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.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bread & Butter -- Summer Blue

Probably right now in downtown Toronto on this summer night, there are a lot of folks out tonight knocking back the beers or sipping the cocktails in the restaurants and bars in al fresco mode. And I'm sure the happiness has been further elevated by the fact that the Blue Jays won their 11th straight game today down at the Rogers Centre (I prefer to call it by its proper name, Skydome).

All that good mellow feeling can be distilled into this one song by the folk duo Bread & Butter. I just came across "Summer Blue" on YouTube and after one round of listening to it, I almost felt like running to the LCBO to buy a bottle of Kahlua to make myself a Brown Cow (I wonder how it would taste mixed with Silk almond milk?). Anyways, whether you call the calming melody by one half of the sibling duo, Fuyumi Iwasawa(岩沢二弓), City Pop, J-AOR or even Resort Pop, it definitely isn't folk. I cannot imagine being in a ramshackle one-room apartment overlooking the Kanda River when I listen to this's more like being in one of the nicer hotels in Hakone by the pool. And Kazuko Kobayashi's(小林和子)lyrics pretty much sum up the sensation of a summer vacation by the beach.

This was a track on B&B's 1979 6th album, "Late Late Summer". When it comes to minor missed opportunities and regrets, not getting this album at my student's recommendation is one of them. But then again, I have CD Japan and Tower Records to help redeem myself in this case. I already enjoy one of the other tracks on the album, "Ano Koro no Mama"(あの頃のまま). By the way, "Summer Blue" was also the B-side to the duo's 15th single, "Aoi Chiheisen"(青い地平線...Blue Horizon)which came out in 1980.

Wherever you are, enjoy that tall cold one!


  1. Hi! Is this band popular in Japan? I can't find any chart info about them...

    1. A lot of the City Pop bands and singers never really became huge Oricon darlings but I believe they did garner small but dedicated niche followings. One of my students is a huge B&B fan and even recommended the album "Late Late Summer" to me during one class.

      I did find one article (one of my earliest ones) for a band called Circus which I consider to have dabbled a fair bit in City Pop. Their "Mr. Summertime" was a big hit, and their 2nd album "New Horizon" became the 27th-ranked album for 1979.

    2. I was asking because that jazz-funk musician, Ed Motta, said of them "The most famous AOR/City Pop group in Japan" (here's his post: )... but I suspect that it isn't true and that the band is not famous at all.
      You kind of confirmed my suspect, am I wrong?

      (I'll listen to Circus, thank you)

    3. Frankly speaking, I think if I asked anyone in Tokyo under 30 about Bread & Butter, I would get a blank look and then he/she might make a butter-spreading gesture with his/her hands. Still, that doesn't negate the fact that the Iwasawa brothers can put on some nice groove.

      For me, though, the most high-profile AOR/City Pop group might be Sing Like Talking.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.