Fania All Stars – Live at the Cheetah (1972) VBR

We seem to be stuck in 1972. Not a bad place to be, especially New York in 1972. Fania has since reissued this as separate volumes like the original LP releases with remastered sound, but I’ve found most remasters to be dubiously “improved” so I’m happy to stick with this 2-CD collection which may or may not have had access to the original master tapes. Anyone with an opinion of comparison on the sound feel free to leave a comment. This famous night at The Cheetah Club was also filmed for the Nuestra Cosa movie, a DVD of which was released a few years back but is currently caught up in litigation over a licensing dispute with Fania and no longer being manufactured. The All Stars were renowned for putting on bigger and more ambitious shows as time went on, eventually filling Yankee Stadium. They could be accused of often having just too many damn people on the stage by the end of all this, and unfortunately they would end up recording really awful ‘crossover’ records of disco–jazz-salsa fusion like “Rhythm Machine” and, um, “Crossover”. I have the former but you would be hard-pressed to convince me to share it here, you would have to bake cookies or something — it’s really, really unlistenable, and I’ve been told Crossover is even worse. So let us remember the Fania All Stars when they were still lean and hungry in this relatively small venue, packing the Cheetah Club with this amazing lineup. By most accounts this is the best of the bunch of the All Stars records, and my only complaint is that the long jams and audience reactions invite the listener to imagine the visual component of what’s happening on stage that must be equally compelling — so let’s hope Fania comes to some kind of settlement (with the Vampisoul label, who seem to have issued ‘Our Latin Thing’ without proper licensing) and puts that film back in circulation! In the meantime, there is always YouTube

FANIA ALL STARS
Live at The Cheetah (1972)VBR 224/kbs

CD1
1 Introduction Theme (Pacheco) 5:24
2 Descarga Fania (Barretto) 9:23
3 Anacaona Alonso (7:13)
4 Quitate Tu (Pacheco, Valentin) 16:42

CD2
1 Ahora Vengo Yo (Cruz, Ray) 9:44
2 Estrellas de Fania (Alonso, Pacheco) 7:25
3 Que Barbaridad (Miranda) 6:09
4 Ponte Duro (Pacheco) 9:04
5 Macho Cimarron (Pacheco) 12:13
6 Closing Theme (Pacheco) 1:55

In an AMG review, Janet Rosen wrote:

Recorded live at New York’s premier discotheque with the usual, stellar All-Stars lineup, the groove is incessant, the mood exultant, and the players palpably happy with the audience and themselves as they exchange licks. The tunes are a bit long — “Quitate Tu,” the closer, is a 16-minute jam session in which the band members one by one contribute lyrics, to the delight of the audience. Ray Barretto’s “Descarga Fania” features a lovely piano break and some inspiredly raucous horn playing (a nice contrast to the tightly arranged horn charts one usually hears), and Cheo Feliciano’s lead vocal on “Anacaona” soars. 24 years later, still the first salsa recording to reach for; ultimate party music played by the masters.

From Descarga dot com

Editor’s Pick:
**Classics Revisited**
The first salsa records I acquired were by the Fania All Stars, and among the first handful of their albums I purchased were Live At The Cheetah, Vols. 1 & 2 (1971), Live At Yankee Stadium, Vols. 1 & 2 (1975) and Live (1978). They blew me away and fueled a passion to dig deeper into the Fania catalogue and its history. Among the items I have collected is a 1973 account of the early years of the Fania All Stars by Fania Records co-founder Jerry Masucci, in which he said the following about the Cheetah gig: “We held the concert on a Thursday night (26 August 1971). The Cheetah held 2000 people and no one thought we would sellout. But the night of the concert 4000 people squeezed into the Cheetah and the lines outside stretched around the block. Volumes 1 and 2 of Live At The Cheetah, which were recorded that night, became the biggest selling Latin albums ever produced by one group from one concert.” The Cheetah concert was filmed and formed the backbone of the electrifying documentary Our Latin Thing (Nuestra Cosa), which premiered in New York on 19 July 1972 and played a key role in launching salsa on the worldwide stage.
Very Highly Recommended. (John Child, 2006-06-05)

Musicians include:
Ray Barretto, Willie Colon
Larry Harlow, Johnny Pacheco
Roberto Roena,Bobby Valentin
Santos Colon, Hector Lavoe
Ismael Miranda, Pete Rodriguez
Adalberto Santiago, Renaldo Jorge
Roberto Rodriguez, Barry Rogers
Larry Spencer, Yomo Toro
Orestes Vilato,Hector Zarzuela

Ray Barretto – Barretto Power (1972)

To make up for the somewhat uneven Fania collection from earlier today, I thought I’d make amends with this solid set from Ray Barretto. Barretto Power from 1972, with Adelberto Santiago on lead vocals. Nothing revolutionary about this record but who cares. Aside from the Nuyorican soul cuts “Right On” and “Power” — the latter serving as a somewhat lackluster conclusion in my opinion – the rest is salsa served straight-up. It’s Barretto’s band as tight as it would ever get and at the peak of his powers as a bandleader. Do you really need another reason to check it out?

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Ray Barretto – Barreto Power (1972) 192kbs
1. Oye La Noticia
2. Perla del Sur
3. Right On
4. De Que Te Quejas Tu
5. Y Dicen
6. Quitate La Mascara
7. Se Que Volveras
8. Power

Personnel: Ray Barretto (vocals, congas, background vocals); Hector Lavoe, Adalberto Santiago, Justo Betancourt, Willie Torres (vocals); Joseph “Papy” Romain, Rene Lopez, Roberto Rodriguez (trumpet); Louis Cruz (piano, celesta); Andy Gonzalez (bass guitar); Tony Fuentes (bongos, cowbells, percussion); Orestes Vilato (timbales).

Review from Get Back dot com
Back into a mostly traditional bag by 1972, Ray Barretto served notice that his was the heavyweight band in the salsa scene with this LP. Aside from the devastating three-man trumpet line ( Roberto Rodriguez , Rene Lopez , Papy Roman ) and Adalberto Santiago ‘s vocals (plus chorus), Barretto Power is entirely a rhythm-section record, lean and economical yet no less powerful for it. The compositions are mostly group originals, and range from the leader’s salsa-fied opener, “Oye la Noticia,” to Rodriguez ‘s chorus-heavy “Perla del Sur” to a pair of slightly modernized horn-led numbers, “Right On” and the closer, “Power” (the latter being Exhibit A should any listeners doubt the claim in the title). Pianist Luis Cruz contributes an affectionate yet stately ballad , “Se Que Volveras,” and the trumpets never fail to come together, even when they’re diverging along creative harmonic lines. Barretto Power isn’t a flashy record; earlier triumphs like Acid and Hard Hands earned Barretto more notices than this one ever did. Still, it’s as good a proof of Barretto ‘s strength as any record in his discography.

Clara Nunes – Claridade (1975)

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CLARA NUNES
Claridade
Released 1975

1-O mar serenou (Candeia)
2-Sofrimento de quem ama (Alberto Lonato)
3-A deusa dos Orixás (Toninho – Romildo)
4-Juizo final (Élcio Soares – Nelson Cavaquinho)
5-Tudo é ilusão (Tufy Lauar – Eden Silva – Anibal da Silva)
6-Valsa de realejo (Guinga – Paulo César Pinheiro
7-Bafo de boca (Paulo César Pinheiro – João Nogueira)
😯 último bloco (Candeia)
9-Ninguém tem que achar ruim (Ismael Silva)
10-Às vezes faz bem chorar (Ivor Lancellotti)
11-Vai amor (W.Rosa – Monarco)
12-Que seja bem feliz (Cartola)

I am in love with Clara Nunes, who left us far too early at the age of 39. Her voice just instantly puts me in a better place, no matter what is going on or where I am. There’s not too many people I can say that about, not even Elis Regina, whose own turmoil bubbles beneath the passionate surface of her recorded works in a way that the attuned ear can pick up on fairly quickly. While Regina’s music is often playful, joyous, even transcendent, there is also a deep melancholy. Not so for Clara Nunes, whose saddest songs are still somehow cheerful. Perhaps it was her strong spirituality grounded in Candomblé, which after all is at the roots of samba. She shares this optimism, even when tearful, with those samba composers whose work she so lovingly committed to wax — Candeia, Monarco, Cartola: some of the great poets of the Portuguese language and masters of melodic subtlety. Clara Nunes opened the way for a host of sambistas (female samba singers) of the “samba revival” of the 1970s like Alcione and Beth Carvalho. Clara’s earliest recordings honestly do not do much for me. But she really hit her artistic stride in the early 70s, probably peaking with 1974’s “Alvorecer”. This album, Claridade, follows that one and while it might not be quite the milestone that Alvorecer was, it is still one of her strongest records, consistent in the quality of its arrangements, production, performance, and of coarse, Clara’s sonorous, soaring voice.

Clara Nunes “Claridade” (EMI-Odeon, 1975)
A lovely, solid ’70s style samba album, with lovely, clear melodies and — oh! — that heavenly voice! A swirly string section kicks in on the end of Side One, but it hardly gets in the way… Basically this is yet another fine album, with songs by all the usual crowd — Nelson Cavaquinho, Monarco, Candeia and Cartola. She slows down on a couple of tunes, and these ballads add a little variety to the mix. Recommended!

Biografia
Trabalhava numa fábrica quando resolveu participar do concurso A Voz de Ouro ABC, em que foi vencedora na etapa mineira e terceiro lugar na final, em São Paulo, em 1959. A partir de então conseguiu um emprego em uma rádio de Belo Horizonte e se apresentava em casas noturnas da cidade. Em 1965 mudou-se para o Rio de Janeiro, onde gravou seu primeiro disco, com repertório de boleros e sambas-canções. Depois de alguns álbus ainda com gênero indefinido, firmou-se no samba nos anos 70. Em 74, seu LP vendeu cerca de 300 mil cópias, graças ao sucesso do samba “Conto de Areia” (Romildo/ Toninho). Fio um recorde para a época, que rompeu com o tabu de que cantora não vendia discos e estimulou outras gravadoras que investissem em sambistas (mulheres) como Alcione, que gravou seu primeiro LP em 75 e Beth Carvalho, que transferiu-se para uma grande fábrica, a RCA, em 76. Os discos que se seguiram a transformaram em uma das três rainhas do samba dos anos 80, ao lado das outras duas referidas intérpretes. Clara gravou desde sambas-enredos até composições de Caymmi e Chico Buarque. Na segunda metade da década, lançou um disco por ano, todos com grandes vendas e gravações históricas, como as de “Juízo Final” (Nelson Cavaquinho/ Élcio Soares), “Coração Leviano” (Paulinho da Viola) e “Morena de Angola” (Chico Buarque). Ficou famosa também por suas canções calcadas em temas do Candomblé, sua religião, e por sua indumentária caracaterística, sempre de branco e com colares e missangas de origem africana. Morreu prematuramente após uma cirurgia malsucedida, causando consternação popular. Outros sucessos: “Você Passa e Eu Acho Graça” (Ataulfo Alves/Carlos Imperial), “Ê Baiana”, “Ilu Ayê – Terra da Vida”, “Tristeza, Pé no Chão” (Armando Gonçalves Mamâo), “A Deusa dos Orixás”, “Macunaíma”, “O Mar Serenou” (Candeia), “As Forças da Natureza” (João Nogueira/ Paulo César Pinheiro), “Guerreira”, “Feira de Mangaio” (Sivuca/ Glorinha Gadelha), “Portela na Avenida” (Mauro Duarte/ Paulo César Pinheiro), “Nação” (João Bosco/ Aldir Blanc)

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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[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]