Jorge Ben – Jorge Ben (1969) [Salve, Jorge! Boxset]


JORGE BEN
1969
Philips (R 765.100 L)

This reissue, Salve Jorge! Boxset, 2009
The Dusty Groove America pressing of this album from only a few years ago is on the blog HERE for your comparison. I have the original Philips pressing but without artwork (copy from a friend made a few years ago) if anybody is dying to compare all three pressings…

One of Jorge Ben’s best albums. The liner notes on the new reissue refer to it as a ‘comeback album’ — what they don’t tell you is that its also a ‘coming back to the Philips label’ album.. Ben had recorded one album for the United Artists label in 1967, O BIDU – SILÊNCIO NO BROOKLIN, that is not featured in this boxset for that very reason — which is really unfortunate since this boxset would otherwise be a complete document of his output up to 1976… I believe that Jorge Ben was in some kind of contractual dispute (such as disagreement on the terms of a new recording contract) that caused him to record for UA, but I’m not actually sure.

Regardless, ‘comeback’ notwithstanding, this is an amazing album, proving again that — just like his debut album — Jorge Ben was at his best when recording his own songs. EVERY track on this is his own. It is also remarkable and noteworthy that while other albums made by those more closely associated with Tropicália (e.g. any of the records made by Gilberto Gil, Caetano, or Gal in 68 or 69) contain little material that those artists would continue to perform (with some major exceptions scattered about…”Baby”, or “Aquele Abraço” for example), this album is packed with songs that continue to form staples of Jorge Ben’s repertoire.

This highlights one of the things I admire most about Jorge Ben — throughout the classic phase of his career, he could change elements of his stylistic approach while always retaining the ‘essence’ that was unmistakably Jorge Ben. Albums that are as different as they could be in terms of execution, approach, production — compare “Samba Esquema Novo”, this album, “A Tábua de Esmeralda”, and “África Brasil”, for example — never actually represent dramatic departures in Jorge Ben’s style of composition or playing. And I think this is a wonderful and remarkable thing. The notes on the boxset (sparse as they are, unfortunately) get things right when they demonstrate that in a very important way, Jorge Ben was always on the fringes of what was accepted as ‘serious’ music by the critics of his day — too much rock and jovem guarda for the bossa nova crowd, too much swing in his samba, too much funk in his feijoada. And in spite of critics he continued to be popular and to influence the music made by those artists more celebrated as ‘serious’, like the Tropicalístas, for whom (like Nara Leão) he was sort of an honorary member, a fellow-traveler whose career preceded the efflorescence of that movement and stood a bit further away from its center.

1 Crioula
2 Domingas
3 Cadê Teresa
4 Barbarella
5 País tropical
6 Take it easy my brother Charles
7 Descobri que eu sou um anjo
8 Bebete vãobora
9 Quem foi que roubou a sopeira de porcelana chinesa que a vovó ganhou da baronesa?
10 Que pena
11 Charles, Anjo 45

with Trio Mocotó and Os Originais do Samba

Arrangementes – José Briamonte, Rogerio Duprat (on “Descobri que eu sou um anjo” and “Barbarella”
Recorded at Scatena (São Paulo) and C.B.D. / Philips (Rio) studios
Recording technicians: Ary Carvalhaes, Célio Martins, Didi, Stélio Carlini, and João Kibelestis
Cover: Albery
Photo: Johnny Sálles
Layout: Lincoln
Violão: Jorge Ben
Produced by Manoel Barenbein

2009 Reissue mastered by Luigi Hoffer at DMS Mastering Solutions
Texts by Ana Maria Bahiana

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