Nippon Girls 2

When news of a possible second volume of Nippon Girls reached my inbox, I was genuinely worried that I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything as good as the first compilation. I couldn’t bear the thought of using half-decent songs just to fill space or having to go on a mad hunt for more top-of-the-line material. With ’60s Japanese girl-pop, you’re dealing with quite a lot of mind-numbing and generic beat ballads, and I had no desire to include songs that were anything less than awesome. I can spot a bottom-of-the-barrel-scraping compilation from miles away, and I wasn’t about to succumb to it myself. No siree, Bob!

So… I decided to return to the very first “dream list” I put together when I first came up with the idea for Nippon Girls. It’s the list you compile when you have all the freedom in the world—before record labels and master rights owners and publishers and address-unknown e-mails get in the mix and crush your hopes. It’s a list of 50+ titles that are the cream of the crop. And as the music business wheels begin to spin, that list slowly, painfully gets whittled down. I remember learning that Akiko Nakamura and Chiyo Okumura, two singers absolutely vital to the Japanese beat girl scene, were out of the question (“But you can’t possibly put out a ’60s Japanese girl-pop compilation WITHOUT Chiyo + Akiko!!!!!” I cried). As were the Peanuts. And the quintessential 45 that birthed the ’60s beat girl scene—Hibari Misora’s “Makkana Taiyou?” No chance of getting that one either. When I heard that Katsuko Kanai’s “Mini Mini Girl” was also a no-go, I was just about ready to give up on the whole Nippon Girls idea. But, despite the compromises, I ended up with a compilation I was verrrrrrry proud of and one that has become one of Ace Records’ best-selling compilations ever.

When it came to getting back to the drawing board for Nippon Girls 2, I knew that the only way I’d be able to make a compilation as high in quality as the first one was to return to the dream list and try to get those tracks that were initially rejected. Thanks to the “won’t take no for an answer” persistence of Ace Records’ clearance queen Liz Buckley and compilation coordinator and girl-pop king Mick Patrick, we got nearly every track on the dream list (hurray!!) that didn’t make it onto the first volume. (Okay, I admittedly shed a little tear when there was no response to our request for Ruriko Asaoka’s “Siam Neko Wo Daite”).

Nippon Girls 2 is not really a sequel but more like the other half of my dream list. It’s the reason I’ve neglected Cha Cha Charming for a few months and have spent most of my summer indoors, researching, writing, and quadruple-checking facts n’ tracks. The 24-track CD and 12-track vinyl (in red!) have just been released on Big Beat/ Ace Records and I am most excited for y’all to hear it! Below I’ve posted a list of where it can be purchased online. I hope you’ll enjoy it (and forgive me for leaving Mari Anne’s “Wild Party” off the vinyl version. WHAT was I thinking?!!!).

xo-Sheila

You can purchase Nippon Girls 2 from these fine establishments….

Nippon Girls 2 LP
Ace Records
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Nippon Girls 2 CD
Ace Records
Amazon US
Amazon UK

12 Responses to Nippon Girls 2

  1. Pingback: Dust & Grooves – Adventures in Record Collecting. A book about vinyl records collectors » Mix – Lion’s Milk WNYU 89.1 FM with Eilon Paz & Sheila B.

  2. Gaby says:

    I don’t know exactly how to put this but…

    Coming from someone whose only been listening to Japanese oldies for a few years, and never thought of myself going to this realm of musical genres (just discovered your first Nippon Girls compilation last year), I have to give you kudos for putting out another excellent compilation. I just finished listening to it and it sounds fantastic! So far I had focus on 70’s and early 80’s but you helped me turn on to earlier sounds (you introduced me to Jun Mayuzumi and for that I thank you). There’s truly a lot that went on in the Japanese music scene. I still have a long way to go but this ride is just gonna get more and more interesting.

    I figured it was hard to license some of these songs because you are dealing with major labels and publishers not to mention the way Japanese music industry works things differently…I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong. It’s sad to see the struggles you went through and to see you almost gave up on the project, but glad that either way your project finally came to light!

    Keep up the good work and keep on spinning!^^

    From a brown lady living in the west coast.

    • admin says:

      Thank you brown lady living on the west coast! I am so grateful for you writing to let me know that you’ve been enjoying “Nippon Girls.” It is quite astounding just how much Japan has to offer music-wise. It seems every decade has its share of truly brilliant artists. I actually just wrote a piece on one of my all-time favorite artists from more recent times, Sheena Ringo for the Red Bull Music Academy, which I’m going to post here in just a bit.
      Yeah, “Nippon Girls” was definitely a struggle in the beginning, given that not many people are in touch with Japanese labels to license their tracks outside Japan. But we got there! And it was well worth the time + effort!
      xo-Sheila

  3. Adam Bell says:

    Wow, I can’t wait to receive my copy of Nippon Girls 2! Volume 1 is excellent and I am sure Volume 2 will be the same. Thank you so much for putting up these compilations – ありがとうございました!

    All the best from Munich
    Adam

  4. Miguel Gregori says:

    Hello!Sheila.
    as the happy owner of the first volume of “Nippon Girls”, I was delighted to discover that volume 2, was released and that the track selection is even better that on the former one.Thank you for that and also for your publications.

    Yours, Miguel aka Dj Treblebooster

  5. Floyd says:

    Hi Sheila, just want to thank you for your work with the two Nippon Girls compilations … my 9-year old daughter and I have enjoyed them both for hours and hours and hours. The excellence of the performers, the engineering, the production, the mastering and of course the track selection and sequencing is simply amazing – a musical treasure.

    Now, we’re anxiously awaiting Nippon Girls 3 🙂

    • admin says:

      Wow…BIG thanks for such kind praise on Nippon Girls. Very happy to hear both you + your 9-year-old have been enjoying them together. There’s no Volume 3 in the works at the moment (as I think I’ve tapped the really really good stuff from my collection). Perhaps that means another trip to Japan is in order! Thanks again for dropping me a line. xo-Sheila

  6. てるてる坊主 says:

    Have the vinyl record and think it very fine. But sorry not all tracks from CD could fit…

  7. Jbop says:

    Wow wonderful compilations! Great work : I can’t stop listening them for weeks!

  8. Lee says:

    These collections are fantastic. You did a great job compiling these. They introduced me to a ton of new music! I hope you make further Japanese collections, or even press the remaining tracks from the CD to vinyl.

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