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.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Yukari Ito -- Misty Hour(ミスティー・アワー)

When I ordered Yukari Ito's(伊東ゆかり)"Misty Hour" (1982) from Amazon along with Ami Ozaki's(尾崎亜美)"Hot Baby" last week, I got that message stating that it may take some time for the Ito album to be delivered. Cynical guy that I am, I took that to mean that it wouldn't be delivered for whatever reason (i.e. not enough demand to inspire supply). However, a couple of days later, I got a subsequent email from Amazon saying that it was on its way. Wow! Not disappointed.

MISTY HOUR excerpts at Amazon....just scroll down to the bottom.

The whole thing about getting "Misty Hour" stems from my discovery of one of the tracks from the album, "SAYONARA", which is the only track that I can hear in its entirety on YouTube. Now, I have featured singers in the past who started out in one genre and took a dip into the City Pop/AOR genres: folk singer Iruka(イルカ)and crooner Akira Terao(寺尾聡)who had begun his career in a Group Sounds band. Having said that, though, it was still surprising me for me to discover that even Yukari Ito had tried out some urban contemporary. For all these years, I've almost seen her exclusively as that 1960s aidoru interpreter of Western hits from that decade such as Connie Francis' "Vacation", so that I couldn't really separate the singer from those pop hits of that decade.

And yet here is "Misty Hour". And it is one humdinger of a City Pop/J-AOR album. From reading the liner notes of the album and the writeup on "Music Avenue", it seems like a good chunk of those genres' artists including Mariya Takeuchi(竹内まりや), EPO, Yasuhiro Abe(安部恭弘)and Tetsuji Hayashi(林哲司)all plunged into the pool to help Ito out.

As I said, only "SAYONARA" is available in its entirety but I just had to provide an article on "Misty Hour". The excerpts may only be 45 seconds each but they're even better than better than nothing. I really did enjoy the album that much. My favourite tracks include the first one "Konna Yasashii Ame no Hi ni wa"(こんな優しい雨の日には...On This Sort of Gentle Rainy Day)which was created by Machiko Ryu(竜真知子)and Akira Inoue(井上鑑). It has that slickness of a Western AOR tune but it also seems to straddle that dividing line between the Japanese version of the genre and City Pop, thanks to those keyboards and Tsuyoshi Kon's(今剛)crisp guitar.

Mariya Takeuchi takes care of words and music for the 2nd track "Koibito-tachi"(恋人たち...Lovers). I've already included a longer and better clip in the "SAYONARA" article, but having a listen to Ito's plaintive and rich vocals, it does sound a lot like something that Takeuchi herself would sing as a self-cover. Perhaps it's a bit of a stretch, but I can hear a bit of The Eagles' "Desperado" in there as well. Unfortunately, the excerpt wasn't long enough to include them, but Takeuchi, EPO and Tetsuji Hayashi were the backup singers, and City Pop veteran Makoto Matsushita(松下誠)was the guest guitarist.

Track 3 is "Kokuhaku"(告白...Confession)with lyrics by the aforementioned Ryu and EPO while the latter provided the cool and sophisticated music which automatically evokes a night at that really high-class cafe or restaurant in Tokyo. This is definitely in the City Pop corner of the album, and listening to Ito's singing here, I am convinced that she would have been a fine permanent resident in the genre. EPO and Yasuhiro Abe were great backup chorus here. Masaki Matsubara(松原正樹)handled the arrangement.

My final excerpt represented is the fourth track "After Dark" by the same duo on Track 1, Ryu and Inoue. More City Pop but it sounds like the singer and songwriters were taking things on the road with this one which has a bit more funk. In fact, the arrangement reminds me of Yasuha's(泰葉)more oomphy "Fly-Day Chinatown"(フライディ・チャイナタウン).

Again, it's too bad that whole versions of the tracks aren't available as of this writing, but the excerpts themselves (and all of "SAYONARA") were enough for me to part with my yen for "Misty Hour". If you're a City Pop/J-AOR fan, then I can recommend this as an addition to your collection.


  1. I check anything from The Peanuts and whenever I see Yukari Ito in those years, she was like the youngest sister of Watanabe Production family. But after the Peanuts retired, Ito has had quite steady career and I came to realize there were lots of good stuff. I don't have misty hour album but I have litened to "Sasowarete" (1988) and "Anata-no Watashi" album.(2005)

    My favorite Youtube is this one. Yukari Ito doing Shikuramen-no Kaori

    Very funny Yoru-no Hit Studio (TV Show) Opening.
    All casts are covering each other's song and Ito did one of Go Hiromi's.

    - Hanibo

    1. Hi, hanibo.

      The only other album that I have by Ito is her 2-CD BEST release from many years ago. CD 1 covers her kayo period while CD 2 takes care of her many covers from the 60s to the 90s perhaps. I'm glad that she has been able to dabble into both Western and Japanese styles.


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