Shin Joong Hyun & Yup Juns
02. Think 4:25
03. I Think There Was Someone Else 5:50
04. Long, Long Night 4:34
05. I Love You 3:08
06. Lady 4:06
07. Anticipation 4:18
08. I've Got Nothing To Say 4:21
09. I Do Not Know 3:04
10. The Rising Sun (Instrumental) 6:59
Ask anyone familiar with the Korean music scene "who is the country's Godfather of Rock?" and you will hear one name mentioned--Shin Joong Hyun.
The groundbreaking guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and producer had a hand in dozens, if not hundreds, of rock singles to come out of the Korea from the late 1960s until 1975 when he was arrested and tortured by the Korean government for marijuana possession after refusing three years earlier to write a song praising then-president Park Chung Hee.
Though Shin (who also spells his name Shin Jung Hyeon) returned to performing and recording in 1980 and remains active to this day, it was an album he made one year before his imprisonment, "Shin Joong Hyun & Yup Juns" that was the culmination of all the work he had done up that point.
Combining rock, funk and blues all while weaving in an Eastern sensibility that consistently creates interesting results, "Shin Joong Hyun & Yup Juns" finds the guitarist in top form.
And he's not alone.
Bassist-vocalist Lee Nam Yi and drummer-percussionist Kim Ho Sik embody every retro rock guitar player's dream rhythm section--laying down infectious, thick backbeats while pulling of varying dynamics and remaining light on their feet.
From the Creedence Clearwater Revival-esque opening track "Lady" to the jazzy closing instrumental "The Rising Sun" the bassist and drummer provide each songs with exactly what it needs, nothing more and nothing less. This dynamic duo seems game for whatever musical direction Shin can dream up.
Other standout tracks include the swampy "Think," the irrepressible party starter "Long, Long Night" and the anthemic "I've Got Nothing To Say." The fact that these songs play in succession starting with track four, tells me someone knew what they were doing.
But all 10 of the tracks on "Shin Joong Hyun & Yup Juns" deserve their place on what is an undeniably epic album when taken as a whole. Even the album's penultimate song "I Love You," a dirge-like composition reminiscent of Alan Lomax's field recordings of the American South, reveal a band and producer not bound to any one particular genre, much like the hypnotic "We Will Fall" on The Stooges 1969 self-titled debut.
Music was more raw before 1975, no matter where in the world you were and this album captures all of the lo-fi bliss associated with that revered period. How much of that producer King Park can take credit for, we'll probably never know.
But if you want to hear one of the greatest musicians ever to come out of Korea at the peak of his talent, you don't need to look any further than "Shin Joong Hyun & Yup Juns."