Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Manchild - Power And Love (1977)




Manchild
Power And Love
1977 Chi Sound Records  CH-LA765-G

Monday, May 9, 2016

Deodato, Richie Havens, Swamp Dogg, Odette Lara - Fixed Links


This post is just what it says on the tin.  This blog may be on life support but it hasn't flatlined yet. 

 Follow these to find the fixed links:

Deodato - Samba Nova Concepção (1964)

Odete Lara - Contrastes  (1966)

Richie Havens - Stonehenge (1970) 

Swamp Dogg - Rat On! (1971)








Friday, April 22, 2016

The purple thread that wound through my life - Prince, in memoriam





The year Purple Rain came out, my family had just moved across the country, north to south.  I was nine years old.  After the seemingly unstoppable succession of hit songs from that record seemed to take over the world, I bought the cassette with my allowance money.  As soon as I had more saved up, I bought 1999 too.   In our basement, we had a blacklight and strobe light, the kind you would buy from Spencer’s Gifts.  I used to play air guitar to Purple Rain blasting from start to finish several times a week, with this low-budget stage lighting set up for ambiance.  My older brother Tony caught me doing it once and laughed himself silly.  He also gave me shit for being so into Prince.  Tony was a metalhead but also liked his fair share of pop.  Like the rest of the sane universe, we were both crazy for MJ’s “Thriller” which came out a year earlier.  But he wasn’t feeling Prince and mocked me for it, at the beginning.  Maybe it was Prince’s Elizabethan sartorial choices that put him off, but that would be ironic coming from a guy devoted to Motley Crue.  Perhaps it was the androgyny, which on the surface also seems ironic since one of the most common man-in-the-street disparagements of metal (especially glam metal) was the “the guys all look like chicks.”  Maybe the difference was that in that otherwise hyper-masculine music, the eyeliner, mascara, and hairspray were played for theatrical effect and shock value.  Prince was coming from somewhere else, maybe a whole other dimension, combining this joyful sense of mischief with an unironic seriousnesFor my part, I hadn’t even hit puberty yet and didn’t understand half of what he was singing about, but it didn’t stop me from thinking these were the coolest sounds I’d heard anyone make.

A few years later I caught Tony listening to Sign O’ The Times in his bedroom.  He had apparently seen the light.  Nowadays, I would have rightfully ripped into him for giving me such a hard time before.  But he was my big brother.  I did say something about it, I don’t recall exactly what. All I remember about his response was that he mumbled something about Sheila E. being a great drummer and then changed the subject.  As we grew older and our tastes diverged further and further apart, Prince became one of the handful of artists we could agree on, for the short time we had left together.  I remember he bought the soundtrack to Batman before I had a chance, so I made a copy of it.  I now have his copy, and even the original cardboard “long-box” it came in, which he saved.

Those records were like bridges between people and ideas and time periods, gateway drugs to worlds of undiscovered music. In my 5th and 6th grade classes, I bonded with the only Indian kid in my school, who also lived in my neighborhood, over Prince.  Listening to tapes in his room, I think he introduced me to Midnight Star’s “No Parking On the Dance Floor” and probably some other music I’m forgetting.  I started a new school in the 7th grade and was having a hard time with it, in part because I didn’t know anybody there.  One of the only pleasant memories I have of that year was a party thrown at a rich kid’s house, who I didn’t particularly like because he used to tease me pretty bad.  I didn’t have the right kind of basketball shoes, or my clothes weren’t nice enough, or whatever.  I thought he was a preppy asshole.  But at his party – which I suspected I was invited to only because his parents made him invite everyone in our class – I remember the music being changed at some point to 1999, and actually having a friendly conversation with this kid while the song D.M.S.R. played in the background.  We had something in common, apparently.  He stopped teasing me after that night and I guess I thought of him as a bit less of an asshole, but still a preppie.   






When “Around The World In A Day” came out, I bought it on vinyl instead of cassette, with money from my job delivering newspapers in America’s favorite contravention of child labor laws.  My mind was blown all over again.  I swear it felt like Prince had been prowling around in my cerebellum, as that album pushed the psychedelic edge of his music, already present on the last record, into new territory just as I was discovering scores of classic records from the 1960s and 70s.  I realized his guitar playing owed far more to Carlos Santana than Jimi Hendrix, to whom he was compared in a knee-jerk way when people couldn’t think of other famous black men shredding a guitar and didn’t know the name Eddie Hazel.  Prince’s 1980s output basically set the template for my musical interests for the rest of my life without my being conscious of it.  Here was a guy who played guitar like Santana, danced like James Brown, and dressed like Liberace.  It’s probably because of Prince that I was able to buy new albums by the Talking Heads, De La Soul, and the Grateful Dead all in the same year with no cognitive dissonance.  He’s why I can listen to Parliament and Joni Mitchell in the same sitting and find the space between the notes where they share a vision of being in the world.  He made me want to play and write music and learn about how to record it, and gave me that feeling that the only limit is your own imagination. Even when I decided I no longer wanted to play or write music, that feeling persisted, and I think that was the important part. 
  
In 1996, I moved to Chicago.  One of the first women I dated there was an artist and dancer, who was completely livid when I stated that Prince was the Stevie Wonder of my generation.  She just wasn’t having it.  At that point, the Purple One’s records were in fact kind of losing my interest. But with output so prolific, there was always something worth hearing even if I didn’t rush out to get every new release (and there was so many new releases, my God).  But I believed adamantly in the analogy and still do.  We had an actual heated argument over this Prince vs Stevie Wonder thing.  I broke it off not long after, deciding she was a fool.

Live experience addendum:  I only saw him perform once, at the Uptown Theater in Chicago (an appropriately named venue).  It was one of those situations where he announced the show a week before the date and tickets sold out within minutes.  This would have been 2000 or 2001, I think, and I had trouble finding anybody to go with me.  Didn’t have a date to bring and my friends were hesitant to pay for what seemed like an expensive ticket at that time.  And it was a weeknight and people took great shows for granted there.  I’ve never been shy about going to shows or films or anything else alone, so I figured I would just resell the extra ticket on the street.  Except there were no paper tickets; in typical control-freak fashion, Prince had a plan to prevent scalping that involved having all 4000 tickets being treated as “will call” names on a list.  After proving your identity, your name was crossed off the list and you were pushed inside the theater immediately.  No leaving, no readmission. This laborious process results in a line of people snaking around the corner and extending for three blocks in the freezing cold and snow of a Chicago winter.  When I figured out that this was how things were happening,  I borrowed a cell phone from somebody in the line behind me (I didn’t own one yet) and called my friend Tim, who had only turned my ticket because he’d already seen Prince a handful of times.  I told him I was going to lose the ticket if nobody was there to claim it, and so forget about the money, just get his ass up there and let’s see this show.  I remember Tim was worried about his car having problems in the weather, and his drive from the South Side all the way to the Uptown Theater was going to be a long one, but I convinced him to try it.  Unfortunately, he didn’t arrive before I was pushed into the lobby of the theater and out of the cold, and not having a cell phone made it impossible for me to know if he was on his way, or had given up from the snow and mistrust of his old car.  I hung out in the lobby for as long as they would let me just stand around, hearing the band start a groove and missing Prince’s grand entrance while I looked out the frosted glass doors, trying to tell if my friend was driving around out there somewhere.  All these rules seemed bizarre and arbitrary, but the staff was getting kind of hostile and telling me I couldn’t “loiter,” and had to either take my seat or leave.  At that point I decided Tim must have decided he couldn’t make it and I went inside.  Turns out he was out there, trying to find a parking spot.  Sorry Tim.  It was easily one of the most scintillating live performances I’ve ever been lucky enough to witness, and my irritation at the logistics of it all melted away after the first ten minutes.  I would have liked to share the memory with someone.  I need to see if there is a bootleg of that show out there somewhere.  There are really no words left to describe it.

Prince had some periods where his music became less compelling to me, but it seemed like he was always searching, and even recently seemed like maybe he was finding what he was searching for again.  It's really hard for me to imagine a world where he is no longer obsessively working out his artistic whims and occasionally allowing us all to share in them.  His body of work was like the loose purple thread from my favorite garment, the one you are forced to leave dangling, because to pull on it would unravel it all and leave you naked, and to cut it off would somehow be dishonest.



Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ataulfo Alves - A Você - Volume 2 (1936-1962)


A VOCÊ - ATAULFO ALVES VOL. 2
Ataulfo Alves
1996 Revivendo RVCD 112

1 A você - 1937, Carlos Galhardo
(Aldo Cabral, Ataulfo Alves)
2 É um que a gente tem - 1941, Carmen Miranda
(Torres Homem, Ataulfo Alves)
3 No meu sertão - 1937, Augusto Calheiros
(Ataulfo Alves)
4 Ela sempre ela - 1950, Ataulfo Alves
(César Brasil, Ataulfo Alves)
5 Infidelidade - 1948, Déo
(Américo Seixas, Ataulfo Alves)
6 Geme negro - 1946, Ataulfo Alves
(Sinval Silva, Ataulfo Alves)
7 Eu não sou daqui - 1941, Aracy de Almeida
(Ataulfo Alves, Wilson Batista)
8 Sinto-me bem - 1941, Nelson Gonçalves
(Ataulfo Alves)
9 Ironia - 1938, Odete Amaral
(M. Nielsen, Bide, Ataulfo Alves)
10 Reminiscências - 1939, Carlos Galhardo
(Ataulfo Alves)
11 Lá na quebrada do monte - 1941, Ataulfo Alves
(F. Martins, Ataulfo Alves)
12 Vai, mas vai mesmo - 1958, Nora Ney
(Ataulfo Alves)
13 Mania da falecida - 1939, Cyro Monteiro
(Ataulfo Alves, Wilson Batista)
14 Positivamente não - 1940, Aracy de Almeida
(Marino Pinto, Ataulfo Alves)
15 Mal de raiz - 1951, Déo
(Américo Seixas, Ataulfo Alves)
16 Pela Luz Divina - 1945, Ataulfo Alves
(Mário Travassos, Ataulfo Alves)
17 Saudade dela - 1936, Sylvio Caldas
(Ataulfo Alves)
18 Na cadência do samba - 1962, Jorge Veiga
(Paulo Gesta, Ataulfo Alves)
19 Talento não tem idade - 1952, Ataulfo Alves
(Ataulfo Alves)
20 Arrasta o pé moçada - 1951, Carlos Galhardo
(Maria Elisa, Ataulfo Alves)
21 Errei... erramos - 1938, Orlando Silva
(Ataulfo Alves)


Recordings originally released on Odeon, Star, Continental, Victor, RCA Victor, and Todamérica labels

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bernie Worrell - All The Woo In The World (1978)


Bernie Worrell
All The Woo In The World
1978 Arista AB 4201

1.Woo Together 04:34   
2. I'll Be With You 07:26   
3. Hold On 04:53   
4. Much Thrust 03:54   
5. Happy to Have (Happiness on Our Side) 07:36   
6. Insurance Man For The Funk 12:32   
7. Reprise: Much Thrust 00:40    


Lead vocals: Bernie Worrell
    "Assistant lead" vocals: Garry Shider, Walter Morrison, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins
    All keyboards: Bernie Worrell
    Additional keyboards on "Hold On": Walter Morrison
    Guitars: Garry Shider, Walter Morrison, Eddie Hazel, Glenn Goins, Phelps Collins, Bootsy Collins, Michael Hampton
    Bass: Rodney Curtis, Billy Bass Nelson
    Drums: Tyrone Lampkin, Jim Wright, Gary Cooper
    Horns: Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, Richard Griffith, Rick Gardner
    Saxophone solo on "Hold On": Eli Fontaine
    Background vocals: Brides of Funkenstein, Parlet, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and the voices of the nation.




I've been absent from blogging lately for a variety of reasons, none of them important right now.  It's been brought to my attention that keyboard genius and funk cosmonaut Bernie Worrell is suffering from stage 4 cancer without the means to pay for his treatment, and a fundraiser is being held tomorrow, April 4, at Webster Hall in NYC.   I've been throwing my support behind a different guy named Bernie lately, so it seems reasonable to do whatever small thing I can do to help draw attention to what's happening with Worrell, who's work has brought me endless hours of pleasure and bemused befuddlement.

For the many non-New Yorkers who follow this blog, you can help the man by buying a download from his Bandcamp site, which you can get to by following the links under "Music" on his main website at http://bernieworrell.com/.  You can also follow him on Facebook for updates on his situation.


I'd like to highlight his first solo release, All The Woo In The World.  If you search around hard enough on this page, you'll find a link to an imperfect vinyl rip of this album.  I can't even recall where it came from, to be honest (it's not my transfer and has no lineage info included).  I'm deliberately going with this one because it's serviceable but imperfect - if you want audiophile quality this time, consider getting it directly from the man himself and helping him out.

I'm unable compose a post that does the man or this record justice on short notice, but it turns out that the fine people at Wax Poetics have already done so.   I'm going to repost the text here, without permission, so please click on the link to the original piece and send them some web traffic and then wander around their site for a while.  Buy a print copy of one of their exquisitely produced issues while you're at it.

All the Woo in the World and the legacy of funk

by Travis Atria
Thirty-five years ago, in 1978, Bernie Worrell released his first solo album, All the Woo in the World. At that point, he was internationally famous for his laser-like synthesizer licks in Parliament/Funkadelic, and in just five years’ time, he’d help Talking Heads transform from New York new-wave weirdoes to funky world-music megastars.

Listening back to Woo, it’s no wonder Talking Heads wanted Worrell’s guidance. The album, co-produced with George Clinton, is so funky you can smell it through the dust jacket. In seven tracks, Worrell shows how important he was to the P-Funk sound—in fact, the whole thing could easily be passed off as a lost Parliament/Funkadelic record, if not for Worrell’s name up top.

It’s impossible for me to listen to Woo, however, without remembering an incredible day I spent with Worrell in a recording studio a few years ago. He came to record an album in my hometown of Gainesville, Florida, and the local paper asked me to cover it. At the studio, I was ushered to the engineer’s console; lounging in a leather chair was the man with the magic hands, slowed by arthritis but never stopped. He wore a purple jacket that could have come from Prince’s closet, a “FootJoy” golf glove on each hand to ease his arthritis pain, expensive shades framing his face, and an ornate cap perched on his head like an exclamation mark.

Worrell offered me a chair and spoke graciously about being George Clinton’s songwriting soul mate. He recalled having a major role in orchestrating P-Funk’s shaggy jams. He spoke honestly about the massive amounts of drugs they all consumed, and how there was so much ass it was hard to get anything done; he liked Eastern European women—“All fit, no fat,” is how he put it. He talked about writing his first piano concerto at the tender age of eight and realizing he had perfect pitch. He remembered David Byrne as a painfully shy man, but sweet and eager to learn. And he took much of the credit for leading Talking Heads down the path of rhythm.

After our short chat, he went to work on a new song. As he helped his bass player feel where the accents should go, it struck me that a great player knows how to play the notes, but a genius knows why to play the notes. “Slow your mind down,” Worrell instructed the bass man. “It ain’t a North American thing. You got to feel the way they’d do it in Jamaica—sensual.”

The album he worked on that day was never released, if it was even finished, but Worrell has put out a few things since. And even though those things don’t capture him the way Woo did thirty-five years ago, perhaps it is important to respect that funk’s flame still burns bright in him.

“This is all I know how to do,” he said to me just before I left the studio. Then, after a beat, “To teach, to please, and to woo,” he cooed with a grin.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ben Sidran - Don't Let Go (1974)

 

Ben Sidran
Don't Let Go
1974 Blue Thumb BTS 6012 

A1 Fat Jam 3:23
A2 House Of Blue Lites 3:08
A3 Ben Sidran's Midnite Tango 2:40
A4 The Chicken Glide 3:43
A5 She's Funny That Way 3:34
A6 Monopoly 1:27

B1 Don't Let Go 3:18
B2 Hey Hey Baby 3:30
B3 The Foolkiller 3:45
B4 The Funky Elephant 3:27
B5 Snatch 3:48
B6 Down To The Bone 1:08


    Alto Saxophone - Bunky Green  
 Bass – Kip Merklein (tracks: B4), Phil Upchurch, Randy Fullerton (tracks: A1 to B3, B5, B6)
    Drums – Tom Piazza (tracks: B2)
    Drums, Percussion – Clyde Stubblefield, George Brown, Phil Upchurch
    Guitar – James P. Cooke, Phil Upchurch
    Harmonica – Jerry Alexander
    Organ – Jim Peterman
    Piano, Vocals – Ben Sidran
    Tenor Saxophone – Sonny Seals

    Horns arranged  by Sonny Burke
    Strings arranged by Les Hooper
    Art Direction – John P. Schmelzer

Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 96khz; clicks and pops removed individually with Adobe Audition 3.0; resampled using iZotope RX 2 Advanced SRC and dithered with MBIT+ for 16-bit. Converted to FLAC in either Trader's Little Helper or dBPoweramp.  Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.





Possibly it is because of his uncanny resemblance to Neil Innes - or the suspicious fact that nobody has ever seen them both in the same place, at the same time - but  sometimes I don't know how seriously to take Ben Sidran.  But I doubt that fact would bother him, because he's been far too busy accomplishing an insane amount of things in his long and prolific career for my perplexity to concern him at all.  Although at this point in his life as an artist, Ben Sidran is pretty firmly ensconced in the "jazz" area of your local record store, his overall vision and his diverse body of work taken as a whole is pretty hard to categorize, and there is a touch of whimsy to much of it.  Plus, his records are always fun, a word that doesn't get paired with "jazz" nearly enough.

In his early days, he flirted with the life of rock stardom when he teamed up with his old college friend Steve Miller.  Sidran contributed extensively to his most interesting record (Brave New World), co-wrote his most charming hit single (Space Cowboy), stuck around for a few more records before going back to his old home base of Madison, Wisconsin, where he has essentially stayed ever since. He published his doctoral dissertation (which he earned in England in the 60s while moonlighting as a session man) as a book, back when dissertations were actually readable,  called 'Black Talk'.  He hosted a late-night television show as idiosyncratic as he was, called "The Weekend Starts Now,"  in which he had guests like Kinky Friedman and Jane Fonda when she was at her anti-war finest, as well as jazz heavies like McCoy Tyner and Danny Richmond.  He's worked with Tony Williams, Jon Hendricks, Phil Upchurch (who appears on the album here), and produced records for Mose Allison, Van Morrison, and Georgie Fame.  And somehow he has managed all this while also hanging out with Eric Idle and George Harrison and producing an entirely separate body of work under the name Neil Innes.




On his own albums, Sidran's stable of musicians was always interesting.  For "Don't Let Go" we have fellow Madison resident Clyde Stubblefield on drums, Phil Upchurch on bass and guitar, and saxophonists Sonny Seals and Bunky Green all joining the party.  Jim Peterman, a colleague from his Steve Miller days, provides some organ on a few tracks. The original songs here are all compelling, and Sidran seamlessly blends in jazz chesnuts from other composers: a very free and liberal interpretation of fellow Wisconsin-ite Freddie Slack's "House of Blue Lites" seasoned with some profanity and jabs at New York snobbery,  a similarly stylized "She's Funny That Way" (recorded by Gene Austin), Bud Powell's brief 'Monopoly', and "The Foolkiller" from Sidran's most obvious musical idol, Mose Allison. The original tracks span jazz, funk, and even soul in the song "Hey Hey Baby," which is almost catchy enough to be a hit, as soon as understated Mose Allison-like beatnik crooning comes back into style.    Allison's "Foolkiller" is arranged in an unrecognizable way and ornamented with greasy slide guitars and harmonica.  The only track that really nods to his past as a denizen of 60's swinging London is the group composition (mostly likely emerging from an improvised jam) titled The Funky Elephant,which sounds like Dr.John dropping acid with The Beatles.  But not the 1968 Beatles so much as the 1974 Beatles, so basically a few years before they formed Klaatu, I guess.  The cut "Snatch" showcases Stubblefield at his best on the drum kit, tossed over a bed of mixed Wurlitzer and piano, and horn and string charts that make it all sound so easy. (It also makes an appearance on Flabbergasted Freeform Fourteen.)

A curious bit of trivia about the title track of the album: it was written for the original television series adaptation of "Serpico" but was shelved when the project was put on hold for several years due to legal complications.  When the show finally took to the airwaves in 1976 (for only one season, alas), Sidran's track was not used.  It was written for a scene in which Frank Serpico is a given a surprise birthday party by the rest of his precinct and gets all teary-eyed and starts hugging and kissing everyone.*


Sidran appears to be, constitutionally speaking, a workaholic unable to simply take it easy.  He continues to record, perform, and write.  One of his most recent endeavors is a book regarding the role of Jews in the music business, titled "There Was a Fire: Jews, Music, and the American Dream."  I'm sure archive-based historians might turn up their noses a bit at his interloping, but as a Jew and a musician I think he's got a right to explore the subject, and seems to have kept busy on the lecture circuit talking about the book over the last few years.  You can catch some of his talks on his YouTube channel.  This channel, incidentally, is one of the more impressive artist channels I have seen on YouTube, as somebody (if not Sidran himself, then a stalwart staffer) has uploaded a ton of archival material, including lots of clips from the aforementioned television program from the early 1970s.  Check it out here. 

(*Disclaimer: this trivia fact may or may not have any basis in our consensual reality.)


 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Flabberform Focus No.1: Samba


A new atomic era of podcasts dedicated to particular styles and genre of music is being kicked off with a spontaneous homage to the endless wellspring of musical energy known as samba.  I hope you enjoy it, and with any luck I'll make more of these. Saravá!

I'll provide direct links for MP3 and FLAC downloads for your convenience in the next 12 hours.  In the meantime here it is streaming on Mixcloud.


Direct download links:

Mp3 320 kbs

FLAC  16-bit

---------------------------------

Os Originais do Samba – Lá Vem Salgueiro
Elza Soares – Bom dia, Portela
Xangô da Mangueira – Jequitibá do Samba
Darcy da Mangueira – Samba do Trabalhador
Clara Nunes – Candongueiro
Clementina de Jesus – Embala Eu
Giovana – Pisa nesse Chão com Força
Roberto Ribeiro – Coração Contrariado
Os Partideiros 10 – Barra Pesada and Compadre
Roberto Silva – Era Atômica
Francisco Alves - Ai, Ai Que Pena!
Luiz Ayrão – Porta Aberta
Caetano Veloso – Chuva, Suor e Cerveja
Os Demônios da Garoa – Um Samba no Bixiga
Cesar Costa Filho – Um Bilhete pra Longe
Leci Brandão – Decepção de uma Porta-Bandeira
João Nogueira – As Forças da Natureza
Dorival Caymmi e Bando da Lua – Acontece que Eu Sou Baiano
Carmen Miranda – É um Quê que a Gente Tem
Raul de Barros – Folhas Secas
Maria Creuza – Amor de Mãe
João Bosco – O Mestre-Sala dos Mares
Jorge Veiga – Na Cadência do Samba

Friday, February 5, 2016

Carmen Miranda - Os Carnavais de Carmen (2006)




Ruy Castro apresenta
Os Carnavais de Carmen
CARMEN MIRANDA


01 - Querido Adão
Benedicto Lacerda, Oswaldo Santiago
02 - Nova descoberta
Arlindo Marques Junior, Roberto Roberti
03 - Fala, meu pandeiro
Assis Valente
04 - O que é que você fazia ?
Hervé Cordovil, Noel Rosa
05 - Alô, alô, Carnaval
Hervé Cordovil, Janeiro Ramos
06 - Duvi-d-ó-dó
Benedicto Lacerda, João Barcellos
07 - Cantores de rádio
 A. Ribeiro, João de Barro, Lamartine Babo
08 - Beijo bamba
André Filho
09 - Dou-lhe uma
André Filho, Alberto Rilbeiro
10 - Balancê
João de Barro, Alberto Ribeiro
11 - Minha terra tem palmeiras
João de Barro, Alberto Ribeiro
12 - Nem no sétimo dia
Benedicto Lacerda, Herivelto Martins
13 - Camisa listada
Assis Valente
14 - Onde vai você, Maria ?
 Benedicto Lacerda, Darcy Oliveira
15 - A pensão da dona Stella
Paulo Barbosa, Oswaldo Santiago
16 - Cuidado com a gaita do Ary
Oswaldo Santiago, Paulo Barbosa




Well, dear readers, Carnaval is here again.  I am skipping it this year, since I recently rejoined the Jehovah's Witnesses after my lapse, and promised Prince that I would spend a few days handing out fliers with him and the guy from The Revolution who always dressed like a surgeon on stage, Dr. Fink.  Maybe he will wear the hospital scrubs and mask while we go out, and it will feel like our own kind of private Carnaval, and I'll feel less sad.

So this post goes out to all the other people who are missing Carnaval.  Because if you are within spitting distance of Carnaval right now, you should get off the damn internet and go outside.  

Carmen Miranda deserves a more verbose entry on this blog than I can give her today.  The story of her life and career is so rich, complex, and fascinating that it often serves today as a didactic lesson on Brazilian history and culture.  But I'm not feeling teacherly this evening.  For now, suffice it to say that she was a tremendously talented woman, and the reigning queen of samba for many years in the 1930s.  She also featured in many musical comedy films of the day - one of which features prominently in the CD presented here - before she left for the US to star in Broadway shows and, of course, Hollywood films.

This collection was released as a companion to the biography penned by Ruy Castro.  I haven't read Castro's book but I've no doubt that it's excellent.  (His book on bossa nova is great fun, even if I suspect some of it is rather apocryphal, and I was just given a lovely Christmas present of his newest book on the golden age of samba-canção, which I am looking forward to reading.)  Castro gets to take all the credit at the excellent song selection here and on the other three discs that came out at the same time.  I'm not sure why they weren't put out as a boxset, and in fact I find it rather irritating: one of the four discs has eluded me for several years now.


For the samba aficionados among us, a glance at the track list with the composer credits gives a clear idea of what we've signed up for.  Assis Valente, Lamartine Babo, Noel Rosa, João de Barro, Hervé Cordovil, Benedito Lacerda... Not much to complain about there.  These are all Odeon releases from the period after she left the Victor label.  Here's one of my favorites from this set, Assis Valente's "Camisa Listrada"



And she has guests to duet with like Silvio Caldas, Barbosa Junior, and - most famously - her sister Aurora.  She sings with her sisters Cecilia and Aurora on "Alô, Alô Carnaval", a song from the film of the same name which is sadly the only one of her Brazilian-made films to survive the ravages of time.  There is a very famous, iconic scene in it where Carrmen and Aurora sing "Cantores do radio" in matching sparkly suits.  It is up on YouTube but the audio is barely listenable: somewhat disgracefully, it seems as if nobody has done a proper restoration of this film yet.  They did record it as a 78 single, which appears in this collection, so here's an awesome still image and you can just play the CD and look at it:




Isn't it great? 

Some other musical highlights are Beijo Bamba, Balancê, A pensão da dona Stella, and her aforementioned duet with Silvio Caldas, Onde Você Vai, Maria? - for which I really wanted to post a YouTube clip but - shock and horror - it doesn't exist on YouTube yet!  I guess you will just have to track down this CD or an approximation of it floating around the interwebs in the form of a random link somewhere...



Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Flabbergasted Freeform Radio Hour No.15


Just in time to close out the year, here is Episode 15 of the ongoing saga of freeform flabbergasting podcasts.  It also happens to be the third anniversary of when I first started sharing these things.  Hope you enjoy it!

Here are some direct download links (note: you only need one)