As previously posted, I’m in the midst of a project. I’m also the kind of person who needs some sort of background music in order to keep me going. Yesterday, I decided to do a bit of surfing to see if I could give my playlist a bit of a fresh life.
The search paid off handsomely as I stumbled across Japanese 70s-80s funk, in particular the works of Minako Yoshida and Tatsuro Yamashita, who seem to have a big following amongst French bloggers.
Unfortunately, Youtube and Dailymotion seem to be devoid of any live performances of the songs I wanted to showcase, but perhaps that’s a good thing, since you can take a brief look at the album art and then go back in time in your imagination.
First off, Minako Yoshida. She is currently sporting Chaka Khan’s “big hair” look, but her voice is more along the lines of Carly Simon or Diana Ross at least when it comes to her 1978 disco song Ai wa omou mama~let’s do it.
Her funkier side comes out in her 1981 song Town, which is just killer. (Appropriately so, as it is the lead song from her album Monsters in Town.) It makes me wonder what a colaboration between Carole King and Parliament would sound like, when both were at the height of their popularity.
Onto Tatsuro Yamashita, who has done a lot of work with Minako (as well as many other artists).
Here is his 1979 hit Funky Flushin’, although it’s more disco than the title suggests.
For the sake of comedy, watch SMAP forerunners Shonentai perform a very Menudo-esque version of it in the 1980s.
I suspect there is a some code or ranking based upon the amount of ruffles that each member have.
Anyway, back to King Yamashita. 1980 saw the release of his album Ride on Time, the titular song (and album itself) of which has become a big old evergreen hit–even with that cover–but I’m a little more partial to the opening track Itsuka, which has a very Steely Dan feel to it.
Finally, let’s close out with hearing (if not necessarily seeing) him perform live. Here’s a snippet of Tatsuro performing SILENT SCREAMER & BOMBER in 1981.
Alas, he’s still sporting that hair cut these days.