Carmen Miranda, for Caymmi (1914-2008)

Well, I wanted to make a tribute to Dorival Caymmi, the tower of Brazilian song who passed away yesterday in Rio at 94 years of age. But until I have time to do vinyl rips, I found I had nothing to share that isn’t available over at Loronix, where you will also find a very nice post remembering Caymmi with some wonderful quotations from notables who have been deeply affected and influenced by the man and his music.

Instead I’ve chosen a different approach by posting some music I think he would have liked to listen to along with us, from a woman who was very important to putting his career in the spotlight early on – Carmen Miranda. This is a collection of her recordings from 1930 to 1945, and while it doesn’t feature any of Caymmi’s music it does feature songs from his colleague Ary Barroso as well as titles from Luiz Peixoto, Andre Filho, and Assis Valente. Highly recommended for understanding why Carmen was a huge star in Brazil before Hollywood got hold of her.

CARMEN MIRANDA
Carmen Miranda (1930-1945)
Released on Harlequin Records, 1997

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1 Iaiá, Ioiô 3:10 José Barros
2 Pra Você Gostar de Mim (Taí) 3:20
3 Quero Ver Você Chorar 3:19
4 Dona Balbina 2:57 (José Barros)
5 Cuidado Hein! 2:42 (Andre Filho)
6 Malandro 2:37 (Andre Filho)
7 Moleque Indigesto 3:00 (Lamartine Babo)
8 Um Pouquinho… 3:29
9 Na Batucada da Vida 3:43 (Ary Barroso, Luís Peixoto )
10 Mamãe Não Quer 2:06
11 Elogio da Raça 3:18 (Assis Valente)
12 Pra Quem Sabe Dar Valor 2:58 (Assis Valente)
13 Amor! Amor! 3:03
14 Eu Quero Casar Com Você 2:08 (Andre Filho)
15 Minha Deusa Partiu 2:49 (Ary Barroso)
16 Balance
17 Minha Terra Tem Palmeiras 2:30
18 Boneca de Piche 3:20 (Ary Barroso)
19 Salada Mista 3:15 (Ary Barroso)
20 A Pensão da Dona Stella 2:57 (Oswaldo Santiago, Paulo Barbosa)
21 Cuidado Com a Gaita Do Ary 2:41 (Oswaldo Santiago, Paulo Barbosa)
22 Voltei Pro Morro 2:52
23 Tico-Tico No Fubá 2:36 (Luís Peixoto)

One can immediately feel the difference between this and Harlequin’s earlier release The Brazilian Recordings. The CD kicks off with a type of syncopated pop jazz whose most Brazilian element is the language. This might disappoint some, but it’s good pop jazz. The lion’s share of this CD comes from the period before Carmen joined forces with Bando da Lua, the excellent band who joined her when she went to the US. That is not to say that this album is all pop jazz material. Within a few tracks, it’s firmly in uniquely Brazilian territory. By virtue of it being earlier material, one can hear different instrumentation than when Carmen was performing with Bando da Lua. Some feature jazz band orchestra, some small Brazilian combo of guitar, flute and percussion, others a hybrid of popular jazz band instruments and a Brazilian batucada section. Brazil has long been a font of such syncretism and it’s immensely enjoyable as exemplified in the tracks on this collection. One of the more curious tracks is “Minha deusa partiu.” Carmen cannot be obviously heard in this song but it swings, even sporting a Mills Brothers-like bit of instrument imitation. One wishes for more details about the actual recording session and side artists, but perhaps records don’t exist for this. With the explosion of interest in all Brazilian music from bossa nova to tropicalismo, it’s time to examine the undeserved reputation of Carmen Miranda as a sellout and let the recordings speak for themselves. ~ Megan Lynch, All Music Guide

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Erkin Koray 1967-1973 Turkish Psych

Big thanks to Josh W for telling me to look out for this cat. Aside from the oddball, mediocre-but-still-fun-to-listen-to covers like songs by The Moody Blues, or ‘Land of a Thousand Dances,’ the rest of this collection is some stunning and creative psychedelia, cream of the crop of the Turkish rock scene.

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Erkin Koray – download via Rapidshare

1 Mesafeler 3:40
2 Askimiz Bitecek 3:22
3 Yagmur 3:41
4 Silinmeyen Hatiralar 4:11
5 Istemem 3:29
6 Cicek Dagi 2:39
7 Nihansin Dideden 4:05
8 Sana Birseyler Olmus 3:08
9 Seni Her Gordugumde 3:22
10 Aska Inanmiyorum 3:34
11 Kizlari da Alin Askere 3:32
12 Anma Arkadas 4:04
13 Belki Birgun Anlarsin 2:34
14 Kopruden Gecti Gelin 2:51
15 Yine Yalnizim 3:57
16 Ilahi Morluk 3:33
17 Anadoluda Sevdim 3:20
18 Zuleyha 3:13
19 Gel Bak Ne Soylicem 3:33
20 Dost Aci Soyler 3:05

João Gilberto – João Gilberto (1973)

This is my favorite João Gilberto record, absolutely and without doubt. Not that I claim to have his entire discography (it is pretty massive), but this record simply cannot be surpassed. I had an old review I had written for this record in 2004 that I was going to post here, but it strikes me as a bit silly now so I’m including some commentary from others below. What I will say is that this record has an intimate ambiance unlike any other in my collection — It’s as if João Gilberto just came in off the street to play you a handful of songs in your own living room, and is doing it so quietly and gently so as not to wake up a sleeping child in the next room. He also brought along a percussionist who is crouched in a corner doing their thing as if balanced on eggshells the whole time. Anyone who has played music knows that it is much more challenging for a drummer or percussionist to play quietly than it is to play loudly, and this record seems to defy physics in that regard. This record does not just stand out in João’s body of work — it stands out as a pure artistic statement. (Also having been recorded in New Jersey by Wendy Carlos [see below] scores some weirdness points..)

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João Gilberto – (self-titled) 1973

Águas de Março
Undiú
Na Baixa do Sapateiro
Avarandado
Falsa Baiana
Eu Quero Um Samba
Eu Vim Da Bahia
Valsa (Como São Lindos Os Youguis)(Bebel)
É Preciso Perdoar
Izaura


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Download via Divshare

[quote]
from Richard Ginell, AMG:
This release is Joao Gilberto stripped down nearly to his bare essentials — his voice, guitar and the extremely spare drumming of Sonny Carr — and he’s just as mesmerizing as he’s ever been on records. The whole record is about the rhythmic clashes and dovetailings of a singer and his guitar, pitched at extremely low levels of volume yet generating volumes of drive without seeming to breathe hard. Dig the insistent way in which “Falsa Baiana” and Gilberto Gil’s marathon rhythm machine “Eu Vim Da Bahia” ride the waves of the bossa nova groove, or how Gilberto delivers one of the best renditions of Jobim’s “Aguas de Marco” — quietly relentless and to-the-point. Three of the tracks eschew words altogether — gentle syllables and/or Gilberto’s insistent guitar tell the entire story — and the final selection, “Izaura,” belatedly adds a female voice (Miucha) in the left speaker. Though recorded in a New Jersey studio — the engineer, surprisingly enough, is Wendy Carlos, the electronic music pioneer of Switched-On Bach fame — this addictive release originates from PolyGram Brazil.[/quote]

From the Slipcue E-zine:[quote]
Joao Gilberto “Joao Gilberto” (Polydor Brasil, 1973)
Joao’s “white album” — a hauntingly sparse, beautiful, and quite ethereal recording. One of the best Brazilian records ever made. Sparse and gentle, graceful beyond the reach of practically any other musician alive, this includes revamped acoustic takes on several bossa nova and pre-bossa oldies, along with newer material such as his lullaby for his young daughter, Bebel, and one song each by the upstart tropicalistas, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. Gilberto sings barely at a whisper, while his percussionist is the absolute model of restraint and economy. Next to his debut albums of the 1950s, this is probably the best work Gilberto ever did — and that’s saying a lot! HIGHLY recommended![/quote]

Eugene McDaniels – Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse (1971) VBR

No time for a personalized review today but this one has been in the cue for a while and its about time I shared it. Heavenly and heavily minor-key dissonant cluster chord funk soul-jazz with bitingly droll lyrics, how can you go wrong? this It’s a lot of fun, you shouldn’t miss this! I would upload my vinyl copy of the follow up, ‘Outlaw’ but I have no time for a vinyl rip for the next… few years or so. Anyone who wants to contribute it, leave a message.

Song sample — SUPERMARKET BLUES
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EUGENE MCDANIELS
Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse
Released 1971 on Atlantic Records


(Wikipedia entry!)

Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse is an album of American soul music by artist Eugene McDaniels.

As with McDaniel’s previous album, this is not a typical Soul album, which can even be seen by the cover image (a picture of McDaniels screaming between two warring samurai).

This album dabbles in form between soul, Funk, jazz and even folk. In addition, it has been a collector’s item among rap music and rare groove enthusiasts since the early 90s when several of the songs were sampled by many hip hop producers including Pete Rock and Q-Tip.

Track listing

1. “The Lord is Back” – 3:19
2. “Jagger the Dagger” – 6:02
3. “Lovin’ Man” – 4:47
4. “Headless Heroes” – 3:32
5. “Susan Jane” – 2:10
6. “Freedom Death Dance” – 4:16
7. “Supermarket Blues” – 4:08
8. “The Parasite (For Buffy)” – 9:36

Personnel

* Harry Whitaker – piano
* Gary King – electric bass
* Miroslav vitous – acoustic bass
* Alphonse Mouzon – drums
* Richie Resnikoff – guitar
* Carla Cargill – female vocals

Review by John Duffy

When Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse was first released in 1971, so the legend goes, Spiro Agnew himself called Atlantic Records to complain about the album’s incendiary lyrics. Promotional efforts dried up, and since then, the album has become one of the great rare gems of the funk era. With this first-ever CD release from Label M, it is available again in all its strange, eclectic glory. McDaniels had earned his living as a producer and songwriter for artists like Roberta Flack and Gladys Knight, and was in all honesty not much of a singer, but somehow his clumsy lyrics and dry delivery combined to carry his message across. In an unthreatening manner that hardly warranted a call from the White House, McDaniels warns that man’s struggles against each other are pointless, as some dark sinister force controls us all (“Headless Heroes”), and that protest without action is futile (“no amount of dancing is going to make us free,” he sings in “Freedom Death Dance”). With a dry wit he recounts an episode of everyday racist brutality in “Supermarket Blues,” and finds simple carnal pleasures in the acoustic folk-flavored “Susan Jane.” It all gets wrapped up in an appealing stew that draws from rock, funk, folk, soul, and even free jazz. Considering the number of times McDaniels’ sinewy beats and chunky guitar riffs have been sampled over the years, it’s about time a proper re-release allowed listeners to hear the whole picture.

Isaac Hayes – The Isaac Hayes Movement (1970) VBR

Get “Hot Buttered Soul” first (below), then check this out.

A lot of folks are going to remember Isaac Hayes for the themes song and soundtrack album to blaxploitation flick “Shaft.” A whole other generation will remember him more as the adorable Chef from South Park. He deserves to be remembered for both of those accomplishments, but he was also a lot more to a lot of people. His music has pulled me through some tough times, the warmth of his deep-hued voice made my winter easier to bare this year, and his raps on love and loss are unequaled, striking true chords whether they bring a smile to your lips or make you shake your head and shout an ‘Amen!’ And his music meant enough to black America in the early seventies that he was made the headliner of the 1972 Wattstax festival. The documentary film of the same name, released in 1973, was such a powerful celebration of black identity that it even became central to the nascent soul music scene, the Black Rio movement, and the Movimento Negro in Brazil during the 70s, with the film being screened at parties in the favelas and audience members chanting along phonetically with some of its notable scenes. The significance of this cross-pollination was not limited to the appropriations of American soul, funk, and jazz music by artists like Jorge Ben, Tim Maia, Cassiano, or Banda Black Rio. It was also eminently political — In a country where the “racial democracy” of mestiçagem or race-mixing had been celebrated for decades as ‘evidence’ that race prejudice did not exist, the sounds and images of black people in North America celebrating difference and claiming a space of dignity for Afrocentric cultural roots struck like a clarion call. Whether or not those mobilizations around racial identity were ‘successful’ is not the point here. The point is that the ways that the united states deals with (or fails to deal with) the politics of race has consequences outside its borders. I regularly meet people in Brazil who know more about contemporary American politics than I do, and the knowledge of and interest in Barack Obama there has certainly been no exception. Isaac Hayes was not just a soul singer who belonged in the ranks of Marvin Gaye, James Brown, or Stevie Wonder — he was also an icon of blackness, a “Black Moses.” Isaac Hayes is remembered in Brazil today among music fans of my own generation (too young to be there for Wattstax’s initial breakthrough) as a towering figure alongside those peers, just as he towered over his fellow musicians on the stage.

Isaac, I already miss you. To honor your memory, I’d like to share this wonderful music you left us and maybe turn a few others on.

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Isaac Hayes
The Isaac Hayes Movements
Released 1970

Enterprise Records/Stax Records
Original Catalogue #: ENS-1010

Track List:
1. I Stand Accused (11:37)
(Butler-Butler) Warner-Tamerlane Publ. Corp.-BMI

2. One Big Unhappy Family (5:49)
(Chalmers-Rhodes) Times Square Music Publ. Co./Rhomers Music Inc.-BMI

3. I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself (7:00)
(Bacharach-David) U.S. Songs, Inc./Blue Seas music Inc./Jac Music Co., Inc./Anne-Rachel Music Corp.-ASCAP

4. Something (11:52)
(George Harrison) Harrisongs Ltd.-BMI

Liner Notes:
Producer: Isaac Hayes
Arrangers: Isaac Hayes, Dale Warren
Voice Arrangements: Pat Lewis
Engineers: Ron Capone, Henry Bush, Ed Wolfrum
Remix Engineer: Ron Capone
Photography: Joel Brodsky
Art Direction: The Graffiteria/David Krieger
Art Supervision: Herb Kole

Mastering by Joe Tarantino (Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA)

Following the simmering grooves of “Hot Buttered Soul,” this record is more of a laid-back affair. The long spoken intro to Chicago soul genius Jerry Butler’s “I Stand Accused” brings that song into a whole new plane. Another Burt Bacharach tune opens up the second side of the LP with “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself.” A few minutes into George Harrison’s “Something,” you might find yourself thinking what I did and often still do when hearing it, “I’m not….quite…sure if this is working or not..”, as the chord changes punctuated by an orchestra give way to a screechy violin solo played (I’m guessing) through an amplifier. It definitely ranks as one of the more ‘out there’ of Beatles covers in existence, and by the time it reaches past the ten-minute mark, I don’t really *care* if it’s “working” or not, I’m just enjoying being along for the ride. It takes brass balls to cover a song by the Fab Four this way (or, should I say “chocolate salty balls”?). The song gets an A for effort even if it leaves you scratching your head.