First things first, J-Canuck has already done an article on this Mood Kayo classic, so you can check it out here.
Anyway, I had finally a good listen to Hiroshi Mizuhara's (水原弘) voice via his comeback hit, "Kimi Koso Waga Inochi". Sure I had heard him here and there with songs like "Tasogare no Beguine" and "Kuroi Hanabira" (those 2 have also already been profiled), but I never actually listened. Boy did I miss out on his fruity, smooth but at times husky voice! As you know, I very much enjoy singers who sing at a lower pitch, say around baritone to bass, so Mizuhara basically represents my preference well.
Other than the music, composed by Kosho Inomata (猪俣公章), that is jaunty and quintessentially 60's starting with the blare of the trumpet - reminds me of Takuya Jou's (城卓矢) "Hone Made Aishite" (骨まで愛して) - the lyrics by Kouhan Kawauchi (川内康範) are what makes me like this classic even more. As what J-Canuck had mentioned in his article, the song basically puts how much our protagonist loves his girl into words. Let me give you some examples:
Anata wo honto wa sagashi te ta I've been searching all over for you
Anata ni hitomi ni niji o mita I see the rainbows in your eyes
And let's not forget...
Kimi koso inochi kimi koso inochi waga inochi You are life, you are life, my life
More emphasis on the 'my' part. A rather sweet set of lyrics with the fellow gushing about his feelings, especially on that rainbow part... ... That must be some lady. But it's the sappiness that I like since I'm a sucker for such things, and the bonus is that the lyrics of these songs are generally easier to decipher.
Before listening and reading up on "Kimi Koso Waga Inochi", I had always thought that Mood Kayo crooner Mizuhara would have a barrage of hits throughout the 60's, which seemed to be the genre's golden age. And I mean, he had a great voice for it. On the contrary, after his debut hit "Kuroi Hanabira", Mizuhara had a long dry spell that lasted for nearly 10 years albeit having some of his singles being used as theme songs for TV shows and movies. Until this faithful song came along in 1967. "Kimi Koso Waga Inochi" was so well received it eventually got dubbed as Mizuhara's "Miracle comeback" and allowed the fellow to receive the 'Singing Prize' during the 9th Japan Record Awards. He also sang this song 3 times at the Kohaku: in 1967, 1969 and 1973.
I've seen many covers of "Kimi Koso Waga Inochi" - not surprising here - but the one I usually come across and actually like is Shinichi Mori's (森進一) rendition of it. Although I don't listen to the guy often, I must admit he did a fine job... you'd expect it to be different in terms of its delivery since Mori's voice is a lot higher and huskier in comparison to Mizuhara's, but it worked out well. (I'm afraid Mori's rendition has been deleted but below is Yujiro Ishihara's cover.)
And as for where I first heard "Kimi Koso Waga Inochi" - it wasn't the original by the way - it was from Mae-Kiyo... or at least half of it before Mori came in for the next part (which was also where I first got a taste of Mori's cover). I think Mae-Kiyo's voice suits the song a little better. Okay, I could be biased on this one.