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, April 3, 2014

Hiromi Ohta/Kaze -- Kimi to Aruita Seishun (君と歩いた青春)

I was listening to the BEST compilation of Hiromi Ohta(太田裕美) for the first time in a long while when I heard her ballad, "Kimi to Aruita Seishun" (The Salad Days I Walked With You) and felt that I just had to write about it. It's one of those lovely bittersweet ballads of parting as a man says his goodbyes to a now-former love who was adored by all of his buddies. There's no recrimination, though. The man asks her to give his regards to everyone while he heads off for parts unknown and she heads back to the hometown. Shozo Ise(伊勢正三) from the folk group Kaguyahime(かぐや姫) wrote and composed the song, and I'm pretty much convinced he can make a block of granite tear up. He has written some of Iruka's(イルカ) tenderhearted ballads and Ohta's cover version is also another wonder.

Ohta originally sang "Kimi to Aruita Seishun" in December 1976 as a track on her 5th album, "Juu-ni Page no Shishuu"(12ページの詩集...12-Page Anthology of Poems) which peaked at No. 9 and became the 46th-ranked album of 1977. Then she did a self-cover of it in 1981 as part of her 15th album which had the same title as the song. It was even released as her 21st single in August 1981 which got as high as No. 80.

However, the Ohta cover led me to the very original version by Ise himself through his folk duo, Kaze(風). This version sent up quite a few shivers up and down my spine, especially when the guitar and the strings appeared during the bridge. It's the equivalent of watching the most brilliant sunset from a high point somewhere. "Kimi to Aruita Seishun" was a track on Kaze's 3rd album, "Windless Blue" from November 1976. The album had a mix of adult contemporary, folk and soft rock songs with a hint of City Pop, according to the J-Wiki writeup. It peaked at No. 3 on Oricon and became the 17th-ranked album of 1977.

As for Kaze itself, it was formed in 1975 with Ise teaming up with Kazuhisa Okubo(大久保一久) of the folk group Neko(猫). The duo lasted four years releasing 6 original singles and 5 albums.

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