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.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Introducing 5 Rare Albums I bought (That Are Probably A Total Waste of Money)

I love to gamble. That is why I always like to pick up some albums that I have no idea about what it is when I go shop for CDs. I could win big if the music turns out to be good, but most of the time these rare albums contain nothing good and are hardly worth anything at all. 

Through a year of intensive buying, I have accumulated a stack of these rare albums. Some of them are kind of good, but most are only a waste of money. Here, I want to introduce some of these finds I made on the journey to dig out Japanese grooves on CDs. Since most of these albums are quite rare, I will try to provide audio samples for each album along with commentaries. 

(All images taken by myself.)

  1. Hideaki Fukutomi - Lydia (1996)

Label: ROH Inc. 

Catalog: ROH-0001

When I was searching for the term AOR on Yahoo Auctions, I came across an auction history of this EP that sold for 2,000 yen. Later, I encountered a copy on a local online marketplace, so I bought it and gave it a try. 

After a listen to the whole CD, I honestly think this EP does not worth 2,000 yen. The music is definitely worth a listen, but the songs are not so good that they are worth that much money. M1 “Lydia” is a good city pop-flavored ballad song. M2 “Lovin' You” is a jazz-like arrangement. Although the arranger tried to take city pop influence, the effort does not sound successful. M3 “Moonglow” is a very average ballad song that you would forget after hearing it. 

        2. Yuko Sasaki - I Honestly Love You (1993)

           Label: Spur

            Catalog: CO-9304

Looking at the cover image, I thought this album was going to be a jazz album. It did turn out to be somehow jazz-related, but all of the tracks are cover versions of classic songs. Of the 10 tracks recorded, the latter 5 songs are instrumental versions of the first 5, in which there are 3 jazz-like songs and 2 rock/pop songs. According to the insert sheet, the first 3 songs are arranged by Hiroya Watanabe, and the latter 2 are arranged by Hachi Kodera & Super Pickers. The video below shows the second track.


3. Kai Hasegawa - Hawaiian Dream (Unknown Year)

        Label: Not On Label

        Catalog: PRD-653

Besides jazz, city pop, and funk, I also listen to a little bit of Hawaiian music. This is one of the albums I picked up for that genre. 

This album features cover versions of Hawaiian songs in very, very low sound quality. Since purchasing the album, I did not finish listening to it. Part of the reason is that there is no original compositions on the album, another part is because of the low sound quality. The artist might had made the recording with care, but the bad sound quality just ruins the efforts he puts into this album.

4. JC Cornerstone - JC Cornerstone (1993)

        Label: Hosanna Music

        Catalog: HMCD-9306

I picked up this album for some light mellow AOR tunes, but it turned out that the album has more to do with religious music than with AOR. Overall this is quite a bad purchase for me.

5.Masaya Band - Crescent Night (1992)

        Label: Not On Label

        Catalog: MB-41810

Looking at the album cover and title, I expected to get some fusions songs from this album. However, it turned out that most songs are rock songs. There are only two songs that are kind of funky, but all are badly arranged.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, HRLE92 and thanks for this article on albums that may not have passed muster. As for my opinions on the tracks that you've provided: Fukutomi's "Lydia" is actually not bad. I also found what I think is a pretty "old-fashioned" webpage of his discography:

    I also liked Sasaki's cover of Crystal Gayle's "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" although the album may not have been great overall.

    I'm not huge into Hawaiian but listening to Kai Hasegawa's album, I couldn't help but wonder if it had been recorded in an abandoned indoor swimming pool. Despite the 1993 production, JC Cornerstone's "Yahwee" has a bit of 1980s soft rock arrangement in there. Finally, I have to agree with you on Masaya Band's arrangement for "Last Scene"; it's just the one song that I'm going with but the production sounds off for some reason.

    As someone who collected a lot of music while in Japan, I've taken a few chances here and there, and yep like yourself, I found myself ruing some of my choices but that's how it goes. I can't even remember what the "bad" choices were (my bad choices could be someone's good choices) since I returned them for the amount of a Big Mac meal at a used CD shop just before returning to Canada for good.

    However one chance that I did take on a band that I hadn't known about was one of my greatest discoveries: Sing Like Talking. :)


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.