Grand summer day for those who love it hot and humid out there.
Up to now, I had always thought of bank employee-and-respected songwriter/singer Kei Ogura (小椋佳）as the fellow behind folk and enka songs such as the hit "Ai San San" (愛燦燦）for the late Hibari Misora. (美空ひばり） But recently, I discovered that he along with guitarist-songwriter Hiromi Yasuda (安田裕美）and former member of 60s rock band The Mops, Katsu Hoshi (星勝）got together as a trio called Flying Kitty Band (フライング・キティ・バンド）. Hoshi is someone that I've known to be associated with 80s band Anzen Chitai (安全地帯）and as a songwriting contributor to Takako Mamiya's (間宮貴子）lone album "Love Trip" in 1982.
Flying Kitty Band has been labeled as a rock group but from listening to the penultimate track, "Boseki wo Sora ni" on their lone album, 1977's "5･4･3･2･1･0", I thought that there was something very West Coast AOR to them. Given the English title of "Tombstone to the Sky", despite any possible negative connotations of that gravestone in the title, it gets introduced sweetly with a thrilling chorus by all three members and a soft rock guitar, and the song sorta progresses like an anticipated rocket launch from Cape Canaveral. Supposedly the album's concept was about a boy's dream of heading into space.
"5･4･3･2･1･0" was recorded in Los Angeles and there were some big names helping out in the recording. Along with guitarists Masayoshi Takanaka (高中正義）and Kazuo Shiina, (椎名和夫）other guitarists such as Jay Graydon and David T. Walker, The Attitudes' Jim Keltner and David Foster, and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa were in the booth. For additional trivia, Yasuda's wife happens to be singer-songwriter Hako Yamasaki. (山崎ハコ）