From one of my favourite genres to another... Besides enka and Mood Kayo, I really enjoy jazz, and I've made that known when I did the article on Duke Aces' cover album filled with ancient jazz tunes. The combination of sounds in such music - the not too boisterous tapping of the drums, the tinkling of the piano, the blare of the trumpets, and the rich notes from the saxophone - brings relaxing thoughts and images to mind. And that was what compelled me to get this album by Hiroshi Tachi (舘ひろし).
After hearing his rendition of "Arashi wo Yobu Otoko", which was where I got to see the current-decade-Tachi being as suave or even more so as he was back in the 80's, I was pleased to know that he had done a cover album solely on the hits sung by his senior and former leader of the Ishihara Gundan, Yujiro Ishihara (石原裕次郎). It was released on 26th September 2012, and it peaked at 128th place on the Oricon charts. Through an episode of NHK's "SONGS" online that featured this very album, I was glad to know that his renditions all had the familiar, comforting sounds of jazz, which was probably why I accepted them fairly easily even though I wasn't familiar with or didn't liked the originals.
The tracks for "HIROSHI TACHI sings YUJIRO" are as follows:
1. Prologue (序章)
2. Yogiri yo Konya mo Arigato (夜霧よ今夜も有難う)
3. Arashi wo Yobu Otoko (嵐を呼ぶ男)
4. Akai Handkerchief (赤いハンカチ)
5. Iki na Wakare (粋な別れ)
6. Brandy Glass (ブランデーグラス)
7. Futari no Sekai (二人の世界)
8. Ginza no Koi no Monogatari (銀座の恋の物語)
9. Kurutta Kaijutsu (狂った果実)
10. Mina Dare ka wo Aishiteru (みんな誰かを愛してる)
11. Waga Jinsei ni Kui Nashi (わが人生に悔いなし)
12. Amai Seikatsu (甘い生活) - Bonus track, Tachi's own song.
On a whole, the covers are louder with a fuller arrangement, and the Mood Kayo feel is mostly lost to that of jazz - most sound like tunes you'd hear in jazz bars and Broadway shows rather than a little izakaya tucked away in some back alley in Ginza - but I like them anyway.
Alright, enough with the introduction, let's get on to the songs I enjoy from this album, shall we? For the tracks that I can't find online, I will put down the original instead.
Yogiri yo Konya mo Arigato (1967)
As you probably know by now, I LOVE this song, and I'm actually very particular about who sings this jazzy Mood Kayo hit - besides Tough Guy, of course. In fact, I can get quite ticked off if I don't think the singer has the right vocal delivery for it. Lucky for Tachi, I think his voice has some similar qualities to Yujiro's, those being low, smooth and gentle; he isn't able to reach the higher notes as easily though. If I were to use food as an analogy, Yujiro's voice would be something like a smooth and light hot chocolate, while Tachi's a thicker, heavier caramel.
Unfortunately, I'm unable to find Tachi's cover of "Yogiri yo Konya mo Arigato", but it is a lot louder than the original with the trumpets blaring away rather than just the lonely sax. It's nice, but frankly, I prefer the music to the original as it represents the loneliness of the song better.
Arashi wo Yobu Otoko (1958)
I enjoy both versions of "Arashi wo Yobu Otoko", but I think I prefer Tachi's by a slim margin. The original is more on the refined side if you take out the boisterous crashing of the drums and cymbals. The cover on the other hand is aggressive and combatant and very Tachi in its arrangement, and I think that it blends with the boxing-related taunt mid-way through the song.
Iki na Wakare (1967)
This one came across as slightly enka to me when I heard the sample of it on CD Japan, and I took a liking to it immediately. The laid back vibe of "Iki na Wakare" made by the horns and sax had me thinking of someone taking a leisurely stroll in a park with brown leaf litter crunching underfoot and the trees painted gold, red and orange by autumn. The original is softer and more deconstructed but it gives off a similar feeling, though instead of a park I envision the person strolling down a Parisian street at sundown. "Iki na Wakare" was the B-side to "Yogiri yo Konya mo Arigato", and Kuranosuke Hamaguchi (浜口庫之助) had also put this song together.
Ginza no Koi no Monogatari (1961)
"Ginza no Koi no Monogatari" was one of Tough Guy's songs that I never paid attention to even after hearing it a couple of times on "Kayo Concert", and for a while I was wondering why this duet was one of his most successful hits. And then Tachi's version, sung with jazz singer Karen Aoki (青木カレン), staved off the doubts I had. I think it has got to do with the arrangement of the song again, with the former being quieter and more subdued, while the latter being more Broadway-like and exciting. But either way, "Ginza no Koi no Monogatari" has found its way into my brain and it has no intention of leaving - it's been stuck in my noggin for a few days now... it's getting quite annoying. You can find the cover in the video above which shows that episode of "SONGS" I was talking about earlier. "Ginza no Koi no Monogatari" comes in at the 9:47 mark.
Waga Jinsei ni Kui Nashi (1987)
To end off the article, I'll talk about the last song in the album (not counting the bonus track). I think "Waga Jinsei ni Kui Nashi" translates to "I have no regrets in my life", and taking into account that this was Ishihara's last single released while he was still in the world of the living just makes it one poignant tune... It's one that would put a sad smile on your face. The music that Tokiko Kato (加藤登紀子) had composed starts of soft at first, and while Tachi/Yujiro sings during that bit, it sounds as if our protagonist is staring into the mirror and talking to himself, reviewing what had been happening in his life thus far. Then it picks up at the chorus where he then proclaims sort of triumphantly that he has no regrets in his life. Rei Nakanishi (なかにし礼) had written the lyrics. "Waga Jinsei ni Kui Nashi" did quite well on the charts in 1987, peaking at 12th place and selling about 840 000 copies. Ah yes, and you can find Tachi's cover in the "SONGS" video above at the 25:52 mark.
|He looks really good in a tux... especially with|
the bow tie undone... like that.