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Nippon Rock 'n' Roll
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Album: Nippon Rock 'n' Roll: The Birth of Japanese Rokabirii
# Song Title   Time
1)    Lawdy Miss Clawdy
2)    Itsuki No Komoriuta Rock
3)    Yuuyake Koyake
4)    Jailhouse Rock
5)    Hoshi Wan Nandemo Shitteiru, Pt. 1
6)    Hoshi Wan Nandemo Shitteiru, Pt. 2
7)    Sittin' in the Balcony
8)    Little Darlin'
9)    Lucille
10)    Crazy Love
11)    Wear My Ring Around Your Neck
12)    Jenny Jenny
13)    I Love You
14)    Ooh My Soul
15)    Kogarashi Fukeba
16)    One Way Ticket
17)    Miyo-Chan
18)    Shimabara Chiho Komoriuta
19)    Shiranu Furi
20)    Minami No Shima Wa Koi No Shima
21)    Anohi Kara
22)    Kurumi-Chan
23)    Blues de Memphis
 
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Liner Note Author: Howard Williams .
  • He was called the Japanese Elvis and, unlike some who bore such a title, Masaaki Hirao actually recorded somewhat close to the peak of Presley. While Hirao recorded between 1958 and 1960, perhaps giving birth to a Japanese rock & roll scene that remained enraptured with rockabilly well into the new millennium, he actually made a valiant effort to make moody rock & roll that could possibly hold its own with its American forefather. Ace's 2013 collection Nippon Rock 'n' Roll pairs studio work with live cuts, and it's a fascinating listen as the music certainly gets within the ballpark of American rock & roll -- the band jives and wails, while Hirao croons and caterwauls, taking pains to mimic his idols but never quite sounding as if he was outright stealing. Perhaps the language barrier made a difference: apart from "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," he took the pains to translate lyrics, so his versions of classic rockers "Jailhouse Rock," "Lucille," "Sittin' in the Balcony," and "Jenny Jenny" are suitably different enough where he can stamp them with his own personality. That's important, but it's also notable that his backing band didn't sound too concerned with making their marks; they were happy to swing and rock, so this has air and groove, something that is particularly evident on the live material, which also benefits from a worshipful audience. Some of the original songs dip into a cinematic melodrama that fits Hirao's American pastiche, but the whole thing is a surprise: it's not a novelty, but a credible refraction of early rock & roll through an Eastern lens. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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