LOVERS IN TOKYO — CURIOSITY CORNER #1

This occasional series* will present something a little unusual from the Vinyl Connection collection

We’ll open proceedings with this album of middle of the road smoothness from the catalogue of the Australian World Record Club. Regular readers will know that WRC cover art is something of a passion round these parts and there you have the entire reason this piece of 60s vinyl entered the VC domain. I love the invention-on-a-budget of WRC sleeve designs; their endless variations on a theme sprinkled with moments of inspired (and sometimes captivating) imagery.

The wonderfully titled Lovers in Tokyo is by the appropriately named Norrie Paramor (and his Orchestra), featuring the voice of パトリシア・クラーク. Actually, the lady doing bits of ooh-ing and aah-ing is Patricia Clark, but it looks much more impressive in Japanese, don’t you think?

I guess you could describe this music as lounge or ‘cocktail’ music. Cocktail For Love, perhaps (Koi No Cocktail). Smooth orchestrations for you and your sophisticated companions as you chat languidly about whether to stroll to the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) to spy on the Young Lovers (Wakai Koibitotachi) before some delicious Sukiyaki freshly prepared by Miss Mikimoto.

Probably the second most amazing thing about this record is how Mr Paramor has almost totally expunged anything oriental from the arrangements. It is less convincingly Japanese than Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice (1967). I bet you didn’t think that was possible. Which makes the cover notes claim that “this LP present(s) a startlingly vivid musical panorama of Tokyo today” worthy of some kind of award.

Actually, the cover notes are rather wonderful. Bear in mind that this was released in the mid-60s (probably 1965 or ’66).

Thirty hand-picked musicians were assembled in EMI’s London studios to record these tracks. A far cry from Tokyo, perhaps? Indeed, yes! But as Norrie himself points out, Japan and Britain have much in common—notably the fact that both are “green and pleasant lands.”

What could be more Japanese than invoking the words of William Blake’s “Jerusalem”? Derek Johnson, who wrote the effusive notes, does not mention anything about dark Satanic mills and perhaps that is just as well.

The most interesting aspect of this LP, however, is not the music but the previous owner’s handwritten annotations on the back cover. What a trove of data about the gentle-person who laid out the princely sum of $1 for the privilege of taking home a Tokyo lover in January of 1967. And then noted each spin with tally marks neatly counted off into fives. Did they tally other aspects of life in the same way? Meals? Sexual congress? And ten plays. Why not nine or eleven? Maybe Norrie just couldn’t hold his/her interest any more. Or maybe there wasn’t as much in common between London and Tokyo as first appeared. Many an on-line love-hunter has discovered this sobering fact.

* Yes, another one. Would enjoy hearing responses to this idea for an irregular series.

 

26 comments

  1. Wowzer. I don’t really know where to start Bruce. This is a wonderful post and I love the cover art. I could become a big fan of Norrie Paramor.

    I always tally the number of sexual acts on the back of LP covers, but only if it took place during the time the record was playing. I need a bigger copy of The Koln Concert.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Jarrett’s ‘Sun Bear Concerts’ is a 10 LP set. Almost enough?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like curious corners and would be happy to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Danica!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. this one looks great, and, despite the terrible Japanese impersonation, YOLT is my favorite Bond film by a long mile 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It looks better than it sounds (which of course is the reverse of Sean Connery in YOLT where he sounds better than he looks!). Cheers, Douglas.

      Like

  4. I love the little control panel on WRC LPs, where you can put your own tone control settings for each record.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s very quaint, isn’t it? And let’s not forget the helpful strobe markings on the LP label (see last pic) that allow you to assess the speed of your turntable.

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  5. I’m with Danica in enjoying curious corners. And speaking of curious, I’m wondering how you know that the marks on the back of the sleeve represent spins of the LP? The cherry blossom component of the cover art, along with the title of Track 1/Side 1, are apropos here on the East coast of U.S., as it’s v-e-r-y close to peak cherry blossom time in Washington, D.C.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, of course.

      The spring is sprung, the grass is riz.

      I wonder where the boidie is.

      They say the boidie’s on the wing.

      But that’s absoid. The wing is on the bird.

      (Other explanations of the tally marks?)

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      1. Can I say that I grinned from ear to ear when I read that nonsense poem? A friend of mine in college used to love to recite that every spring–generally after some liquid refreshment–and I just assumed it was a silly American ditty…little did I know! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Isn’t it kind of wonderful that silliness transcends boundaries? Absurdity Sans Frontières.

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        2. Indeed it is! (This American needs frequent doses of silliness given the occupant of the White House….)

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I read that this ‘buffoon’ has introduced more than 2000 bills into parliament already. Attacking women’s rights, education, health…
          So more Loki than Falstaff.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. A great idea, Bruce. Hope you keep it up as an occasional thing. I just finished Mark Lewisohn’s “Tune In,” and he writes in some detail about Norrie Paramor. I’m embarrased to say I’d never heard of him. So this post is quite timely for me at least. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Timely indeed. (And to be honest, I’d never heard of Mr P either). Cheers Marty.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I, for one, welcome this new series overlord.

    Also, this is one weird looking LP. Less Japanese than Sean Connery? Haha nope, not possible.

    Also, I shudder to think of anyone writing on an LP jacket. Heathens! Filthy animals! Degenerates!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just came back from a lunchtime record browse (the reward for a brisk walk) and saw a copy of The Who by Numbers… with the dots joined! AAAAAGH!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hans, get the flammenwerfer…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I enjoyed this occasional piece and indeed the responses to it. Thanks all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps Steam of the 5’3″ might get a guernsey. 😉

      Like

  9. I’m pleased to cast a vote in favour of more irregular posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Absolutely brilliant, Bruce. I want a copy of this. Is that strange? I don’t think so, but it might be given that it’s a very odd LP to have (sorry!). But yes to more of this kinda stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every well-rounded record collection should have some easy listening orchestral LPs for spinning with sophisticated friends, I reckon. Especially albums by someone who worked extensively with Cliff and the Shadows!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. […] received polite encouragement to pursue the ‘Curiosity Corner’ series from indulgent readers, I rushed off to compile a list of candidates, pulling out LPs and […]

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  12. You certainly know how to grab CB’s interest. Not easy to do.

    Liked by 1 person

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