Now where have I heard this before? Taiko, Kokura, Muhomatsu. Even some portions of the strings in the Kosho Inomata (猪俣公章)-composed melody sound familiar... Ah! That's right, Hideo Murata's "Muhomatsu no Issho" (無法松の一生)! I wonder if "Abare Taiko" is some sort of tribute to her predecessor's own debut. It's either that or the Muhomatsu franchise just has a penchant for songs based on it to sound like that. I'd like to think it's the former.
Just like "Muhomatsu no Issho", Fuyumi Sakamoto's debut single has got a manly edge and the taiko adds more power to the intense score. Even Sakamoto's muscular delivery nicely depicts the violent character that is Matsugoro. But I have to say that it seems to have lost some of the intimidating factor with the acoustic guitar in it, which mellows the otherwise abrasive song. No matter though, it's still a cool tune and I can imagine Murata having a go at "Abare Taiko". Accompanying Inomata's composition was Takashi Taka's (たかたかし) lyrics.
"Abare Taiko" was released on 4th March 1987 and was quite well recieved, as seen by the "Newcomer Award" and "Best Newcomer Award" Sakamoto managed to bag at the 29th Japan Record Awards and the 20th Japan Cable Awards respectively. She had sung "Abare Taiko" on 46th edition of the Kohaku in 1995, as well as the 54th one in 2003. I wouldn't mind if it were to be sung again this year. Sakamoto's 2nd single, "Abare Taiko ~ Muhomatsu Ichidai Iri ~" (あばれ太鼓〜無法一代入り〜), which is in the video below, has an extra excerpt that - I think - includes more stuff on Muhomatsu.
Wow, Sakamoto playing the Taiko?! Even though she got emotional at the end, dang, she's one cool lady! Hmm, I believe she's the first female enka singer I've ever primarily described as "cool", rather than "demure"/"elegant". I mean, she is also those but I see her as more of the former.
Kokura Nadai wa Muhomatsu (小倉名代は無法松) - can't really disagree when songs that have Kokura (city) in them inadvertently feature Muhomatsu. Or should that be the other way round?