I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shinichi Mori/Teresa Teng -- Minato Machi Blues (港町ブルース)

I was watching a retrospective on enka singer Shinichi Mori(森進一)tonight on TV Japan in which he sang a number of his hits. The first song up was "Minato Machi Blues"(Port Town Blues) which struck me as one of those wonderfully classic take-me-back tunes that a lot of enka is very capable of doing.

Written by Rei Nakanishi(なかにし礼)and composed by Kosho Inomata(猪俣公章) (who had been responsible for Mori's 1966 debut hit, "Onna no Tameiki"), Mori's 11th single is a geographical tribute to a lot of the port towns along the Japanese archipelago. Some of the towns mentioned in the lyrics are Hakodate, Takamatsu and Beppu. Enka loves to highlight the various places throughout the country. Released in April 1969, "Minato Machi Blues"hit the No. 1 spot on the new Oricon and became the 2nd-ranked song for that year....just behind Saori Yuki's(由紀さおり)"Yoake no Scat"(already profiled). It won a number of awards including one for Best Singer at the Japan Record Awards, and the single sold 2.5 million records, a mega-hit in any era.

The above video has the then-22-year-old Mori performing for the second time at the 1969 Kohaku Utagassen. 42 years later, Mori performed "Minato Machi Blues" at last year's Kohaku in tribute to the port towns that had been hit by the tsunami on March 11 2011 such as Kesennuma, Miyako, and Kamaishi.

Teresa Teng(テレサテン) also gives a powerful version of the song here, and the trumpet intro is lovely. Where Mori has that distinctive high, gravelly delivery, Teng provides a bright vocal, just about on a par with that trumpet.

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