Congratulations to Respect Records, a record company we have worked with for the entire 20 years. Kenichi Takahashi has selected 20 tracks for this anniversary compilation. Here's my notes included in the CD booklet.
There arent many record companies like Respect Records. And there arent many people like Kenichi Takahashi, the indefatigable owner, founder and president. Respect Records and Takahashi san are of course wholly intertwined. The personality of Takahashi san shines through in the releases of his record company. At times joyous and uplifting; at other times rather sensitive and emotional. Everything is governed by his passion for music, his taste extending from personal favourites such as Bob Dylan to the music of Okinawa and Hawaii, two islands that have featured heavily in the labels now extensive catalogue.
Takahashi san is also very much a peoples person, and this is another aspect of his personality that sets Respect Records apart. An artist on Respect Records gets treated with respect, dignity, and humility. Most, Im sure, love his effervescence, optimism, and his contagious sense of humour. Ive been lucky enough to work with him a few times, and witness first hand the bond of trust he builds with musicians, and the care he affords them. That care comes in useful when he has had to deal with elderly musicians over the years such as Ray Kane and Seijin Noborikawa, both, sadly, no longer with us. Thats another important role Respect has played; recording the music of these great musicians so it can be preserved and heard by future generations.
That doesnt mean he has been afraid to give young musicians a chance, whether Japanese or foreign. Some have used the exposure as a springboard for further opportunities, while others have become virtual constants on the label. Not all releases are original recordings, but Respect has licensed a carefully selected roster of foreign artists to release in Japan. Some, including many from France in recent years, have been to Japan for live shows and promotion, an experience for them that goes beyond mere music.
Getting the music out there and heard is another great strength of Respect. Takahashi san has put endless hours into promoting his releases with great enthusiasm to record stores, magazines, newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, airline companies, and anyone else, whether big or small, who might help spread the word.
In a way, everyone- the artists, the media, the listeners, the distributors, the record store buyers, the photographers, the sound engineers, the staff past and present, and not forgetting his wife, Eri, have all taken part in the wonderful journey of Respect Records. Takahashi san has touched the lives of many people in many positive ways. Thank you and congratulations to Respect Records and Takahashi san on the last 20 years. And heres to the next 20!
20 tracks by artists including Seijin Noborikawa and Sadao China, Takashi Hirayasu and Bob Brozman, Ryukyu Underground, Soul Flower Union, Wataru Okuma Unit, Hashken, Zaz, Daniel Colin, Sonny Chillingworth, Elodia Kane & Ledward Kapana, S.E. Rogie.