This is an old post disguised as a new post (as you surmise from the verb tense used related to the box set). It was written in May. I have not written anything new for it. Except that last sentence where I wrote that I wasn’t going to write anything new — and this one too. Otherwise this is the same post, with a difference in that it actually has a purpose now at the bottom of the page. By request.
I heard a rumor that there is a Tim Maia boxset in the works. That will be a welcome thing since most of his classic discography is stupidly out of print. However I will make you a bet (‘o que você quer apostar?’) about one thing: They will fuck up the sound. I know a lot of you don’t give a flying rats ass about mastering techniques and audio engineering but I will give you a little experiment to try at home with the kids. Put this album on, this original Polydor/Polygram pressing from the early 90s, and crank it up REALLY LOUD. Tim would have liked that. Notice anything? Notice how everything is still crisp and clear and doesn’t distort? Notice how the music has something called *dynamic range*, valleys and peaks? Take a good look and note the number or notch on your volume knob or fader and keep track of it. Now put in any CD mastered in the last ten years — new album, reissue of an old album, doesn’t matter so long as it was issued in the last 10 years or so. Put the volume to the same place as this Tim Maia album. Notice anything? Sounds like shit, doesn’t it? End of lesson.
This pressing sounds unfuckingbelievably good. It even sounds good on an iPod.
This isn’t just audio psychobabble either, because the PRODUCTION on this album is really amazing. If you had any doubt that the studios in São Paulo and Rio during the late 60s and early 70s were producing albums that sounded just as good or better than anything coming out of England or the United States, just listen to this early Tim Maia stuff. The whole LP is consistent production-wise but the track ‘Pelo amor de Deus’ has to be singled out here. They double-tracked the drums to make them sound even heavier on a album that has a pretty heavy drum sound to begin with. And in the last verse, Tim’s vocals is pulled down in the mix and drenched with plate reverb, making it seem like he is being carried away from us down a long dark hallway while the drums get LOUDER. (I don’t think they actually *do* get louder, rather it’s an aural illusionist’s trick by making Tim magically disappear… No mean feat, being a big guy and all that.)
As much cult-status as the Racional records have on account of being, a) mind-blowing and fantastic, b) extremely rare until finally reissued only a few years ago, circulating mostly as a bootleg, and c) freakishly weird and messed up (in a good way, like UFO cults and Scientology before it went all Hollywood) — those records really require an appreciation of his earlier work to get their full effect, in my unhumble opinion.
The opening cut “Idade” blisters with 60s soul tones and just enough Jovem Guarda swagger to make this still unappealing to many a navel-gazing Tropicalista fan of 1972. You can see him ripping through it in the video above. (Too bad there’s no shots of the band on this, as they actually are playing live and not faking it). The second track is even more wonderfully alienated, singing in ENGLISH and a lot more Motown than MPB. And damn perfect English too, demonstrating Tim’s long devotion to playing his anglophone soul and rock record collection until the grooves were so thin you could see through the vinyl. Wonderful flute solo by Isidoro Longano followed by a short sax solo from Antonio Arruda here. For the last minute or so the band just rocks the arrangement. Did I mention Tim produced this album himself? The arrangements are very well thought-out on every track, and since they are uncredited I will also assume Tim had a hand in those until I get around to reading Nelson Motta’s biography. The next track, “O que você quer apostar?” is as a gritty a funk soul number as anything Wilson Pickett could kick out up in the northern hemisphere, with nice lyrics for a mulher mentirosa. “Canário do reino” is another baião-flavored forró and I’m pretty sure Tim is trying to capitalize on the success of the hit he had by covering João do Vale’s “Coroné Antonio Bento” a year or so earlier. This track doesn’t work nearly as well as that one, and while it’s still good it’s also the weakest cut we’ve heard thus far. “Já era tempo de você” is the happiest swinging-big-band-with-a-small-band song of disenchantment I can think of, a friendly way to tell someone they already had their chance and you’ve moved on with your life.
Back to English again with “Where Is My Other Half” with Tim singing plaintively over gently strummed acoustic guitar (steel string and not nylon, I might add) and then the band kicks in with heavy drums for the end as Tim wonders over and over again why she left him. I think Tim is following a formula here he learned from his U.S. soul records – the first half is the uptempo dance party, the second half is for dimming the lights and making out with your lady (or man). “O que me importa” is Tim and company being as soulful as they can be, this time with vibraphone, again blowing me away with their ability to arrange all the instrumentation and capture it all so well in the mix. It also sets a template for basically every song Hyldon would write.. “Lamento” is quite honestly kind of tedious and sounds an awful lot like “Where Is My Other Half”. Unfortunately this cut is followed by an attempt at a blues number, “Sofre,” that reminds me why the blues is a quintessentially North American black art form. In fact I am suffering listening to it right now as I write this. It just kind of falls flat, but I’ll give Tim credit for asserting his blackness. Most other Brazilian acts attempting blues at this time were prog-rockers with wanky guitar solos that went on far too long. It is also interesting to note that Tim would later reuse the formula of the opening rap a decade later with the huge hit song “Me dê motivo”, including opening it up with “é engraçado” (it’s funny..), and oddly enough the vocal line from “Lamento” also reappears in that tune. A good way for Tim to recycle some of his good ideas that didn’t quite work the first time around, and “Me dê motivo” is a much better song than either of these. “Razão de sambar” is a minute and half of jazz-samba. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD the next song is amazing — “Pelo amor de deus”, well, I already ranted on about it but let me reiterate again how great it is. “These are the songs,” is a piece of Latin lounge, in English again, that is a nice way to end the album and assert his unique musical identity. Elis Regina would later record a lame version of this song with Tim guesting on vocals.
Even with the weak points on this record, it is still thoroughly essential listening. Valeu, Tim!
LINKS REMOVED BY CORPORATE SCUMBAGS who are going to sell you a shitty
compilation made for gringos in October. Hey, where do you think most
of your buyers will have heard this music for the first time?? Blogs,
maybe? Fuck you AmeriKKKa.