Howard Williams’ obsession with Japanese music and culture runs deep, and it’s not difficult to see why. In the world of collecting records, the masochistic notion of introducing language barriers and geographical detachment, to seek undiscovered gems (by those of us in the West at least), are viewed as fun challenges rather than infuriating obstacles.
For the uninitiated, Howard works at Ladbroke Grove’s longstanding record store Honest Jon’s, busying himself in the basement, distributing the shop’s label alongside a family of like-minded independents. He has contributed to the occasional release, notably the Moondog compilation, Viking Of Sixth Avenue, and runs his own imprint, Ethbo. He has also compiled some incredible compilations for Big Beat Records over the years – we strongly recommend you listen to Takeshi Terauchi’s 'Nippon Guitars'.
After spending some time with Howard, he soon opens up about his love of Blues music (partly the reason for the name, Japan Blues) and what lead him to Japan in the first place, to delve into Japanese pressings of holy grail blues, funk and soul records.
To hear a bunch of blues-centric Japanese records – taking in folk, jazz, beat, psyche, soul and disco – and learn a whole bunch about Howard’s history with such music, be sure to tune in this Friday.