A few weeks ago, a bunch of us got together at a downtown pub to welcome back an old friend who's now living out in Vancouver with his family. That pub grub was sure plentiful and good. While we were all digesting away later, another old friend suddenly brought out some CDs that he no longer wanted, and the ones he gave me were Michael Jackson's "HIStory" and the one whose photo you see up there. I was a tad surprised and delighted since I was wondering how many more Mariya Takeuchi（竹内まりや）albums I can collect.
I had made a wrong assumption about her "Longtime Favorites". I'd thought the album was a regular release that had come out in the 1980s or 1990s. Considering what a beauty Takeuchi has been all these decades, it's not easy to tell. Actually, it was released in October 2003 and it wasn't a regular original album but a special album of covers that answers the question "What songs had inspired Mariya when she was a kid?"
And for folks who have listened to the song stylings of Ms. Takeuchi like I have over many years, it is a valid question. This is a lady who started out singing this mix of urban contemporary at the time and numbers that hinted at the pop tunes of the 1950s and 1960s. I rather thought that she was perhaps channeling Connie Francis and Lesley Gore among others; perhaps the soundtrack of "Grease" was another inspiration.
Well, according to the tracklist, it looks like Takeuchi must have listened to music from America, Italy, France and the UK. One of my favourite songs from "Longtime Favorites" is the lovely "The Shadow of Your Smile" with Katsuhisa Hattori（服部克久）providing the strings arrangement to this classic so smoothly that Nelson Riddle is probably smiling down from above.
I couldn't find any separate videos for the individual tracks but some enterprising fellow has put up the entire album. The very first song is "You Don't Know" originally by Helen Shapiro in 1961 with the Japanese lyrics by Shoichi Kusano（漣健児）. As soon as I heard this track, I could go "Yup, indeed that is vintage Mariya."
Track 3 at 5:33 is "Where The Boys Are" (1961) originally by Connie Francis. If someone were to ask me which song could Mariya have sung as a girl in her bedroom, I would point out this one easily. She didn't have the exact same vocals as Francis, but close enough.
Then Track 7 is "Walk Right Back" (1961) by The Everly Brothers. But this time, it's Takeuchi and her husband Tatsuro Yamashita（山下達郎）doing a playful version that could have been performed in front of friends in their living room at a party.
My last track for tonight is at 20:02 which is "L'Amore Ha I Tuoi Occhi" (1965) by Bruno Filippini. I have never heard of this song before but Takeuchi gives a romantically sweeping take. If there are any Italian readers here, perhaps you can inform me whether her pronunciation of the language passes muster.
I actually did write about one track from "Longtime Favorites" quite a while back which was another duet, but this time Takeuchi is paired with the late Eiichi Ohtaki（大滝詠一）to do "Somethin' Stupid" (1967).
Happily, "Longtime Favorites" peaked at No. 1 on Oricon and was the 48th-ranked album for 2003.
|The Bishop Burger at|
The Bishop and Belcher.
I was certainly the 2nd name after
downing this baby!