Sunday, September 21, 2014
Akira Kobayashi -- Akira no Zundoko Bushi (アキラのズンドコ節)
From what I've seen and read, the 'Zundoko Bushi' has had many versions sung by different artistes over the decades. Most notably the renditions done by the somewhat young and hugely popular Enka singer Kiyoshi Hikawa (氷川きよし), Comedy group The Drifters (ザ・ドリフターズ ), and last but not least, big shot actor-singer from the 60's Akira Kobayashi (小林旭).
I would have to say that out of the 3 aforementioned versions, my vote goes to Might Guy's one. Why? Because of the lyrics... or whatever I can pick out from it. Hikawa's one mentioned something about going to your usual ramen joint and ordering your usual bowl of ramen with 2 or 3 pieces of chashu, which reminded me of this ramen joint my family would always patronize in Shinjuku's Kabuki cho (yeah, not very family friendly huh?) every time we visited Japan. Still remember seeing one of the chefs had half an ear burned/bitten off... heh...
Gah, sorry for going on a tangent! As I was saying, while Hikawa's version brought back some nice memories, Kobayashi's one kinda talks about the fellow out on the town with his sweetheart, and then one part described their parting scene. For example, the fellow saying, "Good night!" to the lady and gives her a sly wink as he leaves. More romantic in that sense, and yes I can be a sucker for things like that. Also I feel that this set of... I suppose you could say flirty lyrics, done by lyricist Sou Nishizawa (西沢 爽), compliments the nifty music composed by Minoru Endo (遠藤 実) better.
Anyway, 'Akira no Zundoko Bushi' was actually released twice in 1960. The first time it was released as a B-side to 'Kagoshima Ohara Bushi' (鹿児島おはら節) in June and was the theme song to one of Might Guy's movies 'Umi wo wataru hatoba no kaze' (海を渡る波止場の風) and was a hit, but I don't know how many copies were sold since the J-Wiki page never mentioned it for this one. Then about 3 months later in September it was released again - same songs, but 'Zundoko Bushi' was on the A-side, possibly because of its popularity. This one sold over 200 000 copies.
Link above is Kobayashi singing what seems to be an updated version of it with the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (東京スカパラダイスオーケストラ). And man, the music for this one's groovy with all that electric guitar!