I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Katsuji Heiwa and Dark Horse -- Soemoncho Blues (宗右衛門町ブルース)

I had seen 'Soemoncho Blues' here there and everywhere, heard it being sung by Kiyoshi Maekawa (前川清) - I realise I'm getting to know many different Mood Kayo songs through him - and this other comedic Enka singer Hiroshi Kadokawa (角川博). But I hadn't listened to the original by this Mood Kayo group called Katsuji Heiwa and Dark Horse (平和勝次とダークホース) until a couple of weeks ago, partially because I had no idea that this was their song.

In fact, 'Soemoncho Blues' was their debut single, released in 1972 and became Dark Horse's first and probably also last hit since I've not noticed any other song by the group that particularly stood out, selling about 200 000 singles. Hmm, I wonder why they weren't invited to sing at the Kohaku. Not good enough?

The song revolving around a street by the name of Soemon was written by Katsuji Heiwa (平和勝次), also known as the front man of now reduced to a group of 3 - originally comprised of 5 members. And Shinichi Yamaji (山路進一) took care of the composing duties.

If you're wondering, Soemoncho is a street in the south part of Osaka, or as they call the minami part of town where most of the drinking establishments (out of other things) reside... the entertainment district, if you will. Mom always mentioned about going back to the minami area ever since we had a brief visit there. But the next time instead of Shinsaibashi, it's going to be Soemoncho. Can't miss a chance to visit a place featured in popular Mood Kayo song!

The video above looks like quite a recent performance and has the current Dark Horse line up of 3 members only. I don't know, it seems a little weird to just have 2 amigos as the backup singers. Probably because I'm too used to seeing at least 4 and not just 2.


  1. Hi, Noelle

    Just judging from Katsuji's vocal style, I could also imagine Shinichi Mori covering "Soemoncho Blues". The song has that classic Mood Kayo style with the bluesy trumpet and the nomiya-friendly arrangement in the vocals and music.

  2. Hi J-Canuck,

    I didn't really expect Katsuji to sing in that particular manner - husky and now that you mention it, kinda like Mori. I'm not sure why, but I was anticipating someone with a smoother vocal delivery.

    Mori covering 'Soemoncho blues'... although I don't think I have come across a video of him singing this Mood Kayo tune with many covers yet (I may have over looked it), I'm sure he would have sung it over the course of his long career, especially since Katsuji and Mori seem to have a similar singing style.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.