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.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Hi-Fi Set/Yoichi Takizawa -- Memorandum (メモランダム)

Nice and lovely Saturday out there! It might still be a little too cool for al fresco dining and drinking at a high of 11 degrees Celsius but after a bunch of days hovering around the zero mark or far below, I'm sure a lot of Torontonians are lapping up the warm weather like thirsty kittens.

Well, why don't I give you a taste of the Riviera then through some 1970s sophisticated pop? Of course, when I mention that decade and that genre, I can only think of the vocal group Hi-Fi Set (ハイ・ファイ・セット). It's been a while since I've brought another article by this Japanese version of The Manhattan Transfer. From covers of Yuming hits to jazzy numbers, Junko Yamamoto(山本潤子), Toshihiko Yamamoto(山本俊彦)and Shigeru Ohkawa(大川茂)could interpret the entire New Music songbook.

I just discovered "Memorandum", Hi-Fi Set's 9th single from April 1977. It's a champagne-and-caviar number with a light touch, and the vocal harmonies by the Set haven't been better. Dining on the good stuff by the Mediterranean probably found itself a theme song with this one. The music does take one to sunnier climes abroad although the lyrics by Rei Nakanishi (なかにし礼) are slightly more melancholy as a woman leafs through an old memo book left by a former paramour.

"Memorandum" was also a track on the group's 4th album from September 1977, "The Diary". That release also has another favourite Hi-Fi Set song of mine, "Koi no Nikki"(恋の日記).

The music was by singer-songwriter Yoichi Takizawa(滝沢洋一), a singer-songwriter who I haven't been able to find much in the way of information. He has apparently provided songs for many other singers but according to Tower Records, he himself had only released one album which was in 1978, "Leonids no Kanata ni"(レオニズの彼方に...Beyond Leonids). On that album is his own cover of "Memorandum".

His version is just as sunny and made even lighter thanks to his high-toned vocals. But instead of that luxury resort that Hi-Fi Set's original version envisages, Takizawa's take is a nice stroll along on the boardwalk while wondering how life is like in that resort. "Leonids no Kanata ni" has been described as one of those "mystery albums" due to its rarity. I can take that as a challenge.

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