Credits

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, April 17, 2018

Mina Aoe -- Nagasaki Blues(長崎ブルース)


I know that I have written about kayo based on Nagasaki in the past, including arguably the most famous one, "Nagasaki wa Kyou mo Ame Datta"(長崎は今日も雨だった)by Hiroshi Uchiyamada and The Cool Five(内山田洋とクール・ファイブ). I've visited Nagasaki once back in 1991 in the dead of summer, and man, was I dead in that heat and humidity. Certainly was a beautiful city with the steep slopes filled with houses and buildings that made Nagasaki really distinctive when compared to some of the other major cities in Japan. Chinatown was also a lovely area, and I now regret that I only had that one day there. Doing all those travel article translations up until earlier this year, I discovered that there are so many things to see in that city and many others.


Tonight's "Uta Kon"(うたコン)was based on the old-fashioned Showa kayo, so a lot of singers and songs that I've covered on the blog and I got to see the late Mina Aoe(青江三奈)again on the screen. I thought it would be nice to write about her again, and so here is her "Nagasaki Blues", her 11th single from July 1968.

Aoe sang a lot of those Kayo Blues including her most famous example "Isezakicho Blues"(伊勢崎町ブルース)and those geographically-based enka; in fact, I think a lot of her songs covered both types including "Nagasaki Blues" which name-drops sites in the city such as the amusement area of Shianbashi(思案橋)and Maruyama(丸山)while singing of the fragility of love. The feeling is Mood Kayo but that gentle lilt in the melody also makes it feel like an enka tune as well.

Shizuo Yoshikawa and Masanobu Tokuchi(吉川静夫・渡久地政信)came up with the words and music respectively. "Nagasaki Blues" went all the way up to No. 2 on Oricon and only missed the top spot due to the popularity of Pinky and Killers' "Koi no Kisetsu"(恋の季節). It still sold over 750,000 records and ended up becoming the 10th-ranked single of 1969 almost a year and a half after its release. And eventually, Aoe finally got to perform "Nagasaki Blues" on the 1973 Kohaku Utagassen.

Going back to the theme for tonight's "Uta Kon", it was nice of the program to show the revived interest in the old Showa music, and I'm not just talking about 1980s City Pop. Young Japanese and foreigners inside and outside of the nation have shown an affinity for kayo of the 1960s and 1970s also. I already spoke about this place in a past article, but NHK even showed Shibuya's Rhythm Cafe which has its monthly Kayo Nights.

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