This is my first post after been absence for quite some time. Frankly speaking, I have tons of project on hand, but simply no time. Again, all this audio and blog stuff are purely my hobby and I’m not making money from them (well, only a bit probably).
Let’s get started with a simple easy one. I bought one of CD which seems like a favorite one in Japan. I saw this CD first time on MJ Audio magazine somewhere by last year. I listened the sample tracks few times on online shop and I thought I needed to get one. This first album of Hiroko Williams: A Time for Ballads also sold around twice the price of her other albums. Seems like a “Reference Class” album or being advertised so.
It’s a very simple recording, mostly vocal plus piano and some other instruments like guitar, bass, sax, but not too dominant. The voice of Hiroko is kindly delicate one, and definitely for a vocal lover. Don’t expect Susan Wong or Jhenna Lodwick kind of music with a lot of “ingredients” to accompany the vocal (I’m not saying one is better than other, but both simply has its own fans). Hiroko is just like most Japanese Jazz Audiophile type, more on the expression of the singer when interpreting the music, plus simple instrument (in this case, piano in most of the tracks) to accompany. Don’t be surprised if you will listen the singer is a bit off with the piano.
First track opened by Monalisa. Hiroko has good English pronunciation, unlike some other Japanese singer. But on this very first track, you can simply understand that Hiroko is trying to interpret Monalisa with her own style and that’s always interesting for me to listen for a new interpretation from every different singer. Some short stops might happen, both for vocal and the piano, so Hiroko definitely not in a rush when singing.
Track #8 also quite common and popular song, Fly Me to The Moon. I think this song has been sung by hundreds of singer (sorry to exaggerate). But again, Hiroko has her own interpretation in this track. You ask me if I like it or not? Since vocal is one of my favorite, definitely I like it.
The inside of the CD booklet. Very simple booklet and CD case. But this CD definitely doesn’t come cheap, even in Japan itself, around 2700 Japanese Yen. But it can be easily found in most CD store (I bought in Yodobashi Camera Shop, in Akihabara).
The back artwork. For the feast of eyes.
In overall, it’s an excellent recorded album and a must have for a vocal lover like me. Some of the tracks might not be too familiar for certain people. But it will not take too much time to enjoy. Plug it with Single Ended 300B, 2A3 or even RS241 tube amplifier and full range or sweet mid-range system, then definitely it a hard to say no – again for a vocal lover. Again, I’m not saying it’s bad when played with other system ;-), just a simply wish list to enjoy the romantic voice of this album.
02．The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men
03．For All We Know
04．I’ll Remember April
06．Just In Time
07．I Loves You Porgy
08．Fly Me To The Moon
10．A Time For Love
11．I’ll Be Seeing You
12．A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square