최숙자 / 숙자 최 - Choi Sook-Ja / Choi Suk-Ja
CD1 1 눈물의 연평도 / Yeonpyeongdo ? of Tears
2 모녀기타 / Mother and daughter
3 그러긴가요 / Is that so?
4 초립동 / CP
5 약산진달래 / Low Mountain Rhododendron
6 요핑게 조핑게 / Yoping (?) crab
7 날라리 바람 / Breeze
8 개나리 처녀 / Lillies
9 목포의 눈물/ Forsythia Maiden
10 대한팔경 / Mokpo tears
11 망태 목동 / About eight scenes
12 봄맞이 / Shepherd's mess
13 뗏목 2천리 / Spring
14 새 노랫가락 / A new song
CD2 15 나룻배 처녀 / Ferry Maiden
16 홍도화 / Safflower
17 백지의 연서 / A blank book
18 눈물의 압록강 / Yalu (?) of Tears
19 두 여인 / Two women
20 환멸의 눈물이여 / Tears of disillusionment
21 매화꽃 지는 밤 / Plum blossom at night
22 삼다도 소식 / Sedado News
23 청춘의 알섬 / Southern Eggs
24 눈물의 쌍고동 / Double Beat of Tears
25 불효녀 / Ineffective woman
26 나나의 노래 / Nana's Song
27 아리랑 아가씨 / Arirang Babes
28 언젠가 어머니라 불러다오 / Call me Mother some day
The generation after the Trot and old time music styled music who took over the scene often continued with the few remains of old Korean music and built an empire of new popular music around it. Choi Sook-Ja is one such people who sung in this area. This a compilation of her recordings. Some of it is arranged with something more of a mambo-jazz band or with some of the older Trot traditions of arrangements.
Many tracks if not all tracks of CD1 are re-takes of old recordings, recorded at a later date of Choi Sook-Ja's career. The recordings have a good production and sound.
I assume CD2 is a compilation of older recordings. Trot still dominates the whole collection and therefore is not recommended to western listeners when you're not a fan of the genre. Exceptions that already show a certain small difference (through exotic rhythms and small use of electric guitar for instance) are 삼다도 소식 / "Sedado News" -turning towards mambo-. Also in 나나의 노래 / "Nana's Song" the band arrangements takes a step towards this "exotic" new influence.
Tracks with * I consider essential listens, also very suitable for western radioshow airplay. Only underlined tracks without * can be considered interesting tracks as well.
KBS Media 최숙자 골든 / Choi Sook-Ja Golden 2CD 013.05.15
유성기로 듣던 가요사 두번째 / Second Generation Meteor Singers (1945~1960)
CD1-17 황해도(黃海道) 아가씨 / Yellow river lady
CD1-18 백지(白紙)의 연서(戀書) / A collection of white papers
CD1-7 가는 봄 오는 봄 / Spring is coming
with 백설희 / Baek-Sul Hee
On "Yellow River Lady" there's some variety in the arrangements in the intro, but still, the song remains mainstream trot music. In it, the voice convinces in its expression within its 'traditional' genre. "A collection of white paper" is basically electric guitar with accordion and harmonious texturing orchestral arrangements, mainstream trot, with nice extra small solos by flute and electric guitar. Also here Choi Sook Ja's voice is convincing enough within its genre. "Spring is Coming" is a duet with Baek Sul Hee. It is arranged with a rather filmic introduction, with piano and string orchestra. Also this is mainstream trot. Its parts with orchestral arrangements are more worked out and full in sound as usual, while the song parts are arranged sparsely, with some echo on the voice.
CD11-14 나나의 노래 / Nana's song -mambo (?) influence-
The extra mambo or exotic influence in the orchestral arrangements uplift the trot genre somewhat. The colorful rhythms mixed with the orchestral arrangements work well, giving an extra more powerful voice to the song.
CD12-1 죄(罪)없는 죄인(罪人) / Sinless sinner (1959)
"Sinless Sinner" is a trot song with full orchestra, as a continuation of the genre with roots in the 30s and in fact in Japanese enka-like music, it has also a true Korean way and history of its own. It is a fine example of the genre from a later date (late 50s).
Tracks with * I consider essential listens or classics, also very suitable for western radioshow airplay. Tracks that are only underlined, without *, might be considered interesting tracks as well, for various reasons.
도미도 베스트 컬렉션 100 VOL.1 / 50-60 Domido
CD4 5 내고향 편지 / My home letter -mambo-
* CD4 10 나룻배 처녀 / Ferry maiden
"My home letter" totally transferred the trot genre through its mambo influence in rhythm. The use of some electric guitar is sounding nice to it as well. "Ferry Maiden" is a nice mambo ? track too, while the song is based upon an older song. It is a very good choice out of the repertoire of the singer.
가요(歌謠) 박물관 / Music Museum: 220 Best
CD2-16 눈물의 연평도 / Island of Tears (1964)
"Island of Tears" has and well worked out nice string, accordion and flute arrangements, still is a mainstream trot song.
CD4-19 갑돌이와 갑순이 / Gap Soon & Gap Soon (1966)
with 김세레나 / Kim Serena
This is a Korean traditional, a light performance with two vocalists with parts of nice extra small orchestral arrangements.
CD9-20 모녀기타 / Mother & Daughter's differences (1964)
This is mainstream trot with picked electric guitar and accordion lead, some sparse clarinet and a calm rhythm.
Outside my own CD collection I have checked around some extra 65 recordings (for an extra recording time of 3,30 hour). In this collection most of it is absolute mainstream trot, in which almost every song sounds like a repetition of the previous track, with little musical creativity.
어디로 가야하나 / Where should I go
* 열두줄사연 / Twelve lines
눈물의 낙동강 / Nakdong River of Tears -chachacha-
미남 마도로스 / Handsome Madoros
릉도 뱃사공 / Ulleungdo Boatman -rumba-
* 즐거운 림보 / Happy limbo -mambo-
제2 대전부르스 / The Second World War
A few tracks on this collection show something different. A couple of tracks slightly turn the orchestra towards exotic rhythms (rumba, mambo,..) without choosing to dominate with it. A great example of such an exotic improvement is 어디로 가야하나 / Where should I go. A much better example is 열두줄사연 / Twelve lines -with an exotic rhythm take on traditional Korean folk-. But once it is chose to incorporate these new styles, it surely improves the trot core. First we have 눈물의 낙동강 / Nakdong River of Tears -chachacha-, then 미남 마도로스 / Handsome Madoros -a combination what sounds like rumba with trot-. Nice also is 울릉도 뱃사공 / Ulleungdo Boatman -rumba-. And we also have the great influences of mambo, like 즐거운 림보 / Happy limbo -mambo- (a winner) Another slight oddity is 제2 대전부르스 / The Second World War -with a small blues and jazz influence added to the trot genre-
For foreigners I prefer to suggest to avoid this singer for she hardly surpasses the obvious territory of trot, rather is completely melted with it. The genre of where it was taken by her, from the 50s into the 60s with a better balanced formula sound can be charming in a nostalgic way, as a carpet of songs. Without any surprise anywhere. Or hard to find.
Wikipedia: "Almost 100 years have passed since Trot was born. The distinct singing style of the genre has developed continuously. Trot music got its shape in rhythms during Japanese colonial rule. After the liberation of the Korean peninsula and the Korean War (1950-1953), talented artists like Lee Mi-Ja, Choi Sook-ja, Bae Ho, Nam Jin, Na Hun-a, Joo Hyun-mi and many others contributed to make Trot popular."