It's been a while since I did a BEST article so here is one in tribute to Iruka（イルカ）. A number of BEST albums on the veteran singer-songwriter have been released, but this one, simply titled "BEST", came out in 1989 and I bought it sometime during my Gunma days. Toshie Hosaka（保坂としえ）may never have become an Oricon-topping superstar but I know she's garnered a loyal following since her early days as a member of the folk group, The Shrieks (1970-1974), and as the guitar-strumming soloist since then.
I'm personally indebted to her since she was the first singer that I heard on the first "Sounds of Japan" episode I ever taped onto my cheapo Canadian Tire cassettes. There was a ton of static on my recording of "Ame no Monogatari" but the beauty of that song still came through if not so bright and clear. And that has been the wonderful thing about Iruka. She has that relaxing velvety and crumply quality in her vocals which could fit easily into countryside Folk, urbane City Pop and just plain Pop, and it was that rendition of "Ame no Monogatari" that made me realize that there was more to Japanese popular music than aidoru and enka.
Here is the playlist from Iruka's "BEST". The other entries for Iruka on the blog are all on this CD so you can just click on "Iruka" in the Labels section.
1. Kanashimi no Shomei 悲しみの証明
2. Mou Umi ni wa Kaerenai もう海には帰れない
3. Ame no Monogatari 雨の物語
4. LOST LOVE
5. Sarada no Kuni kara Kita Musume サラダの国から来た娘
6. Juu-Kyu no Haru ni 十九の春に
7. Itazu イタズ
8. Maarui Inochi まあるいいのち
9. Mukae ni Iku Asa 迎えに行く朝
10. Nagori Yuki なごり雪
11. Kareha no Season 枯葉のシーズン
12. Follow Me
13. Kimi no March きみのマーチ
14. Kaigan Douri 海岸通
15. Yoake no Goodbye 夜明けのグッドバイ
16. Itsuka Tsumetai Ame ga いつか冷たい雨が
And I cannot finish the article without mentioning her 11th single from March 1977 "Ame no Monogatari" once more. It all started from this song with the bluesy guitar, the silky strings and the Iruka vocal.