Toni Tornado – B.R. 3 (1971)

toni tornado

Toni Tornado
B.R.3
Released 1971 on Odeon
2002 reissue, Odeon Cem Anos

Another great album from Toni Tornado, the “James Brown of Brazil.” But first off — here is the deal with this CD pressing: There is a really annoying defect on the first track, Juizo Final (*not* the Nelson Cavaquinho song, by the way), where it skips obnoxiously within the first ten seconds. This is not a problem with the individual disc or the rip. How do I know this?? I bought two of them… Same exact skip in the same exact place on both of them.

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On the whole the album is less funky than his 1972 album that would follow this but it is no less soulful for it. The repetoire seems him giving soulful treatments to two Roberto Carlos / Erasmo Carlos compositions (Não lhe quero mais, and Papai, não foi esse o mundo que você valou); a song by Hyldon (O repórter informou) and of course the title track that was a big hit (penned by Antônio Adolfo and Tibério Gaspar). This song would gain awards at the annual Festival of Song, in 1970, after which his career took off. The title, B.R.3, besides referring to the highway that connects Rio to Belo Horizonte, is also street slang for an intravenous injection… Giving the refraine “A gente corre, a gente morre, na B.R.3” a different shade of meaning.

The heavy influence of American black music was truly revolutionary, but also very “foreign” for Brazil, leading to some amusing parodies on TV that Toni himself participated in, on the show Os Trapalhões. These clips give you the idea, no portuguese necessary

And this one, of horrible VHS quality but even more silly, performing B.R.3. Filmed around the time of this record, this one pokes fun at the Toni’s rather idiosyncratic way of dancing while singing the tune at this point in history, sort of an odd power-walk/march. Note all the wigs of cabelo “Black Power”….

Short bio of Tony Tornado from allbrazilianmusic. com , a site from UOL that I actually forgot existed!! I could have been saving myself time on translations lately!

Born in São Paulo, Antônio Viana Gomes moved to Rio at age 11, after his father died. He worked as a shoeshine boy and sold candy until turning 18 and joining the Army (as a parachutist). He initiated his career as a rock’n’roll singer, using the stage name Tony Checker. Then, he joined the music & dance group Brasiliana and toured the world for the next ten years. He lived in New York for 3 years, and there he met Tim Maia. He was arrested in Brazil, once, accused of reproducing the Black Panthers compliment. Back in Brazil, he continued as a crooner, being eventually discovered by songwriter Tibério Gaspar. Tibério and Antônio Adolfo chose Tornado to interpret their songs, “BR-3” at a very important music festival in 1970, and the success was overwhelming. Another huge hit was “Podes Crer, Amizade”. He also developed his acting career, mainly in the 80s and 90s.

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