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.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Tsunaki & Midori -- Ai no Banka (愛の挽歌)

Last night on "Uta Kon"(うたコン), the show was devoted to the works of composer Kyohei Tsutsumi(筒美京平), and it was right that a good chunk of it featured his many songs. In fact, I was somewhat flabbergasted just now when I realized that Tsutsumi may have the largest number of entries on "Kayo Kyoku Plus" for any songwriter, singer or band at 109 (including this article). And I wrote up my first Creator article on the Tokyo native more than 3 years ago.

Basically, it's come to the point that whenever a kayo composed by him pops up anywhere now in front of a relative neophyte fan, I'm convinced that the fan will exclaim "OMG! He made that, too?!" Yep, the guy who came up with "Blue Light Yokohama"(ブルーライト・ヨコハマ)for Ayumi Ishida(いしだあゆみ)and "AMBITIOUS JAPAN" for TOKIO is one and the same.

Not surprisingly then, I became aware of some more Tsutsumi tunes that I hadn't heard before. For example, this one by duo Tsunaki & Midori(つなき&みどり)titled "Ai no Banka" (Love Elegy), a drunken and sultry number about lamenting a lost love although the fellow who did the dumping was probably a first-class heel. Lyricist Jun Hashimoto(橋本淳)joined in to create this debut single for this married couple that was released in December 1972. It was the duo's biggest hit by peaking at No. 15 and selling about 150,000 records.

(Sorry but the video has been taken down.)

Not sure how long the above video will stay up but it is straight from last night's "Uta Kon" in which enka singers Midori Oka(丘みどり)and Keisuke Yamauchi(山内恵介)did the honours by providing a straight-up version of "Ai no Banka". The setting is some sort of tiny hole-in-the-wall where the woman is drowning her sorrows in drink while wondering where the lout ran off to. The volume goes up and down during the performance (just in case some of you wanna try it at karaoke) to reflect the brassiness of the song and perhaps also to show the trashed state of the protagonist.

As for the original singers, Midori Tashiro(田代みどり)was discovered by the late Masaaki Hirao(平尾昌晃)for her singing power; she had already been singing at a jazz cafe at the age of 7 when Hirao brought her to Tokyo from Osaka at the age of 10. A couple of years later, Midori made her debut with "Sweet Nothings" and had a huge hit with "Pineapple Princess" in 1961 (I gather that these weren't message songs).

Tsunaki Mihara(三原綱木)was a member of the vocal group Jackey Yoshikawa and His Blue Comets(ジャッキー吉川とブルー・コメッツ)of "Blue Chateau" fame, and he and Midori got married in 1970. After leaving the Blue Comets in 1972, he soon recorded "Ai no Banka" with his wife. Together they made 7 singles and 2 albums before they broke up professionally and personally in 1977.

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