Japanese title: 中澤ゆうこ第一集
Romaji title: Nakazawa Yuuko daiisshou
English title: Yuko Nakazawa, Chapter 1

Release date: 1998.12.12

Catalog nr: EPCE-5010 (CD), EPTE-5010 (Cassette)
Label: zetima

First press: no


«Nakazawa Yuuko Daiisshou» is Yuko Nakazawa‘s debut album. It has 12 tracks, and includes both songs from her debut single (Karasu no Nyoubou and Otonashibashi) and her second single (Odaiba Moonlight Serenade and Koibito-tachi no Ballad), as well as six original songs written by mastermind lyricist & producer Tsunku and famous composer Takao Horiuchi. The rest of the album features cover version of famous enka tunes slightly re-arranged.

The album sold a total of 15.236 copies, and ranked at #59 on the Oricon music charts.

Nakazawa Yuuko Daiissho Cassette

Nakazawa Yuuko Daiissho Cassette

During Nakazawa's period as an enka singer, she was often paired up with Gen Takayama by her agency. Her second single was a duet with him (and he released his own version on one of his albums), she did the back-up vocals on his single «Umihotaru«, and he released a cover of her original song «Sutenaide yo» in 1999. Takayama’s version features a different arrangement by Motoki Funayama, but the same lyrics.

Gen Takayama's Sutenaide yo

Gen Takayama's Sutenaide yo

Nakazawa lost an audition which aired on the talent search show ASAYAN back in 1997. Along with four other girls who lost, she would go on to be in a group called Morning Musume. Shorlty after the release of their first album, Nakazawa was approached and offered a career as a solo singer in addition to being in the group. The CEO of the group’s agency (UFA, now called UFT) wanted her to be an enka singer, for which Nakazawa had this to say:

"My manager/agent asked me, 'Hey Nakazawa. Why don’t we go back to the office together?' …How scary it is! So my reaction was, 'Oh my goodness. I think he is going to yell at me privately. I am in trouble.' So, I got on a van, which was filled with camera crew, and I immediately thought, 'Are they filming ASAYAN?'. Yes, I clearly remember, including the face of the camera guy. So here I was, at the office. And as I entered into the president’s suite, I saw another camera crew standing by to film me.

Then, suddenly, they told me the news: 'Hey Nakazawa, I know you just made a debut as a member of Morning Musume. But we’ll let you debut as a solo singer.'

'What?! Me? As a solo singer?' I was excited and elated at first, just during that brief period of time. Then they said, 'As an enka singer.'

'What? No way.' I mean, I went through the process of 'SharamQ Rock Music Vocalist Audition' and successfully debut as a J-pop singing group, Morning Musume. So why on earth Enka? I was unable to give them my answer right away and I was just crying at that moment because I had no idea what was going on. So I just told them, 'I am very sorry but I am unable to give you any answer right now.' And I just went home. I usually don’t consult much with my mother, but this time, I had to ask her opinion. She said, 'Are you an idiot? How can you pass up such a wonderful opportunity? There are 50,000 people in this country who are desperate to become a singer and are dying to be in your position right now. And you can debut with Takao Horiuchi’s song.'

The next day, I told my manager/agent about how I felt, and he said, 'Well, if your mind isn’t 100% with this decision, you might as well quit.' That really turned on my competitiveness. I was like, 'What the heck is he saying?' His words of not fully following my decision were a bit insulting to me, and I wanted to prove that he was wrong. Maybe he used a reverse psychology on me. Who knows?"

[note: Back then (and even now) she was very much aware of her age (she was 24 at the time). Enka is considered old people’s music, that’s why I think it hit her so hard emotionally; it’s like everyone around her confirmed she was «old».]

Promo poster

Promo poster

When asked (upon the release of the album) what she thought when listening to the finished album, she answered:

"I felt like, 'Are you sure it’s good enough?' I don’t have enough confidence in my vocal skill. Regardless, […] many songs featured in the album are popular hit songs from the past, so it should be easier to get into and become familiar with the songs once again.

I knew I wasn’t expected to imitate the original versions. But it’s hard because the original artists have already established each image of the song. Also, I didn’t want to ruin the original versions with my lack of vocal skills. I was worried if they’d be upset and tell me not to sing the song anymore…lol."

Nakazawa also said in another interview:

"I love all songs that are featured in this album, and I feel honoured to be given the opportunity to do the covers. That’s why, I felt as much pressure to do it right."


TRACK LIST


01. カラスの女房 (Karasu no Nyoubou; The Raven’s Wife)
02. 捨てないでよ (Sutenaide Yo; Don’t Throw Me Away)
03. 大阪ラプソディー (Osaka Rhapsody)
04. 恋 (Koi; Love)
05. つぐない (Tsugunai; Atonement)
06. 秋桜日和 (Cosmos Biyori; Beautiful Weather for Cosmos Viewing)
07. お台場ムーンライトセレナーデ (Odaiba Moonlight Serenade)
08. 雨の御堂筋 (Ame no Midosuji; Rainy in Midosuji)
09. 音無橋 (Otonashibashi; Bridge With no Sound)
10. 駅 (Eki; Train Station)
11. 越冬つばめ (Ettou Tsubame; Hibernating Swallow)
12. 恋人たちのバラード (Koibito-tachi no Ballad; Ballad of Lovers)


CREDITS


カラスの女房 (Karasu no Nyoubou)

Lyrics: Toyohisa Araki | Music: Takao Horiuchi | Arrangement: Eiji Kawamura

This is Nakazawa’s debut single as an enka singer. Released on several compilation albums, and in re-arranged versions released as singles by Takao Horiuchi (the composer of the song) in 1998 and 2004.

Takao Horiuchi's versions (he is also using the crow logo featured on Nakazawa's single cover

 

捨てないでよ (Sutenaide Yo)

Lyrics & Music: Tsunku | Arrangement: Makoto Kawaguchi

This song was used to promote the release of Nakazawa’s first album («Nakazawa Yuuko Daiisshou»). It was later released as a single by enka singer Gen Takayama in 1999.

Nakazawa said in an interview:

«At first, I didn’t know if this was enka or pop. So I had to ask Tsunku (the lyricist) how I was supposed to approach this song. He simply said, “It doesn’t matter. Sing it exactly the way you like it.” There are contrasts within the song, so I tried to express them as they were. Both “Sutenaide yo” and “Cosmos Biyori” are both my original songs, so I felt more attached, excited and enthusiastic.»

 

大阪ラプソディー (Osaka Rhapsody)

Lyrics: Michio Yamagami | Music: Koushou Inomata | Arrangement: Motoki Funayama

«Osaka Rhapsody» is a cover song, originally sung by «Unabara Senri, Mari». It was released in 1975 and sold 400.000 copies. W (a group in Hello! Project) would also cover this song in 2004. Osaka is a town in Japan.

Nakazawa once said: «As for “Osaka Rhapsody”, I had fun because it’s an upbeat song.«

 

恋 (Koi)

Lyrics & Music: Chiharu Matsuyama | Arrangement: Kazuo Nobuta

«Koi» is a cover song, originally sung by Chiharu Matuyama. It was released in 1980 and sold 360.000 copies.

 

つぐない (Tsugunai)

Lyrics: Toyohisa Araki | Music: Takashi Miki | Arrangement: Kazuo Nobuta

«Tsuganai» is a cover song, originally sung by Teresa Teng. It was released in 1984 and sold 442.000 copies.

Nakazawa once said: «Teresa Teng’s “Tsugunai” was technically challenging […] «

 

秋桜日和 (Cosmos Biyori)

Lyrics: Toyohisa Araki | Music: Takao Horiuchi | Arrangement: Motoki Funayama

Nakazawa once said: «It [the song] has a gentle, tender melody, so I made sure to sing softly. There was no part for me to sing intensely, so it was actually challenging.»

Cosmos refers to the color of the beautiful flower of the same name.

 

お台場ムーンライトセレナーデ (Odaiba Moonlight Serenade)

Lyrics: Toyohisa Araki | Music: Takao Horiuchi | Arrangement: Eiji Kawamura

This track is a duet between Nakazawa and her fellow label enka singer Gen Takayama, and is the A-side from her second single. Odaiba is an artificial island in the Tokyo bay.

Nakazawa said in an interview:

«[…] while watching the music video of “Odaiba Moonlight Serenade”, there is a scene which I am supposed to expose my shoulder by sliding down a little bit of my yukata dress. Was it yukata or kimono? I can’t remember. Anyway, I was so awkward! During the filming of the music video, I was told to smoothly and gently remove the kimono.[…] It was impossible for me to feel relaxed, I mean, I am not an actress or anything. So I ended up doing it in a very clumsy way, and when I look back, I think this music video is very fun and interesting to watch. Now, this was released on December 2nd, 1998 […], the album “Yuko Nakazawa, Chapter 1” was released 10 days after that.»

 

雨の御堂筋 (Ame no Midosuji)

Lyrics: Haruo Hayashi | Music: The Ventures | Arrangement: Motoki Funayama

Midosuji is is the primary main street in central Osaka Town.

«Ame no Midosuji» is a cover song, originally sung by Feifei Ouyang. It was released in 1971 and sold 1.360.000 copies.

 

音無橋 (Otonashibashi)

Lyrics: Eiji Takino | Music: Takao Horiuchi | Arrangement: Izumi Imai

This track is the B-side to Nakazawa’s debut single, «Karasu no Nyoubou»

 

駅 (Eki)

Lyrics & Music: Mariya Takeuchi | Arrangement: Motoki Funayama

«Eki» is a cover song, originally sung by Mariya Takeuchi, released in 1987.

Nakazawa said in an interview: «The first song to be recorded was “Eki” by Mariya Takeuchi. Until then, I had been practicing all songs at home on my own, and I was prepared for the recording session except for “Eki”, which I was still working on. When I walked into the studio, and was told that “Eki” was the first one to be recorded, I felt like I was facing a big obstacle. In any case, we did record the song then, but I was never satisfied. I asked if I could do it again on a different day, and I was able to try it again and again. I think it’s inconsiderate to present an incomplete song to the fans because they are paying for it with their precious money.»

 

越冬つばめ (Ettou Tsubame)

Lyrics: Shinichi Ishihara | Music: Yoshihiko Shinohara | Arrangement: Makoto Kawaguchi

«Ettou Tsubame» is a cover song, originally sung by Masako Mori, released in 1983.

Nakazawa once said: «This song gives me goosebumps. I even cried during one of the practices. I was overwhelmed by emotions and cried when I was singing “Ettou Tsubame” […]«

 

恋人たちのバラード (Koibito-tachi no Ballad)

Lyrics: Toyohisa Araki | Music: Takao Horiuchi | Arrangement: Motoki Funayama

This track is a duet between Nakazawa and her fellow label enka singer Gen Takayama, and is the B-side from her second single.


LINKS