Ary Lobo – Ary Lobo (1962)

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Ary Lobo
“Ary Lobo”
Released 1962 on RCA-Victor (BBL – 1172)
Reissued 2004, “Essential Classics” series (82876641002)

1. Moça de hoje
2. Minha promessa
3. Eu vou pra lua
4. Movimento do Cidade
5. Se o passado voltasse
6. Zé Negreiro
7. Mulher de saia justa
8. Planeta plutão
9. Baião do Acre
10. Pedida a São Jorge
11. É Cosme e Damião
12. Garganta de cera

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This is a particularly strong album from Pará native Ary Lobo (Gabriel Eusébio dos Santos Lobo). With experience as a radio presenter while serving in the army, Lobo relocated to Rio where he also worked in radio and began making records in 1958 interpreting other composer’s material. By the time this album was released in 1962 he had five LPs and had become a songwriter in his own right, and a top-notch one at that. His style was heavily influenced by Jackson do Pandeiro and even though he adds his own twists and personal “toque”, Pandeiro’s masterful shadow looms over just about everything here. His repertoire had come to mostly feature the regional styles of the Northeast, singing about the quotidian challenges of life in Recife (Movimento da cidade), or of the northeastern migrants to the southeastern cities of Rio or São Paulo in “Minha Promessa.” In this latter song the Cearense protagonist tells how he made a promise to Padre Cícero, swearing that if luck should come his way in Rio he would return to his home in Juazeiro do Norte. Everything turns out well for the narrator in the song, which was rarely the case for the migrants looking to trade their hard luck for a better life in the cities of the industrialized southeast, giving the song a tone of either tongue-in-cheek irony or a hopeful prayer, depending on your interpretation.

This record contains the first song Ary Lobo ever wrote, “Eu vou pra lua”, which was written and first recorded in 1960. (I am not sure if that recording was used for this Long Player or if it was rerecorded for this release..). Brilliant, clever, and catchy as hell, the Jackson do Pandeiro influence is very heavy here in both the arrangement and his vocal phrasing — in fact the first time I heard it, I thought it *was* Jackson do Pandeiro – but the song is still all Lobo’s. The lyrics use the romanticism of Sputnik-era dreams of colonizing space as a solution to earthly social problems as a way to fit in some biting social satire in under three minutes (2:56 to be exact..). I wish I had time to translate the lyrics to English for the anglophiles in Flabberland but, alas, I do not. But as a basic summary I can say that our singer is sick of hunger, crime, inflation and “uneven development” (sorry, that’s my inability to resist social-science jargon… the phrase is “O progresso daqui a carestia” or “Here, progress is expensive…”), and resigning himself to disinterested apathy (“It’s no longer worth it to even criticize / Nobody believes in politics / Where the people live in agony”). He then goes on to imagine a utopian life on the moon free of bureaucracy where there is no lack of water, electricity, hospitals or schools. Oh yes, and where a woman gets sentenced to ten years in jail for cheating on her husband but her ‘back door man’ doesn’t suffer (a bit of light male chauvinist humor tacked onto the end of the tune). Of course now we know none of these things could ever happen since even The Muppets couldn’t colonize space, or even make a good film about it.

 

Eu Vou Prá Lua
Eu vou morar lá
Sair do meu Sputnik
Do Campo do Jiquiá…

Já estou enjoado aqui da terra
Onde o povo a pulso faz regime
A indústria, roubo, a fome, o crime
Onde os preços aumentam todo dia
O progresso daqui a carestia
Não adianta mais se fazer crítica
Ninguém acredita na política
Onde o povo só vive em agonia

Na lua não tem
Nome abreviado
[a bunch of acronyms*]
Nem contrabando
De mercadoria
Lá não falta água
Não falta energia
Não falta hospital
Não falta escola
É fuzilado lá
Quem come bola
E morre na rua
Quem faz anarquia

Lá não tem juventude transviada
Os rapazes de lá não têm malícia
Quando há casamento é na polícia
A moça é quem é sentenciada
Porventura se a mulher for casada
E enganar o marido a coisa é feia
Ela pega dez anos de cadeia
E o conquistador não sofre nada

* Lobo cleverly mocks Brazil’s acronym fetish by rhyming a bunch of them in rapid succession here. The lyrics posted in numerous places online are erroneous in this part of the song, having apparently been taken from a cover version from Zé Ramalho which changed them, no doubt in an effort to make the song more ‘up to date.’ Which is fair enough, I suppose: the acronyms on the original recording seem mostly taken from institutions and bureaucratic agencies from the Vargas and Kubitschek era like COHAB and IPSEP (which was both an agency and a neighborhood, still very much existing, in Recife). He rattles them off too quickly for me to figure out, especially since I suspect a few of them no longer exist… perhaps someone out there can help set the record straight?

The album also features other notable hits like “Moça de hoje” and “É Cosme é Damião”, along with others I am quite fond of like “Zé Negreiro” and “Pedida a São Jorge”. Most of the songs were written by various pairings of Luiz Boquinho, Ary Monteiro, and Ary Lobo himself, which makes for a cohesive experience of a recording on which there are no bad or uninteresting tracks.

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