Casbah No Onna
Tamaki Sawa Casbah No Onna b/w Akai Yoru 7" (Nivico, 196?)
When I found this record a few months ago, I had no idea who Tamaki Sawa was and now that I do, I am sure any fan of quirky pop culture or j-pop will certainly enjoy what little I've found out about her. First off, she started her career as a jazz singer in the late 1950s. However, her beautiful cool look made her cinch for film and TV. In 1969, she made her biggest mark on the screen (in this case the small screen) with the television series Playgirls. Ripped off later by Aaron Spelling for Charlie's Angels, Playgirls featured a bevy of beautiful female detectives, armed and ready to beat the hell out of their adversaries. Sawa sang the theme song and her music was featured much of the series' five year run. After some years of retirement, Sawa was elected to the Japanese parliament and after her one term she planned to return to acting, specifically a stage show entitled Playgirls, Inc. However she died in 2003 at the age of 66.
There is a strain of Japanese pop of the 1950s and 1960s which I like to think of as noir pop. The music is haunting and dark, owing much to American bands like the Viscounts, who were huge in Japan. The vocals are distant and cool, with an undertone of sadness. The sound reminds me of the feeling of looking at life and realizing that the dark side of human nature is just as strong as the light. These two by Tamaki Sawa fit right in that mood.
(Originally posted January 15, 2006. It is too hot to rip vinyl right now. Gotta get out of this town for some Frisco fog... back next week with fresh stuff...)
But then (keeping with the noir-ish pop theme) I'm a sucker a dame wit' a good set of pipes and vocal control.
Not complaining but the link to 'Casbah No Onna' is '404'.
might be of interest. Bob
Sawa Tamaki was born Yamamoto Masako in 1937 in Kanegawa Prefecture. She won first prize on the Radio Contest “Daigaku Kachinuki Utagatsen” (The Collegiate Elimination Singing Contest). Made her singing debut in 1956 with the song “Bedo De Tabacco O Suwanaide” (Don’t Smoke In Bed). After “Playgirl” she went on to star on the hit variety program “Koizumi No Quiz Derby” (Koizumi’s Quiz Derby). In 1996, she ran for public office as part of the “Sokagattkai” group of the “Tomei” Party. In 1998, she won a seat as a member of the House of Councilors and became a Committee Member on the Japanese Welfare Ministry’s Labor Relations Board. Sawa reprised her role as former “Playgirl” leader Sawamura Tamaki in the 2003 theatrical remake of “Playgirl”. Shortly after, Sawa passed away in August of 2003 due to a heart ailment.