Well, I got my semi-annual batch of CDs, thanks to the good folks at Tower Records and CD Japan, and one of them is a compilation of Mood Kayo classics titled "Showa no Yoru" (昭和の夜...A Showa Night). For years, I've been buying all these discs of pop music but I never had my own collection of the old-time music of Japanese bars and nightclubs despite the fact that I have been writing about a number of those songs on the blog. I finally rectified that situation.
A lot of those familiar classics were on the single disc and there were a few that I hadn't heard before. However, among that latter category, there was this one ballad which was the final song on the CD that I especially did enjoy. That was Akira Fuse's（布施明）"Sotto Oyasumi" (A Gentle Good Night) which I would solidly put into the jazz genre but since it is placed on a Mood Kayo hits album, I will throw it into that category into the Labels section as well.
This was released back in July 1970, a little over 5 years after Fuse's debut, and though there wasn't anything written about how well it did on the charts, I certainly feel that I've come across a little gem of a ballad. In past articles on the singer, I've mentioned on how he was one of those 70s kayo singers with the boomer voices, but in "Sotto Oyasumi", he gave his vocal cords a nice little break.
Written and composed by musician Kuni Kawachi（クニ河内）, I like this ballad since I've always been a sucker for a jazzy "good night" song. It's one of those standards that sounds like the perfect way to end a fine soiree in a downtown location. A few hours of dancing, drinking and chatting happily away come to this midnight denouement as the orchestra crooner, as exhausted as the partygoers, has enough boozy energy to send people home with a melodic and dreamy farewell. And Fuse provides that song through "Sotto Oyasumi". I've never been to an Akira Fuse concert but I'm pretty sure that this would be a nice way to finish things off for the night.
Of course, being a standard means that other folks have tried their hand at the ballad. Naomi Chiaki（ちあきなおみ）has given her slightly lighter version of "Sotto Oyasumi" with a Mood Kayo saxophone.
And there's even the Tough Guy himself, Yujiro Ishihara（石原裕次郎）. But I gotta say that Fuse's original is still the one to beat.