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, June 13, 2018

AB'S -- AB'S

My last line for the article on City Poppin' band AB'S' "In The City Night" was, and I quote, "Another potential purchase on the list." Well, you can take strike off every word in that sentence except for one and add a past tense ending to it...namely "purchased". Yup, charmed by that one track and the fact that AB'S is chock-filled with City Pop veterans including guitarists Fujimal Yoshino(芳野藤丸)and Makoto Matsushita(松下誠), I bought the album that "In The City Night" came from, "AB'S".

Released in 1983 as their inaugural album, I quickly found "AB'S" to be an instant keeper among the other albums that I bought in my mid-year spending spree. One track that has quickly latched onto my brain is "Dee-Dee-Phone" which seems to be a master class in wailing guitar and percolating bass thanks to bassist Naoki Watanabe's(渡辺直樹)music against the backdrop of keyboardist Yoshihiko Ando's(安藤芳彦)lyrics of being beware of a very intimidating woman. The harmony is wonderful, especially when the guys do their "dee-dee-dee"s. The whole song makes me wonder what it must have been like in Tokyo in the early 1980s, and I think it still would have play as the accompanying tune for a drive on The Bayside Highway.

"Girl" was actually the first single that AB'S ever released, and Yoshino was responsible for the music along with Ando's lyrics. There is something rather 1970s with the arrangement and the harmonies come into play here as well. With the CD version, the single version has been added onto the album take, and the above is the former. As for what the song is about, it's theme is one of heartbreak and deciding never to fall in love again.

On Side B of the original "Girl" single is "Django" which once again is characterized by another percolating guitar riff. This time, it's Matsushita who comes up with the melodic goods as Ando talks about a night on the town. I had no idea where they came up with the title since I don't think there is anything in the song that has to do with the famous Gypsy Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. However, I found out on the J-Wiki article for the band that "Django" was actually the theme song for TBS radio program "Sound Storm Django"(サウンドストームDJANGO)which had a short run between August 1982 and March 1983. Like its Side A, both the single and album versions for "Django" are included on the CD.

My last track for this article, "Fill The Sail", is another Yoshino/Ando collaboration inviting that lucky lady to join a guy for some fun by the sea. Probably for that reason, I would perhaps categorize it as a J-AOR tune but only partially, since at certain parts, the song veers into funky territory...almost as if the band, the woman and some other groupies decided to have a dance session on that sloop. The guitars also remind me a fair bit of Yoshino's time with 70s band SHOGUN.

"AB'S" is another fine addition to the City Pop collection. Strangely enough, I made the "mistake" of viewing YouTube videos of future cities right after listening to "In The City Night", and now I can't help but think of cool futuristic metropolises when it comes to this album. Good news, though, is that AB'S have made 5 more original albums besides this one up to 2007 along with their combination of singles, a mini-album and a BEST album.


  1. So much goodness! I only knew Fujimal and Matsushita for their solo work. Never knew they worked together!
    Another amazing discovery. Thanks J!

    1. Hi, Beat Ratio.

      Good to hear from you. Yep, AB'S is kinda like that City Pop supergroup. They've been compared to TOTO (the band not the toilet company). Very happy to have gotten this one.

    2. Haha "the band not the toilet company..." 笑

  2. Hello J-Canuck!

    This hits the spot! This is so much City Pop/Fusion goodness that I feel like putting on a pair of Cavaricci high wasted pants, a white collarless linen shirt and high heeled, half boots. What I'm trying to say is this is 80s af!

    This should have been played in a thousand Chess King and Merry-Go-Round stores in every mall in America.

    I am sorry but I can't speak for Canada because I wasn't there too long (A half a year in Toronto and I was gone like the wind).

    It is definitely a purchase!


    1. Hi, Chasing Showa!

      Glad that you like AB'S. Fashion-wise, I most likely would have gone for the shiny gray suit with thin lapels and the skinny yellow tie.

      Yup, I don't think it should be too difficult to get your own copy of the album. It ought to be a must-have for that discerning City Pop fan. :)


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