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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Bow Wow - 1977 Signal Fire
Bow Wow - 1977 Signal Fire

ALBUM: Signal Fire
LABEL: Invitation
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 2009, Rock Candy Records (UK), JPCANDY002


LINEUP: Kyoji Yamamoto - vocals, guitars * Mitsuhiro Saito - guitars * Kenji Sano - bass * Toshihiro Nimi - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Prelude * 02 Get On Our Train * 03 Just One More Night * 04 Silver Lightning * 05 Electric Power Up * 06 Rock 'n' Roll Drive * 07 Rainbow Of Sabbath * 08 Tell Me Tell Me * 09 Signal Fire * 10 Still


A classic case of east meets west in the world of melodic hard rock. One of the earliest and arguably best Japanese rock exports out of the seventies. Arrangement wise these guys are spot on, nice time changes, and the guitar work of Saito and especially Yamamoto are a stand out feature. There are no problems with the anglicized vocals of Kyoji, and admirable that a band which is huge in their homeland of Japan sing in a language other than their mother tongue, though I'm sure in a live context it might be somewhat different. Bow Wow released a heap of albums in a very short space of time between 1976 and 1980, nine of them if my history lesson serves me well. Some are mediocre while some are superb, including their 'Super Live' album, plus this studio effort 'Signal Fire'. Some cutting edge hard rock, tailor made for the seventies with influences drawn equally from their western cousins in UK/Europe and conversely over the ditch in North America. For a reference point, the closest I can come to is a Japanese version of Canuck heroes Teaze?

The Songs
The band are extremely tight throughout, and you can hear this when they click seamlessly on tracks such as the classic 'Get On Our Train', or the fast paced pairing of 'Rock n Roll Drive' and 'Just One More Night'. 'Rainbow Of Sabbath' is an intriguing title (perhaps a reference to a certain couple of UK bands?), while 'Silver Lightning' is an over-extended piece, with a very Teaze like flavour through it. Kyoji's lead guitar and Toshi's tight drumming both work overtime on the aptly titled 'Electric Power Up' as it does on the title track 'Signal Fire'. Very impressive.

In Summary
During the eighties, the band focused their attention on the UK, and set up shop there for a while. Though by this stage, their style of hard rock was probably being overtaken by the darlings of the day, namely Metallica, Motley Crue and Slayer. Even fellow Japanese colleagues Loudness were making slow and steady progress, particularly in the USA. However, Bow Wow stuck to their guns, changed their name to Vow Wow, and released some superb albums during the late eighties, namely 'V' and 'Helter Skelter' which also featured an addition to their ranks in keyboard demi-god Rei Atsumi. Selective discography only, though seventies hard rock fans will say otherwise.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on June 06 2008 09:30:20
Loved this band's early works. 'Get On Your Train' is fantastic. Got the first four albums on CD recently, albeit in paper sleeve format which I'm not much of a fan of.
#2 | AOR Lee on September 07 2013 06:14:45
V from 1987 getting a lot of airplay on the lounge hifi, review imminent computer work
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