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.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mayumi Itsuwa -- Shojo (少女)

My memories of songstress Mayumi Itsuwa(五輪真弓) basically start from the 1980s when I first heard her wonderful "Revival"(リバイバル)and then her other works including the heavy "Koibito yo"(恋人よ). It wasn't until relatively recently that I realized she had been in the music business for nearly a decade before my discovery of her.

So I was delighted to hear her debut song at last, "Shojo" (The Young Lady). This was her debut single from October 1972, and I was also surprised that Itsuwa had recorded this along with the rest of her music from her debut album of the same name at Crystal Sound Studio in California with the backing of the Carole King, her then-husband Charles Larkey and Toronto-born arranger and composer David Campbell who also joined in the recording sessions as a viola player. Quite the pedigree (thank you, J-Wiki and Wiki).

Itsuwa wrote and composed "Shojo" as this story about a very sad young woman mulling over some sort of unstated trouble in mid-winter. When it comes to an Itsuwa song, I've always had the word "French" come to mind because of the sound of her discography in the early 80s, but with her debut, there is this feeling of the music that I used to hear on the radio back in those with piano and mellow female vocals. It's no surprise that she had been called "The Japanese Carole King", but then again, Yumi Arai (荒井由実)and Minako Yoshida(吉田美奈子) were probably given the same title early in their careers as well.

"Shojo" was able to peak at No. 6 on Oricon. As I said in a past Mayumi Itsuwa article, after her early splash of an impression, there were some relatively fallow times before she gained a big hit with "Koibito yo".

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