Caught NHK's "Nodo Jiman"（のど自慢）earlier this afternoon and it looks like that bell ringer was in a pretty snotty mood. I don't think he gave the full ring of approval until almost halfway through the show, and it turned out to be for an elderly lady singing an old Hibari Misora（美空ひばり）chestnut.
It was indeed a fine rendition so I decided to look up this song "Omae ni Horeta" (I've Fallen For You) and was surprised to find out that it was created for the Grande Dame of Kayo Kyoku in 1980. Although I know that Misora sang right to the end of her days at the end of the 1980s, my impression was that most of her classic enka songs were from the 1960s. But this particular song has that certain grandness of some of those old hits such as "Yawara"（柔）and the male point of view but with the topic this time being the simple reaction of falling in love.
However, along with the grandeur, I also noticed an underlayer of gentleness in "Omae ni Horeta" as if the protagonist here wasn't exactly the youngest buck in the forest but an older and more courteous sort who's fallen in love with a lady who may be the proprietress of the local nomiya. There's not so much hormonally-fueled lust in the guy's eyes than there is a wistful interest in the lass.
Released in February 1980, the ballad was written by Takashi Taka（たかたかし）and composed by Koji Tokuhisa（徳久広司）who had tried his hand at singing for about a year in the mid-1970s before deciding making songs was more his forte. "Omae ni Horeta" ranked up there at No. 43 on Oricon.
I guess it has been that mixture of gusto and gentility that has made the song a favourite for enka singers since Misora's original version. Aya Shimazu（島津亜矢）has given it a fine go.
And so has Natsuko Godai（伍代夏子）. I've also enjoyed the various versions for the fact that the singers have been given the chance to plumb the lower registers of their voices.