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.
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.