© 2006 Lawrence Tuczynski
|Title||For The Love & You|
|Number of tracks||15|
|Number of discs||1|
|Year of release/manufacture||March 30,2005|
July 30, 2006 - Updated August 08, 2006
Review courtesy of Robert Storch
Jiro Sugita is probably not known to most of the Western world, but in Japan he's been making music since the late 60's and has had a rather interesting career path. Starting out around 1967, he joined "NORIHIKO HASHIDA AND THE SHOEBELTS", a group that didn't last too long, though they did release a couple of albums. Norihiko Hashida was the featured singer here and has had a successful solo career himself. Around 1970, Jiro Sugita left to form another group with fellow singer Jiro Morishita - the resulting partnership was simply called "JIRO's". They appear to have released only two albums in the 70's before Mr. Sugita went solo in 1972 - this album from '71 and a live LP in '72. I have been told that after the group broke up in 1972, Mr. Morishita became a successful producer of Radio Kansai, among other things I am sure. In 2002 they reformed and released a reunion album (ENCM-2014) where they re-recorded a lot of the songs from their first album. The live LP from '72, titled "GOOD-BY JIRO'S", has also been issued on CD in a cardboard LP-style sleeve with 24bit remastering (TOCT-25206).
This CD, "FOR THE LOVE & YOU - JIRO'S 1", is really the album that launched his career, and to this day contains many of his best songs. Tracks 1 & 14 are perhaps the biggest hits here and have also appeared on countless Jiro Sugita "best of" compilations and live CDs. The numerous English cover songs on the album will be familiar to most, and pretty much stay true to the originals, but with a more "pop" sound. Overall, this album is a mixture of styles - a little folk, some pop/rock, and even a dash of soft pop/easy listening. For those not familiar with Mr. Sugita, he has a very strong and distinctive voice and has recently turned 60 this year. These days he is probably more comparable to Neil Diamond than, say, Rob Thomas!
Aside from the pair of tunes featured in the film BYE BYE JUPITER (CA35-1073/ETP-90276) (1983), Jiro also contributed two songs to the soundtrack of Toho's CREST OF THE WOLF (VPCD-81175) (1973) and may have participated in other film projects as well. His association with Toshiba-EMI/Express started with the group "Shoebelts" in the late 60's and lasted until the late 1980's as a solo artist. He has since worked with a few other labels. This album must be an important one in his catalog (I have also heard that the first song in particular is very well regarded in Japan), as it seems to have been reissued many more times than some of his other Toshiba CDs, with most others remaining out of print. There is a 1992 CD (TOCT-6583) as well as a '98 release (TOCT-10123), a 2003 re-release in a cardboard LP-style sleeve with 24bit remastering (TOCT-25108), this 2005 version (TOCT-16006), which I presume is the remastered '03 disc repackaged in a jewel case, and a 2006 re-release of the cardboard LP-style sleeve again (TOCT-25108). While Jiro Sugita may not be everyone's cup of tea, I find his Toho soundtrack work to be very enjoyable, and if anyone reading this review also likes his JUPITER tracks and a more commercial style of music, than you might like this CD too.
ENTER THE JIROS
Track translations courtesy of John Cassidy