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.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Sueo Masuzawa -- Saraba Haiseiko(さらばハイセイコー)

A long time ago back in the 20th century as a young pudgy lad in Toronto, my family used to go down to the local horse racetrack known as Greenwood Raceway by Lake Ontario and watch the races down there. The highlights, aside from the actual races, were making origami boats and cranes out of discarded tickets and the pizza sold there that tasted like cheese and pepperoni baked onto cardboard (mind you, fibre is important for good health).

When I was writing the article on Salty Sugar's "Hashire Koutarou"(走れコウタロー)in early November, I also discovered this song called "Saraba Haiseiko" (Farewell Haiseiko). It's an enka that stands out since it was written and composed as a tribute to a champion racehorse called Haiseiko (1970-2000), and the performer himself wasn't a singer by profession, but a racing jockey and a horse trainer by the name of Sueo Masuzawa(増沢末夫)who was the main jockey for Haiseiko.

"Saraba Haiseiko" was released on New Year's Day 1975 as a song in commemoration of Haiseiko's retirement, and I have to say that if Masuzawa had ever decided to leave the racing industry, I think that he could have become a pretty decent enka singer. The introductory trumpets are a nice touch as they resemble the horns that I remember hearing at Greenwood. And the overall melody by Kosho Inomata(猪俣公章)is a proud anthem for the champion horse given by his partner-in-arms (or saddle, as it were).

The creation of the song was definitely kept in the family, so to speak. The lyrics were provided by Iwao Kosaka(小坂巌), a horse racing journalist, with assistance by songwriter Takao Yamada(山田孝雄). "Saraba Haiseiko" made it up all the way to No. 4 on Oricon and finished the year as the 37th-ranked single.

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