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.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Tetsuya Watari -- Jun'ai no Blues(純愛のブルース)

Continuing on with the tribute to actor/singer Tetsuya Watari(渡哲也)who passed away about a week ago at the age of 78, a couple of days ago, I wrote up an article on the main theme for "Seibu Keisatsu"(西部警察), the over-the-top cop show that starred Watari in what was arguably his most famous character. However, I knew that he had also released his fair share of songs over a long period of which his most successful one is the 1973 single "Kuchinashi no Hana" (くちなしの花). Noelle Tham wrote the article for that song so have a look if you can.

However, I also wanted to pay my respects by also covering a song that Watari had recorded, so I'm going with his debut single. "Jun'ai no Blues" (Pure Love Blues) was released in June 1965 and it was the theme song for his 3rd movie, the drama "Makka na Umi ga Yonderu ze"(真紅な海が呼んでるぜ...The Scarlet Sea is Beckoning) that opened up in theatres a month later.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any coverage of that film on YouTube; the above video featuring "Jun'ai no Blues" actually shows scenes from a later film in 1966 according to the comments. However, according to the brief synopsis provided on J-Wiki, Watari and Hideaki Nitani(二谷英明), "Makka na Umi ga Yonderu ze" is about two sailor brothers coming back from the South China Sea into Kobe and then ending up in organized crime.

Written by Tetsuro Hoshino(星野哲郎)and composed by Gendai Kanou(叶弦大), "Jun'ai no Blues" is a very shibui Mood Kayo with the bluesy sax, the slightly forlorn horns, the constantly hammering piano and Watari's final wish to his beloved to go on without him when he leaves this mortal coil with the implication that it might be soon and against his wishes. Methinks that this was probably played right at the end of the film. The movie aside, I think "Jun'ai no Blues" has that arrangement which would make it quite welcome fare in a swanky nightclub in Tokyo back in those days.

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