Last week, I was having another one of my chats with JTM, and he was telling about his latest purchases. He told me that one purchase was a Hako Yamasaki（山崎ハコ）album. I knew about the singer since I've seen her evidence of her music on YouTube a number of times and so I naturally assumed that I had already written about her on "Kayo Kyoku Plus".
Well, score one for faulty memory. Scrolling down the Labels, I realized that I had yet to put up a single song by the singer/songwriter. Oops! It's time to rectify that situation.
I think this will make up for my boo-boo. I found her 2nd album "Tsunawatari"（綱渡り...Tightrope Walking）from May 1976 and boy, the opening track is amazing. "Mukaikaze" (Headwind) is definitely a keeper. I was automatically entranced by the electric piano and guitar starting things off and holding court throughout, but it is indeed Yamasaki's vocals delivering a story about the freedom of life on the street and people-watching that had me wondering about life in Tokyo during that decade. This is the type of song that I would actually like to try a tumbler of whisky with.
It's just been the one song so far, but I think Yamasaki has a voice that straddles nicely between raw and smooth. It can become soft and velvety at one point and then strong and throaty but not gravelly. At all times, though, it is resonant.
Yamasaki was born and raised in Oita Prefecture but then moved to Yokohama in her mid-teens. Through a contest, she got into the music business and released her first album "Tobimasu"（飛・び・ま・す...I Will Fly）in 1975. Right then and there, she was compared with another singer with a distinct voice, Miyuki Nakajima（中島みゆき）. Up to 2016, she has released 24 singles and 26 original albums.