Korea. After the formation of Add4 by Shin Jung-Hyun in 1962, Korea saw the development of Rock music, obviously thanks to the world entrance of The Beatles. 1964 would mark the very birth of K-rock, bands like Key Boys and He 5 turned into a national success, the images seen in A Hard Day’s Night became a common point between these bands. The ’60s was presented with dozens of records, tours, television appearances and mass hysteria by the legion of fans avid for the Korean Beatles!
The leader and guitarist of He 5 was Kim Hong-Tak, one of the predecessors of the electric guitar alongside Shin Jung-Hyun; after the triumph of Merry Christmas Psychedelic Sound in 1969, including famous covers and versions of traditional songs, with the turn of the decade, the group decided to add flute and clarinet to their sound, thus He 6 was formed. Predicting this success formula, Korea would saw a definitive entrance of psych, garage, and soul in its musical charts.
Let’s go to our history:
Since the late ’60s they played hard psychedelic songs on live shows (At Seven Club in I-Tae-Won, a small quarter of Seoul which is now well known even internationally for its diverse markets, restaurants, and bars) but they couldn’t make this music style on albums because of record company’s pressures. They gave them some discretionary power to have them created the results which they had first on Merry Christmas Psychedelic Album and later on (fabulous) He 6 Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.
But most their fans couldn’t understand the tracks of these albums, so they were forced to change to more popular styles, like trots and romantic ballads. (!)
At least they had their chances to make some albums with the music style they wanted after they became a nationally recognized pop-rock group. The band throughout their career launches only 8 albums, with the aforementioned difficulty to moving on after 1975 (second last Lp) and the definitive end in 1980.
Let’s go to our album:
This amazing set shows an excellent mixture of psychedelic, blues-oriented hard rock and soul in a very laid back improvisation feeling. Kim Hong-Tak’s heavy fuzz guitar all-over the set with best funky rhythm set (Cho Yong-Nam and Kwon Yong-Nam, later entered in SJH & Yup Juns!) and beautiful flute passages.
The ‘IM’ highlights are Running Man, a furious 9-minute track coming out of a Blaxploitation movie, with tons of fuzz, swinging guitars, breakbeats, percussion and flutes in a variety of moods. A psychedelic shell! And In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, the cover from Iron Butterfly’s megaton hit stands out to be a better version than Shin Joong Hyun’s live album, including the whole drum solo! Kim Hong-Tak’s abilities at guitar must be heard, this is no ordinary beat sound and deserves respect.
Vol.1 Grand Records (GH-00020)
A1 Introduction Music
A2 4/4 For Guitar
B1 Running Man
B2 Percussion Theme
Vol.2 Grand Records (GH-00021)
A1 The World of 6/6
A2 The Storm
A3 Come On A Baby
Kim Hong-Tak: guitar
Hun Choi: vocal
Kwon Yong-Nam: drums
Cho Yong-Nam: bass
Yoo Sang-Yoon: flute, organ, clarinet
Lee Young-Deok: guitar, piano
Released in July 1971, Limited Press (300)