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.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Junko Ohashi -- Canadian Lullaby (カナディアン・ララバイ)

(excerpt only)

Another one of those long-lost songs that took me years to track down. I first heard it on "Sounds of Japan" way back when, but I only caught the title and not the singer. Years later, while I was shopping in my neighbourhood supermarket in what was once the town of Tsukiyono, Gunma, the fates decided to torture me once more when the actual song played on the store speakers, and I just didn't have the cojones to ask the manager who sang the song. I really didn't want any further aspersions of insanity put upon me while being the only Assistant English Teacher assigned to my tiny town.

I actually knew about Junko Ohashi(大橋純子)through some of her biggest hits, but I never made the connection between her and this mystery song with my country in the title. At least, I didn't make it until I was reading through "Japanese City Pop" more years later and came across one of Ohashi's albums listed in there and I saw the track "Canadian Lullaby". BINGO! After more than a quarter-century of searching, I finally found it. And so it was off to Tacto, my oldies CD shop in Jimbocho to see if I could find "Hot Life", the album that carried the song. Luckily I did.

But in retrospect, it wasn't as if "Canadian Lullaby", Ohashi's 13th single, was that recognizable as an Ohashi song. Her vocals were more subdued....only making that boom on her last vocalized note, and the melody certainly wasn't the usual funk-influenced songs that I knew from her from the 1970s. It's more of a soft New Music ballad that I was instantly interested in when I first heard it on the radio. The other strange thing about it was that the lyrics by Yoshiko Miura(三浦徳子)don't make a single reference to Canada or anything Canadian (no beavers, hockey or poutine....sacre bleu!). But they do hint at a bittersweet romantic parting, and my country seems to have been the ideal destination for one-half of a long-distance relationship....somewhat like another kayo kyoku that I know with the word "Canada" in it.

The music by Ken Sato(佐藤健), though, perhaps has a hint of the Maple Leaf in it via the synthesized fanfare in the musical bridge....whenever I hear it, I just imagine Mounties on horseback with a Rocky Mountain backdrop (go figure). In any case, as I mentioned, this was Ohashi's 14th single from April 1980 which was also the same month that her 8th album, "Hot Life" came out. "Canadian Lullaby" was used as the commercial tie-up song for a Panasonic (or National as it was known then) air conditioner....nothing says Canada more than cool air.

Still, I was one happy (J-)Canuck to have another mystery solved and a favoured song on my shelf.

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