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, August 29, 2020

Los Primos -- Asahikawa Blues(旭川ブルース)

The question at the beginning of the above video by Bear's Magazine is "Do you know Asahikawa?". Unfortunately, I have to say that I don't know all that much about the Hokkaido city aside from the facts that it's located further up Japan's northernmost prefecture and that it's also the hometown of Koji Tamaki(玉置浩二)of famous band Anzen Chitai(安全地帯). In fact, I only found out today from the Wikipedia entry for Asahikawa that it's the 2nd-largest city in Hokkaido following Sapporo which I have visited and that it's the capital city of the sub-prefectural region of Kamikawa(上川). I also heard that it's got some fine ramen.

The more that I write about Akira Kurosawa & Los Primos(黒沢明とロス・プリモス)and their quintessential Mood Kayo sound, the more that I realize that the group has really enjoyed performing the geographically based music of yesteryear. Los Primos have given their tribute to Ginza in Tokyo and have gone across the main island to sing about Niigata, and that was back in the 1960s which is the decade that I've usually associated them with.

Now I find out that they were still at it in the 1990s, and this time, they went far up north to Asahikawa to provide their love song of the city via "Asahikawa Blues", the B-side to their January 1992 single "Sayonara Lullaby"(さよならララバイ...Goodbye Lullaby). All of the genre tropes are in there: the silky strings, the bluesy sax, Seiji Mori's(森聖二)heartfelt vocals of bittersweet love, and the shoutouts to various parts of the northern city. It can be a most tempting invitation card to visit the city for a kayo fan like me. Lyricist Toshio Arakawa(荒川利夫)and composer Motoyoshi Kawaguchi(川口元義)were behind the creation of "Asahikawa Blues".

The only thing is that by 1992, guitarist Kurosawa's name had long been absent from Los Primos because, according to the J-Wiki article, he had retired from the group in 1980 due to illness so that it was known as just Los Primos for many years. For most of the 2010s, though, the group was known as Koji Nagayama & Los Primos(永山こうじとロス・プリモス)with the addition of vocalist Nagayama until his departure in 2019. Now, it's just back to Los Primos once more.

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