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, December 19, 2016

Ruiko Kurahashi -- Kaigan Densha (海岸電車)

The above photo is of a platform at one of the stations on the Enoshima Line, one of the scenic railways along the Pacific Coast in Kanagawa Prefecture. I gather that scenes like the one above have that certain romanticism. My anime buddy, less than a week before he heads on out to Japan again, has been expressing his wish to get on a train line that skirts the coast facing the Sea of Japan. And personally, I wouldn't mind getting on the old Enoden again.

Thus my choice for this article which is "Kaigan Densha" (Coast Train) by Ruiko Kurahashi(倉橋ルイ子). It has never been easy to find a YouTube video of her songs outside of her biggest hits so whenever I come across a Ruiko ballad like the one here, I take advantage as soon as I can.

Heck, even the Japanese music blog "Music Avenue" has devoted an entry to the originating album "Heartbreak Theater" from September 1982. The album was Ruiko's 3rd and I was happy to read that the author was also quite praising of her work. As for "Kaigan Densha", it's another one of those sweeping romantic ballads that I've always known the singer for; all those shimmering strings and dramatic piano. Although all those Yujiro Ishihara(石原裕次郎)and Frank Nagai(フランク永井)fans reading this might find my opinion a bit strange, I think "Kaigan Densha" can fit into the Mood Kayo genre. Katsuo Ono's(小野克夫)melody and Kurahashi's delivery of Fumiko Okada's(岡田冨美子)lyrics do evoke that certain mood of romantic travel on the train (presumably the club car at the bar), perhaps more in Europe than along the Japanese coastline. Plus I gotta say that Ono's composition reminded me to a certain extent of Taeko Ohnuki's(大貫妙子)works at around the same time.

The blogger on "Music Avenue" mentioned for this particular track, though, that there was a feeling of 1970s kayo. Maybe so. However, I thought that the music here was pretty specific to this part of the 1980s as sung by songbirds such as Kurahashi and Ohnuki. Neither singer made it all that high on the Oricon chart and arguably Ohnuki had a larger reputation but I have no doubt that these two singers made some fine music and there are some very dedicated fans out there.

By the way, Ono and Okada had created another non-single song for Kurahashi the previous year, the more whimsical and less dramatic "Uwasa Still Love You"(噂 Still Love You).

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