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.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Kosetsu Minami -- Sayonara no Machi(さよならの街)

Up to this point in the blog's history, we've only had one example of longtime folk singer Kosetsu Minami's(南こうせつ)work (thanks to Noelle Tham) under his own name, and that was through his contribution to Yuzo Kayama's(加山雄三)The Yanchars(ザ・ヤンチャーズ)...basically a get-together of Kayama and his good buddies for a jam session.

Now, allow me to provide some more of Minami and his own early solo works. I've seen this amiable folk singer from Oita Prefecture on television off and on for years now, so I'm a tad sheepish about introducing him on his own for the first time more than eight years after beginning the blog. He just seems like the most approachable musician who never ages.

Minami started off on his own in 1970 and later on in October of that year, he joined up with what would become the first incarnation of the folk band Kaguyahime(かぐや姫). The following year, the second incarnation came into being with Minami, Shozo Ise(伊勢正三)and Panda Yamada(山田パンダ)getting together, and gradually they would get their big hit with "Kandagawa"(神田川)in 1973.

The singer still continued on with his solo career with an official debut album "Kaerimichi"(かえり道...The Road Home) being released in July 1975 and a first single coming out in early 1976, "Kyou wa Ame"(今日は雨...Rain Today). The song for this article, though, is the first track from his March 1976 2nd album "Negai"(ねがい...Wishes), "Sayonara no Machi" (Goodbye City). It's also the first track in the above video.

"Sayonara no Machi" is as gentle a folk song as you can hear. Written and composed by Minami, it's a bittersweet ballad (not sure whether the bitter or the sweet won out here) about a young man heading back to his hometown after several years in the big city and a lot of adventures including a romance now over. He states in the lyrics that he can't go back home (the city) again so I guess that he may still be harboring some hard feelings about some things such as the end of the relationship and maybe even the fact that he couldn't really make it big there. Still, the lovely music by Minami helps soften any blows, and I certainly can relate to an extent about the feelings expressed in "Sayonara no Machi".

As for the album "Negai", both it and "Kaerimichi" reached as high as No. 2 on Oricon.

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