Dolores Duran – Canta Para Você Dançar (1957)

Dolores Duran – Canta Para Você Dançar…
1957 Copacabana CLP 11011
2010 reissue EMI 967873-2

1 Scapricciatiello
(F. Albano, P. Vento)
2 Por causa de você
(Dolores Duran, Tom Jobim)
3 Ohô-ahâ
(Kurt Feltz, Heinz Gletz)
4 Quem foi?
(Jorge Tavares, Nestor de Holanda)
5 Feiura não é nada
(Billy Blanco)
6 Que murmuren
(Ruben Fuentes, Rafael Cardenas)
7 Coisas de mulher
(Chico Baiano)
8 Viens
(G.Becaud, C.Aznavour)
9 Conceição
(Dunga, Jair Amorim)
10 Se papai fôsse eleito
(Billy Blanco)
11 Mi último fracaso
(Alfredo Gil)
12 Camelot
(Billy Blanco)
13 Only you
(A. Rand, B.Ram)
14 Estatuto de boite
(Billy Blanco)

Remastered by Luigi Hoffer and Carlos Savalla

Dolores Duran (1930-1959), not only had an unforgettable voice but also composed a lot of her best material.  A central figure in the early bossa nova scene, she succumbed to the occupational hazards of the bohemian lifestyle, dying in her sleep from a heart attack at 29 years old after an evening of music, drinking, and barbiturates.  Her lamentably short career left an solid recorded legacy but, having left this world so young, she is less celebrated outside Brazil than some of her bossa nova contemporaries who lived long enough to benefit from the global infatuation with the genre.  Here is a recording of her singing a song she co-wrote with Tom Jobim, released in 1957 on the LP featured in this post.

But Duran’s professional career reached back before the dawn of bossa to when a nightclub singer had to be able to sing a little of everything and have a broad repertoire.  That is reflected in choice of songs included here, which span foxtrots, boleros, rumbas, and of course samba.  Stylistic variation blurs into cosmopolitan sophistication too, as you realize that she sings in no less than six languages here.  In addition to her native Portuguese, she sings in Italian, Spanish, French, English, and Scat.  I don’t speak all these languages and am in no place to judge her
elocution, but as far as music is the language of love I deem Dolores to
have been more than fluent.  One fantastic track among these, which I highly recommend for your next dance party, is the French rumba number (how can you go wrong?) “Viens.”  The only English song is a rendition of The Platters “Only You.”  Here’s some side-by-side listening for you:

Oh and why the hell not, one more for good measure (sorry Ringo!):

I think Dolores’ version carries its weight quite well, and her English is lovely (although a Portuguese rewrite would have made it stand out more, and of course automatically make it more romantic, because it’s a Latin language, yo).  Apparently Duran had none other than Ella Fitzgerald in the audience at one of her performances, who complimented her version of “My Funny Valentine.” Man what heady days to have been hanging around the nightclubs of Rio.

The notes assert that the selection is culled from the most popular numbers in her repertoire, tried and tested in clubs, on the radio, at festivals, in films, and wherever else she could perform.  I believe it.  Everything here is sung with an easy confidence and charm of someone who knows her audience.  Her charm is so infectious, and her talent so seemingly effortless.  In addition to the collaboration with Jobim above, she also interprets first-rate sambas by the Titulares do Ritmo (“Coisas de Mulher”), and Dunga with Jair Amorim (“Conceição, originally recorded by Gaúcho vocal group Conjunto Farroupilha but immortalized by Cauby Peixoto a year before Dolores’ made her version).  There are two tunes penned by Billy Blanco here.  The first is “Feiura não é nada” (or “Ugliness ain’t no thang”), a satirical take on vanity, the transformative powers of the cosmetic industry, and its noble fight to eradicate world ugliness.  As far as I know the song was written specifically for Dolores to sing, which is the only way it comes off as humorous.  Blanco is brilliant but the humor in this song bugs me a little as a write this, but perhaps I am a bit tender on the topic of chauvinist, machista humor lately. Have you seen the guy in the 50’s? Here, have a look at Billy:

It may be just because there is a currently a hedgehog with a hair-weave running as a
candidate for Leader Of The Free World right now, and I’m burned out on
casual sexism, but I don’t think Billy was in any position of aesthetic or sartorial superiority.

There is very little footage of her performing live aside from some scenes in musical chanchada films, but I can imagine her commanding a room with her presence.  I also wonder about the impact of her passing on the other rising divas of the day.  As young as Dolores was, she was actually five years older than contemporaries like Maysa and Alaíde Costa and, as we know, in young person time that made her, like, way old, dude.  Was she a figure that these other singers looked up to, or were they rivals?  I suppose I will have to read Rodrigo Faour’s biography to find that out.

Like many successful Long Player collections of the day, this one had a “part two” which I just may share with you in good time.  Meanwhile, one last comparison.  Here is Cauby Peixoto, before he became the inspiration for Austin Powers, singing “Conceição”, followed by Dolores’ version.


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5 Comments

  1. Thanks for this. Anyone who can co-write the masterpiece that is 'Estrada do sol' with Jobim has got to be tops in my book.

  2. Much obliged.

  3. I still haven't, to this day, learned to enjoy Alaíde Costa's singing, even though I have listened to the album you shared (Canta Suavemente) many times. But I'm hooked on Dolores already, what a beautiful voice.
    Thanks a lot for this post, I really enjoyed it – and please, the second album will be greatly appreciated whenever you can share with us.
    Best regards, Flabber!

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