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.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Shizue Abe -- Coffee Shop de (コーヒーショップで)

When it comes to the jazz or Latin of Mood Kayo, I think of nomiya or the Akasaka Western-style bars. However, with coffee shops, I often imagine some of the folk/pop from the early 70s...the group GARO comes to mind, for instance. And so when I came across Shizue Abe's (あべ静江)video above, I just felt that I had to include this in the blog. Over the years, I did hear and see the name but never heard any of her music so when the video popped up on YouTube, I gave "Coffee Shop de" (At The Coffee Shop) a try and enjoyed the nostalgic pop from 40 years ago.

Written by Yu Aku(阿久悠) and composed by Takashi Miki(三木たかし), "Coffee Shop de" was released in May 1973, and it has that sweet, innocent song styling that I often associated with the feminine side of kayo kyoku at that time: the light and quick work on the keyboard, the smoothly flowing strings and the gently rolling beat. Aku's lyrics show the life inside one of those Mom-&-Pop coffee shops (way before the 90s invasion of Starbucks and Excelsior) with some of the moon-eyed musings of romance over a cup of java within the wood-and-plaster décor.

As for the Mie Prefecture-born Abe, she started her life in entertainment as a popular DJ at Tokai Radio Broadcasting during her university years when she parlayed that into a singing career. "Coffee Shop de" was her debut and it turned out to be her most successful hit. It sold over 250,000 copies and broke the Top 10 on the Oricon weeklies. Ultimately, it became the 38th-ranked song of the year. As icing on the cake, Abe even earned the Newcomers' Prize at the 1973 Japan Record Awards due to the success of her debut and her sophomore effort, "Mizuiro no Tegami"(みずいろの手紙...Water-Coloured Letters).

Later on, Abe would see further success as an actress in motion pictures and TV. Plus, she also carved out a regular presence on the variety-show circuit. For her recording career, though, she released several albums and 18 singles including her latest one in 2010.

The Café Copenhagen
in Jiyugaoka

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