Jackson do Pandeiro – Chiclete Com Banana: 1958-60 (2008)

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Jackson do Pandeiro
“Chiclete Com Banana”
The Columbia Records Sessions 1958-60
Released 2008 by Discobertas Records (DB – 002)

DISC ONE

1. Tum, Tum, Tum
2. Pacífico Pacato
3. Boa Noite
4. Nortista Quatrocentão
5. Sem Querer
6. Vou Sambar
7. Boi da Cara Preta
8. Linda
9. Baião do Bambolê
10. Quadro Negro
11. Forró na Gafieira
12. Cantiga do Sapo
13. Naquela Base
14. Quem Não Chora Não Mama

DISC TWO

1. Chiclete com Banana
2. Forró de Surubim
2. Lágrima
3. De Arerê
4. Ogum de Malê
5. Sarava o Endá
6. Casaca de Couro
7. Lamento Cego
8. Valsa Neném
9. Mane Gardino
10. Acorrentado
11. Leva Teu Gererê
12. Vou Buscar Maria
13. Penerou Gavião

I have already lamented previously about the current sad state of Jackson do Pandeiro’s discography. I don’t know if it is due to evil record executives or quarelling family members, but his very extensive catalog of recordings is barely in print, limited to three titles that represent full albums (O Forró de Jackson, O Rei do Rítmo, and A Cabra da Peste) and few compilations with generic packaging that do little to honor the man. But alas it must just be me, the gringo commodity fetishizer, who gets so worked up about OBJECTS and the lack of them. What’s important is the music, right? Well, when you can find it. When you want Jackson do Pandeiro in better quality than a crappy mp3 you found on the internet, then you find yourself with a problem.

Let us welcome Discobertas records, then, into this sad story. They have done the world a service, and brought us a focused, concise collection of music: pretty much everything Jackson recorded for the Columbia record label in his brief tenure there from September 1958 to September of 1960. This is music that makes me glad to be alive.

As the liner notes point out, Jackson do Pandeiro shocked everyone when he left Copacabana Records, with whom he had made a ton of hit records and become a national sensation, and left for the (American-owned) Columbia. Ironic, then, that he end there recording one of his most famous tunes and one of the most famous moments of musical social critique and satire of American imperialism – ‘Chiclete Com Banana’.

By this time, Jackson do Pandeiro was living in Rio, starring in films, and living it up carioca-style. The majority of the tracks on this collection were released on 78’s and many will be unfamiliar even to Brazilian fans. In addition to the expected songs of baião and coco, there are also styles like rojão, batuque, marcha and samba represented here. And it is samba that is perhaps the most starteling revelation here — not that Jackson could sing samba, since he had already done so quite well, but the way it’s presented here. With horn charts and strings often replacing instruments like the sanfona or concertina, one wonders if Columbia was trying to make a samba star out of Jackson. Or perhaps it was his own initiative to do something different? There is a recent book about the man (“O Rei do Ritmo” by Fernando Moura and Antonio Vicente) that may or may not shine some light on this issue.. I have only come across the book once and wish I had bought it, since I am too lazy to remember to order a copy. It has a discography in it that appears almost identical to the one found on the Jackson do Pandeiro ‘official’ website — it appears that one was copied directly from the other, but I won’t point fingers. A great deal of the material here appears to have been recorded with Britinho e Sua Orchestra as his backing band — Britinho was a pianist whose band was sort of the house band at Columbia for putting out popular dance records, mostly samba, in the 50s.

This is usually the point where Flabbergast begins complaining about the quality of audio mastering or packaging or whatnot. Well today I am going to cut Discobertas some slack, because they have done a bang-up job on recent reissues from Beth Carvalho and Elza Soares. This was their second release (not sure which was the first in their catalog)… Armed with only a single photo of Jackson (from the ‘personal archive of the family’), reproduced about five times, they give us the following weird disclaimer in the CD insert: roughly translated, “All efforts were made in the attempt to locate the musicians, composers and photographers involved in the historic material that this project finally makes available. Any corrections will have to be made in subsequent editions (pressings).”

Kind of a weird thing to say on your own record, no? Seems like these guys had as hard a time putting together solid info on Jackson as even the casual listener, which is kind of discouraging.. They do, however, provide the precise catalog numbers of all the releases on 78 and the few that appeared on LPs. As far as I can tell, Jackson had two full length releases (LPs) on Columbia, the majority of which was material already released on 78 with a few new things thrown in. Thus, this seems to be *everything* for Columbia right here on these two discs.

Interesting side note- the producers thank Erasmo Carlos in the liner notes… Maybe just for being a cool guy, or a friend, or maybe they showed up at his house to look at his record collection in desperate need??

Another note — I can’t figure out the source material for this reissue — original tapes, or vinyl? Although the notes above this mention the old standard disclaimer of ‘these original recordings were made on magnetic tape between 1958 and 1960, every technical resource available has been made to improve the audio quality…”, they never come out and say ‘mastered from the original master tapes’. Instead they do a good job of tucking that information away under “Digitalização e pre-edição – Marcelo Fróes” which doesn’t really specify what was digitized. A lot of the tunes too crystal clear to have been done from anything besides tape, but then a lot can be done with pristine copies of original vinyl (such as one might find in Erasmo Carlos’ house..). Usually, working from the original master tapes is something people like to brag about, so the jury is out until they ‘come clean’. But it sounds good to my ears, and this stuff is pure gold musically.

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