Hideo Murata (村田英雄) just uttering that one word and staring into the camera was enough to give me goosebumps and forced an "Awww..." out of me.
A Murata song. Made me go "Awww...". Whaaaaat?
In many of the works I know and love from my favourite enka tough guy, both the scores and Murata's growling either have me visualizing a badass with a violently hot temper, or a powerful man in a high position you wouldn't want to cross. Listening to them also brings out the confidence in me. Then we have "Meoto Shunju". It doesn't really empower me as much as it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside, which I find interesting in a surprising way for a Muchi tune. Similar to Hachi's "Hyotan Boogie" (瓢箪ブギ), I'm quite certain that this veteran singer had works similar to "Meoto Shunju", but I don't readily associate him to the fluffy side of enka.
With Murata's delivery still being gruff here, I picture the ruffian I just mentioned, who fears nothing and picks a fight with everything and anything, tamed and showing his soft spot for the woman he loves. Beauty and The Beast anyone? Shinichi Sekizawa's (関沢新一) lyrics also had Muchi highlighting the obstacles that the young couple faces, like being strapped for cash, but managing to pull through with a smile on their faces because they have each other. One wonders if this sort of links to Murata's own personal experience since he also tied the knot at the tender age of 18 with a rokyoku practitioner by the name of Imari Yoshida (吉田伊万里). But y'know, just a thought. Composing "Meoto Shunju" was Shosuke Ichikawa (市川昭介) - no wonder that elegant score with those strings and synths sounded familiar.
"Meoto Shunju" was released in July 1967 and was made to commemorate Muchi's ten years in the music business. I'm not sure whether it did well on the year itself, but it made a resurgence twelve years later in 1979 where it managed to reach 52nd place on the Oricon charts, selling about 170 000 copies and getting the "Special Award" at the Japan Lyricists Award in that year. Eventually, it became a million seller, which makes it the 6th work by Ichikawa to become a million seller.