Fernando Mendes – Fernando Mendes (1973)

Fernando Mendes – Fernando Mendes
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/96kHz | FLAC  & mp3|  Art scans at 300 dpi
749MB (24/96) + 245MB (16/44) + 124 MB (320) |  Direct Links | Genre: brega/ Brazilian / pop| 1973
Odeon Records ~  SBRXLD 12.450

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Menina Da Plateia  (Luiz Ayrão)
A Desconhecida      (Fernando Mendes, Banana)
Caminho Incerto  (Fernando Mendes)
Meu Amigo Do Mar (Fernando Mendes, Abel, Eugenio de Andrade, Jacy)
Coisas Estranhas (José Augusto, Miguel, Marcel, Salim)
Você Vai Me Perder     (Fernando Mendes, Vera Lemos)
Recordações     (José Augosto, Miguel, Marcelo, Salim, Pedrinho)
Descobri Que Te Amo     (José Augusto, Miguel, Marcelo, Salim, Fernando Mendes)
Sempre Só     (Fernando Mendes, Maxine)
Não Vou Mudar     (Fernando Mendes, Dom Wander)
À Beira Da Loucura     (José Augusto)
O Pior É Esperar  (Fernando Mendes, Banana)

Produced by Milton Miranda
Musical director – Maestro Gaya
Production assistant – Miguel
Orchestration and arrangements – Clelio Ribeiro and Cleudir T. Borges
Technical director – Z.J. Merky
Recording technicians – Zilmar Araujo and Toninho
Lab technicians – Reny R. Lippi
Lay-out – Joel Cocchiararo
Photo – Alexandre Souza Lima

Dead wax etching – SBRXLD-12449

RIPPING INFO: Odeon vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; AUdioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 96khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on light settings, manually auditioning the output; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp.  Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.


And now for something completely different.  I could make this out as part of the Spring Funk Drive (my public radio-style fundraising effort), but the funkiest thing about this record is Fernando’s tremendous afro, or as it was known in Brazil, “cabelo Black Power.”  This is one of the few posts of this music genre on Flabbergasted Vibes but I made a New Years Resolution to change that (but, fair warning, none of my other resolutions are working out).   Brega, like “música cafona”, was originally a pejorative designation foisted by the (numerically tiny) middle-class elite for this style of popular music listened to by mostly working people.  University-educated folks of the time preferred the critically-adulated genre of MPB (Música Popular Brasileira). Rather than the poetic, sometimes formalist experiments of Chico Buarque in Pedro Pedreiro (Pedro the Bricklayer) or Construção (Construction) with its proparoxytones, here you have music that you might actually find playing on the AM radio of people who did manual labor.  With the elevation of Roberto Carlos to “MPB status” in his post-Jovem Guarda career phase – at least partly thanks to the new generation of Tropicalistas like Caetano, Gil and Gal Costa covering his songs –  in the early 70s you could find brega artists getting bigger studio budgets and paired with producer/arranger teams like the esteemed Milton Miranda and Maestro Gaya.  This album has never been issued on CD.

Most famous for his hit “Cadeira de Rodas“, a love song to a girl in a wheelchair, Fernando Mendes debut record is a good example of the brega romântico style in the early 70s. Melancholic love songs  with exquisite production, I’ll confess that I’m also just a sucker for the *sound* of these tunes. There are Hammond organ chords wielded like a base coat of house-paint, strings when the situation calls for them, and even a harpsichord makes an appearance. A decade later, lush arrangements with diverse instrumentation on brega albums would be economized into one guy covering all the parts with a synthesizer. There’s a lot of texture in this musical palette, though, and Mendes can pine forlornly like only guys in their early 20s can do. Occasionally he rallies his resolve to stop being so maudlin, which results in upbeat ‘fuck you’ kind of numbers like “Você Vai Me Perder” ( You’re Going To Lose Me), whose rhythm guitar bears a striking similarity to Santana’s “Evil Ways”, or “Não Vou Mudar” (I’m Not Gonna Change) which channels the funkier swagger of Roberto Carlos when he could still rock out. At least nine songs are loping, mid-tempo ballads, most of them based around an arpeggiated chord progression on the acoustic guitar, with some attractive stand-out melodies. Recordações, Meu Amigo Do Mar, Caminho Incerto, and A Menina De Plateia (written by Luiz Ayrão, who will also get a vinyl rip from me, soon-ish) are eminently sing-along tunes. Coisas Estranhas, which has a descending melody line that comes awfully close to “It’s A Wonderful World,” features a lovely little chromatic harmonic solo. The closing number, O Pior É Esperar, though, has one of the templates I really like for early 70’s brega, where the tension of those mid-tempo trots gets to finally cut loose into some exalted rocking (of a folky strummy variety).  Although the genre was not without its own types of social critique scattered throughout a lot of artists’ albums, you won’t find much of that here in these fairly straightforward romantic tunes.  Though poetic in their own way, you aren’t going to exhaust yourself performing a literary analysis and deconstruction of the lyrics, nor will you be dumbfounded by the instrumental virtuosity of, say, Milton Nascimento’s Milagre dos Peixes, released in the same year of 73.   It’s a solid record of well-performed pop/rock tunes in a genre that has yet to receive its due, critically speaking, as a part of Brazilian cultural history.  Enjoy!


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