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.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Kaoru Uemura -- Yokohama Bund Hotel (横浜バンドホテル)

I finally listened to the last of my Xmas purchases yesterday, "Just My Feeling", the debut and only album by Kaoru Uemura上村かをる...although her website has it spelled in romaji as Caolu Uemula)in 1979. I bought it on the strength of listening to a B-side, "Comin' Together" which used to be on YouTube but got taken down. I had never heard of her during any of my time in Japan, only catching wind of this sultry-voiced singer through one of my random forays on the Net after I had returned in late 2011. I also caught her name again in "Japanese City Pop" via her contributions to a compilation album called "Loft Sessions Volume 1" which I did get. As for "Just My Feeling", it's a nice mix of some City Pop disco and some country-pop.

According to her website, Uemura released 3 of her own singles and that one album while providing some other songs for other artists. At present, the only track from "Just My Feeling" the album that I could find on YouTube is the country bluesy "Yokohama Bund Hotel". I think the cover photo for the single fits the mood of the song which seems to have the singer ambling along the bay...I'm assuming that it's Yokohama Bay.

Katsuhiko Kamitsuna上綱克彦 least, I hope that is indeed the kanji; it was written in rather microscopic size in the liner notes)provided the music while the late Yoko Yamaguchi(山口洋子)wrote the lyrics under the pseudonym Manon Resco. Yamaguchi was also known for writing another more kayo Yokohama-based number, the breakthrough hit for Hiroshi Itsuki(五木ひろし), "Yokohama Tasogare"(よこはまたそがれ)all the way back in 1971, and also the shibui "Brandy Glass"(ブランデーグラス)for Yujiro Ishihara(石原裕次郎).

Yamaguchi's lyrics talk about being that barfly at the watering hole at the titular hotel drinking her sorrows away. The Yokohama Bund Hotel actually did exist for 70 years between 1929 and 1999 with a live house, Shell Garden, opening there in 1982 which featured acts like Anzen Chitai(安全地帯), Godiego(ゴダイゴ)and the late Yutaka Ozaki(尾崎豊). Supposedly, according to the J-Wiki article on the Bund, the blue neon sign for the Shell Garden's predecessor, the Shell Room nightclub which was opened in 1968 may have been the inspiration for the title of the classic song "Blue Light Yokohama"(ブルーライト・ヨコハマ)as sung by Ayumi Ishida (石田あゆみ...check out the link for "Yokohama Tasogare" above since both songs are covered in the same article).

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