Here’s an underrated 1971 psychedelic rock gem – Speed, Glue, and Shinki. Speed, Glue, and Shinki was a power trio formed in 1970 by guitarist Shinki Chen(labeled the Japanese Hendrix), bassist Masayoshi Kabe, and drummer/vocalist Joey “Pepe” Smith(of later Juan de la Cruz Band fame). The music is thick distortion drive guitar and bass, a la Hendrix and Blue Cheer. It’s a classic late 60s psychedelic sound, a progenitor of the later named Stoner Rock/Metal genre.
The albums opens with “Mr. Walking Drugstore Man”, a riff driven song riddled with distortion. The lyrics feature a reoccurring theme of drug addled daze. Everything about this just fits together perfectly. Following this is “Big Headed Woman” and “Stoned Out of My Mind” groovy bass tracks with more drug related drivel lyricism . Overall good tracks but considering the first song did this theme and better it feels like you’re revisiting the same thing. “Ode to the Bad People” a 5 minute track with a complimentary lead and rhythm guitar section. The more I listen to it the more I like this and find myself revisiting it often. Around a 1:40 the song divulges into a guitar solo, then bass, back to guitar, and ends off with a drum solo. Though Shinki Chen was considered the “Japanese Hendrix” I feel you can draw more parallels between the band and Cream. “Keep it Cool” is a groovy blues song. Joey Smith touches on more “dramatic” themes rather than just addiction. Features a nice wah solo that sounds a little more composed than the other guitar leads on the album. The album finishes with “Someday We’ll All Fall Down”. This is a more mellow track with soothing vocals accompanied by acoustic, rather than the trippier sounds heard on the previous songs. The lyrics are more thought provoking and emotional, giving a great set up to the acoustic break that finishes the album.
The production quality on this album is very reminiscent of those times. With the instruments almost feeling disconnected but still interacting with the music. This is a great and overlooked Psychedelic/Stoner Rock gem and if you’re a fan of stuff from that era, for example, Blue Cheer, then this album is a great one to add to your collection/playlist.