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.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Tomoko Soryo -- I Say Who

Time to chip a little deeper again into the underwater portion of the kayo kyoku iceberg; specifically, let's delve a bit more into the City Pop sector. Actually, I did go into this very section almost a couple of years ago when I wrote about the female vocal duo TINNA who I discovered through "Japanese City Pop".

One-half of TINNA was singer-songwriter Tomoko Soryo(惣領智子)from Tokyo. Born in 1952, she started up a chorus group in 1971 called Brown Rice which went abroad a year later to perform in the United States. The act broke up in 1975 after which Soryo went onto a solo career as well as later join up with Japanese-American singer Mariko Takahashi(高橋真理子)to form the duo.

Soryo also has her entries in "Japanese City Pop" which is how I first heard about her. But I never thought that I would see her on YouTube since she seemed pretty obscure. But, happily enough, I was wrong and I was able to find one of her solo works, "I Say Who" which I believe was the B-side to her 3rd single from 1977, "Kirameita Hibi"(きらめいた日々...Sparkling Days).

I couldn't find out who wrote and composed "I Say Who" although Soryo being a songwriter, I can just as easily say that it was her. But let me say that this is a nice slice of 1970s Motown soul I'm hearing from the arrangement here. There's some fine bass and keyboard work along with those disco strings and tight horns. Of course, there is Soryo herself who approaches the vocals as if she's coyly providing some secret information to her beau. If I were to place this song at a certain point of day, I would put it smack dab in the late afternoon before any hint of the sun heading down.

"I Say Who" was also recorded onto her 2nd album "City Lights by the Moonlight" which came out in 1977 as well. A YouTube City Pop fan recently started up his radio streaming service. If I could make a recommendation for an additional song to his list there, I would heartily suggest this song as accompaniment to that looping video of driving on the Tokyo highway.

According to her J-Wiki article, Soryo has taken breaks from the business over the decades but as of 2002, she's resumed her music work.

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