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.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hachiro Kasuga -- I Love You, Madam (アイ・ラブ・ユー・マダム)

 That's pretty hot. Um, I mean,
what a fine-looking gentleman.

Wowsers, Hachiro Kasuga (春日八郎) was quite the looker back in the day! I would even say he looked rather dandy, and those are words I usually reserve for the likes of Hiroshi Tachi; the enka/ryukoka bunch... eh, not so much, or actually, not ever (until now).

Anyway, I've recently discovered this YouTube channel that uploads the First Enka Singer's works from around the time of his debut to his later days (70's into the 80's), and sampling many entries from his discography that hardly see the light of day was fascinating. Out of the gems I've grown to love and include in my playlist, I have to say that "I Love You, Madam" from 1958 was an entry I'd least expect to see as one of his original singles. At the same time, it was the one that had me at full attention just from the title alone, with it being in all-katakana and having a Western connotation. It ain't your standard Kasuga-bushi, alright, but it does fit the singer's look in the photo above.

Continuing with the deviation from a Kasuga-bushi, "I Love You, Madam" lacks a Japanese sound. Instead, Isao Hayashi (林伊佐緒), who was known for composing Western-sounding numbers just as well as traditional enka/Mood Kayo tunes, created a jaunty, jazzy melody that feels fit for a cabaret from the trumpets' sharp bursts and the hissing cymbals. Speaking of cabaret, Hachi used to perform at one such establishment named Moulin Rouge - nope, not the one in Montmartre, Paris, this one's in Shinjuku, Tokyo, if I'm not mistaken - before he became a prominent figure in the music world.

Coming back to the song itself, Juzaburo Tojo (東條寿三郎) was in charge of the flirty lyrics which has our protagonist professing his love for/trying to woo the lovely dame. Well, considering how suave 50's Kasuga was, I'm pretty sure the titular madam would be putty in his hands.

P.S. Ordinarily, I'd complete the Yonin Shu set of articles by writing one article each for Michi, Muchi, and Minami, but I've yet to come up with solid ideas for the latter veterans, so this Hachi one will be a standalone entry.

1 comment:

  1. "I Love You, Madam" indeed sounds as if it has more to do melodically with New York than Tokyo. The title may hint at a very courtly gentleman confessing to a lady but the song has that brassy and sassy feeling that probably had jazz pooh-poohed by the so-called upper classes. Quite boogie-woogie.


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