VA – A Música de Donga (1974)


1974 Discos Marcus Pereira (403.5023)

1 Amigo do povo
2 Canção dos infelizes
(Donga, Luiz Peixoto)
3 Benedito no choro
4 Patrão prenda seu gado
(Donga, Pixinguinha, João da Baiana)
5 Vertigem
6 Seu Mané
(Baiano, Donga)
7 Cinco de julho
8 Ranchinho desfeito
(De Castro e Souza, Donga)
9 Ligia, teus olhos dizem tudo
10 Pelo telefone
(Mauro de Almeida, Donga)
11 Quando uma estrela sorri
(Lobos, Villa, Donga, David Nasser)
12 Depoimento de Donga ao Museu da Imagem e do Som do Rio de Janeiro em 02/04/69

with performances by

Elizeth Cardoso
Leci Brandão
Paulo Tapájos
Gisa Nogueira

the ensemble

Dino 7 Cordas (violao 7 cordas, arrangements)
Meira (violao)
Waldiro Frederico Tramontino (Canhoto)(cavaquinho)
Joel Nascimento (bandolim)
Altamiro Carrilho (flute, arrangements)
Abel Ferreira (clarinet, sax)
Luiz Paulo da Silva (bombardino)
Marcal, Elizeu (percussion)
Jorginho (pandeiro)


“Não tem nada disso. Depois é que o samba foi para o morro. Aliás, onde houvesse festa nos iamos. /// It was nothing like that. It was only afterward that samba went to the favela. Really, wherever there was a party, we went there and played.”

Donga in 1969, responding to an interviewer from the Museum of Image and Sound asking him what he thinks about people saying that “samba came from the favelas”


Donga is credited with writing the first song to ever be called a “samba”, the tune “Pelo Telefone,” in spite of arguments between various people about whether its really a maxixe or samba or whether other people contributed to its composition and so on and so forth. Or that the verb ‘sambar’ is literally just ‘to dance’, of African origin. Donga’s importance can’t be over-stated. If you want to know more about him, there are plenty of people more informed and erudite than I am to tell you about him. I’m sorry this post isn’t more developed but I have some more pressing concerns at the moment (see below)

A beautiful, beautiful album with gorgeous sound and amazing singers performing Donga’s material. Donga only actually performs on about half the album, the other tracks being led by famous musicians like his friend Almirante or the lovely sambistas Leci Branção, Gisa Nogueira and Elizete Cardoso, who opens up the first vocal number with total class. Amazing arrangements, you can really hear the choro happening. It’s too bad that the CD issue of this album doesn’t include any (readable) liner notes as all the original LPs on Discos Marcus Perreira had informative write-ups, but the stellar sound on this makes me forgive them.

As already stated, my apologies for not giving this post the attention it deserves. In fact I was hoping to post something every day for the two weeks leading up to carnaval. Alas ’twas not to be. My house has been broken into twice in the space of 8 days and I am in the process of figuring out where to move, since I really can’t stay here. It’s all kind of mind-blowing, really: I lived on a block with crack dealers working the corner in Chicago and never had to deal with problems like these, and now I’m in a place with 25,000 people in it.. But as long as I have my life, and some music to listen to, everything will be alright.

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Eugene McDaniels – Outlaw (1970)


Eugene McDaniels
Released on Atlantic (SD 8259) 1970

1 Outlaw 5:00
2 Sagitarius Red 3:03
3 Welfare City 2:52
4 Silent Majority 4:10
5 Love Letter To America 3:57
6 Unspoken Dreams Of Light 6:40
7 Cherrystones 3:08
8 Reverend Lee 6:31
9 Black Boy 2:59

Bass – Ron Carter
Drums – Ray Lucas
Engineer – Bob Liftin , Dean Evenson
Guitar – Eric Weissberg , Hugh McCracken
Percussion – Buck Clarke
Piano – Mother Hen
Producer – Joel Dorn

Recorded at Regent Sound Studios, NYC

With special thanks to
Les McCann


“She’s a nigger in jeans, she’s an outlaw, she don’t wear a bra.”
With opening lines like these, you know you are in for a weird trip.

Eugene McDaniels may be famous (or infamous) for `Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse` but for my money (which isn’t much these days), THIS album has the songs! Also, while that album has the reputation for being the one that prompted Spiro Agnew to tap his phone, I have a strong feeling the spying started with “Outlaw”. I mean, they’re holding a rifle on the album cover, and “Love Song to America” declares him an enemy of the state (albeit unwilling).

Eugene McDaniels may be famous (or infamous) for `Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse` but for my money (which isn’t much these days), THIS album has the songs! One of the weirdest career trajectories in music, McDaniels had gone from an early 60s R&B hit maker, as Gene McDaniels, with songs like “100 lbs of Clay”, then seemingly taken a few years away from music, and reemerged with this militant, bizarre, and utterly seductive music. If I remember correctly he had begun working on this album while in the studio with Bobby Hutcherson recording the amazing album “Now!” Only one of the tunes on this album is really reminiscent of that masterpiece, “Unspoken Dreams of Light”, loaded with jazz intervals and trippy, convoluted lyrics about a coming bloody revolution sweeping the country. It’s a rock-funk-folk arrangement, I suppose, but the refrain sounds like it was left over from “Now.”

Every song on here is very literally great. McDaniels’ vocals are amazing, both emotionally stirring and also full of swagger and attitude. There is a twang to some of the tunes and especially Hugh McCracken’s and Eric Weissberg’s guitar licks that might invite comparisons to the Rolling Stones of this era. You can say that if you like, McDaniels probably would have not have objected to the comparison, but in a profound way these two albums of McDaniels are everything the Stones wanted to be in 1970. Black, for one thing, but incendiary, funky, roots-laden, gospel-tinged soul and rock music that truly must have made the so-called “Silent Majority” tremble in their straight-laced shoes with its scathing social criticisms, dark ironic humor, and sharply articulated anger. How is the listener supposed to react to the folk strumming of “Welfare City” whose chorus is, “la la la, la la la la la, la la, la la la la la, smoke a joint” ?? Well, just sing along I guess. By the end of the tune, with layered vocal harmonies, it sounds as catchy as “I’d Like To Give The World a Coke.”

“Silent Majority” is sadly as relevant today as it was in 1970. For those too young to know the history of that phrase, it was what the reactionary Nixon-era conservatives called themselves during the “cultural revolution” of leftist politics, free love, drugs, and rock and roll. McDaniels calls them out on their hypocrisy and also makes the astute observation that they weren’t really all that ‘silent.’ Unfortunately these same types of people are even more organized now, and still claim to speak for the “majority” of Americans, representing true patriotism, and calling anyone who disagrees with them a communist. These days, they call themselves The Tea Party.

McDaniels would never again make records like this one and “Headless Heroes”. It seems as if he has never said much publicly about them (silenced by the Kissinger-blessed majority??). It almost seems as if he is not aware, or simply uninterested, in the profound influence this music had on the relatively few people who have had the privilege of hearing it. These are underground classics loved by fans of rock, soul, and funk, have been name-checked by all kinds of hipsters. There was an article devoted to Daniels in the respectable magazine (I mean that sincerely) Wax Poetics, but I don’t remember what it said. Also can’t figure out what issue it was in but it seems to have been included in the second `anthology` in book form. Anyone who wants to scan it and post it here, be my guest. The guy is kind of a mystery to me in a lot of ways.

McDaniels was a good friend and colleague of Roberta Flack during this period, and wrote classic tunes in her repertoire like “Compared to What?” and “Reverend Lee” (his version of this latter tune is MUCH stranger, and longer), both of which became stables of Flack’s repertoire during the early 70s. McDaniels also penned one of her huge hits, “Feel Like Making Love”, which won him a Grammy. Again, ….what the fuck? How does one go from making THIS record, to winning a Grammy for a love song just a few years later??? He has also written material for Aretha Franklin.

Gene McDaniels is still around, he has a website, a Facebook account, and a You Tube channel. He has even released some music recently, about which I knew nothing until yesterday when researching for this upload.

This was one of my first vinyl rips, made on my Music Hall turntable, a Parasound preamp, and recorded using a Tascam digital recorder at 24/96 resolution. I think it sounds warm and musical, but someday I may rip it with my new setup, after I get the album out of storage from my bunker in the Kayman Islands. Apparently this was released on CD by Water Records but I never knew that until yesterday and have never come across it. I find their mastering to be cold and harsh on everything I have by them — although they usually release amazing, essential music – so I am quite happy with this for the moment.

I photographed the album with my Nikon D80 but.. I have no idea what I did with the files. So I have included some album cover scans I found on an interesting blog devoted to vinyl album art. ENJOY!!

Ripping specs:
Music Hall MMF.5 Turntable with Goldring 1012GX cartridge, Gyger II diamond stylus, and MK II XLR Ringmat –> Pro-ject Speedbox II -> Parasound Z Phono Preamp -> Marantz PMD 661 digital recorder at 24/96khz .Declicked on very light settings with Click Repair -> DC Offset and track splitting in Adobe Audition 2.0 Dithering to 16-bit in IzoTope RX Advanced using M-Bit algorithm. Converted to FLAC and mp3 with DbPoweramp. Tagged properly with Foobar 2000.


in 320 kbs em pee tré

in FLAC LAWLESS AUDIO 16-bit / 44.1khz

in FLAC LAWLESS AUDIO 24-bit / 96 khz ‘hi-rez’ format

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Andy Bey – Experience and Judgment (1974)

Released 1974 on Atlantic (LP 1654)
This pressing 1998 Koch Jazz (KOC CD-8520)
This pressing is HDCD encoded

1 Celestial Blues 3:24
2 Experience 2:57
3 Judgment 2:58
4 I Know This Love Can’t Be Wrong 4:22
5 Hibiscus 4:39
6 You Should’ve Seen The Way 2:31
7 Tune Up 4:11
8 Rosemary Blue 3:24
9 Being Uptight 3:05
10 A Place Where Love Is 4:38
11 Trust Us To Find The Way 2:39
12 The Power Of My Mind 2:55

Recorded at Regent Studios, NY

Andy Bey – Vocals, Acoustic Piano
Buddy Williams, Jimmy Young – drums
Wilbur Bascomb – Bass
William Fischer – Electric Piano, Organ, Harpsichord, Synthesizer, Percussion
Electric Bass – Wilbur Bascomb
George Davis – guitar (Track 2 only)
Richard Resnicoff – guitar
Engineer – Bob Liftin
Guitar – George Davis (2) , Richard Resnicoff (tracks: 2, 3, 8, 9)
Selwart Clarke – Violen, viola

Produced by by William Fischer


Yes, this is one ugly album cover. But what’s inside is as beautiful a record as you’re likely to come across.

A long long time ago I promised a flood of music from Gary Bartz. I didn’t deliver on that promise. What can I say, my life is a morass of unfulfilled potential and broken promises. At least, that’s how it seems some of the time.

Until I put on this and then everything is suddenly fine. Andy Bey is easily one of the most underrated figures in music. His work with Horace Silver and Gary Bartz especially is phenomenal. And this album is, well, eternal. It’s largely a laid-back affair, brimming with the echoes of cosmic soul in ways that aren’t too different from a lot of other contemporary albums, but this one has a certain fire and heart that just isn’t very common. It begins with a slowed down take on his ‘Celestial Blues’ that he had already recorded with Bartz’ NTU Troop. First time I heard this version I didn’t know how to react. I felt like a fly suspended in sweet funky amber. Followed by ‘Experience’, the most frantic and uptempo tune on the record, full of lyrics that would be difficult for anybody but Andy to sing and make sound this cool in elongated melodic gospel shouts from the lotus seat. “Judgment”, the other side of the coin, is slowly and heavier on the funk with some wickedly-recorded wah-guitar sounding like the microphone was in the hallway during the session. Andy deserves more credit as a pianist than he usually gets but it must be said that keys man Bill Fischer steals the show here. Acting as producer and also composer on some of the tunes, he definitely has a ‘mark’ of production here – but with his exquisite taste in analog synth tones and the absolutely perfect mix, you won’t hear me complaining about his production. His synth work and electric piano weave in and out of the music faster than an arcade old-school centipede, there and gone halfway before your awareness has caught up. In trying to find some more info on this album on the All-Knowing Interwebs, I have seen this album compared to Gil Scott-Heron in a few places. Which really makes no sense in terms of Gil’s vision and gestalt.. Where there IS a similarity is between this album and Brian Jackson, Gil’s co-conspirator. Now, THAT makes sense to me.

Really really I mean it, not a bad song here. The scaled-down funk poetry of ‘Hibiscus’ hits all my buttons in the right place, perfect in every way of composition, lyric, execution, tonalities, textures, production. A heavily spiritual mind-expanding vibration just billows forth from your stereo speakers (or, um, iPod earbuds, I guess) to envelop you. “You Should’ve Have Seen The Way” is easily the funniest song about meditation I’ve ever come across. Granted, that makes it kind of a big fish in a small pool, but still… Story of guy taking a friend’s advice by trying to clear his mind and find his way through meditation, but he just can’t stop thinking about making love to a woman. Deep, metaphysical, sensual as hell. For all the buddhist vibe on this album it’s good to know Bey and company can keep it real. “Tune Up” is a more serious tune on a similar wavelength, one of my friend TY’s favorite tracks on this. More lyrics that would sound weird from anyone but Andy Bey, “like hypnotizing yourself up to a certain point,” it just kind of works on you and achieves in the listener an analog of what he’s singing about.

So far there is nothing remotely commercial about whats been presented here (jazz purists be damned, this stuff is too obscure and deep to be selling out to anyone). Then we should be all the more surprised by the next tune, a ballad lifted from Neil Sedaka. That’s right – Neil fucking Sedaka! And he just kills us with it. It becomes a love sonnet sung from across the veil of mortality, sung from a dead man to his widow. Granted all that was already in the lyrics but goddamn if Andy Bey doesn’t make it all come together and work on this album. By now we are 3/4 through the album and the remainder is pretty low-key and mellow. Nothing to grab you like what’s already come before but just enough going on to keep you engaged, going out on a wonderfully optimistic and sensual mindsex epic of “The Power of My Mind”.

It’s always weird to stop and think about how friends are brought together out of seemingly random occurrences, some drifting apart, some always there, some coming back like cycles of the moon. And when I ask myself why it took me so long to post this record, because it had been on my ‘short list’ for about a year now, I think it must have to do with that elusive ephemeral thing called friendship. I remembered it, suddenly, and sent it to someone who I think may have needed it right then. And a few days later we were having an intense conversation that ostensibly had nothing to do with this album but yet also had everything to do with this album. And that is one of the great qualities of “Experience and Judgment” – although you can call it ‘soul jazz’ or ‘spiritual jazz’, it is of an earthly sort of cosmic consciousness, one imbued with the substance of day to day living and struggle, that keeps its lyrics even at their most abstract from flying untethered into the blinding light of oneness, instead staying in the air for a while to light our way as we listen. I can’t recommend this album enough.

p.s. the HDCD mastering is a nice touch. Several digital players can recognize the coding and provide the up-sampling, leave a note if you want to know more.

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Baden Powell – Programa Ensaio (1990) (SESC)


Baden Powell
Programa ENSAIO
Boxset #2

Originally recording from the Fundação Padre Ancheita for Programa Ensaio in 1991
Directed by Fernando Faro
Released in 2000 by SESC – SP (JCB-0709-021)

1 Voltei(Baden Powell, Paulo César Pinheiro)
2 Revendo o passado (Freire Jr.)
3 Naquele tempo(Benedito Lacerda, Pixinguinha)
4 Palhaço(Washington Fernandes, O. Martins, Nelson Cavaquinho)
5 Minha saudade (João Donato, João Gilberto)
6 Rapaz de bem (Johnny Alf)
7 Samba triste (Baden Powell, Billy Blanco)
8 Deixa (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
9 Tem dó (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
10 O astronauta (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
11 Samba em prelúdio (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
12 Formosa (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
13 Bocoché (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
14 Canto de Yemanjá (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
15 Tristeza e solidão (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
16 Canto de Ossanha (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
17 Canto de capoeira (Folclore)
18 Berimbau( Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
19 Lapinha (Baden Powell, Paulo César Pinheiro)
20 Falei e disse (Baden Powell, Paulo César Pinheiro)

Beginning sometime in the late 90s, the SESC – São Paulo branch began preparing a series of boxsets. SESC is an arts foundation that is mostly or perhaps entirely state-funded, and thus able to produce live concerts, CDs, books, and videos that are invaluable for the researcher or lover of Brazilian music. For this project, the objective was to collect the audio portion of the programs fillmed for the extinct TV Tupi which ran under the names of ‘Ensaio’ and ‘MPB Especial’ but were both essentially the same program conceived and produced by Fernando Faro, as far as I know. They are famous for the informal atmosphere in which the musicians, individually or with a small group for accompaniment, being interviewed about their lives and careers in between playing songs related to the conversation. Sort of like a musical biography. But the programs were also famous for the oddity that the questions are never heard in the final production — just the answers. Nobody I have talked to in Brazil seems to know why this is, and everyone finds it kind of strange and amusing. I plan to call the SESC office in São Paulo and get to the bottom of it one day.

These boxes were originally released with a fairly large book in each package. The book contained the complete transcripts of the interviews as well as essays about the artists by various authors like Tarik de Souza and Sérgio Cabral. Unfortunately, these books are no longer available, but I was surprised just to learn that the CDs still existed, since they had been described to me as ‘very rare’ when in fact they can still be found.

This is not my favorite disc in the SESC boxes( hell, I haven’t gotten through listening to 25% of the CDs yet, as each box contains on average 12 CDs each) but its very good. Obviously those who understand Portuguese will benefit more from the interview portions, which on this set includes an amusing story of Vinicius de Moraes accusing Baden of plagiarizing Chopin while they were working together, and insisting they wake up his sister in the middle of the night to confirm it. Other than the interviews, Baden’s playing is top-notch, and his singing voice is, well, basically the same as it ever was — at times ‘desafinado’ but somehow perfect for his music. All good stuff with the exception of his performance of ‘Lapinha’ which I find really abrasive and irritating for some reason

I was somewhat surprised to find an actual review of this disc, on the cool site and useful resource ‘Clique Music’:

O violão de Baden Powell influenciou uma geração inteira de instrumentistas, dos anos 60 pra cá. Na entrevista ao programa Ensaio feita em 1990 e reproduzida neste disco da coleção lançada pelo Sesc-SP, Baden traça sua vida e sua carreira em uma hora de música (só voz e violão) e conversa. Muito apropriadamente em se tratando de um músico profissional desde os 15 anos de idade, a memória de Baden se dá através das música. Da infância e adolescência, com influência do pai – o entusiasta de escotismo que tocava violino e lhe deu as primeiras noções de música –, Baden se lembra tocando a valsa Revendo o Passado (Freire Jr) e Naquele Tempo, de Benedito Lacerda e Pixinguinha, aqui numa versão com ecos do espanhol Agustín Barrios (1885-1944), compositor que pontuou os estudos clássicos de Baden. Pixinguinha, ele conheceu na casa do primeiro e grande professor de violão, o lendário Meira (“que me ensinou tudo de violão”) e na Rádio Nacional. Criado em São Cristóvão, Baden também freqüentava a Mangueira, e não esconde sua admiração por Nelson Cavaquinho. Pois aqui está a oportunidade de ouvir o violonista tocando Palhaço, grande sucesso de Nelson na voz de Dalva de Oliveira. Nos anos 50, as lembranças voam para as noitadas da boate Plaza, onde, aos 16 e 17 anos, tocava ao lado de Ed Lincoln, Luiz Eça, Johnny Alf, Tom Jobim (ainda estudante de arquitetura), João Donato, e às vezes esbarrava com um certo “Joãozinho”, que, depois que todos os clientes iam embora, sentava e tocava em seu violão “umas coisas assim, tipo ‘bim bom, bim, bom’”, que mais tarde viriam para revolucionar a música brasileira. “O Plaza foi o início de tudo”, lembra Baden, tocando Minha Saudade (João Donato/João Gilberto), Rapaz de Bem (Johnny Alf) e Samba Triste, seu primeiro sucesso, parceria com Billy Blanco, de uma época em que tocava com Dolores Duran. Um pouco mais tarde, no início dos anos 60, veio a parceria com Vinicius de Moraes. Dessa dupla as histórias são muitas e já conhecidas. Algumas são aqui confirmadas pelo compositor, como a de que, pouco depois de terem se conhecido, Baden foi para a casa de Vinicius fazer uma música e acabou morando lá por quatro meses, quando produziram um quantidade respeitável de obras-primas. Não por acaso, dez das vinte músicas do disco são assinadas pela dupla Baden Powell-Vinicius de Moraes. Há muitas outras boas histórias, como a de que Formosa foi feita com Vinicius em homenagem a uma passageira do trem São Paulo-Rio (que os dois pegaram porque morriam de medo de avião) ou a de que Paulo César Pinheiro, seu parceiro em Lapinha e outros tantos sucessos, morava na casa em São Cristóvão onde Baden havia sido criado.

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Tom Zé – Estudando o Samba / Correio na Estação Brás (1975, 1978)



1976 Continental (1.07.405.303)

1 Mã (Tom Zé)
2 A felicidade (Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)
3 Toc (Tom Zé)
4 Tô (Élton Medeiros, Tom Zé)
5 Vai [Menina amanhã de manhã] (Perna, Tom Zé)
6 Ui! [Você inventa] (Odair, Tom Zé)
7 Doi (Tom Zé)
8 Mãe [Mãe solteira] (Élton Medeiros, Tom Zé)
9 Hein? (Tom Zé, Vicente Barreto)
10 Só [Solidão] (Tom Zé)
11 Se (Tom Zé)
12 Índice (José Briamonte, Heraldo do Monte, Tom Zé)

Arrangements by José Briamonte
Produced by Heraldo do Monte



Tom Zé (1978)

1 Menina Jesus (Tom Zé)
2 Morena (Tom Zé e Domínio Público)
3 Correio da Estação do Brás (Tom Zé)
4 Carta (Tom Zé)
5 Pecado original (Tom Zé)
6 Lavagem da igreja de Irará (Tom Zé)
7 Pecado, rifa e revista (Tom Zé)
8 A volta de Xanduzinha [Maria Mariô ](Tom Zé)
9 Amor de estrada (Washington Olivetto, Tom Zé)
10 Lá vem cuíca (Tom Zé, Vicente Barreto)
11 Na parada de sucesso (Tom Zé, Vicente Barreto)

Arrangements by Otavio Basso


Reissued 2000 on Warner/Continental – Série Dois Momentos – Vol.15 (857384832-2)
Remixed by Roberto Marquest & Charles Gavin
Mastereed by Ricardo Garcia & Charles Gavin
Supervised by Tom Zé

This is the second volume that Continental dedicated to Tom Zé (Vol.14 is on its way!). According to legend, Estudanto o Samba was the album that introduced David Byrne to the music of Tom Zé, and it was understandably like nothing he had ever heard. It’s not just that Tom desconstructs the traditions of samba composition and playing — he actually does, in fact, put it together in a cohesive way in the universe according to Tom Zé. The album was undertaken in the spirit of a project of research. Based mostly in acoustic instrumentation, but occasionally incorporating found sounds from detuned radios or televisions or even the clacking of a typewriter. His unorthodoxy manages to be reverent at the same time, and if you need any proof you can look at the compositions he co-wrote with “respectable sambista” Elton Medeiros on this record, or the respectful liner notes written by Medeiros on the inner sleeve. As he relates, Tom Zé emerged from the University of Bahia’s conservatory of music, and in spite of critical praise upon critical praise, still hadn’t received the type of recognition he deserved (never ‘winning’ at any of the many festivals of song, for example). And although Medeiros doesn’t mention it here, the sales for his brilliant Todos Os Olhos, widely considered a masterpiece, were disappointing. “For this, without losing any time, he decided to create this album, where he looked to reunite the variety of rural and urban types and forms of samba, giving each song the presentation he found most adequate,” writes Medeiros. Elton also says that Zé had told him that if THIS album doesn’t “circulate”, this will probably end the “research side” of his career. And in a way his prediction was true. Although he never stopped experimenting, he never really attempted another project quite like this until the more recent ‘Estudando o Pagode’, with this album as an explicit reference.

Zé’s interpretation of the Jobim/Vinicius classic “A felicidade” is also one of my favorites out there.

Unlike his contemporaries in Tropicália, Tom only put out records every few years. I like to say that this is what makes his body of work devoid of the embarrassing discographical titles found in the catalog of a Caetano Veloso or Gilberto Gil. He has never released a bad album, and even his luke-warm ones are well worth your time.

CORREIO DA ESTAÇÃO DO BRÁS is not “luke-warm” by any stretch, but it has been somewhat ignored by those of us reappraising the career of this maverick genius (either because we missed it the first time, like most of the public, or — as in my case — we weren’t even born yet when he was tossing some of these early gemstones into the either). Although the album is of very high quality and consistently, it is overshadowed by the powerful bursts of creativity that went into his previous two albums, and so in a way it is understandable that it’s been overlooked. If you are looking to “turn someone on” to Tom Zé, this won’t be the album you will reach for first. But it’s filled with compelling music. It opens with the heavy social critique of ‘Menino Jesus’ that portrays a Northeastern migrant leaving his rural life for the big-city life in the south with its dreams and obsessions of consumerism, of battery-powered radios, of TVs, and wristwatches… The lyrics, composition, arrangements are all first rate on this record. The production is a bit slicker and professional than his other work from the 70s but nowhere near approaching the sterility that was beginning to afflict so much MPB of the time. More highlights are his reinterpretation of a traditional tune, “Morena,” “Pecado original” probably the most experimental cut on here, “Pecado, revista, e rife”, and “A Volta de Xanduzinha”, and “Lá vem cuica.” There is even something approaching a ‘brega’ on “Amor de estrada.” We are treated with a surprisingly tuneful Tom Zé throughout this album, on what might be loosely-called a concept record about a neighborhood in São Paulo comprised of primarily Northeastern immigrants, which in the liner notes he says on market days takes on the semblance of any small town in the northeast interior. It’s a record I would almost describe as “sweet”, and it would be another six years before Zé would make another album.

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Karma – Karma (1972) {O Terço, Arthur Verocai)

Released originally on RCA-Victor 1972 (103.0046)
This reissue Selo Cultural 2010

01. Do Zero Adiante
02. Blusa de Linho
03. Você Pode Ir Além
04. Epílogo
05. Tributo ao Sorriso
06. O Jogo
07. Omissão
08. Venha Pisar na Grama
09. Transe Uma
10. Cara e Coroa Continue reading