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.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Noboru Kirishima & Misao Matsubara (Miss Columbia)/Chiyoko Shimakura/Eisaku Ohkawa -- Mennai Chidori(目ン無い千鳥)

No "Uta Kon"(うたコン)last night so I kinda need my dollop of enka right now. There's been quite a lot of articles going up on the relatively modern music recently so I want to swing the pendulum to the old days.

So, heck, let's go back to the 1940s and revisit the duo of Noboru Kirishima(霧島昇)& Misao Matsubara(松原操), aka Miss Columbia(ミス・コロムビア).  Husband and wife got together again after their 1939 "Ippai no Coffee kara"(一杯のコーヒーから)to sing "Mennai Chidori" (Blind Plover) in 1940.

Masao Koga(古賀政男)composed the very cheerful song about what I believe is a newlywed bride learning the hard ropes of being a wife with Hachiro Sato(サトウハチロー)providing the lyrics. In fact, I think the song is so cheerful that I can envision a Japanese Snow White happily trilling these words away while Prince Charming is out slaying dragons or something on that order.

"Mennai Chidori" was created for the 1940 Toei movie "Niizuma Kagami"(新妻鏡...Bride's Mirror)starring Isuzu Yamada(山田五十鈴). Although there was the official theme song with the same title, "Mennai Chidori" was used within the movie itself.

In 1965, Chiyoko Shimakura(島倉千代子)released her own version of "Mennai Chidori". Like the original version by Kirishima & Matsubara, Shimakura's cover was a B-side to her take on "Niizuma Kagami" on the A-side.

Then a few years later in 1969, Eisaku Ohkawa(大川栄策)gave his own rendition which sounds a bit more contemporary for the times. The bass beat provides a bit more of a slow gallop to the melody. However, although composer Koga tried to make this an A-side for Ohkawa so that the young singer could gain some success, the record company ultimately decided that it probably wouldn't sell, so the powers-that-be placed his "Mennai Chidori" as the B-side for someone else's A-side! There was a happy ending of sorts for Ohkawa as everyone soon discovered that his rendition was starting to gain fans, and it was then marketed as a hit B-side.

Frankly speaking, it's hard to believe hearing Ohkawa's silken and crystal voice that the record company would just dust him off like that in the first place, but then again, I don't know how Ohkawa sounded back in his early days.

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