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, May 22, 2018

Setsuo Ohashi & Honey Islanders/Yujiro Ishihara -- Shiawase wa Koko ni(倖せはここに)

Back to the regular work week here for everyone including myself. So, perhaps back in Japan, that could mean the usual visit to the beloved watering hole after work. Time for another Mood Kayo.

I found "Shiawase wa Koko ni" (Happiness is Right Here) by chance last night, and it's an interesting blend of Hawaiian (courtesy of that steel guitar), jazz and Mood Kayo, according to the above video although I don't know what the original performance was like. Would love to see the cocktail that would go with this song. It was sung by Setsuo Ohashi & Honey Islanders(大橋節夫とハニーアイランダース)in 1959.

According to Ohashi's bio on J-Wiki, he has been seen as one of the pioneers for bringing in that Hawaiian sound into the Mood Kayo part of Japanese music; in fact, he also played the steel guitar, one of its representative instruments. He started up the Honey Islanders in 1948 and has been credited for arranging Yuzo Kayama's(加山雄三) trademark tune "O-Yome ni Oide"(お嫁においで)later in 1966. The Tokyo-born Ohashi was presented with the Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1995 and then a Distinguished Service Award at the Japan Record Awards in 2000. He passed away in June 2006 from respiratory failure at the age of 81.

"Shiawase wa Koko ni", which was written and composed by Ohashi, may sound rather melancholy but according to the lyrics, it seems like the song is about being content with that special someone in that special place...most likely the favourite bar. It's probably been covered by a lot of enka/Mood Kayo singers over the decades, but the J-Wiki article mentions Hiroshi Itsuki(五木ひろし)and Yujiro Ishihara(石原裕次郎).

The Tough Guy's rendition of the song was released in June 1967, and he brought out some of that typical Ishihara richness in his delivery. Still, I'm rather torn about which version I prefer: the Ohashi original versus the Ishihara cover.

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