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 31, 2021

Crest Four Singers/Minako Yoshida -- Rum wa O-Suki?(ラムはお好き?)


Although among my friends, I'm most likely the most teetotaling member of the group, I have enjoyed the odd beer, sake and shochu both here and in Japan. I even have a soft spot in my heart for the sweeter liqueurs such as cassis, Kahlua and rum. That last one is something that I've had in cake and Coke along with my cocktails.🍹

Therefore, if anyone in Japan asks me something like "Rum wa o-suki?", I can nod my head to a certain reluctant moderation, of course. Speaking of which, I have this song by the jazz vocal group Crest Four Singers with the very same title. "Rum wa O-Suki?" (Do You Like Rum?) is the B-side to the quintet's 1979 single "Hey! Mister Smile".

I've already posted up one other song by Crest Four Singers, the Big Band-friendly "Sun Shade"(サン・シェイド)and I found out about that one through the YouTube channel, New J Channel. Lightning has apparently struck twice since I've just discovered "Rum wa O-Suki?" in the same fashion, so my thanks to the channel administrators. In any case, compared to that first Crest Four Singers song, "Rum wa O-Suki?" is definitely another tune made in the mold of The Manhattan Transfer, specifically in the delivery by the group, but the Big Band feeling has been taken down for this particular song and there's a bit more in the way of cute little contemporary bleeps and bloops of synthesizers accompanying the laidback melody, strangely enough.

Well, the reason behind this is that two of the songwriters happen to be straight from technopop pioneers Yellow Magic Orchestra. Yup, Ryuichi Sakamoto(坂本龍一)and Haruomi Hosono(細野晴臣)helped arranged the latter's music, and another surprise is that J-R&B queen Minako Yoshida(吉田美奈子)provided the lyrics. I gather that because of the title, "Rum wa O-Suki?" may be a second cousin to another booze-themed title a little over a decade down the line, "Whiskey ga O-Suki deshou?" (ウィスキーが、お好きでしょ), which is a torch song by enka singer Sayuri Ishikawa(石川さゆり).

Going further down the rabbit hole, I've discovered that Crest Four Singers' version is actually a cover of the Yoshida original from her March 1976 album "Flapper". The same jazziness is there but without the synthpop aspect. Instead, the original has a taste of Hosono's Tin Pan Alley sound. I actually feel like that I am sitting in a Tiki bar as I listen to it, although I hope that Yoshida was able to get rid of that over-insistent bartender at the end.


  1. What a terrific CD compilation set of the best Japanese song from 1979. While, I do not agree with all the choices on that compilation there are more than a few iconic songs!

    3.Young Man
    9. Hero
    12. いい日旅立ち

    2. 銀河鉄道999(ゴダイゴ)

    However, I wish that 真夜中のドア(Stay with me) released on November 5th, 1979 would have been among the other great hits on those CDs.

    Miki Matsubara in 1980

    Miki Matsubara and queen Seiko Matsuda sing it together

    1. Hi, Brian.

      Yeah, it was good that the series came out. At the turn of the century, a lot of the major recording studios decided to go full nostalgic to put out the hits from yesteryear in compilations.

      The "Seishun Uta Nenkan" series spanned from the early 1960s to the late 1980s. At the time, I didn't bother with any of the 60s discs but now I'm wondering about getting at least a few of those if they're still hanging about online.

  2. Guess what? Those CD's are still hanging around online! And, there is a least one CD shop in near me that still cares them for reasonable prices.

    For example:
    青春歌年鑑 1979 will cost me ¥2,472 new, but I can also get it used for less than a thousand yen!

  3. also has them:

    1. Hello, Brian.

      If you can get that CD for less than a thousand yen, feel happy to grab it used. From my experience, used CDs from Japan have often meant that the liner booklet is slightly worn but the CD itself is in pristine condition. Having said that, getting the 1979 edition for 2472 yen new is not bad either considering the regular price with tax would be about a thousand yen more expensive.

  4. Okay, I think I might go get that CD.

    1. If you're going, just make sure that the seller does offer to send stuff overseas. There are some shops that will only sell domestically which is frustrating.

  5. GOOD MORNING J-Canuck!

    Sure thing! This is good advice!
    Whenever, I go back to the USA for a visit I usually use, but as my family and I live in Japan we tend to use and sometime Rakuten.

    1. Apologies, Brian. I didn't know that you actually live in Japan.

    2. No problem!
      Actually, I was pretty vague.

      Here is a brief summary my story:
      Since I was in the second grade (back in the '80s) I have always wanted to visit Japan, but I finally came to Japan in 2001 with the initial intention of staying here at least until I acquired enough first-hand knowledge about my then girlfriend's(now wife's) language and culture before marriage. I told my parents not to worry because I would be back home within a year or two. However, I quickly discovered that Japan fit my lifestyle, interest, and personality like a glove. めでたしめでたし

    3. Hello, Brian.

      Your story reminds me of a very brassy lady from Chicago that I got to know briefly during my time at one of my Tokyo schools. She came across as being hand-in-glove for Manhattan life but she told me that as soon she landed in Tokyo, she felt that the megalopolis was home for her.


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