|Now that's a smile.|
Well, this is a lot more normal than Saxophone Haru-san, isn't it? Just a beaming Hachi. Still, I'd say the temperature of this is of the same caliber as the former.
It's been years since I last did a complete Yonin Shu set. To recap, I used to do articles on Hachiro Kasuga (春日八郎), Michiya Mihashi (三橋美智也). Hideo Murata (村田英雄) and Haruo Minami (三波春夫) consecutively since they were often lumped together in the history books. As such, I thought I should reprise it for good ol' time's sake and to celebrate (albeit belatedly) the 7th anniversary of KKP. With Minami's installment done a few days back, it's time for Kasuga's, and the song I will be featuring is "Ano Hoshi to Katarou".
Out of the hidden gems I've uncovered from Hachi's discography thus far, "Ano Hoshi to Katarou" remains a perennial favourite, unlikely to drop from its spot on the podium in my Top 12 list, and I think that's saying something because I did find many other great songs.
One of the main draws to this tune is its bright, Group Soundsy score. Brought to you by Eiji Kawakami (川上英一), the shrill trumpets blended with soft strings playing to a groovy toe-tapping beat is so atypical of the one who was known for a genre on the opposite end of the spectrum. And yet, he sounded right at home as he belted out each line in a rich, semi-operatic manner. Then there are the lyrics that Ryo Yano, a frequent collaborator of Kasuga's, had provided that gives "Ano Hoshi to Katarou" some essence of enka. It revolves our main character, who'd left home for work in the city, confiding with the stars when he's lonely. A very bokyo enka topic, isn't it? That was why I described this song as just that, but in a flashy, modern (by that era's standard) skin.
"Ano Hoshi to Katarou" was released on August 1965. Along with it came "Osaka no Akari" (大阪の灯), which overshadowed the former in all sense of the word being a true blue enka-yo; Hachi even sang it during the '65 Kohaku. Being so deeply buried, even people who've been fans of his since the beginning of time don't know of it: When I was at Kasuga's museum, I asked one such fan and the museum caretaker if they knew "Ano Hoshi to Katarou", and they looked perplexed. I had to point it out on the his discography record on one wall, and even so they were shocked to know that dear Hachi sang such a song. I find it a pity that such an amazing song barely got to see the limelight, but I'm glad that I can at least give it some more recognition now by writing about it here.
|In Singapore, it'd be satellites you'd be talking to.|
Ano Satellite to Katarou... Frankly, not as great a title.