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, March 6, 2017

Ken Kuroki -- Kiri ni Musebu Yoru (霧にむせぶ夜)

The above picture is of a show window filled with plastic models of the various drinks and dishes at Asakusa's famous Kamiya Bar. It was at that particular bar where the cocktail Denki Bran (represented by the three drinks on the circular platform) was first concocted. Having worked in the district in the first few years of my second time in Japan, I passed by the bar many times but only went inside for a drink just once with some fellow teachers. And yep, I did have a glass of that 1882-born brew which I think is translated as Electric Brandy. The recipe is supposedly secret but some of the ingredients include gin, wine and curacao.

The way it reads, I thought it was something akin to a Long Island Iced Tea. But from my admittedly hazy recollection of Denki Bran (電気ブラン), I believe it tasted somewhat more shibui. Since I like my cocktails rather sweet (Brown Cow for me), I haven't had another glass and perhaps after that one attempt at it, maybe it is just as well.

Well, since we are going shibui here, I found another old kayo from the 1960s. Titled "Kiri ni Musebu Yoru" (The Night Smothered In The Fog), it might sound like something from a hard-boiled suspense novel by the Japanese version of Mickey Spillane. However, it is actually a tender-hearted ballad about another sad end to a romance although this time it is the man who is getting rather weepy.

Sung by the late Ken Kuroki(黒木憲), "Kiri ni Musebu Yoru" was the Tokyo-born singer's 2nd single from April 1968 and his most successful hit. It hit into the Top 10 of the then-new Oricon chart and peaked at No. 3 later becoming the 17th-ranked single of the year, selling 1.3 million records. Not surprisingly for winning songs of the time, it inspired a movie starring Kuroki himself. Listening to the original version, I wasn't quite sure whether I could categorize it solidly in either the enka or Mood Kayo genres so I've just decided that it was one of those many kayo that straddled the line between the two. The ballad was written by Haruki Tango(丹古晴己)and composed by Jun Suzuki(鈴木淳).

Kazuo Funaki(舟木一夫)performed his own cover of the song which is arranged more in the enka way although his delivery is quite similar to Kuroki's performance.

Then, there is the cover by Yujiro Ishihara(石原裕次郎)which takes his "Kiri ni Musebu Yoru" fully into the Mood Kayo area. Plus, The Tough Guy's delivery has quite a bit more resonance.

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