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, July 10, 2021
Miwa Kozue -- Koi no Baikal（恋のバイカル）
According to Wikipedia, Lake Baikal in Russia has some superlatives attached to it. It happens to be the largest freshwater lake on Earth by volume, it is the oldest lake (25-30 million years) and it's the deepest lake in the world.
However, as one Japanese blogger noted quite sagely, considering that Lake Baikal was part of the Soviet Union when this particular song was released, how could have the singer and/or the songwriters get anywhere close to this amazing body of water to sing of its insights? Was the KGB AOK on this?
I am talking about "Koi no Baikal" (Lake Baikal of Love), the May 1968 debut single of Miwa Kozue（梢みわ）, a singer who had a relatively brief time in the recording spotlight. According to that aforementioned blogger, "Koi no Baikal" was a hit characterized by that introductory mandolin (or should I say it's a balalaika?) and Kozue's call of "Oh, Baikal! Oh, Baikal!" thanks to Haruki Tango's（丹古晴己）lyrics of a fateful romantic encounter at the titular lake and Hayato Yamada's（山田隼人）dramatic melody.
Speaking of which, up to this time on the blog, I had used the label of Group Sounds for merely the actual groups such as The Spiders and The Tigers from the late 1960s which were turning onto the sounds of bands such as The Beau Brummels and Herman's Hermits. But apparently, J-Wiki has described solo singers who also used some of that same GS sound in their arrangements as Hitori GS（一人GS...Solo Group Sounds）. Certainly for Kozue's debut, there is that Group Sounds music behind her and the blogger has indeed cited her as a Hitori GS, so I've thrown in that label for her. And it looks like I may have to do some label readjustments for those solo singers who did have that same sound but weren't labeled as such. I've already done so for Jun'ya Kitagami（北上淳也）and Katsuhiko Miki（美樹克彦）who I have written about in the last number of days.
There is no J-Wiki article on Kozue and I'm not even sure whether that is her real name or a stage name. But from her file on Showa Pop Encyclopedia, she released a total of 7 singles under that name up to 1971, and then in 1972, she would release one more single under the new name of Eimi Wakao（若生永未）, although I'm not 100% sure on the pronunciation of that moniker.