Credits

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.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Shizuko Kasagi/Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra -- Jungle Boogie (ジャングル・ブギー)

I was watching the latest "Kayo Concert" tonight and it was particularly interesting since the host, Tetsuya Takayama(高山哲哉), introduced the show's theme as Rhythm Kayo. I know about Mood Kayo and Techno Kayo but it was the first time to hear about this new old genre of kayo, and Takayama and the guests explained it as that part of Japanese music from yesteryear which has a danceable beat. I've already covered at least a couple of the songs that are included in the genre (and were sung tonight): Shizuko Kasagi's(笠置シヅ子)snappy "Tokyo Boogie Woogie"(東京ブギウギ)and the hip-swiveling "Koi no Mexican Rock"(恋のメキシカン・ロック)by Yukio Hashi(橋幸夫).

The remarkable thing about this Rhythm Kayo is how the Japanese songwriters back in the early postwar period were more than happy to incorporate at least some hint of the exotic song stylings from other countries and bring in the names of dances into the titles such as "rock", "flamenco" or "boogie". And yet, there was still that baseline of kayo in the songs. But of course, that borrowing of outside styles would continue later into the century through New Music and City Pop and the like.


Of course, "Tokyo Boogie Woogie" would lead things off on NHK's Shibuya stage but then the guests went into another one of Kasagi's numbers that I hadn't ever heard before. Titled "Jungle Boogie" (no relation whatsoever to Kool & The Gang's namesake song from the 70s), the original was sung by Japan's boogie queen back in 1948 for the movie "Yoidore Tenshi"(醉いどれ天使...Drunken Angel, the first collaboration between legendary director Akira Kurosawa(黒澤明)and famed actor Toshiro Mifune(三船敏郎). In fact, it was Kurosawa who was behind the lyrics of the song which Kasagi lunged into like a hungry cheetah. There were certain points where I thought she was going to channel a really ecstatic Louis Armstrong. Ryoichi Hattori(服部良一)took care of the melody; he was also the composer behind the more famous "Tokyo Boogie Woogie".


Here is a brief excerpt from "Yoidore Tenshi".


As I was looking for any original video with Kasagi for "Jungle Boogie", I found out that Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra covered the old chestnut back in 1991 for their album, "World Famous". I love the video and their version certainly has that jive brio that also makes me wonder whether Kome Kome Club had ever covered it. Considering the brief neo-swing fad that popped up later in the decade, TSPO's take on the song had me musing that it beat bands like Squirrel Nut Zippers to the punch by a few years.

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