Monday, June 22, 2015

Jackson do Pandeiro - São João Autêntico (1980)

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 Jackson do Pandeiro
São João Autêntico
1980 Sinter 2493-009


01 - O navio tá bom na marcha (Antonio Barros)
02 - Canoeiro novo (João Silva – Raimundo Evangelista)
03 - Sanfoneiro de vocês (Carlos Diniz – J. Nilo)
04 - Dá eu pra ela (Venâncio – Corumba)
05 - Três pedidos (Jackson do Pandeiro – Maruim)
06 - Vamos chegar pra lá (Almira Castilho)
07 - Na base da chinela (Jackson do Pandeiro – Rosil Cavalcanti)
08 - São João na roça (Antonio Barros – Jackson do Pandeiro)
09 - Acenderam a fogueira (Maruim – Jackson do Pandeiro)
10 - São João no brejo (Zé Catraca)
11 - Véspera e dia de São João (Jackson do Pandeiro – Maruim)
12 - Viva São João (Jackson do Pandeiro – Buco do Pandeiro)

Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Audio Technica AT440MLa cartridge), Speedbox power supply; Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 96khz; Click Repair; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 - dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced (for 16-bit). Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.

Like the last post, this is also  a compilation of São João material, this time by the great Jackson do Pandeiro.  As a collection, I find this to be a better listen than the Gonzaga record, something that you can put on from start to finish, in part because of the great variety here. 

I think I am going to curate my own São João-themed compilation and put it out as a limited edition CD and vinyl release.  I will call it "More Songs About Marriage and Corn", and the cover art will feature 100 Polaroid close-up photos of a Festa Junina bonfire arranged in a mosaic.  Production starts tomorrow.

There is no information whatsoever on the jacket of this "econo-series" budget LP by the Polygram-family Sinter label.  Jackson, like Gonzaga, recorded and released hundreds of songs, released on dozens of LPs and CDs (although Jackson's catalog is poorly represented on compact discs).  The tracks on this seem to be drawn from the 1960s and 70s.  I mentioned the variety earlier, which applies to the different sub-genres of festive Northeastern dance music played here, but also the instrumentation found in the arrangements.   There's saxophone, clarinet, even a tin whistle found in these groves.  There is also the talented Almira Castilho on two songs.  This may not be an essential record - in fact, I forgot I owned it until stumbling on it last week, and this post is officially the quickest vinyl-to-blog-rip in the history of this blog as I am normally notoriously slow and unhurried about these sorts of things.  But there is still another week left of Festas Juninas during which this cute little collection is still relevant, so I moved a little quicker for you, dear readers.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Luiz Gonzaga - São João na Roça (1962)

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Luiz Gonzaga
São João na Roça
1962 RCA-Victor

01. São João na Roça (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
02. Fogueira de São João (Luiz Gonzaga / Carmelina Albuquerque)
03. Festa No Céu (Edgar Nunes / Zeca do Pandeiro)
04. Olha Pro Céu (Luiz Gonzaga / José Fernandes)
05. Noites Brasileiras (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
06. São João Antigo (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
07. São João no Arraiá (Zé Dantas)
08. O Passo da Rancheira (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
09. Dança da Moda (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
10. Lenda de São João (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
11. Mané e Zabé (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
12. São João do Carneirinho (Guio de Morais / Luiz Gonzaga)


Well the festas juninas have been in swing in the Nordeste for a few weeks now, and the midsummer holiday of São João (June 24) is rapidly approaching.  This is, in essence, a holiday album.  I believe it is the first long-player of what would turn out to be many LPs that Gonzagão released to commemorate / cash-in on this prototypically Northeastern holiday.  I am not a fan of "holiday albums" of any stripe, to be honest.  If I had to rank them, the list would probably mirror pretty closely how I feel about the holiday in question.  Hence Halloween, Carnival, solstices and equinoxes near the top, Christmas would be at the bottom near Talk Like A Pirate Day, and São João would be somewhere in the middle with New Years Eve and Groundhog Day.  It's a lovely holiday, stretched in typically Brazilian fashion to encompass all of June and into the first week of June.   But as readers of this blog know, I am by nature cantankerous and curmudgeonly, and maintaining cheeriness for such a prolonged period of time is very exhausting.  Also, I've never been interested in marriage and I can only eat so many things made from corn.

This is the type of record that you pick a few tunes for your party playlist but don't typically listen to from start to finish.  And I think that's fine, especially since it is actually a collection of 78s recorded and released between 1950 and 1960.  In fact this appeared twice as an LP with this title: once in the late 50s and then again in 1962 with a few added tracks.   LOTS of Zé Dantas here, who was Gonzaga's most important songwriting partner aside from Humberto Teixeira.  Highlights for me include Dança da moda  and the wistfully melodic Noites brasileiras.  I may gravitate to the latter because it is the only thing approaching a mid-tempo song here.  Why do Pernambucans all have to play music so damn fast?   They talk fast too.  Can't they slow down once in a while?  Get off my lawn!



 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tell Caetano and Gil to cancel their Tel Aviv concert in July

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It is amazing how upset some people get over the idea of a cultural boycott.  Perhaps that is because they actually make a difference.  If they didn't, the government of Israel and its lobbies would not be spending a boatload of money to defame the BDS movement at every turn as well as attempting to impose a gag order on artists, scholars, and intellectuals who endorse it.  For that reason, I'm disabling comments for this post because I don't have the time or energy to deal with the inevitable abusive trolls and propaganda-bots.  The reality is that playing in Israel right now is on the same level as performing in South Africa during the 1980s when the full severity of apartheid could no longer be covered up by its facilitators in Europe and America.  Plenty of artists continued to play in South Africa, either indifferent to the suffering or making the same type of excuses being made today by those who see no problem with performing in Israel.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Black Ice - Black Ice (1977)

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Black Ice
"Black Ice"
1977 HDM Records (HDM 2001)


A1     Shakedown     7:06
A2     Blind Over You     3:36
A3     Girl, That´s What I Call Love     2:51
A4     I Feel The Weight (Over Losing You)     4:07
B1     The Wine Is Bitter (But The Grapes Are Sweet)     4:08
B2     Touch     3:35
B3     Making Love In The Rain     3:15
B4     I Want You Back     3:12
B5     You Got Me Going In Circles     2:46

    Producer – Hadley Murrell

Black Ice is: Antone Curtis, Gerald Bell, Cleveland Jones, Frank Willis, Ralph Lars

Associate producers: Ray Jackson and Eddie Horan
Arranged by Ray Jackson
Strings by Bill Henderson
Audio engineers: Angel Balestier and Dennis Sands (ALB Productions)
Mastered by Bob Mac Leod and Kevin Gray (Artisan Sound)
Distributed by Amherst Records, Buffalo NY



This is the sole sentence that somebody has entered into the Discogs entry for Black Ice: "A funk and soul unit from US who never sustained much commercial success or had any lasting aesthetic impact."  Ouch. Sounds like somebody who is owed royalties or is otherwise carrying around a grudge opened up a Discogs account just to write that.  If I limited my listening habits only to artists who had a "lasting aesthetic impact," my library would be much smaller. After all, all that 'seminal' stuff has to impact something, right?

Black Ice, who only made three albums spread out between 1976 and 1982, do come off a bit like a group in search of an identity, and their sound on this first record was slightly anachronistic.   Although the perfectly-cropped erotic cover of this album may have still been contemporary with 1977, the music recalls the early to mid 70s, a combination of  The Spinners and a less complex version of early Kool and The Gang.  In fact a listen to the best-known (and best) track off of it, "Breakdown" - recorded and released as a single before the rest of the material - is likely to give the impression that you are in for a wilder, funkier ride than you will actually get.  That song is a raw, uncut funk monster (which incidentally features a riff that is only a few sixteenth-notes shy of being Jungle Boogie).  Although the remaining tracks on the record can get pretty funky too, there is nothing nearly as heavy, nor anything where the band are given the space to cut loose as they do on this track.  So my own first reaction on buying this LP was a bit of anti-climax, based on the expectations of this first cut.  Most of the other tracks are slower or mid-tempo ballads.  But being influenced by or even emulating The Spinners or The Four Tops is not a bad thing at all, so it didn't take long for me to readjust the parameters of my listening.  The fact is that Black Ice were a really solid vocal group and these are solid songs.

The first three minutes of "Shakedown" can be found here (the album version is 7 minutes!)

As harsh as the anonymous Discogs critic might have been, he or she is kind of right.  In the compressed time-space of popular music, this kind of group probably seemed a bit old-fashioned by 1977, and the sound of their next album, which didn't come out until two years later - the wonderfully titled "I Judge The Funk" - reflects a consciousness of that and a desire to update their sound.  This had mixed results.  That record has its moments in the way of a few well-written ballads and at least one monster jam (the somewhat goofy 'Play More Latin Music'), but there are also stabs at disco-funk that are not quite convincing.

Short of having a visionary in the group (or someone determined to leave "a lasting aesthetic impact), vocal groups frequently need a good producer to set an agenda and direction.  The small HDR Records seemed to lack this, although most of the tracks on their first two records have a writing credit from "Associate Producer" Eddie Horan.  I also don't know anything about Horan, but he apparently recorded an album of his own in 1978 (which I have not heard), released on HDR but also picked up by TK Records out of Miami - oddly enough, a label that I would have recommended to Black Ice had I been around and had anybody asked me.  I am not even a blip on the map of soul music crate-digger scholarship, so what do I really know.  But TK Records (and their large family of affiliated subsidiaries) had a knack for taking artists who may have cultivated regional interest in clubs or local radio and getting some modestly-successful commercial recordings out of them.  With no releases between 1979 and 1981, the intervening history of Black Ice is unknown to me.  But their last album (also titled simply Black Ice) once again shows a stylistic shift, this time into the early 80s with bass synths and perhaps a mild influence of electro-funk - once again, these are elements that make up many a great record in my collection, but not ones which Black Ice were necessarily good at incorporating.   In my imagined, filling-in-blanks history of the group, I propose a narrative of  the group slipping into an undefined hiatus while some of them attempt solo careers, not having much luck, and then reconvening around 81-82 for one last reach for the stars.  This final album also involved a switch to a new label, Montage, who with artists on their roster like Rose Royce represented a potentially higher profile for the band.  Things didn't seem to work out too well for them at Montage either.

 Is this '77 record a lost classic?  I don't  know.  But the opening track is pretty phenomenal, and the rest of it holds up well after repeated listens.  My one gripe might be the gratuitous female groaning during "Making Love In The Rain" that is mixed twice as loud as the music and makes me reach for the volume knob if there is anyone within earshot with whom I am not getting freaky.  It sounds like a producer's afterthought, and the song doesn't need it.

This was another vinyl transfer I had sitting on my hard drive for two years, reluctant to share because I didn't like the audio quality.  My copy is kind of crispy, my stylus and cartridge at the time were a bit on the bright side, and there is one track with the hi-hat mixed so high that it might kill you ("decapitation by hi-hat" was a finishing move I tried to pitch to the creators of Mortal Kombat but nobody seemed to think it was as cool as I did).  While typing up this post, I noticed that one of the mastering engineers was a young Kevin Gray, which explains why (hi-hat on one track notwithstanding) the album actually sounds really good.  Gray has gone on to become one of the most respected mastering engineers out there, and in particular has been working on stellar reissues lately released by a few audiophile labels. 

To make my delay in this post even more shameful, a reader specifically requested this album after I played 'Breakdown' on one of my first podcasts.  I told him I planned to get around to it... Well here it is!






Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Flabbergasted Freakout Freeform No. 11, May 2015

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Flabbergasted Freeform Freakout No. 11 by Flabbergasted Vibes on Mixcloud


More details (like a tracklist) will come when I damn well feel like it.  Enjoy!

320 kbs download

FLAC kbs download 

 


Rufus Thomas – Love Trap
Roy Ayers’ Ubiquity – Love
The Main Ingredient – Happiness Is Just Around the Bend
Charles Earland – Warp Factor 8
Hatfield & The North – The Yes No Interlude
Barbara Mason – Trigger Happy People
Nico – Frozen Warnings
Laurel Aitken – John B.
Rotary Connection – I Am the Black Gold of the Sun
Steve Hillage – The Salmon Song
David Crosby – Laughing
Joe Henderson – Black Narcissus
Michi Sarmiento y Su Combo – Hong Kong
Nico Gomez – Lupita
Hugh Masakela & Letta Mbulu – Mahlalela
Marcos Valle – Deixa o mundo e o sol entrar
The Three Degrees – Collage
Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks
Fairport Convention – Crazy Man Michael
Joe Higgs – There’s a Reward
Herbie Mann – Flying
Gene Harris – Lean On Me

Monday, April 27, 2015

B.T. Express - 1980 (1980)

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B.T. Express
1980
Released 1980, Columbia JC 36333



Takin' Off     3:52
Heart Of Fire     3:52
Does It Feel Good     5:43
Give Up The Funk (Let's Dance)     6:25
Closer     3:35
Have Some Fun     5:23
Better Late Than Never     5:33
Funk Theory     4:22

Produced for Mighty M Productions
Mastered at Sterling Sound, N.Y.C.
Recorded and mixed at Counterpoint Studios, N.Y.C.
Additional recording at Music Grinder Studios, L.A.
Additional mixing at The Hit Factory, N.Y.C.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Candango do Ypê - Vol.3: Lambada (1979)

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Candango do Ypê
Vol. 3 - Lambada
1979 Copacabana COELP-41213


Carimbó das Guianas
Carimbó Agarradinho
Carimbó de Dezembro
Carimbó da Crioula
Carimbó dos Namorados
Gafieira Pernambucana
Feira de Troca-troca
Forró Lascado
Ciranda do Navio
Marcha da Cobra
João Felicidade
Festa de Nazareth

Arrangements - Pachequinho
Recording engineer - Deraldo
Mixing engineer - Zilmar

Recorded at Somil (Rio de Janeiro) and Dó-Ré-Mi (São Paulo)
Cover photo - Micheloni
Lay-out - Impulso Marketing & Propaganda Ltda

Direção artistica - Paulo Rocco
Direção de Produção - Talmo Scaranari

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 and Rename.

As I have mentioned repeatedly in the sparse posts over the last six months to a year, it's been a very busy time for Flabbergast, filled with momentous "real life" things that were extremely demanding and required all of my attention, and thus have kept me away from blogging.  Foremost among these been the absorbing work I put into proposals for the Lego Ideas initiative whose mania is sweeping the nation!  Unfortunately my efforts brought me nothing but frustration and headaches.  My first attempt was a scale model of Motown Studios which I designed after one visit to their Detroit museum back in 1999 and a postcard that I've kept ever since as a souveneir.  It was going pretty well - I even had the moveable drum riser, built out of Legos! - when I received a "cease and desist" letter from Berry Gordy's estate and was forced to abandon the project.  The last thing I needed right then, especially when trademarking my name back in 2013 failed to produce any revenue whatsoever, was a lawsuit.  Sadly, litigation was exactly what I would get from my next project, a scale model of the Berlin Wall.  The city kept telling me that I needed something called a "permit" and told me that the armed Lego guards were scaring the townsfolk.  But what really killed the project was a lawsuit from both Phil Spector and ex-Pink Floyd guy Roger Waters, who had heard about my run-in with Berry Gordy's people and automatically assumed my giant Lego wall must be music-related and so obviously somehow about them.  I think I had a pretty good chance of winning the court case, but since I couldn't find a lawyer who would accept payment in Reddit gold, I decided to just abandon that project too.  For payback, I mailed Spector a Lego gun but apparently the prison deemed it an unacceptable gift.  But don't worry about me, I always land on my feet.  I'm not interested in any trendy get rich quick schemes anyway, I'm a guy who likes to commit to the long haul.  Legos!  It's such a fad, I'll bet you twenty dollars (in Reddit gold or possibly Bitcoin) that nobody will even remember what they are five years from now.


Alright, so let's just establish right at the outset that I bought this record because of the cover without knowing anything about it. It was definitely buying it just from the front photo - after all it has popcorn in it, sitting next to a bowl of ice! But then I flipped it around and saw that more than half of it was carimbó music, which would have sealed the deal had I not already made up my mind.

 Rather fittingly for the cover, in the grooves is a so-so party record of tunes that will grow on you but that probably won't end up on your regular party playlist.  In spite of being called "Vol.3 - Lambada" there is only one tune which flirts with that genre here, the outright awful "Carimbó das Guianas." The tightest thing here is the track Carimbo de Dezembro, a funky little number meant for celebrating New Years Eve, and which I included on Flabbergasted Freeform No.10 .  The runner-up might be Carimbó da Crioula which starts out at a slower tempo and keeps speeding up until it's pretty frenetic.  Candango gets bonus points for authoring all his own tunes, with a handful of writing partners, including Pinduca on one track.

Mr. Candango has kind of a weird voice, one that is suited for the forró music here.  Based on the range of his repertoire and  his accent, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he might have been a Northeastern transplant to Pará, the birthplace of carimbó.  A little lazy searching turned up the fact that he apparently lived for a while in Ilheús, Bahia.  If he wasn't a nordestino then he was certainly playing to an audience that appreciated the region's music.  Along with some genres native to Pernambuco (which is, as a matter of fact, where I found this record) like frevo and ciranda here, you also get fandango / marujada, and the aforementioned forró.  But then he also takes a stab at a samba de roda.  He seemed to be a jack of all trades, as further sleuthing turns up that he made at least one record of seresta / serenata music, as well as an entire album of fandango.  But I know little else about him.  He may have worked in construction of the modernist capital city of Brasília: candango is a name given to the construction workers there, and he seems to have been old enough to have done it.  He could have invented this off-road Jeep, the Brazilian version of the German "Munga":
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If anyone wants to replace this speculative biography of the mystery man known as Candango do Ypê, feel free to leave a comment, which is also where you find the links to the record.

Incidentally, as you will hear, this record wasn't in the best of shape and neither was the cover.  I did a little "restoration" on the glorious cover art, you can see the original state it was in here below.  I left a little of the wear and tear to keep the "authenticity" in tact....

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Sérgio Sampaio - Eu Quero É Botar Meu Bloco Na Rua (1973) - Repost


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A fixed repost from the olden days, HERE!  Read the comments, silly.  New posts coming soon, promise.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Wilson Simonal - Na Odeon 1961-1971 (2004)

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By request, and to toast the arrival of new readers, here is a repost from Wilson Simonal. Fixed links and all the rest. Just remember to check the comments, the legend Carlos Imperial left us something important! See the original post HERE p.s. I promise there will be new blog posts soon. I've been insanely busy for the last few months.