- HIQLP001Long Player £13.00
Japanese Pop, Beat & Bossanova 1967 - 1969
This month marks the launch of our new HIQLP series of superior quality 12-inch albums pressed on 180g vinyl and packaged in heavy duty sleeves.
By popular demand, the series kicks off with "Nippon Girls", a celebration of the female side of Japan's 1960s pop scene. The LP comprises a dozen highlights from the CD of the same title issued on our Big Beat International logo a couple of years back, one of our recent top sellers. Compiled by DJ Sheila Burgel, a former Tokyo resident, the â€œNippon Girlsâ€ CD raised a few eyebrows here at Ace HQ, but girl-pop maven Sheila knew what she was doing. The collection drew rave reviews, becoming something of a left-field hit with the club crowd and young hipster types.
Sheila also supplied the fascinating and scholarly liner notes, from which we learn that bikini-clad cover girl Jun Mayuzumiâ€™s â€˜Black Roomâ€™ â€œboasts booming bass lines and a dancefloor readiness thatâ€™s already caught the ear of freakbeat collectors, while Mie Nakaoâ€™s fuzz-rocker â€˜Sharock No. 1â€™ takes â€˜Green Onionsâ€™ as its template. â€˜Tsukikage No Rendezvousâ€™ by Keiko Mari is a tamer affair, with Latin rhythms and cute banter between Mari and her all-male chorus. J Girls were sisters Shinobu and Jun Hazuki. Their â€˜Kiiro No Sekaiâ€™ was recorded in 1969 but remained under wraps until 1995â€™s â€œCutie Pops Collectionâ€. Reiko Oharaâ€™s â€˜Peacock Babyâ€™ was released in 1968 and came in a mouth-watering gatefold sleeve. Mieko Hirota was a music heavyweight, close to Dusty Springfield in the ability to inspire awe with her voice. In the mid-60s, she was paired up with Kyohei Tsutsumi, one of Japanâ€™s greatest pop writer/producers. His love of Anglo-American records is clearly audible on â€˜Nagisa No Tenshiâ€™, its backing track not very subtly swiped from â€˜Cool Jerkâ€™.â€
The second side makes for an equally exciting and unusual listen. Opener Rumi Koyama was â€œa go-go dancer for TV show Beat Pops. Her debut single is rather square, but its jazzy flip â€˜Watashi No Inoriâ€™ is just the right amount of raw and teenage. A year after the Carnabeats hit paydirt with a reading of the Zombiesâ€™ â€˜I Love Youâ€™, re-titled â€˜Suki Sa Suki Sa Suki Saâ€™, Nana Kinomi included the same song on her album â€œLetâ€™s Go Nana!â€ with GS band Leo Beats. You can hear half-American, half-Japanese model Miki Obata struggle to hit the high notes on â€˜Hatsu Koi No Letterâ€™, but itâ€™s considered a Japanese girl-pop staple. Ryoko Moriyamaâ€™s â€˜Ame Agari No Sambaâ€™ attests to the high quality of Japanese bossa nova â€“ as laidback and atmospheric as the Brazilian originals it emulated. Former figure skater Ayumi Ishidaâ€™s â€˜Taiyou Wa Naite Iruâ€™ is total melodrama, a whirlwind of harpsichord and strings. The star of over a hundred films, Sayuri Yoshinaga appealed to the Japanese mainstream with her modest image and ability to leave audiences in floods of tears. Her â€˜Koi No Yorokobiâ€™ is the perfect Japanese girl-pop primer â€“ dark yet upbeat, with all-girl chorus the Schoolmates chirping in the background.â€
â€œNippon Girlsâ€ is highly recommended to girl group fanciers, GS groovers and anyone else with a keen ear for eclectic sounds. The LP version sports a zingy new front cover by designer Niall McCormack, who also created the 23-inch square poster found tucked inside.
1. Black Room - Jun Mayuzumi
2. Sharock No. 1 - Mie Nakao
3. Tsukikage No Rendezvous - Keiko Mari
4. Kiiro No Sekai - J Girls
5. Peacock Baby - Reiko Ohara
6. Nagisa No Tenshi - Mieko Hirota
1. Watashi No Inori - Rumi Koyama
2. Suki Sa Suki Sa Suki Sa - Nana Kinomi & Leo Beats
3. Hatsu Koi No Letter - Miki Obata
4. Ame Agari No Samba - Ryoko Moriyama
5. Taiyou Wa Naite Iru - Ayumi Ishida
6. Koi No Yorokobi - Sayuri Yoshinaga with Schoolmates