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, March 31, 2012

Hiroshi Uchiyamada and The Cool Five -- Nagasaki wa Kyou mo Ame Datta (長崎は今日も雨だった)

Some weeks ago, I had written an entry about the geographic aspect of enka, and my first city was Yokohama. Around the end of the 60s, there was also a kayo kyoku love affair with the city of Nagasaki. A number of songs were written about the city, and "Nagasaki wa Kyou mo Ame Datta"(Raining in Nagasaki Again) is probably the most famous one.

Now, I think probably a few people will argue with me about whether this is really enka, and to be honest, the online documentation supports those people. Wikipedia Japan labels this song to be an example of Mood Kayo(ムード歌謡) or just non-enka kayo kyoku. Still, I've heard this tune since I was a kid, and I just identify it and the lead singer, Kiyoshi Maekawa(前川清), with the bluesy side of enka so much that I just have to give it the two labels.

Hiroshi Uchiyamada and The Cool Five(内山田洋とクール・ファイブ)were examples of kayo kyoku-singing harmony groups that had been popular during those days. The group first formed in 1967 in Nagasaki. Uchiyamada was the guitarist and the other members, except for Maekawa, played an instrument. However on TV, The Cool Five usually appeared on stage without them, with Maekawa out in front. Maekawa himself joined in 1968, and "Nagasaki"was their debut offering the year after. It turned out to be the biggest hit of their career. Released in February of 1969, it broke into the Top 10 four months later where it peaked at No. 2. It would end up as the 8th-ranking single for the year. The song was created by Takako Nagata and Masao Saiki(永田貴子・彩木雅夫).

My biggest memories of the song is the sax and the earnestness of Maekawa as he sings his heart out.

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