant of American country music to post-World War II Japan. You can see the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv9-UaF7JHI

It's a really great film, and one I'd recommend to anyone who loves music.

The Bluegrass 45 formed in 1968 by the brothers Saburo and Toshio Watanabe. The brothers apparently goaded each other into learning American bluegrass styles, Saburo coming up with a pretty good copy of the Charlie Monroe guitar-picking style, then picking up banjo after hearing a Flatt & Scruggs record in 1965. The earliest incarnation of the group was as a high school band, but the name Bluegrass 45 did not come about until a few years later, when another set of brothers came into the picture. These were Josh and Akira Otsuka. The band's first album, Run Mountain, was released in 1970. The following year The Bluegrass 45 was the first Japanese bluegrass group to tour in the United States and Canada, and most likely the only group in bluegrass history to wind up on the Grand Ole Opry as part of their inaugural tour. Group membership fluctuated over the years, but the band celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1996 with another American tour, commemorating the group from the point of its first international tour rather than the time of its actual formation.

This track is from their 1971 LP, Caravan.

Bonus track! Dueling Banjos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7Nw-JfJWgc

 
Posted: 6th December 2019
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I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar. That much is true.
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