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.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Eiichi Ohtaki -- Rock 'n' Roll O-Toshidama (Rock 'n' Roll お年玉)

And a Happy New Year to you all! Woke up at 8 this morning and had the usual o-zoni breakfast of white miso soup with mochi inside. At my age, I guess I gotta be a bit careful about ingesting the rice cakes lest they get caught down my throat and my vacuum cleaner gets a new usage.

Before I forget, I should mention that 2017 is the 150th anniversary of Canada so predictions are that inbound tourism will be increasing. Heck, my old collaborator JTM is currently enjoying Vancouver. So hopefully some of you folks will come over to the Great White North this year. Also, the city of Kobe in Japan is also celebrating its sesquicentennial so maybe tourism will perk up over there as well. Maybe the beef will come at a small discount? Maybe not.

(cover version)

To start off the 2017 edition of "Kayo Kyoku Plus", I was looking for something that would be appropriately New Year's in mood. And so I thought that it would probably be one of the really old songs that has been recognized by the Japanese government. But instead, I managed to find this Eiichi Ohtaki(大滝詠一)tune called "Rock 'n' Roll O-Toshidama" (Rock 'n' Roll New Year's Gift). Now for those folks unfamiliar with the Japanese custom, o-toshidama is the gift of money given in small envelopes to kids on January 1st each year. Being raised in Canada all these years, my brother and I never got an o-toshidama plainly because our parents never told us about the custom. Very shrewd, my parents are.

And true to an Ohtaki tune, there is a good dollop of that ol' 50s honky tonk rock 'n' roll in there as the late singer-songwriter talks about the usual spending of a New Year's Day at home which often involves a lot of TV watching (as my family is doing as I write this) while he also throws in a lot of lyrics from some old American standards from way back. I swear, though, that when Ohtaki sings this, I get reminded somewhat of John Lennon for some reason. The liner notes for the song even dedicates it to folks ranging from Elvis Presley and Fats Domino to the good folks at NHK.

"Rock 'n' Roll O-Toshidama" is a track on Ohtaki's 4th album "Niagara Calendar" which was released on Xmas Day 1977. The novelty about the album is that each of the 12 songs represents a month on the calendar so "Rock 'n' Roll O-Toshidama" starts the album off. The original album didn't seem to chart the first time but a re-release of it in 1996 had it peaking at No. 60.

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