These are songs sung by Shinchon Blues (신촌블루스)’s guest singers, or transient members, who perform on some projects with their regular members. Chung Seo Yong (정서용)’s Twilight (황혼) and A Woman Standing in The Rain (빗속에 서있는 여자) are from their second LP album, evoking a picture of a dreary citiscape and the lonely souls in it. Chung Kyung Hwa (정경화)’s The Last Blues (마지막 블루스), from Shinchon Blues III of 1990 is another poignant number about a woman who is parting with her love interest while a blues music is playing in the background. All three songs carry on the fine line of blues music with their sadness drenched lyrics and vocals.
빗속에 서있는 여자
A Woman Standing in The Rain
The Last Blues
Twilight (황혼) is composed by Kim Chang Wan (김창완) of the Sanulim fame. One could almost feel a faint resemblance to his other songs like Green Days (청춘), with its gently flowing melody and soulful sentiments. The lyrics delivered by Chung Seo Yong’s sonorous voice draws what might be called a melancholy watercolor painting of the gray city’s lonely and impersonal silence. The ennui and bleak mood is punctuated by the sudden realization that a day is done as it fades out. It is one of those sadness tinged heartfelt ballads that make up a big slice of Korean pop music.
A Woman Standing in The Rain (빗속에 서있는 여자) is a Lee Jung Sun (이정선) work.
Lee is a veteran songwriter whose music goes all the way back to the 70s, spanning the genres from folk to soft rock to blues and touching on subjects of nature as well as love and other realms of personal emotions. His songs don’t try to be particularly ambitious or grand scale but nevertheless find its niche through engaging melody and ambiance, backed by good lyrics complementing them. This song talks of a woman and rain in loneliness and desperation, a staple of pop music lyrics as well as in other genres of art such as films.
The Last Blues (마지막 블루스) is another Eom In Ho (엄인호) song, this time sung by Chung Kyung Hwa (정경화). Chung is a superb vocalist who carries a lot of emotion in her sweet and tender voice with a wide range. Responsible for two of the standout numbers on this third album of Shinchon Blues, she delivers a nice nuanced performance on this heart tugging song about a sad scene of goodbye. The song appears to have the highest emotional impact of the whole album. She continued on as a solo artist producing a few hits in the 90s.
The lady singers on Shinchon Blues’ albums are the knockout contributors, without whom the project probably wouldn’t have much chance of success. They lack the kind of powerful voice American Blues singers like Etta James are known for, but make up for this shortcoming with their delicate and finely nuanced phrasing, bringing to us more pop-like blues performances with high emotional content. Combined with the creativity of the songwriters, the end result is quite impressive.