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, August 19, 2020

Four Clovers -- Fuyu Monogatari(冬物語)

Back in November 2015, I mentioned about this folk group from the late 1960s into the early 1970s, Four Saints(フォー・セインツ), which teamed up with actress/singer Keiko Matsuzaka(松坂慶子)to record this comely tune right in the same year about old friends getting together.

Well, I think it's maybe time I delved into their original run which lasted from 1968 to 1973. I did talk about some of Four Saints' history in that 2015 article, but I also didn't state that when the group made the move from Toshiba to Nippon Columbia sometime in 1971, lead vocalist Tohru Uehara(上原徹)and the guys changed their name from Four Saints to Four Clovers(フォー・クローバース)for the remainder of that first run together.

In October 1972, Four Clovers released the single "Fuyu Monogatari" (Winter Story) which is a heck of a song to talk about right now considering that we are in the dog days of summer, but let's live a little dangerously, shall we?😁 It's quite the atmospheric number starting with a lot of rain before the classy strings and some dramatic arrangement come in. There's also a nice addition of some bluesy piano in there, too. Prolific lyricist Yu Aku(阿久悠)and prolific composer Koichi Sakata(坂田晃一)created the song.

My overall impression is that "Fuyu Monogatari" is even somewhat epic but then again, it would have to be since it was used as the theme song for an NTV soap opera of the same title which ran from November 1972 to April 1973. According to J-Wiki, the show was about a romance budding between newly-widowed Nobuko and a somewhat rough-and-tumble Yoshiyuki. In fact, just looking at the first several minutes of Episode 1: "Ame no Meguriai"(雨のめぐり逢い...An Encounter in the Rain), it looks like Nobuko was still in her mourning clothes when she is literally bumped into by Yoshiyuki. For some additional information, Nobuko is played by Ruriko Asaoka(浅丘ルリ子)while Yoshiyuki is played by the late Yoshio Harada(原田芳雄).

As for Four Clovers, they may have ended their initial run in 1973 but a few decades later, they banded up again from 2006 and brought back the old name of Four Saints.

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