Cartola – Verde Que Te Quero Rosa (1977)

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Cartola
“Verde Que Te Quero Rosa”
1977 RCA Records

Angenor de Oliveira, otherwise known as Cartola, was without doubt one of the greatest songwriters that ever lived. You don’t need the many tribute records with star-studded lists of participants to know this. You just need to listen to the man perform his own music. A founder of the Mangueira Samba School and the composer of their first samba, Cartola was a prolific composer in the 30s and 40s, with artists such as Carmen Miranda, Mário Reis, Francisco Alvez, and Silvio Caldas all recording his songs. He was esteemed by Hector Villa-Lobos, who invited him to visit with and perform for Leopold Stokowski when that composer visited Brazil in 1940 and wanted to know the “authentic” popular artists of Brazil. He recorded “Quem me Vê Sorrindo” on that occasion, on the S.S.Urugai! Cartola was also responsible for running the famous but short-lived samba venue Zicartola (a combination of his name with his wife’s, Zica, who ran it with him). Sadly, in a story all too similar to many a North American blues or jazz musician, Cartola himself dropped out of musical visibility and ended up working odd jobs such as a clerk for the Ministry of Agriculture and at a car wash. It was at the latter where he was “rediscovered” by a musical journalist and old friend who brought him back into active involvement with the music world.

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A classic. An essential. A staple that your home should no more be without than rice, beans, or OxiClean products. And in fact in many Brazilian homes this album is just as common as arroz or feijão and is kept on the same shelf. (OxiClean, on the other hand, stays under the sink).

This album, the third long-player he recorded, was his first record for RCA, and features material ranging from 1958 up to its release in 77. The majority of tunes are written by him, some with cowriters like his old friend Carlos Cachaça. One exception to that is “Pranto de Poeta” written by Guilherme de Brito and Nelson Cavaquinho, with Nelson sitting in on the performance.

The record was produced by music writer Sergio Cabral. My first impression of this album, after hearing the first two released on Discos Marcus Pereira, was that it was too slick and overproduced. On subsequent listens I found it to be….. still too slick and overproduced. But I have to admit that it actually does not distract from the merits of the incredible songwriting and strong performances throughout. However, you can take a wonderful song like “Autonomia” and orchestrate it, open it with an intro on a (very well-recorded) grand piano, and it sounds beautiful. But you can also take it to its bare knuckles, like on the posthumous EP-length album “Documento Inédito.” It’s up to the individual preference I suppose, but I prefer the latter. As much as the album might be over-produced, nothing is *ruined* here. There’s no synthesizers, or rocked-out drums, or any number of other things that could have been done to mangle it. Sergio Cabral’s intention, as insinuated in the liner notes, was to give Cartola the magisterial, kingly treatment and carinho that so many felt he deserved. And the record successfully does that. I hesitate to make such a broad generalization, especially as an ‘outsider’ to a culture, but if there was ever an artist and songwriter in Brazil who seems to have left virtually nobody untouched in a deeply meaningful, emotional way with his music, that would be Cartola.

“Verde que te quero rosa” also has one of the best album covers of all time in any genre.

If you are still not convinced, watch THIS CLIP
Cartola playing the song “Os Dois” for his wife Zica, for whom he wrote it on the eve of their marriage. One of the many amazing moments in the documentary CARTOLA: MUSICA PARA OS OLHOS, recently released on DVD (finally!!).

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16 Comments

  1. This is one the things that I love about DEEP SAMBA. Here's Cartola at age 68 at the peak of his powers. Kids could learn a thing or two about the wisdom of how talent grows with age. Artist who kick around for years before they even get a studio date like Cartola. As I study this form even more I notice that many great Sambistas are in their senior years when they drop their best work. People like Batatinha, Adoniran Barbosa or Nelson Cavaquinho are well into the later years of life & quite FRUITFUL. Live & learn.

  2. hm where's the link to DL the album? the above mediafire sharekey link leads to nothing…

  3. Media fire link say "NO ITEMS FOUND TO DISPLAY"

    Is the link correct? It's not the message they usually use when something's been removed.

  4. Many Thanks

  5. Thanks man Ive been waiting for this gem! Although sorry to report none of the links work. Probably the file hosts acting up or something.

  6. Actually Matt this is an old post, from 2009. There was a complaint filed against it and it was reset to 'draft' status probably two years ago. I removed the links myself and put it back up for informational purposes BUT it should have been in the right place chronologically, and it isn't (obviously). You'll notice all the comments before yours are years old…

    I guess I'll be deleting this or resetting it to 'draft' status at the least because I don't want this on the 'front page' so to speak. Bummer too about the complaint.

  7. oh i see ya bummer, i should of seen the dates too lol. Well at least now i have a good quality image of the front cover which is badass

  8. It's blogger's new format that reset the date; I've managed to put it back more or less in the timeline now.

    Well as you can imagine I have some opinions about the rationale behind these 'complaints.' My most recent involved Nelson Cavaquinho, someone who spent a great deal of his life in relative poverty, cheated out of his royalties or having some them to crooks in the music business. And this complaint had even made reference to only one song – `Folhas Secas`, which was a huge hit for OTHER people but never for him. Bottom line is the music business always has been and still is controlled by unethical and hypocritical lowlifes…

  9. hi, i download some albums from your side an i want to say thank you for sharing. specially the diverse brazilian funk sounds knocks me out! thank you, lg, m

  10. Always looking for funk and other things. Thanks

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