Angel Canales – El Diferente (1981) (Senelac Records LP8881)


Angel Canales – El Diferente
1982 Senelac Records LP 8881
Salsa / Latin-Jazz / Fusion

Well Brazil has jumped the shark, so I’m going to devote some musical energy to other places for a while.  The U.S. still has a chance of climbing back out of the rabbit hole it’s gone down.  And that is in no small part due to the ever-evolving demographic changes that terrify the White Nationalists so much.  So, here’s an album from the great Ángel Canales, born in Santurce, PR, but raised in New York.  His recording career began on Alegre Records with a record featuring a sexy but somewhat bizarre album cover and a hit in “Lejos De Ti”.  By the 1980s, he was putting out records on his own label, SENALAC.  This one features a blistering-hot band, with amazing baritone sax blowing by Pete Miranda, and charismatic Canales leading the proceedings. While “El Diferente” is still firmly rooted in salsa, bomba, and plena traditions, there is also a fusion edge to the band’s versatility and ability to surprise with their arrangements (done by no less than six different people).  Continue reading

Ismael Silva – Se você jurar (1973)

 

Ismael Silva
Se Você Jurar
1973 RCA-Victor (original release)
2004 Reissue RCA Victor 82876640692

Tonight, Brazil is poised on the brink of an abyss where half the country is ready to elect a military thug who openly celebrates the dictatorship of 1964-1985, and promised to initiate a new one .   It’s been a while since I’ve been able to visit there, and watching events unfold from a distance has been a slow, muted kind of heartbreak.  No matter what happens tomorrow, things are going to be rough for a while – the slumbering, unslain beast of the country’s authoritarian, slave-ocratic past has been stirred into action, calling for a ‘restoration of tradition’ through bloody retribution.  Those forces have convinced half of all Brazilians that democracy is a dirty word,  so I wouldn’t expect them to respect the results of any election that is not in their favor.    At this point the most I can do, perhaps the most anyone can  do at this hour, is to light a candle, pray to the Orixá of your choice, and play some samba.

So I’ve chosen this Ismael Silva album, his first and only ‘long player’ released during his lifetime.  Ismael Silva founded the first samba school, Deixa Falar, in the late 1920’s.  Although he did make some recordings under his own name in that era, he is most famous for supplying a steady stream of hits to the singer Chico Alves, one of the great early stars of samba.  (As was the custom, Francisco Alves was documented as a composer on these, whether or not he ever contributed a single idea).  In the wake of the “roots” samba revival of the 1960s, a whole host of sambistas began getting “rediscovered” and putting out records under their own name, like Adoniran Barbosa, Cartola, Zé Keti, and Nelson Cavaquinho.  This was Ismael’s turn.  The album is a soundtrack, really, for a theatrical concert production telling his life story, alongside that of Carmen Costa, that was written and produced by Ricardo Cravo Albin, who also wrote the original liner notes.  “Side A” of the album contains medleys of his classic compositions from the ‘Golden Era’ of samba, while “Side B” features material the world had yet to hear on record.  It’s a lively affair, with some “modern” flourishes like a groovy Walter Wanderley / Ed Lincoln-style organ riffs propelling things in the arrangements of Messias Santos, Jr, alongside more traditional samba instrumentation.   But I’ll be quiet now, and let the music speak for itself — Continue reading

Jards Macalé – Jards Macalé (1972) (Polysom reissue)

Jards Macalé – Jards Macalé
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 96 khz | Art at  300 dpi
24 bit 96 khz – 927 MB | 16-bit 44.1 khz 235 MB
Polysom 33124-1| Released 2012 (Orig.1972)  | Brazilian / Post-Tropicália / Samba / Soul – Funk

This record seems to fit the mood right now.   It is, somehow, a demonstration of how to remain calm while everything falls apart around you.  Brazil is very close to electing an right-wing extremist so repugnant that I don’t even want to name him here, and the US senate is poised to send the definitive reaffirmation, backed by a few thousand years of patriarchy, that women are still the property of men and do not deserve to be heard in the public sphere.  There might not be anything specifically political about this record, but it captures a kind of quiet perseverance, wrapped in melancholy, that are in so many of the best records from this period – the worst, most repressive years of Brazil’s military dictatorship. Continue reading

One Way featuring Al Hudson – Music / Now That I’ve Found You (1979) (12″ extended single)

One Way featuring Al Hudson – Music / Now That I Found You (12″ extended single)
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Art at  300 dpi
24 bit 96 khz – 312 MB | 108 MB 16-bit 44.1 khz
MCA Records L33-1853 White Label Promo | Released 1979  | Disco / Soul / Funk

I’ve been too busy to blog but not to boogie.  Here is a quick snack, an extended mix of the jam “MUSIC” from One Way (featuring Al Hudson), featured on their first LP.  The B Side, “Now That I Found You” is a pop-crossover number and kind of a throw-away IMHO.  The A-side is what you want here.  Great track!

A Music 8:00
B Now That I Found You 7:55 Continue reading

Aretha Franklin – Sparkle OST (1976) (with Curtis Mayfield)

Aretha Franklin – Sparkle
1976 Atlantic SD 18176
Produced and composed by Curtis Mayfield
This reissue by 2012 HDtracks

1 Sparkle –  4:13
2 Something He Can Feel –  6:21
3 Hooked on Your Love –  5:00
4 Look into Your Heart –  4:04
5 I Get High –  4:11
6 Jump – 2:19
7 Loving You Baby –  3:48
8 Rock with Me –  3:11

Recorded at Curtom Studios, Chicago
Remixed at Record Plant, Los Angeles

Arranged By, Orchestrated By – Rich Tufo

Backing Vocals – Kitty Haywood Singers
Recording Engineer – Roger Anfinsen
Horns – Lenard Druss
Photography By – Sam Emerson
Producer, composed and arranged  by Curtis Mayfield
Strings – Sol Bobrov


There have been no shortage of eulogies and retrospectives on the life and career of the great Aretha Franklin in the last few weeks.  Some well-done, some shallow and superficial.  But I’ve been happily busy “in the real world” and am well overdue for a blog post, and rather than add my own verbosity to the amen corner praising Aretha, I thought I’d just share one of her under-appreciated gems, a collaboration with the luminous Curtis Mayfield.  These two titans both managed to be pioneers in their field, voices for civil rights and black liberation, and tremendously successful commercially, so they are on the short list of artists who can tick all those boxes.  The first track that really jumps out at you from this album is “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” which – if I am completely honest with my readers, and when am I not? – I almost definitely first heard as the cool remake by En Vogue in 1992.  They also covered (less memorably) ‘Hooked On Your Love’ from this album.  I’ve never seen the film and am not in a huge hurry to see it: this was the era of soundtracks being exponentially better than their associated films, after all.  Apparently, the film was remade in 2012, which I didn’t even know until making this blog post.

Mr. Palmer’s original review of the record is pretty spot-on so I am including it here (even his observations of Curtis’ production “formula” by the mid-70s is on point — I just happen to still really like his formula.)

 

Review by Robert Palmer, Rolling Stone, August 12, 1976

The instrumental tracks Curtis Mayfield produces at his Curtom Studio in Chicago always sound a little contrived. There’s a swirling harp every time you turn around, the syncopated horn figures lie just so against the bass and drums, and there is often a surfeit of trebly percussion instruments like bells, chimes and cymbals. But Mayfield understands the gospel roots of the most powerful black pop vocalists as well as, if not better than, any producer alive, and he’s carried this understanding from his earliest sides with the Impressions right on up to his latest work with the Staple Singers and, now, Aretha Franklin. Mavis Staples and Aretha are probably the most distinctive singers in the field, and although Mayfield’s work with them has suffered somewhat from sameness of material and of instrumental sound, he has understood their voices.

 

Sparkle, which consists of Mayfield’s tunes from the motion picture of the same name and a few extra originals, could easily have been a cheap shot, a momentary deviation from the mainstream in Aretha Franklin’s career. Instead, it is her most consistently exciting album in some time. It never quite scales the heights of the early Atlantic sides, which were recorded in the South and often sounded like off-the-cuff testifying from the back of the church. They weren’t, of course. They were as carefully put together as any great pop records, but the seams didn’t show. Sparkle is more obvious — one often feels a certain tension between the singer and the prerecorded tracks — but ultimately its manufactured sound isn’t very important. Aretha may be singing with tracks which are slick and occasionally overproduced, but she is singing her heart out.

 

The most satisfying aspect of the spectacular vocal performances that dominate the album is Mayfield’s channeling of their energy. Aretha has always sung with passion, but here, due no doubt to the producer’s directions, the passion rises and falls along carefully plotted curves. When she ad-libs, which is often, the results don’t just mark time between verses, they carry the song further along its developmental path. This may sound terribly calculated for an artist as emotive as Aretha, but the most successful pop producers have always known how to channel excitement. Energy that’s let out at a performer’s whim can dissipate into the air; energy that’s shaped and guided has the power to move an audience like nothing else.

 

A track-by-track rundown of Sparkle‘s high points would be tiresome, but one Franklin/Mayfield collaboration, “Rock with Me,” deserves special praise. It’s a deliberately paced, walkingtempo tune that avoids most of Mayfield’s songwriting and production clichés and steams along irresistibly, rising several times into the hottest hook Aretha has had to work with in some time. The rest of the album is only slightly less stirring; you can listen from beginning to end without coming upon any inappropriate filler material or lackluster vocal performances. Sparkle, even more than the Staples/Mayfield match on Let’s Do It Again, deserves an encore.

 


password: vibes

Bohannon – Summertime Groove (1978)

Bohannon – Summertime Groove
Mercury SRM-1-3728| Released 1978 | Disco / Funk
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Art at  300 dpi |

 

A1 Let’s Start The Dance 5:30
A2 Listen To The Children Play 4:22
A3 Me And The Gang 5:16
A4 Let’s Start The Dance (Finals) 1:08
B1 I Wonder Why 3:18
B2 Summertime Groove 8:10
B3 The Street Dance 7:55 Continue reading