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, May 1, 2017

Toshinobu Kubota -- Shitsui no Downtown (失意のダウンタウン)

Oh, how those singers started out in the beginning. Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子)and Akina Nakamori(中森明菜)with those huge helmets of hair singing those sweet aidoru tunes in the early 1980s, Hiromi Go(郷ひろみ)with that high nasally teen heartthrob voice in the early 1970s, and SMAP starting out in T-shirts and skateboards going from the 80s into the 90s.

Then, we have J-funkster Toshinobu Kubota(久保田利伸)when he first started out in the mid-1980s. Looking at that picture of his first single "Shitsui no Downtown" (Downtown of Disappointment), one of the YouTube commenters remarked that he looked like actor Yuji Oda(織田裕二). That is indeed one big puff of hair that he had back then.

Released in June 1986, Kubota had those golden vocals even back then with "Shitsui no Downtown". However, I think his first go at a melody for one of his own songs was definitely more in the City Pop scene of that decade. Plus, I couldn't help but hear a bit of George Benson in the brief opening scat. The song could have almost been something that mellow Yasuhiro Abe(安部恭弘)or Toshiki Kadomatsu(角松敏生)would have tackled but Kubota has got the higher energy.

Good golly! The man looks like he ought to be asked for ID in the performance above. But he was actually about 24 at the time. Masumi Kawamura(川村真澄)provided the vocals for the song that peaked at No. 53 on Oricon. It was a decent if modest start for Kubota so perhaps it's not all that surprising that "Shitsui no Downtown" has never been put up in his BEST compilations but is still there on his debut album "Shake It Paradise" from September 1986. His B-side of the single, "Semete Good Time Kon'ya Dake"(せめてGood Time 今夜だけ...At Least, Have A Good Time For Just Tonight)is far rarer since aside from its inclusion on the original record or CD, it has yet to be put on any album or BEST compilations. Basically, you got to track down that single in one of those oldies stores.

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