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.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Yuka Kamebuchi -- Zig Zag ~ Yoidore Tenshi no Polka(ジグザグ~酔いどれ天使のポルカ)


And pray tell, what was in your lunch today? Mine was a couple of hot dogs and a couple of Timbits with milk. Nope, not exactly the healthiest I've ever eaten but it was tasty.😈

The regular Wednesday 12:30 pm slot on TV Japan is devoted to NHK's "Sara Meshi"(サラメシ...Lunch ON!), the show that focuses on what the working hoi polloi have for their lunch. Although the above episode isn't it, yesterday, "Sara Meshi" had their occasional ending segment devoted to a famous figure who has recently left this mortal coil, and this time around, it was the late gospel singer Yuka Kamebuchi(亀淵友香)who had passed away in 2017

In matching with the show's theme of presenting lunch, "Sara Meshi" provided the viewers with where Kamebuchi had often gone for her lunch, and it was a venerable 300-year-old Tokyo restaurant famous for its unajuu(うな重), or grilled marinated eel on rice. Just to let you see what unajuu is all about, here is the YouTube channel Oishin Blog(美味しんブログ)with its own presentation on unajuu at another restaurant. I do miss my unajuu since I'm no longer living in Japan, and it was a dish that I first discovered on that 1981 graduation trip. I had never thought that something which looks like a snake zipping through the ocean could be so tasty.

Early in Kamebuchi's career which went all the way back to the late 1960s, she had yet to get into gospel full time and as my first article on her will indicate, she was exploring New Music. I have found this jaunty tune called "Zig Zag ~ Yoidore Tenshi no Polka" (Drunken Angel Polka) which had been initially recorded onto her March 1974 debut album "Touch Me, Yuka".

With some interesting combination of early 20th-century clarinet jazz and late 60s/early 70s rock, in a way, it's an aural slab of marinated eel with its own flavours of sweet and savory. Maybe the titular angel was going through some major hallucinations since as the song goes merrily along, the rock side of things gets increasingly more out there. In the end, I'd say that "Zig Zag" is well-titled and deserves that category of New Music of the 1970s.

The Kisugi siblings, lyricist Etsuko and composer Takao(来生えつこ・来生たかお), took care of "Zig Zag" with Katsu Hoshi(星勝)arranging everything. I think that there is something quite Takao about the melody because I recall him adding some of that swing and sophistication to at least some of his creations. The song was also released as Kamebuchi's 2nd single, either in 1975 according to J-Wiki or 1977 according to the YouTube uploader.

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