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

Yujiro Ishihara -- Showa Tazune Bito (昭和たずねびと)

I just got myself some CDs online not too long ago - Kiyoshi Maekawa's newest single, Yuzo Kayama's 2012 compilation album, and volume 14 of the "Towa no Utagoe Yujiro Ishihara no Subete" (永遠の歌声 石原裕次郎のすべて) series. The last one was slightly more troublesome to get than the first two as CDJapan doesn't sell it as one of their products, but through their special order service, they were able to locate and get it for me. It cost me an arm and a leg though, and I even had to forgo my Teruo Ikeda CDs to keep within my budget - including shipping fees of course.

My main priority for going through all that trouble rather than to just get the regular Yujiro Ishihara (石原裕次郎) compilation albums was to be able to listen to "Kimagure Dori wa Tasogare te" (きまぐれ通りはたそがれて), a song that I could only find in this one album (that's not as expensive on its own), without having to go online. However, with that quickly fulfilled, I've noticed that in the entire "Towa no Utagoe" album, I was familiar with that one tune and had to do some "exploring" with the other 19 tracks. As Maria sung in "The Sound of Music", "Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start." And so I did with "Showa Tazune Bito". A very good place to start indeed.

"Showa Tazune Bito" has got a very soothing and jazzy score to it with the elegant strings and the lonely blare of the saxophone brought to you by Takashi Miki (三木たかし), and to a certain extent there's also a feeling of nostalgia in it. It reminds me of this one show that had the hosts taking old tram rides in the old part of Tokyo, and then alighting at the various stops to check things out - little stores that have been open since the beginning of time, residential districts, etc. - at different times of the day. Late afternoon and its orange sun shining down on to the said residential districts seems to fit "Showa Tazune Bito" best. The lyrics to this tune were written by Norihiko Sugi (杉紀彦), who happened to be the same guy who penned "Kimagure Dori wa Tasogare te".

"Showa Tazune Bito" was released in January 1978. From what I've seen in Tough Guy's extensive discography, it seems that most if not all of the tracks from Vol. 14 of "Towa no Utagoe" are from 1978 as well.

One more thing that I must note is that the way in which Ishihara sang some parts of the song like "Kaze mo kieru mo ii darou" and "Tooi jidai no mama de yuku", he actually sounded a little like Kiyoshi Maekawa, which made me wonder about the possibility of Mae-Kiyo doing a cover of "Showa Tazune Bito".


  1. Hello, Noelle.

    From one CD Japan customer to another, I feel your pain when it comes to the ol' wallet. But as true fans of the kayo, if the opportunity to get a treasured song comes out, we go get it! :)

    Listening to "Showa Tazune Bito", there is indeed that nostalgic feeling of going back in time in a way. It's like visiting some of the shitamachi neighbourhoods like Kanda, Asakusa or Sugamo with the small group of kayo singers from way back. They probably finish off the tour by dropping off at one of those tiny nomiya for drinks and a good laugh.

    Perhaps there is an Ishihara tribute album somewhere out there in which Mae-Kiyo has done a cover of a song by The Tough Guy.

    1. Hi J-Canuck,

      Yup, it's usually the budget that's decides what and how many I'm going to get. Another pain that I have only experienced on this round of shopping (so far) is when they tell you that one of your items is unavailable; in my case, it was Mae-Kiyo's "Semete Konya dake wa" single from 2007. I pretty much live by "if the opportunity to get a treasured song comes up, we go get it!" when choosing which CDs to buy.

      So far, I don't think Maekawa has done a tribute album to Ishihara, but I know that he had sung "Yogiri yo Konya mo Arigato" on one of his appearances on the Kohaku in the mid 2000s, which was pretty good. Hiroshi Tachi has done one such album in 2012, "Hiroshi Tachi sings Yujiro". I love his version of "Arashi wo Yobu Otoko"; it's more aggressive, funky and so... Tachi... I'm thinking of getting that on the next round of CD shopping, and hopefully one of his compilation albums...

    2. Hi Noelle.

      I was actually thinking of getting a few more CDs but I decided to hold off until later in the fall since I spent quite a bit of money on the credit cards earlier this summer. I also received my first rejection from CD Japan due to a distinct lack of demand of that particular CD, so it was somewhat disappointing.

      Tachi can pull off Ishihara since he has that certain swagger about him, and I gotta say that he does look good in a tuxedo.


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