domingo, 2 de março de 2014
VIDA DE MINHA VIDA - ATAULFO ALVES VOL. 1
Ataulfo Alves 1993 Revivendo (RVCD 086)
1 Sexta-feira (Almirante, 1933)
2 Saudades do meu barracão (Floriano Belham, 1935)
3 O coração não envelhece (Ataulfo Alves e Seu Estado Maior, 1950)
4 Teus olhos (Aurora Miranda, 1939)
5 Mulher, toma juízo (Gilberto Alves, 1938)
6 Canção do nosso amor (Déo. 1939)
7 Não irei lhe buscar (Ataulfo Alves e Suas Pastoras, 1944)
8 Fale mal, mas fale de mim (Aracy de Almeida. 1939)
9 Até breve (Sylvio Caldas, 1937)
10 Vida de minha vida (Ataulfo Alves, 1949)
11 Mensageiro da saudade (Elisete Cardoso, 1950)
12 Eu não sabia (Anjos do Inferno, 1943)
13 Rainha da beleza (Orlando Silva, 1937))
14 Mártir no amor (Ataulfo Alves e Suas Pastores, 1945)
15 Mulher do Seu Oscar (Odete Amaral, 1940)
16 Mil corações (Nuno Roland, 1938)
17 Quanta tristeza! (Carlos Galhado, 1937)
18 Quem me deve me paga (Ataulfo e Suas Pastores, 1956)
19 Errei sim (Dalva de Oliveira, 1950)
20 Pelo amor que eu tenho a ela (Francisco Alves, 1936)
21 Pai Joaquim d'Angola (Ataulfo Alves e Suas Pastoras, 1955)
Produced by Leon Barg
Engineering - Ayrton Pisco
Recordings originally made for the following labels: Odeon, RCA Victor, Columbia, Star, and Sínter
Ataulfo Alves was a badass. He was one of a rare handfull of samba composers of his generation who also had a successful career as a recording artist at the same time, and was amazing in both roles. He had striking good looks and stage charisma, a marvelous singing voice, and his arrangements of his own tunes are some of the funkiest things you'll hear from the golden age of samba. These two volumes from Revivendo (a label that is to older "Velha Guarda" music what Chronological or Yazoo are to U.S. music) do a fantastic job of presenting some of his own recordings alongside hits by huge icons of the day like Francisco Alves, Silvio Caldas, Aracy de Almeida, Almirante, Orlando Silva and others. They all bring tremendous vivacity to his work. Both Carmen Miranda AND her sister Aurora are represented. Another rarity of note is one side of Elizete Cardoso's very first 78 rpm recording. Apparently the release was recalled "for technical reasons" (no idea what that means), and no indication is given of what was used for this CD - in spite of the date being 1950, the sound is much worse than the tracks dating from the 30s. Anyway it is cool to have it.
I love the Revivendo label. The sound is typically very good, avoiding the pitfalls of trying to "polish" these old gems with heavy-handed noise reduction and so on. I wish they would hire a decent graphic designer, though.
Ataulfo deserves a long blog post celebrating his life and work. But it is carnaval right this second and what are you doing at home on the internet anyway? If you aren't in a carnivalesque country, at least put on some music and dance around your room.
It is hard to pick a few tunes off this for a short playlist because, seriously, they are all great. But here are a few, including one performed by the Anjos do Inferno, a group whose name translates into "Hell's Angels" which is kind of funny since they couldn't be more temporally or culturally removed from the biker gang or from Roger Corman exploitation flicks. These are Hells Angels you could invite over for tea.
domingo, 16 de fevereiro de 2014
Caetano Veloso and Banda Black Rio
Bicho Baile Show (1978)
4. London, London
5. Na Baixa do Sapateiro
6. Leblon via Vaz Lobo
7. Maria fumaça
8. Two Naira fifty Kobo
10. Alegria, alegria
12. Caminho da roça
13. Qualquer coisa
14. Chuva, suor e cerveja
Producedy by Caetano Veloso and Banda Black Rio. Recorded by Mazola at the Teatro Carlos Gomes, Rio de Janeiro, 1978
Long-time readers of this blog may be surprised to see this post, because there seems to be a mistaken assumption that I somehow strongly dislike work of Caetano Veloso. This is not true but is a direct result of my "trolling" the public, and particularly the gringo public, by saying that I in general I would rather reach for a Jorge Ben record, any day of the week, over most Caetano records. That statement was actually about Jorge Ben and the degree to which his music has not been regarded as "culturally significant" art as has someone like Veloso, but the ensuing comment thread turned into something completely different. I still stand by the original statement, but I gave up "trolling" in my New Years Resolutions, so why not let's have a blog post that treats Caetano a bit more seriously than all that.
In recent years it is not uncommon to hear fans of Caetano employing a "you have to be able separate the art from the artist" argument, which puts him in the same uneasy company as famous film directors accused of child molestation or rape, so I'm not sure if that is a line of reasoning that works for him in the long run. And the fact is that this kind of compartmentalization might be more valid if the man himself didn't insist on being such a public figure, and continuously baiting the Brazilian public with polemical statements. Why can't he just be the reclusive genius I want him to be? Well, if he did that, then he also wouldn't really be Caetano. Fair enough. But artists who make a point to that kind of high profile are also fair game for a little malicious snark from the likes of bloggers, especially when these artists start spouting reactionary inanities and conservative bullshit. Granted he has not gone all Ted Nugent or anything (yet) but in the words of one Frank Vincent Zappa (in self-parody), "shut up and play your guitar" already. Even Caetano's own mother wished he would shut up and stop giving interviews. I could ignore his provocations more easily if it didn't seem partly a maneuver to stay "relevant" in the public eye long after his stopped creating music of any real consequence, records that more often than not are embarrassing to listen to, with attempts to sound contemporary by singing Nirvana songs, or "rapping" on his mediocre 'Tropicália 2' record with Gil, or be "alternative" by channeling 1980s U2 in a record made in the late-2000s. When Bob Dylan suddenly converted to evangelical Christianity, he made a fantastic gospel-tinged album, so it was easier for me to swallow whatever nonsense was going on with him personally. Perhaps this will sound laden with "ageism", but flailing around on stage like a ragdoll and writhing on stage in near-fetal position (c.f. the film of Phono 73, his performance of "Asa Branca") is perhaps edgy performance art when you are in your twenties and its 1973 (emphasis on "perhaps", by the way), but running around the stage and out into the audience and high-fiving audience members like some kind of faux-Tropical-Springsteen when you reach your 60s just seems kind of desperate (c.f. Caetano on his tour for the album "Cê"
Iconoclasm has always been a major weapon in Caetano's trick bag, and for the most part it has served a useful and important function, engaging with contemporary debates about culture and authenticity and subverting orthodoxies. He did this during the televised song festivals when he and Gilberto Gil "went electric" in the moment of Tropicália, angering cultural nationalists who thought of electric guitars as weapons of imperialism; He did this during the Phono 73 concert by bringing Odair José, a famous singer of so-called "low quality" romantic pop-rock or brega on stage for a duet of one of Odair's big compositions of the day; and he did it with his album Bicho from 1977 and the live show that promoted it. Now regarded almost universally as a classic of 1970s post-Tropicália MPB, it may be difficult for the outsider to fathom how it could have caused controversy or polemic in it's day. Many critics and cultural gatekeepers seemed to hate it. In an echo of complaints from similar quarters ten years earlier, objections were raised to his appropriation of "foreign" sounds, in this case funk or disco (sort of, but only from a disco-phobic perspective). In fact both Bicho and Gilberto Gil's Refavela were inspired by a trip to Lagos, Nigeria, for the Festival of Black Arts in 1977. Gil's record has a proto-world beat sound to it, and is celebratory, energetic, and uplifting in the way you might expect. Bicho on the other hand tended to be more ponderous, sonically murky, and emotionally mood, but also full of inspired songs with engaging arrangements and brilliant lyrics (this goes without saying for Caetano, and is the one saving grace on even his most musically stale records). (** see the important note at the bottom if you've never heard this album..)
I'm not sure how much of the live show for Bicho was planned before the album was released, or if the show was Caetano's way of upping the ante even further with his detractors. For his backing band he chose the ensemble Banda Black Rio. Now, I happen to like Banda Black Rio quite a bit, but once again here was a group that challenged what it meant to make "Brazilian music" and had some commercial success while doing it (which music critics from seemingly all countries repeatedly used to marginalize or ignore certain kinds of music during the 70s and 80s). Stylistically they shared as many similarities with Earth Wind and Fire or The Crusaders as they did with Dorival Caymmi, making largely instrumental records filled with jazz-funk-fusion which they tempered with dendê and coconut.
I remember when I first heard about the existence of this record and was so excited to hear it, only to feel a big disappointment. Had I just set my expectations too high? Maybe but I don't think that's all of it. I think it is more that this collaboration was one of those ideas that sounds better on paper. At first listen the whole show sounds almost kind of unrehearsed, but the musicianship is of course impeccable and there's not really a note out of place - Brazilian musicians of this caliber just don't "do" unrehearsed. Maybe it was over-rehearsed to death, then? It's not so much like polishing a diamond as sanding all the facets down. Banda Black Rio were maybe just incapable of injecting the needed emotion into their playing to make these collaboration work. Their own first few albums were, by and large, instrumental affairs. Several of the tunes here have these wonderfully moody intro bits that make you think you are about to hear some seriously heavy stuff, and then the song kicks in and just kind of stays at a plateau of sameness. They get several pieces all to themselves where they stretch out and do that thing they do - playing classics of the canon like Ary Barroso's "Na baixo do sapateiro" and Luiz Gonzaga's "Baião" and turning them into funky rumb-shakers wherein their soloists let loose their formidable jazz chops. It's a shame they can't muster the same level of presence into the material with Caetano, because these are some of his best songs. The opening cut Odara ought to literally blow us away, but it just lacks the urgency of the album version, a track that is most likely the deepest funk Caetano has ever put his name to. This live version sounds like Caetano performing with a pickup band in a casino, albeit in 1978 which means I still would have thoroughly enjoyed it. Interestingly the next track, the mellow Tigressa, comes across much more convincingly and could be (or could have been:?) my favorite thing on the whole record. Perhaps because Caetano's acoustic guitar sets the pace - the guy is a master of lilting downtempo stuff like this that isn't quite a ballad but simmers along nicely. His astoundingly well-crafted lyrics, and his way of working a melody all sustain this evocative portrait, and then Banda Black Rio even manage to fuck that all up by going into double-time at the end of the tune, instead of just staying in the same tempo and laying into it, swinging it a little harder. These guys could have benefited from a summer camp retreat with Isaac Hayes (hell, who couldn't?). Now although I am putting the blame on them them here, I will admit that I wasn't hanging around at the rehearsals, and I have no doubt in my mind that the arrangement would not be this way if Caetano wasn't okay with it. In fact he may have insisted on it: here again might be that particular aspect of his iconoclasm that starts to try my patience, pushing an idea farther than it probably deserves to go in the interest of his larger masterplan, turning on the boogie with a song that plainly doesn't need it.
"London, London", his most famous tune from his "exile" recorded under the colors of the Union Jack, works far better than it ought to given all the above circumstances. Enough to rekindle my hope for this venture. It's solid. Then three consecutive instrumentals from Banda Black Rio while Caetano goes backstage or maybe out in the alleyway to have sex in a taxi cab (he is fond of getting it on in taxi cabs, as seen here in this 1983 film). BBB sounds damn good here on both the originals and reinterpretations. Then comes another tune that seems ON PAPER like it would work really well. "Two Naira Fifty Kobo" is one of my favorite songs on "Bicho," and this ... just... doesn't... work. Mind you, I saw Caetano perform the same song twenty-two years later with a different arrangement and that one sucked too. Maybe I am just being a bastard here - How he dare he mess with MY song! It's his and he can do what he wants with it, fair enough. When I saw that show I thought his rendition of the song was watered-down and tepid and a product of a decade of drifting towards 'world music'-isms; had I only known this 1978 version at the time, I would have realized he had managed to water it down plenty in just a year after first recording it.
"Gente" is a song that naturally lends itself to the jazzed up execution of this band, but (not to repeat myself or anything) it just isn't anywhere near as strong as the version performed for the Doces Bárbados show. In fact this ventures into just plain cheesy territory with some of the choices of instrumental embellishments and flourishes. But wait, there's more - you haven't yet heard the disco-funk interpretation of the song that forever changed the course of contemporary Brazilian music, "Alegria Alegria," the anthem of Tropicália. At this point I begin to suspect that Caetano is just trolling us and trying to piss people off. (And hence, I don't mind trolling a certain component of his devotees). Is he serious? One never knows with him. This song serves no purpose unless it is to illustrate "we did it because we can." More instrumental tunes. I'd like to think Caetano is offstage doing some blow but he was probably writing off editorials to send to the New York Times or Le Monde or something. Then he comes back and they phone in a version of Qualquer Coisa, a perfectly good song from his album of the same name, but which in this version has all the period charm of the plaid wallpaper we used to have my basement in the house where I grew up. If you looked at it while listening to music and let your focus go soft, you might sometimes have a vision of a kilted Scotsman sporting a giant afro. If only this track left such an enduring memory. Or any memory at all. I've already forgotten it. Then the album ends with a frevo, "Chuva, suor e cerveja," which I think Caetano also recorded for that carnaval album he made with a whole bunch of frevo on it, I don't remember and I'm too lazy to check right now. Hell if you actually made it this far into "Bicho Baile Show" and still care, you win the Stalwart Listener Award and I tip my hat to you.
Of course don't let ME tell you what to think, give it a spin! I feel badly now, like I should attach a motto to this blog, "Ruining Your Favorite Music Since 2008." I swear I thought I was going to write a fairly positive piece about this album when I decided to blog about it, reassuring my readers that I do in fact have a healthy appreciation for Mr. Veloso. I thought I'd pick a less obvious choice, but I guess there is a reason why this record is seldom talked about. I promise to pick a better one next time.
Fun drinking game, at least? Take a shot of your favorite artisinal cachaça (Caetano won't be having any Pitú) every time he meows like a cat or yelps like a dog! Just don't drive home, kids. Take a taxi. And hope Caetano isn't in the back making out with anybody when you climb inside.
** Note: If you have not yet had the pleasure of hearing 'Bicho', which is truly a great album, do yourself a favor and make sure you seek out the *original* mix and now the godawful travesty that is the last reissue of the record. This is not just me being a purist here - As murky as the original mix might have been in certain spots, it is far superior to what he did on remixing it. In part, that remix involved splashing everything with reverb to presumably make it sound more "modern" than the very dry 1977 mix, and the drums sound like they could have been re-recorded (although I don't think they were) with an awful gated-drum sound that could have come off a record from 1991. The result is a completely different aesthetic experience, so seek it out in its original.
terça-feira, 28 de janeiro de 2014
A Voz do Samba, Volume 2
2002 Warner Brasil (092745933-2)
2. Nervos de aço
3. Ela disse-me assim
7. Meu natal
8. Torre de babel
9. Meu barraco
11. Cadeira vazia
12. Esses moços (Pobres moços)
13. Quem há de dizer
All songs composed by Lupicínio Rodrigues, with the following tracks featuring co-authors: "Meu Barraco" with Leduvy de Pina; "Cadeira Vazia" and "Quam Há De Dizer" with Alcides Gonçalves.
Original recordings spanning from 1959 to 1987.
In my last post on Jamelão, Volume 1 of this anthology, I was pretty emphatic in my disinterest for hearing an entire hour of samba-enredos back to back, as well as my belief that the record didn't really do justice to Jamelão. The man himself would probably have disagreed with me; at least regarding the first part of this complaint, because he was in fact exalted as a master of the form of samba enredo. But I'll continue to stand by the second half of my gripe: the "Jamelão I know and love" is right here on THIS disc, which begins in the 1950s and is comprised entirely of compositions from his friend Lupicínio Rodrigues. The 50s were an auspicious time for Jamelão: he moved from the Sintér label to Discos Continental and began working with the wonderful Orchestra Tabajara, with whom he criss-crossed Brazil and made it as far as France on tour. It was while touring with Tabajara that he crossed paths with Lupicínio in Porto Alegre, and soon after the two began a partnership that would make their names practically synonymous with each other. A great many artists have recorded memorable versions of Lupicínios work, some preceding Jamelão like Orlando Silva and Francisco Alves, and many who followed him - two tracks on this collection, "Nervos de aço" and "Volta" both received impressive renditions by Paulinho da Viola and Gal Costa, respectively, which I happened to be listening to recently because I have become fixated on the magical year of 1973 for some reason. The list of other renditions of these tunes would doubtless be quite large, but it was the voice of Jamelão that made Lupicínio Rodrigues a household name and etched him in the collective consciousness. Orchestra Tabajara, who had relocated from Paraiba to Rio right about the time Jamelão approached them with songs to record, pull off some swinging performances with inventive arrangements. Pianist and bandleader Severino Araújo, could give the ubiquitous Maestro Gaya a run for his money. The brass charts are all delicious, and check out the jazzy interplay on "Vingança" or "Meu barraco."
This collection is so good that I even like the tracks recorded in the 1980s, so often a decade of embarrassment for artists whose careers began elsewhere in time. As is sadly typical of Brazilian reissues, this collection is sparse on detailed notes, apart from a brief text written by the stalwart Tarik de Souza. Seems like typical record label suits skimping on the artistic patrimony of a giant like Jamelão who deserves better. The dodgy mastering job is credited to a generic "Oficína de Áudio e Video", and some of the cuts from the 60s sound like they had reverb added to them. This was probably done to give more continuity to the collection - indeed, it is hard to distinguish what decade each song was recorded in without peeking at the credits - but this is also due as much to the infallible integrity of Jamelão and Orchestra Tabajara, without the "help" of any digital enhancement.
Sometime this year I will post some of the Continental LPs I have Jamelão. I posted about the first disc in this series here. And you can find more of his stuff at Orfãos do Loronix.
segunda-feira, 30 de dezembro de 2013
Happy New Year to everyone!
It is completely accidental, but there is a preponderance of songs from 1973 in this podcast. Perhaps for next New Years the podcast will be heavy on tunes from 1974...
Playlist will be up in about a week. My compulsive obsession about surprises and spoilers prevents me from sharing it here until every man, woman, and child has heard podcast first.
quarta-feira, 25 de dezembro de 2013
Wilson Simonal na Odeon 1961-1971
9 CD Boxset
Released on EMI, 2004
Disc 1 - Tem Algo Mais and A Nova Dimensão do Samba (1963-64)
1- TUDO DE VOCÊ
5- SAMBA CROMATICO
6- MENINA FLOR
7- LAGRIMA FLOR
8- BALANCO ZONA SUL
9- MENINO TRISTE
10- MEU COMPORTAMENTO
11- SAMBA E VERBO
12- MANHA NO POSTO SEIS
14- MAIS VALIA NAO CHORAR
15- LOBO BOBO
16- SO SAUDADE
17- ELA DIZ QUE ESTOU POR FORA
18- SAMBA DE NEGRO
19- JEITO BOM DE SOFRER
20- ELA VAI, ELA VEM
21- RAPAZ DE BEM
22- INUTIL PAISAGEM
25- MAIS VALIA NAO CHORAR
Disc 2 - Simonal and S'imbora (1965)
1- GAROTA MODERNA
2- SELECAO DE SAMBA DE ARY BARROSO
3- SO TINHA DE SER COM VOCÊ
6- AS MOCAS DO MEU TEMPO
7- RIO DO MEU AMOR
9- JUCA BOBAO
11- DUVIDO DIVIDIR
14- FICA MAL COM DEUS
15- SONHO DE CARNAVAL
16- SAMBA DO CARIOCA
17- DUAS CONTAS
18- SE TODOS FOSSEM IGUAIS A VOCÊ
19- LADEIRA DO PELOURINHO
20- BALANCO ZONA SUL
21- NOS DOIS
22- O APITO NO SAMBA
23- O TEU AMANHA
25- LADEIRA DO PELOURINHO
DISC 3 - Vou Deixa Cair and Tempos De Pilantragem (1966-67)
1- VENTO DE MAIO
2- MEU LIMAO MEU LIMOEIRO
3- O CARANGO
4- MINHA NAMORADA
5- SEM VOCÊ EU NAO VIVO
6- ENXUGUE OS OLHOS
8- A FORMIGA E O ELEFANTE
9- MAMAE PASSOU ACUCAR EM MIM
11- TEM DO
12- SAMBA DO MUG
13- SE VOCÊ GOSTOU
14- A BANDA
16- QUEM SAMBA FICA
17- MASCARA NEGRA
18- TRIBUTO A MARTIN LUTHER KING
19- DEIXA QUEM QUISER FALAR
20- ELA E DEMAIS
21- BALADA DO VIETNAM
22- O MILAGRE
DISC 4 - Show Em Simonal (1967)
1- BARRA LIMPA
3- THE SHADOW OF YOUR SMILE
4- CANTIGA BRAVA
5- ESTRELA PRINCIPAL
6- ROCINHA ESTUPIDA (SOMETHING STUPID)
8- O MORRO NAO TEM VEZ
9- O QUE FACO P´RA ESQUECER
10- PEGUEI UM ITA NO NORTE
11- UN HOMME ET UNE FEMME
12- NEM VEM QUE NAO TEM
13- MEXIRICO DA CANDINHA
14- QUEM TE VIU QUEM TE VE
17- MEU LIMAO MEU LIMOEIRO
18- TRIBUTO A MARTIN LUTHER KING
19- ESTA CHEGANDO A HORA
DISC 5 - Alegria, Alegria Volumes 1 and 2 (1967-68)
1- OS ESCRAVOS DE JO
2- AGORA E CINZA
3- VESTI AZUL
4- AOS PES DA CRUZ
6- PRA QUE ?
7- NEM VEM QUE NAO TEM
8- FIM DE SEMANA EM PAQUETA
9- PARA PEDRO
10- ESTA CHEGANDO A HORA
13- ALEGRIA, ALEGRIA
14- PATA PATA
15- SA MARINA
16- CAE CAE
18- RECRUTA BIRUTA
19- NESTE MESMO LUGAR
21- NAO TENHO LAGRIMAS
22- DE COMO UM GAROTO APAIXONADO PERDOOU POR CAUSA DE UM DOS MANDAMENTOS
23- CARTAO DE VISITA
25- GOSTO TANTO DE VOCÊ
26- VAMOS S'IMBORA
27- NAMORADINHA DE UM AMIGO MEU
DISC 6 - Alegria, Alegria Volumes 3 and 4 (1969)
1- SILVIA LENHEIRA
2- MUSTANG COR DE SANGUE
3- MENININHA DO PORTAO
5- PRECE AO VENTO
6- WHAT YOU SAY
8- ALELUIA, ALELUIA
9- MAMAE EU QUERO
10- MEIA-VOLTA (ANA CRISTINA)
11- PENSANDO EM TI
12- ATIRA A PRIMEIRA PEDRA
13- MULHER DE MALANDRO
14- SE VOCÊ PENSA
16- PORQUE HOJE E DOMINGO
19- OLHO D'AGUA
20- CANCAO DA CRIANCA
21- EU FUI NO TORORO
22- QUE MARAVILHA
23- UMA LOIRA
24- QUEM MANDOU
25- PAÍS TROPICAL
26- ADIOS, MUCHACHO v
DISC 7 - Simonal and Jóia (1970-71)
1- SEM ESSA
2- DESTINO E DESATINO DE SEVERINO NONÔ NA CIDADE DE SAO SEBASTIAO DO RIO DE JANEIRO ( OH YEAH! )
3- COMIGO E ASSIM
4- O MUNDO IGUAL DE CADA UM
5- SISTEMA NERVOSO
6- NA BAIXA DO SAPATEIRO
7- MORO NO FIM DA RUA
8- DEIXA O MUNDO E O SOL ENTRAR
9- AI VOCE COMECA A CHORAR
10- NAO TEM SOLUCAO
11- NA TONGA DA MIRONGA DO KABULETÊ
13- AFRICA, AFRICA
14- DE NOITE NA CAMA
16- IMPOSSIVEL ACREDITAR QUE PERDI VOCE
18- TUDO E MAGNÍFICO
19- LAMPIAO EM PROSA E VERSO
20- GAROA DIFERENTE
21- VOCÊ ABUSOU
22- NA GALHA DO CAJUEIRO
DISCs 8 and 9 - Singles, lados B e raridies (Singles, B-sides, and rarities)
2- BIKINIS E BORBOLETAS
3- EU TE AMO
4- BEIJA MEU BEM
5- TEM QUE BALANCAR
6- OLHOU PRA MIM
7- ESTA NASCENDO UM SAMBA
8- GAROTA LEGAL (You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby)
9- FALE DE SAMBA QUE EU VOU
10- WALK RIGHT IN
11- SO DANCO SAMBA
12- NAO PODE SER
13- EU SOU MAIS EU
14- DE MANHA
15- DAS ROSAS
16- CUIDADO CANTOR
17- TA POR FORA
18- MAMAE PASSOU ACUCAR EM MIM
19- MAMAE PASSOU ACUCAR EM MIM ( Versao em Espanhol inedita )
20- A PRACA
21- SAMBA DO CRIOULO DOIDO
22- A ROSA DA RODA
1- TEREZINHA DE JESUS
2- A SAUDADE MATA A GENTE
4- PAÍS TROPICAL
5- ECCO IL TIPO CHE IO CERCAVO
6- NO CLARAO DA LUA CHEIA
7- AS MENININHAS DO LEBLON
9- EU SONHEI QUE TU ESTAVAS TAO LINDA
10- AQUI E O PAÍS DO FUTEBOL 11- HINO DO FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DA CANCAO
12- CANCAO Nº21
13- QUE CADA UM CUMPRA COM O SEU DEVER
15- BRASIL EU FICO
16- OBRIGADO PELE
17- O XOTE DAS MENINAS
19- A NOITE DO MEU BEM
Nearly-complete artwork (booklet will not scan)
Composer credits embedded in ID tags
Correct Portuguese orthographic characters in ID tags
This box is out of print
So a few days ago, stuck in a mire of holiday malaise, I considered closing this blog completely. Five years is a long time to keep one of these things going, even though I don't update it as often as I would like. I took it offline temporarily, and the only way to do that was to "restrict" access to blog authors, but the settings here made it look like it became an invitation-only place. Don't worry, you were not excluded from the club, it was just a party of one.
I reconsidered. Thanks to M. for being reasonable when I couldn't manage it, and to the handful of people who sent messages. They were much appreciated.
To make up for the brief lapse in judgment, I am sharing this behemoth of a boxset. I have contemplated doing to many, many times, but always felt this massive burden of having to write some insightful and elegiac homage to Simonal and so I never felt up to the task. This is in addition to feeling like I had to write reviews of every album here. The guy was putting out two records a year for a ten-year span, so excuse me if this write-up consists only of saying "Hey this is really good and you should check it out." Simonal had been one of Brazil's most popular singers before some unfortunate altercations with his accountant and/or the military government put him on the wrong side of history for a few decades. A documentary film about his career as well as this boxset - both mostly spearheaded by his sons - managed to reset the scales of justice a little. The guy was a force of nature, with a croony swagger that could evoke casino show-biz performances, chilling on the beach, or cruising in your favorite fashionable low-mileage automobile. This is the part of the write-up where I could just start dropping names to emphasize how important he was, so why not just get right to it - Carlos Imperial, Elis Regina, Som Três and César Camargo Mariano, Orlandivo, Stockhausen, Jorge Ben ... Mug.
I am not even going to try and start singling stuff out, because some internaut hipster will inevitably come along and leave comments to the effect of "I can't believe you didn't mention X, Y, or Z, which is so obviously the best thing here yadda yadda", like some people did for the Marcos Valle posts I did a few years ago. And then I would start thinking about closing the blog again. So to hell with it, it's Christmas, you got this stuffed in your stocking and if that's not enough then I can insert a piece of coal in your orifice of choice.
This is a lot of music. It will take anyone a while to digest it. One of these days I might start posting some needledrops of individual records, as I have mono pressings of some of these that sound quite different - in those days, a stereo hi-fi was basically a piece of furniture with speakers built in, so stereo panning tended to be quite dramatic by today's standards. I think the mono mixes have a little more UMPH in many cases. So whenever I get around to that, I will give more individualized comments on these records.
Did I mention this is filled with rarities? Almost every disc has some bonus tracks, and then the final 2-CD set is entirely comprised of - you guessed it! - singles, B-sides, and rarities. In some cases this means we get versions of the same song in Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian by who cares.
sábado, 21 de dezembro de 2013
Christmas With John Fahey, Volume II
1. Oh Holy Night
2. Christmas Medley: Oh Tannenbaum, Angels We Have Heard On High, Jingle Bells
3. Russian Christmas Overture
4. White Christmas
5. Carol Of The Bells
6. Christmas Fantasy (Parts One & Two)
Tracks 1,2,3 and 5 are in duet with Richard Ruskin.
Recorded at United/Western Recording, Los Angeles
Mastered at Fidelatone by Bruce Leek
Artwork by Stephanie Pyren
CD pressing 1986, Takoma Records
thanks to Rab Hines for the rip
Well this medicine may be too late to cure the auditory disease known as Christmas Music Earworms, considering that many of you have been subjected to the stuff for well on two months now. But better late than never.
This is a holiday record by that most unlikely Santa Claus, guitarist John Fahey. He had released an earlier (and far superior) Christmas album called The New Possiblity, hence this one being dubbed a "Volume 2." It is not your average Xmas record and probably won't fit on a playlist with Johnny Mathis. Just stare at the album cover for a while and you will swear that somebody spiked your eggnog with something a bit stronger than rum.
While the New Possibility was a revelation for me, this record is a little bit of something that Fahey rarely was: predictable. And I say a LITTLE BIT because it's not an entirely fair criticism. Maybe he just had so much fun making the first one that he was compelled to make a second, or maybe there was commercial incentive involved. The album is consistently pleasant, but there just aren't many surprises until you get to the second side. "Oh Holy Night" is pretty but kind of tame, and the Christmas medley is actually kind of bad. Things get much, much better with the Russian Christmas Overture. White Christmas has the kind of halting slippages that make you think they might be mistakes but then we all know Fahey was a genius and MEANT it to sound that way, right? This is the only track on the first side that is not a guitar duet with Richard Ruskin (who also had three records put out on Fahey's Takoma label). Maybe that is at the core of my misgivings - Ruskin is an excellent guitarist, but so much of what charms me about Fahey are his idiosyncrasies coupled with his mastery of the instrument, and when playing with other musicians those idiosyncrasies are by necessity kept in check. "Carol of the Bell" is quite gorgeous, however.
The second side of the original album is one long, meandering acoustic guitar experiment called "Christmas Fantasy" - the kind of Fahey you had begun to desperately miss after five fairly straight arrangements. Playing all on his lonesome, he can manipulate time and space and bring me to that same cocoon-like, familiar place as his most cryptic and dense material, and make me feel welcome with Yuletide cheer. It sounds mostly improvised although knowing Fahey it is probably more planned-out than it sounds. As fun as it is, it almost feels like over-compensating for the straight readings of the material on the first side. A bit self-indulgent, maybe, although I don't mind it when Fahey indulged himself.
From the very first notes of "Joy To The World" on The New Possibility, you knew you just signed on to a singular experience. Possibly bordering on the transcendent. Traditional Christmas material approached with Fahey's vast musical knowledge but none of the reverence usually accorded to it. I don't use the word "irreverence" because it's not as if there was anything iconoclastic about the record - it was just refracted through Fahey's interpretive lens, which was always kind of bent. The "Volume II" album, on the other hand, comes across mostly as just straight-up Christmas music that happens to be played by John Fahey and a friend (except for the bonkers second half).
segunda-feira, 16 de dezembro de 2013
Pablo Lubadika Porthos
En Action - Ma Coco
Afro Hit Records Discafrique – DARL-019 (France)
1. Ma Coco
2. Mbongo Mokonzi
4. Bo Mbanda
Pabulco Lubadika Porthos - composer, arranger, vocal, guitar, bass
Lea Lianzi - lead vocal
Jo John Mboutany - backing vocal
Master Mwana - congas, guitar
Domingo "Salsero" - drums, percussion
Manga Jerry - Trumpet
Priso - sax
Roger Kom - sax
Photo by DRAME BAZOUMANA
Produced by Sonny Dick
M'Bahia Jean-Charles - manager
Richard Dick (!) - "executive producer"
Recorded at Studio Laguna, Paris. An "International Salsa Musique" production
PABLO, Lubadika Porthos
(b 1950s, Zaire) African singer-composer, bassist, guitarist. Played in the 1970s with bands including Kin Bantous, Lovy du Zaire, Groupe Celibithou, Orchestre Kara; to Paris to play with Sam Mangwana and the African All-Stars on classic 'Georgette Eckins', joined session musicians on Salsa Musique label, playing on albums by Pamelo Mounk'a, Master Mwana Congo, Assi Kapela, and pursued a solo career with albums of fast, sweet soukous: Concentration, Idie, Revient En Force, En Action. Tracks 'Bo Mbanda' and 'Madeleina' on Island label's African compilation '81 brought wider fame; played with Les Quatre Etoiles in London '84, released first UK album Pablo Pablo Pablo '85 on Globestyle. He was much sought after for sessions. There was a compilation Okominiokolo '93 on Stern's.
from from http://www.donaldclarkemusicbox.com/encyclopedia/detail.php?s=2738
Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; Click Repair light settings; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 - resampled (and dithered for 16-bit) using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag&
Some random crate digging lead me to this gem of early 80s soukous music and a few others like it. The guitars intertwine like go-go dancers playing Twister at a ballet. This is not to be missed, but since I don`t speak the languages I can't offer any insight into the lyrical content or context. The vocals, sung in harmony throughout, are lovely and melodic, even if the melodies begin to seem a little overly familiar by the end of the second side. The big hit on this record was "Madeleina" which offers a little of the best of everything. It also showcases one of the unique traits of soukous - about which I know very little so indulge me for a moment: it is a pop style, but one that has limitless patience to show you what it has to say. It is uptempo but unhurried. For those whose ears were first subjected to the strains of 80s "World Music" it may even seem oddly familiar, because in a way Soukous and Highlife conquered the world in that decade, reaching a global audience, and often being diluted and neutered by European and American pop stars incorporating them into their records. Every now and then an actual African managed to garner fame enough to work up some ticket and record sales with non-African audiences. It is not my area of expertise but I'll go out on a limb and say that the popularity of African musics in Europe and the U.S. would not be possible without the vibrant immigrant populations and neighborhoods, whether in Paris, Notting Hill, or New York. This particular album was recorded in Paris and released on the Afro Hit Records Discafrique label, with the "executive producer" / label guy / liner note author / redundantly-named man Richard Dick.
The drummer Domingo "Salsero" gets extra points for sheer stamina and the ability to fend off painful leg cramps from a pounding kick drum beat that never varies. Drop the pitch on that drum a little and you would keep today's club kids happy and giggling in Ecstasy for hours. An interesting stylistic point is that the snare drums is barely used at all, being deployed only for fills. The main beat is carried out strictly on kick and hi-hat, except for Madeleina which has a few sections where Domingo just rocks the fuck out on the snare. In fact the centrality of the hi-hat to mark time leads to a technical problem with the vinyl. As most vinyl enthusiasts have noticed, some records (in combination with some tone-arms and stylii) are prone to "inner groove distortion" where tracking the groove becomes a bit of a problem as the needle moves closer to the inner label, the end of an album side. When IGD is present, the distortion is almost always in the forms of high frequency sibilance. In this case, it sounds as if the hi-hat is in danger of coming loose from the drum kit, flying out of your speakers, and decapitating you on your sofa. So don't turn the volume too loud or that just might happen. My cartridge can be prone to sibilance in the first place (as one obnoxious blog visitor pointed out), but usually it is only an issue with certain records and even certain pressings of certain records. Some months after transferring this album, I realized that an extra tenth of a gram of weight on the tone-arm could sometimes help this problem, helping the stylus to sit better in the groove and hence track more cleanly, but by then I had already refiled the LP, done preliminary processing (Click Repair and track division) and sort of resolved myself to working with this as it is. If I can remember to try playing this album with a little more weight someday, maybe I will start all over again on this one, but don't hold your breath. I am also not convinced the difference will be anything but minimal, as a lot depends on the quality of the recording and especially the pressing plants that made the records. Sad but true, while many major-label albums are certainly known to give audio enthusiasts a headache with Inner Groove Distortion (there are lists out there!), the problem seems even more common with smaller labels who had lease resources, quality control, and/or access to first-rate mastering and pressing facilities.
Draft of an abstract, The Story of the Object, the Circulation of the Commodity, and the Inscription of Names: Globalization and African Music from Paris to New York. Submitted by Flabbergast to the Journal of Musical Semiology and Historical Materialism, Ikea Publishing House: Amsterdam.
This Pablo Lubadika Porthos album once belonged to Rex. After he brought it home, Rex noticed that the New York City shop where he purchased it was astute enough to put a little sticker on the back cover advertizing its name and location. Good business practice for an independent retailer specializing in the importation of African music. Realizing that he also had a responsibility to future generations, Rex resolved to inscribe his own mark for the aid of future music historians. He did this with a big thick magic marker on the front, back, and center labels of the album. Like any fine artist, he set his work aside for a day or two to contemplate it, putting it on an easel in the corner of the room where could gaze upon it while smoking cigarettes and eating jelly donuts. The muse whispered in his ear that the work was not yet finished. Going to the art supply shop, he bought himself a fine felt-tipped pen and came back to his loft, where he set to work inscribing his name in his characteristic, singular hand, in miniscule letters nestled inside the lettering of the album title, and inside the back cover photo of Lupadika. In one final flourish, he signed and dated the inner label: 5/30/81.
At last the artist could rest.
More than 30 years later, an artificial intelligence on the internet named Flabbergast took it upon himself to "restore" this artwork in Photoshop and remove all traces of Rex's handiwork before further circulating the commodity in the accumulation of bandwidth. With the important exception of the inner label marking, which is permanent and irreversible. In this act of inscription, Rex highlights how the erasures of colonial histories are resistant to the globalizing universalism of Late Capitalism.
sexta-feira, 6 de dezembro de 2013
The wait is over!
Recorded and mixed in Adobe Audition with a Neumann U87 microphone, Pro-ject RM 5.1 turntable, API and SSL plugins for compression and some EQ on one track that badly needed it. iZotope RX Advanced for dithering and resampling to 16-44.1 khz.
the Flabbergasted Freeform podcast archives are here
George McCrae - I Get Lifted
Albert Collins - Ice Pick
Carlos Cachaça - Lacrimário
Zé Ketti - Acender As Velas
Ellerine Harding - To Whom It May Concern (All I Need)
War - Magic Mountain
Lee Dorsey - Lottie Mo`68
Zé da Lua - Ulungu Wami
Jimmy Castor - Southern Fried Frijoles
Slim Gaillard - Bingie-Bingie-Scootie
Erasmo Carlos - De Noite na cama
Sabu Martinez - My Chrstina
Mystic Merlin - Goddess of the Boogie
Chairmen of the Board - Pay To The Piper
Pérez Prado - Sabra
Curtis Fuller - The Breeze and I
Nelson Ferreira and his Orchestra - Isquenta Mule
Dolores Duran - Pano Legal
Caston and Majors - Let There Be Love
terça-feira, 26 de novembro de 2013
Jerry Butler - The Iceman Cometh / Ice On Ice (1969)
Paulinho da Viola (1978)
Luiz Paixão - Pimenta Com Pitú (2006)
Jazz Crusaders - Old Socks, New Shoes (1970)
João Gilberto - The Legendary João Gilberto (1990)
quinta-feira, 14 de novembro de 2013
African Music Machine
Black Water Gold
2000 Soul Power – LPS 3317
Collection of singles released 1972-3
A1 Black Water Gold (Pearl) 2:59
A2 Mr. Brown 2:48
A3 A Girl In France 2:25
A4 The Dapp 2:40
B1 Never Name A Baby (Before It's Born) 3:10
B2 Tropical 2:20
B3 Making Nassau Fruit Drink 2:26
B4 Camel Time 2:50
Bass, Vocals – Louis Villery
Drums – Louis Acorn
Guitar – Jumbo
Percussion – Osman
Piano, Organ – Obitu
Producer – Louis Villery
Saxophone [Tenor] – Tyrone Dotson
Saxophone [Tenor], Flute – Ete-Ete
Trumpet – Amal
Written By – Bell
Written-By – Louis Villery
Vinyl -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 2496Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 96khz; Click Repair light settings; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 - resampled (and dithered for 16-bit) using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag&Rename.
This group released 4 singles between 1972 and 1974 on the Paula subsidiary label Soul Power Records, and they were collected on this LP posthumously. New Orleans funk-soul band formed by bassist Louis Villery that sounds sometimes like James Brown meets Muscle Shoals meets early Chicago (the band)/Blood Sweat & Tears. The opening cut is fantastic, and the arrangements on most of the cuts are inventive enough to keep things interesting. Most of it is instrumental, and the vocals on a couple of tunes are kind of superfluous. A couple tunes (A Girl In France & Tropical) have a kind of Meters-like feel mostly due to the rhythm guitar. I could sort of imagine these guys playing a double bill in NOLA with The Meters.. in the opening slot, of course. The tune Camel Time has a Santana-esque vibe, or maybe it's a Malo vibe... crossed with some random outtake from the first Funkadelic record.
Well that is enough genetic-musical-splicing for one blog post. In the end the music here is nothing to flip out over but it ain't bad either. In fact the first time you play it, it's pretty damn enjoyable, but in my opinion it doesn't quite hold my interest in the long-term after repeated listens. I am sure if I were one of those freaks who only plays 45's, I would love it more.
These are all mono mixes, but since the vinyl pressing is not truly cut in mono, I opted not to use the mono fold-down option in Clickrepair, it seemed like it do result in some weird phasing issues. This stuff is pretty low-fi and it's really more of an EP - 8 songs in about 20 minutes. Personally, the 16-44.1 version of this is good enough for me. Maybe it's the limitations of my speakers, or my ears, or the fact that I drink enough coffee to sometimes give me tinnitus, but I just don't there is enough sonic information here to make huge difference. Still, this was ripped in 24 bit - 96 khz, and I have the files, so why not share, cuz the internetz must have thems!