I'm back once again with another post about my absurd CD collection. This time I am going to take a look at possibly the biggest atonement of sins to ever carry the Toei and Nippon Columbia names. That's right, I am going to be looking at the original and new versions of the Rescue Hero Music Collections!
What do I mean by original and new versions? As usual there were Music Collections for the Rescue Hero (Winspector, Solbrain and Exceedraft) shows as the shows aired, but these CDs were...garbage to put it lightly.
The original CDs had very short tracklists (as few as 12 tracks in the case of Solbrain--and that includes the theme songs!) and really didn't have much in the way of memorable content from the shows. Whoever put these CDs together truly had a taste for the bland. Between 2003 and 2006 a new set of 2-Disc Music Collections were released for Gavan, Sharivan, and Shaider. I'll talk more about these sets later on, but in short they featured songs and music while also bringing together some rare materials like the Sharivan Synthesizer Fantasy Digital Trip
etc. LP. There was also a Metalder 2-Disc sets that I'll be talking about later. If you are familiar with the Metalder 2-Disc set, you'll have a better understanding of what they did with the Rescue Hero music sets. What we have here is a complete collection of every piece of music made for these shows including variations and Instrumental Versions of every song from the Song Collection (and these shows were quite song heavy!).
...how about six? Boom.
These sets were released in 2007 at a very efficient pricepoint (¥3200, a steal considering the original 90s CDs were ¥2800) and, as usual, were printed in pretty short supply. I guess they didn't have much confidence in music collections from nearly 20 year old shows being hot sellers. Even I was caught asleep...only a little while ago I bought the Solbrain set to complete my collection of these glorious 2-Disc sets. These days these sets can sell for upwards of ¥10000. As usual, a deal can be found and usually if you hold out long enough you can find a seller selling theirs through consignment with Amazon Japan (these are labeled as "Fulfilled by Amazon"). Shipping is extremely fair and, atleast in my case, I get the CDs about two to three days after I order them depending on what time of day I place my order. Seriously, Amazon Japan is where you should be shopping for your Out-Of-Print CDs
instead of asking me for mp3s.
As I mentioned, the original CDs were pretty dreadful. A few tracks, nothing memorable, and some lame artwork to go along with it. Here are some comparisons...
Artwork. Solbraver, Soljeanne, and Solbraver...ugh
Content. Yes, 100 tracks versus 12. 12!!
Detailed liner notes with recording dates.
More is more. More is better.
As you can see, these sets were absolutely necessary. The art is better, the tracklists are complete, and the notes have atleast a paragraph dedicated to every single track. This is how it should be done!!
Now that I have the explainers out of the way, here are some brief thoughts on each release.
Tokkei Winspector Ongakushuu
Of the three Rescue Hero shows, this one was given the best Music Collection release. It's a more coherent and traditional CD that clocks in at fifty-nine minutes. Not too shabby, but definitely not complete. It should be noted that this CD is wall to wall music, there are no TV size versions of the theme songs to bookend/pad this release.
On top of this, the lyricless song Winspector Action was left out and released on the second song collection. If you've ever heard Winspector Action you probably know what I'm on about...it's pretty much an unfinished song...it even has background vocals.
I suppose you really can't hope for much when you release a show's music collection so early into it's airing.
Tokkei Winspector Original Soundtrack
The first of the 2-Disc sets does not disappoint at all. It includes all of the music from the 1990 release as well as many unreleased tracks. There are Instrumental versions of ALL of the songs as well as two different versions of Winspector Action (one is without background vocals).
The only issue I have, and this is a recurring one, is that the instrument of choice for whoever did the instrumental versions is a shrill-sounding synthesizer. For this show, for Solbrain, and for Excreedraft. This isn't really the fault of the CD or whatever engineer compiled this CD, though. As I mentioned in my last blog, short versions of some of these instrumentals were included on the Battle Music Collections. It really goes without saying that these tracks go back to the early 90s and maybe whoever did the Music Collections back then left them off the original music collection CDs in protest.
Either way, they're kinda hit or miss. Some of them are awful, some are tolerable. They could've been great, though...I really like the songs from these shows.
Disc 1 is colored like Fire, Disc 2 like Walter and Bikel
Tokkyushirei Solbrain Ongakushuu
Twelve tracks...thirty five minutes...AWFUL.
Tokkyushirei Solbrain Original Soundtrack
This CD wins the award for most improved. While the 1991 Solbrain CD did have a few good pieces buried in it's not-depths, this one is packed with it. Like I said earlier, this CD set has 100 tracks. 100! My favorite is the action BGM that heads off the second disc. Where the hell was that on the original release?? Maybe I would have cut it a little bit of slack if it was thirty-five minutes of good music.
Anyway, this is a great set. The instrumental tracks are pretty much as lame as the Winspector ones, but as I said...this was expected.
Disc 1 is colored like Braver, Disc 2 like Jeanne and Dozer
Tokusou Exceedraft Ongakushuu
I will give this disc some credit...it's aesthetically pleasing. The front and back covers feature some very cool photos of the Exceedraft team and the disc itself is actually photo printed, which was rare for Columbia to do at the time.
The music on this disc does not move the needle at all. This is a stultifyingly bland collection of music. Shockingly it is only three minutes longer than the Solbrain CD with a runtime of thirty-eight minutes. It just feels much, much longer.
Tokusou Exceedraft Original Soundtrack
This set is kinda light compared to the other two. Since everything is listed in the liner notes, I imagine that they just didn't make an abundant amount of music for this series.
The Instrumental tracks are a little bit out of control here. The synthesizer used in the Barius 7 theme sounds like something out of a DOS game. Some of the more action-ish tunes that weren't included in the 1992 CD are a little more jazz based. You know what I say about Metal Hero music? The brassier, the better!
Disc 1 is colored like Redder, Disc 2 like Blues and Keace
How about a little bonus? She may not be a Rescue Hero, but she certainly looks the part. Here is the Soundtrack from the 1990 V-Cinema Lady Battle Cop!
Lady Battle Cop Original Soundtrack
Eiji Kawamura is probably my favorite Tokusatsu composer of all-time. When he has a bad day, things like the Lady Battle Cop soundtrack get released. That's not to say this is a bad disc, but it certainly isn't the high spot.
Kamen Rider J...now that was a bad disc...
As I have probably mentioned before, the big reason I really enjoy Eiji Kawamura is that his music retains a certain flavor over the years while managing to grow nicely with the time. If you listen to his first soundtrack (Kamen Rider BLACK) and his last (Jukou B-Fighter) you'll notice that they sound appropriate for the time they were released yet very familiar...and different. He really had a certain command over his work over some composers that pumped out the same music year after year (Akihiko Yoshida did the TurFiZyumanger Music Collection for example).
This CD is forty minutes long, which is longer than the Solbrain and Exceedraft CDs
ugh. It features music that is, in all honesty, quite good. If you like the music from Kamen Rider BLACK RX, consider a lot of this to be runoff since they were released in the neighborhood-ish of each other. While it does sound a bit like the RX music, it is also kind of a link between RX and Kamen Rider ZO, which was also done by Kawamura.
Also included here are full size versions of both vocal songs from the movie--believe my life and the ending song No No Give-up. It would have been nice to have instrumental versions or Karaoke versions, but oh well.
Overall, this is a pretty solid CD. I recommend it if you're like me and a fan of Kawamura's work.
As a side note, the two vocal songs from this film were released as a CD Single (the lone Toei CD Single from the 90s that I do not own) and on a cassette tape. The cassette is even more rare AND contains Karaoke versions of both tracks. So if Karaoke versions existed...why weren't they included on the CD Single? Or better yet, why weren't they included on the Soundtrack??
Thanks for sticking with me as I recover from traveling the country and battle a pretty nasty cold. I promise I will have a centralized Music Page up soon to compile articles I've written about music and my CD Collection. It's definitely coming...so stay tuned!
As always, thanks for reading.