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.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Toshinobu Kubota and Caron Wheeler -- Just The Two Of Us

One of my favourite songs on either side of the Pacific has been "Just The Two Of Us" by Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Withers. Coming from Grover's "Winelight" album from 1980, it's just one of those songs that I love to go to sleep to, but it's not a lullaby. I try to savor every note from it.

15 years later, J-R&B singer Toshinobu Kubota(久保田利伸) looks for fame and fortune in the United States and releases his first US album, "Sunshine, Moonlight". I remember the title track being used for a frankfurter commercial in Japan starring Kubota himself....probably the coolest jingle I'd ever heard for a weiner (sorry, Oscar Mayer).

Also on the album was Kubota's cover of that very same classic "Just The Two Of Us", and my ears perked up. Grooving it with Caron Wheeler from Soul II Soul, this new take took me back to good ol' 80s R&B. It hasn't quite replaced Washington Jr.'s original in my eyes and ears but this uptempo version has still been fun to hear. The official video has a slightly different arrangement.

This is a concert version of the one that I've known from Kubota. Whenever I hear it, I always anticipate Stevie or Chaka suddenly jumping in. "Just The Two Of Us" was also released as Kubota's 17th single in Japan in September 1996, while the US issue of that single came out earlier in June as his 2nd release. The Japanese version managed to chart as high as No. 30 on Oricon.

Of course, I gotta put up the original version for comparison. Nighty-night!

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