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.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Makoto Matsushita -- The Pressures and the Pleasures

Over the history of "Kayo Kyoku Plus", I've had 5 entries for the guitarist and arranger Makoto Matsushita(松下誠), three of them with him as the headliner and those 3 articles were involved with the same album, the great "First Light" from 1981.

But I'm glad that I could finally profile something by Matsushita outside of that album by going to his next album with the wonderful title of "The Pressures and the Pleasures" from 1982. As with "First Light", I first saw "The Pressures and the Pleasures" in my bible of "Japanese City Pop" and did wonder what it was all about. I need not have doubted. The tracks that I have heard so far are a continuation of the good-time groove from those days, although the first and title track is a pretty ambitious one clocking in at nearly 10 minutes.

The above two videos are "Business Man (Part 1)" and "Business Man (Part 2)" . This is another pure City Pop concoction with some Doobie Bros. and Steely Dan feeling thrown in for good measure as Matsushita gives his ode to the human cog that powered Japan Inc. back in the good old days of the Economic Miracle. As I listen to both jaunty tracks, my mind is filled with images of that shoshaman striding, not walking, on the concrete sidewalks of Tokyo in between the skyscrapers of West Shinjuku amid the rays of the sun in the early morning whilst drinking down his lone coffee breakfast as Matsushita croons in the lyrics. I'm not 100% sure whether he was behind both music and lyrics but I'm fairly confident that he was.

However in between the two parts of "Business Man", there is the aptly-titled "The Bridge" which is this dreamy musical interlude sung by Clara (that's all the information I could get so far). I kinda envision Clara at the top of some hotel lounge in the early sunset hours enticing our hero shoshaman to sit a spell, relax on the sofa and smell the coffee (or a bourbon) for a few minutes between hitting the pavement again and snagging that new client. Especially in those torrid Tokyo summers I know all too well, that well-earned respite is worth its weight in gold for the typical businessman who I've often seen in many a Renoir cafe or a family restaurant during the afternoon.

When I consider that epic title track, the City Pop "Business Man" and the dreamy "The Bridge", I rather equate "The Pressures and the Pleasures" with Chaz Jankel's self-titled debut album from 1978 since the tracks kinda followed a similar eclectic formula. In any case, I haven't purchased my copy of "The Pressures and the Pleasures" quite yet but I might be induced to do so earlier than planned (actually, it was later than planned...finally got the album to do a follow-up).

Yup, the businessman...he keeps on working!

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