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.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Sachiko Kobayashi -- Usotsuki Kamome(ウソツキ鴎)

I've known veteran entertainer Sachiko Kobayashi(小林幸子)as enka singer, actress, vivacious TV personality and epic set during Kohaku Utagassen broadcasts. She cemented her career with hits such as "Omoide Zake"(おもいで酒)and "Moshikashite Part 2"(もしかして・パート2).

However I was also aware about her beginnings as a mere kid coming up with a hit song right at her debut in the 1960s although I never got to hear the song itself. Well, I finally got to hear the song last night.

"Usotsuki Kamome" (Lying Seagull) was Single No. 1 for Kobayashi when she was only 10 years old. It was released back in June 1964 and listening to it, I thought that this was a pretty mature song for her considering her age as Sou Nishizawa's(西沢爽)lyrics talk about a woman taking it out on a seagull for making all sorts of noise in the mistaken assumption that her beloved's ship had come into port. Another notable point was that it was legendary composer Masao Koga(古賀政男)who came up with the melody for "Usotsuki Kamome".

Quite some headiness and attention for the preteen Kobayashi and so I wondered what earned her all that special treatment. Well, apparently, it was Koga who scouted her out and perhaps it was he or someone close by who proudly proclaimed her as the second coming of Hibari Misora(美空ひばり), which could explain why she got something like "Usotsuki Kamome" as her debut. Misora also started out as this kayo child prodigy who immortalized herself into public consciousness dressed up in a very adult tuxedo and with a voice which sounded years older.

I wish I could have found the original recording of "Usotsuki Kamome", but at this point, I will have to settle for Kobayashi's later revisitings to the song as an adult. Having listened to it a few times now, I've noticed how it starts off sounding like an old-fashioned happy-go-lucky kayo strut but then suddenly switches into something quite enka-like and this is around when the lyrics start talking about the woman heading back from the port rather dejectedly.

The fact that the single sold about 200,000 records probably had everybody thinking that Kobayashi was indeed the second Hibari. But as I mentioned as well on "Omoide Zake", there came 15 years of no hits, so it was amazing that she didn't give it all up and hung in there for so long (especially with that second Hibari label hanging over her) until her 28th single, the aforementioned "Omoide Zake" in 1979 which was that next big hit. After that, success became more of a regular and much appreciated tradition for the Niigata Prefecture native.

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