Monday, September 01, 2008

Tokyo Boogie

A patron donated a giant collection of 78s to the library, so I've been going through them looking for interesting finds (the little yellow Golden Records of previous posts were one such find). Since I had to work this past weekend, I decided to pass the office time by sorting through some of the boxes. Most of the cache is album sets of classical music, a lot of which has seen later album/cd reissue. Today's primary selection is a fairly legendary Japanese pop song:Tokyo Boogie-Woogie (1948) as sung by Shizuko Kasagi, which appears on a Columbia Records 10" 78rpm record #39954 (RHCO 10416).

Shizuko Kasagi (1914-1985) was an entertainer who had been active in singing, dance, stage and movies as a star member of the Japan's girls' opera company SGD before the World War II, and became a very popular singer with Tokyo Boogie-Woogie and other boogie hits in the postwar occupied Japan . A set of 3 CDs which includes almost all her recordings (only four songs are not included) is available. As is today's selection, almost all of the songs are composed by Ryoichi Hattori. The music is based on the American jazz and modern in style. Other well-known songs include: Rappa to Musume (Bugle and Girl) (1939), recorded with a big band before the war in a jazz style; Aire Kawaiya (1946), in a folk song style, which was a popular song during the war (and was recorded after the war); Jungle Boogie (1948) is the theme song of the movie "Yoidore Tenshi/Drunken Angel" directed by Akira Kurosawa.

Apparently it is still being sung in American Idol-like contests.

The flipside (listed as the A side, but I like the other side better, and this is my blog) is by a different vocalist, Richard Bowers, an army NCO stationed in post war Japan who favors us with Gomen-Nasai (Forgive Me). Richard also sings the song in the film "Mission Over Korea" (1953) in which he also appears (as a soldier, natch). It made it to #15 on the US pop charts in 1953.

Both tracks feature the Columbia Tokyo Orchestra.


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