Meiko Kaji Gincho Wataridori

Label
Wewantsounds
Released
1st March 2024

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Format Info

LP - black vinyl
Wewantsounds continue its extensive Meiko Kaji reissue program in partnership with Teichiku Records and Meiko Kaji herself, with the release of “Gincho Wataridori,” her debut album from 1972. This is the first time the album is reissued since release and it comes with its original Japanese artwork and newly remastered audio. Famous as an actress for her 70s exploitation movies (‘Lady Snowblood’, the ‘Female Prisoner Scorpion’ and ‘Stray Cat Rock’ series) revered by Quentin Tarantino and currently in the spotlight with the brand new Netflix adaptation of the manga “Yu Yu Hakucho,” Meiko Kaji also released a string of great albums on Teichiku mixing Japanese Pop and cinematic grooves. This reissue comes with deluxe Gatefold sleeve LP, OBI strip and a 2-p insert featuring new liner notes by Hashim Kotaro Bharoocha. 

Japanese actress Meiko Kaji, who was born in Tokyo, has become a worldwide cult icon thanks to Quentin Tarantino when he heavily based his Kill Bill films on the 1973 revenge genre film ‘Lady Snowblood,’ one of Kaji’s most famous films. Renowned for her roles in the highly acclaimed ‘Stray Cat Rock’ and ‘Female Prisoner Scorpion’ film series, Kaji became one of the most famous exploitation actresses in Japan in the early 70s. Invited by film studios to sing the theme for many of her films, she ended up recording five albums for Teichiku between 1972 and 1974, which have become increasingly sought-after over the years.

Gincho Wataridori” was the very first album released by Meiko Kaji in 1972 and is a great mix of kayokyoku (Japanese Pop), traditional Enka Music, psych rock and 70s cinematic groove. The album features the song “Gincho Wataridori” a theme song for the eponymous gangster film released by Toei Films in 1972 (and known outside of Japan as “Wandering Ginza Butterfly“). On the cover of the album, Meiko actually wears the kimono she wears in the film. The song showcases Kaji’s distinctive singing over a funky backbeat and fuzz guitar. It was recorded straight after the shooting of the film and Kaji remembers the recording process, as told to Hashim Bharoocha for the liner notes: “After two weeks of filming, mentally I’m still in my character, so I would go to the studio to record the song in that mindset. So when I’m recording my vocals, I’m still acting.

“Ginchou Wataridori” was produced by two seasoned Teichiku producers, Yorifumi Ito and Kenji Nakajima and features a superb mix of pop songs (“Hakodate Monogatari“), funky ones (“Koini Inochio,” “Shitto“) and atmospheric ones (“Jingi Komoriuta“) making the perfect setting for Meiko Kaji’s unique singing, reflecting the cool, dangerous atmosphere of the films she would star in.

The first of a series of five LPs produced for Teichiku between 1972 and 1974, “Gincho Wataridori” marks the beginning of Meiko Kaji’s fruitful career as a recording artist and is a unique testament of her singing talent which Wewantsounds is delighted to reissue in its full glory with gatefold sleeve, remastered from the original master tapes.

Other Releases by Meiko Kaji