Orlando Silva was arguably Brazil’s most popular singer of the first half of the 20th century, heralding from a time when the use of microphones in live performance was unavailable or ‘optional’, and making his name singing on national radio. His influence on a young João Gilberto is well known, particularly in the early years after he relocated to Rio and sang in vocal groups. But some say that Silva’s was a voice whose influence runs through all Brazilian music that came after him.
This collection brings together a bunch of 78 rpm sides recorded for the Copacabana label between the years of 1951 and 1956. With his greatest successes in the 1930s and 40s, these sides were quite a bit after Orlando’s star had faded, and his voice was considerably different. Not quite the difference between early Tom Waits and later Tom Waits, for example — I still think he sounds great. But his hard-living had caught up with him, as the photos included in the booklet well attest to — It is hard to believe that he was only 35 – 40 years old in these photos, as he looks about ten years older to me. His voice no longer had the same range or capacity in the higher register, and the tonal clarity is not quite what it had been. But these observations are part of a preconceived aesthetics of what comprises a “good voice”, and I find his more ‘mature’ sound quite charming.
As explained in the liner notes, the repertoire of this collection consists largely of songs that had been staples of other performers, like his mentor Francisco Alves and Silvio Caldas, the latter of whom had big hits with a lot of them. The songwriting credits include some of the most vaunted samba composers of his time like Ary Barroso and Cyro Monteiro. All in all, this is a very nice collection in spite of not being from his ‘peak’ period. I have no idea why Discos Marcus Perreira issued this on 2 discs because it could have easily been fit on one. It might have something to do with the type of copy-protection they saddled the release with — which I valiantly defeated in order to an EAC rip. However, the victory was not complete. For those of you who care about such things please read this
TECHNICAL NOTE: the ripping log for EAC shows mismatched CRCs, and that the rip was done in Burst Mode. I am not sure how the program got in Burst Mode (it was necessary to use a rolled-back version of the program, so it might have been my fault). The CRCs are probably false-positives caused by whatever evil hoodoo the record label has slapped on these discs, so I wouldn’t worry too much about them. Some music colleagues of mine have reported that only Plextor drives can get an error-free rip from some of these ridiculously “protected” EMI pressings. Unfortunately, the original disks are in my ultra-secure bunker in the offshore Cayman Islands, and I will not have access to them anytime until next year, so there’s nothing to be done for it.
ENJOY THE MUSIC, in the end that’s what matters!
A Voz de Orlando Silva, 1951-56 (2005) in FLAC Lossless Audio