Pinduca – No Embalo do Carimbó e Sirimbó – Vol. 9 (1980)

 

 

 

Pinduca
No Embalo Do Carimbó E Sirimbó – Vol. 9
1980 Copacabana COELP 41320
 


 
A1     O Rico e o Pobre (public domain, adapted by Pinduca)    2:53
A2     O Ricardão (Pinduca)    2:46
A3     Fuma Porque Pode (Pinduca – Maria Gonçalves)    2:24
A4     Festa de Umbanda (Pinda – Deuza)    2:35
A5     Marcha do Top Less (Pinduca – O. Roosevelth)    2:55
A6     Curichão da Saudade  (Pinduca)    2:44
B1     Sentando a Puã (Pinduca – Maria Izabel Pureza)    2:24
B2     Terra Boa É o Pará (Pinduca)    2:20
B3     Vou Dar Risada (Pinduca – Deuza)    2:55
B4     Joaninha, Meu Bem (Pinduca – João Antonio de Oliveira)    2:58
B5     Chorando À Beira Mar (Pinduca)     2:32
B6     Doce Menina (Pinduca)    2:31 
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 Vinyl -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 96khz; Click Repair light settings; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 – resampled (and dithered for 16-bit) using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag&Rename.
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Episode 9, in which we discover that Pinduca was a police sergeant and also harbored a secret desire to be a male stripper.   Songs about how you can never trust a women. Songs about women who smoke, about umbanda parties, topless bars, and Tarzan – all this and more in the ninth installment of No Embalo do…..

Aw Christ who am I kidding, I don’t have anything to say about this record.  This is the very definition of “phoning it in.”  I’ve had a really crap week, or as I would be able to appropriately say if things had turned out better for me, “this week has been total shite.” Although if things had turned out better then I wouldn’t need to say my week was shit, rendering these last few sentences irrelevant.  Not redundant, because nothing has been repeated, but possibly I have become redundant in the British sense, in that I might be imminently replaceable.  If fact I encourage readers to write their own description of this album in the style of Flabbergasted Vibes.  Please post your writing sample in the comments section, along with a CV, three professional references, and a statement of your goals and theoretical contribution to the discipline.  Eligible candidates for the position will demonstrate a clear commitment to uncompensated writing and chronic anxiety about your future.

Enjoy the music, you bastards.

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Pinduca – No Embalo do Pinduca Vol. 10 (1981)

Pinduca
No Embalo Do Pinduca – Vol. 10
Beverly BLP 83070-A (1991 Reissue)
Original release 1981 Copacabana COELP-41561
 

 
 
A1     Lambada Da Birita (Aquino)    2:34
A2     Urubajara (Pedro Américo – O. Roosevelth)     2:40
A3     Mambo Rabo De Saia  (Pinduca – Mário Gonçalves)     2:56
A4     Rosa Em Botão (Pinduca)     3:14
A5     Esta Zinha Meu Amor (Pinduca)     2:06
A6     Poeta Do Mar (Pinduca – Vidinho)     2:48
B1     Siri Mole, Siri Duro (Pinduca – O. Roosevelth)    2:34
B2     Tabatinga (Pinduca – Deuza)    3:03
B3     Siriá Gostoso (Pinduca – Deuza)     2:32
B4     Vizinha Linguaruda (Pinduca – Maria Izabel Pureza)    2:49
B5     Santos De Casa (Pinduca – Tânia)     2:45
B6     Passa, Passa Do Viaduto Do Chá (Carimbó De São Paulo) (Adalberto Pires – Pinduca)  2:36
Artistic direction – Luiz Mocarzel
Executive producer – Pinduca, Talmo Scaranari
Arranged by Pinduca
Recording and mixing engineer – Zilmar Araújo
Mastering – Silvia R. Nascimento
Recorded at DO-RE-MI studios in São Paulo in 24 channels
Photo – Carlos A. Gordon
Layout and design – Jurandir G. Silveira
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 Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 96khz; clicks and pops removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced (for 16-bit). Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp.  Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.

 

In this tenth album from master of the carimbó and siriá styles, Pinduca deepens his exploration of the themes he has developed throughout his oeuvre – the nuances of drinking, nosy gossiping neighbors, shellfish, and dancing.   Although it may be difficult to immerse yourself in the details if you’re jumping in at Volume 10, it’s not exactly Swann’s Way, so I think you will be alright.

In fact, one might legitimately ask why I am finally delving into my Pinduca collection at this particular disc. There is no particular reason other than I had taken this LP down off the shelf while I was collecting tracks for my most recent podcast.  I ended up not using anything from it, but I have wanted to share some whole records by this guy for a while, so I finally quit putting it off and did the quickest vinyl transfer I’ve ever done.  Plus it is a nice round number, 10.  I even considered doing a countdown all the way to number 1, but I am missing a few crucial integers that would make such an undertaking eminently frustrating.

The sound is fuller than on some of his earlier albums, since by this point Pinduca was recording in 24-track studios.  He also knows his audience well and plays to them: there are a couple of forró numbers here and even a track that is kind of brega, as if he is showing his gratitude to the working-class crowds that had made it possible for him to have a music career without any real push from the industry.  Carimbó music was actually somewhat in vogue during the latter half of the 1970s. MPB singer Eliana Pittman recorded a full album or two in the genre.  Fellow paraense*  and emergency flotation device Fafá de Belém would eventually score a huge hit with Pinduca’s “Sinha Pureza”, which remains his most famous song to this day.  So though he may not have been getting reviews in O Pasquim magazine, he was definitely appreciated by fellow musicians and reaped some benefits from that attention. In fact, remarking on the momentous occasion of a tenth LP, he has a sweet note on the back cover thanking everyone in the world for helping him along, from record store owners to the civil and military authorities.  (*A paraense a person from the state of Pará)

Although the forró tunes are cute, what you came to hear are the selections of animated carimbó, lilting siriá, and frenetic lambada. Tight horn arrangements and fast tempos are offset ever so slightly by the Farfisa-like organ that leans on chords in a loungerific way.  There is even a blast of synth in the bridge of the opening cut, “Lambada da birita.”  Check out some highlights below:

I really should not add to my trail of broken promises on this blog, but I intend to share some more of this fun music.  I have been wanting to enthuse about it here for years now and never seem to get around to sharing.  I shall make a genuine effort at it now, because as a Buddhist sage once said, “How do you know you won’t die tomorrow?”  Check the comment links.

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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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Inezita Barroso – Alma Brasileira (1993)

Inezita Barroso
Alma Brasileira
1993 Copacabana

01 – Luar do Sertão
02 – Moda da Pinga
03 – Morena Morena
04 – Engenho Novo
05 – Soca Pilão
06 – Meu Limão, Meu Limoeiro
07 – Prenda Minha
08 – Saudade de Matao
09 – Asa Branca
10 – Maringa
11 – Peixe Vivo
12 – O Menino da Porteira
13 – Negrinho do Postoreio
14 – Tristezas do Jeca

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I don’t have a tremendous amount to say about this album, which is a collection of material from Inezita Barroso’s first few decades as a performer.  But she passed away earlier this year at the dignified age of 90, and I have a few of her LPs on vinyl so I might someday digitize them for this place if there is interest.

Inezita Barroso was Brazil’s long-reigning queen of música caipira and traditional sertaneja, music from the rural interior associated with southern Brazil.  This genre of music has a similar symbolic valence as other “folk” musics in other parts of the world, so naturally when she passed away there was a lot of eulogizing about how she represented the “authentic” and “real” Brazil.  Born in São Paulo to a wealthy family, but spending much of her childhood on the many coffee plantations they owned, she was college educated, married young to a lawyer, formally trained in music – sociologically she was about as “caipira” as Pete Seeger was a freight-train hopping hobo.  Having played in talent-show type affairs in theaters since she was a young girl, her first paid performance came when she was asked to interpret some songs collected by Mario de Andrade during his famous ethno-musicological field trips of the 1930s.  That’s an old folk music “tradition” of its own:  (re)presenting the music of rural people in a cleaned-up package, sung in dialect, that is more amenable to urban, middle/upper-class aesthetics.

But none of these musical ad hominem observations really matter too much, because she was indeed the most visible proponent and advocate for this type of music, and hence an inspiration to many less famous singers and duos to keep going.  For thirty-five years, Inezita hosted a Sunday morning TV program devoted to música caipira called Viola, Minha Viola.  She appeared in films and on the theatrical stage, and also did original research and wrote books about folklore.  Her repertoire was not limited to only the the sertaneja music of the south but included folk songs from the center-west and further east around Rio and, naturally, the Northeast.  In this college we have a very stylized version of Gonzagão’s “Asa Branca” that you can add to your collection of the umpteen versions of that tune.  I like it.

Unfortunately this single-CD retrospective does not give even the bare minimum of information as to the provenance of the recordings – when they were recorded, where they appeared elsewhere.  For that kind of detail, you probably want to look for the collection by the Revivendo label or else the 6-CD boxset released by Copacabana Discos that spans 1955-1962.  Unfortunately this latter collection suffers from a case of severe sonic degradation due to  heavy-handed use of ‘no noise’ filtering, leaving everything sounding like an mp3 you might have found on eMule or Limewire fifteen years ago.  I haven’t heard the Revivendo collection, but while I’m a big advocate for the earlier releases of that label, in recent years they have also been sucking the life out of their audio with the blanket application of noise filtering.  (Seriously guys, just leave the noise – recordings from the 1930s and 40s are never going to sound like they were recorded yesterday so just stop trying already.)  I’m not sure when exactly things started to go all wobbly in their mastering practices, but their one Inezita collection (that I know of), titled ‘Ronda’, dates from 2005, so it could go either way in terms of quality.

So while the information included in this disc is nonexistent, the sound is actually quite nice.  Highlights here include the humorous “Moda da Pinga,” more commonly known as “Marvada Pinga,” the tune “Meu Limão, Meu Limoeiro” whose sing-songy childlike verses were also recorded by one swinging cat named Wilson Simonal, “Prenda Minha” (also recorded by Caetano), “Tristeza do Jeca” (originally by Tonico and Tinoco), hell everything here is pretty good.  I’m partial to “Engenho Novo”.

I had considered posting this CD to my dormant companion blog to this one, Flabbergasted Folk, because except for the fact that this is Brazilian, it might thematically fit better over there than it does here.  But then I remembered that the drum beat from Engenho Novo was sampled by Racionais MC’s and decided it was okay to post this collection at Flabbergasted Vibes after all…

Check out the interesting development of this sertaneja staple, “Tristeza do Jeca”, which closes out this CD.  Below I have posted the 1947 version of the song by the duo Tonico and Tinoco on the left, followed by another recording a decade later, in 1958, to the right.  Below this is Inezita Barroso’s version, and then again another by Tonico and Tinoco performing it in the 1970s for the TV program MPB Ensaio.  I prefer the earliest two from Tonico and Tinoco myself.  The 1947 has a special sauce ingredient of Hawaiian-style steel guitar combined with a sanfona or accordion.  Perhaps the guitar was  played by my favorite Brazilian steel guitarist (because he’s the only Brazilian steel guitarist I know) Poli or Poly (Ângelo Apolônio), who would eventually make some sertaneja records of his own.  The 1958 version is very different: it has a rhythmic baião-type lilt to it that could lend itself to some slow dancing.  Unfortunately the YouTube clip cuts out halfway through the track but you get the idea.

Then there is Inezita’s version, played in a looser solo arrangement. It is interesting that in the 70s clip, they are playing the song more like Inezita’s rendition, which is maybe more “traditional” sertaneja.  Is it possible that she influenced the way they played their own signature song?  It almost seems like the reverse of a case of one staple of North American folk music – when Pete Seeger said he liked The Byrds more ‘modern’ arrangement of Turn, Turn, Turn more than his own and deciding to just start playing it their way at some point.  Somewhere in my closet I have a CD recordings of all the MPB Ensaio programs, including episodes with both Inezita and Tonico and Tinoco.  Perhaps they tell some stories about this, so now I will have to check.

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Luiz Gonzaga – Canaã (1968)

 photo folder_zpsx0va0csq.jpg
Luiz Gonzaga 
Canaã
Released 1968,  RCA-Victor  BBL-1434
 
01. Canaã (Humberto Teixeira)
02. Pobreza por pobreza (Gonzaguinha)
03. Festa (Gonzaguinha)
04. Nordeste pra frente (Luiz Queiroga / Luiz Gonzaga)
05. Valha Deus Senhor São Bento (Antônio Almeida)
06. Erva rasteira (Gonzaguinha)
07. Diz que vai virar (Gonzaguinha)
08. Baião polinário (Humberto Teixeira)
09. Saudades de Helena (Antônio Barros)
10. Tic-tac tic-tac (Antônio Almeida)
11. Canto sem protesto (Luiz Queiroga / Luiz Gonzaga)
12. Chico valente (Rildo Hora)

A rather mellow, atypical album from Gonzagão here.  It’s a pleasant listen with some very melodic tunes on it, but it’s also a confused mess of a record when you stop to really look at it.  It definitely suffers from the relative absence of his most renowned songwriting partner from the period, Humberto Teixeira, who only contributes two songs here that are also arguably the best ones.  (Strangely, he was corralled into writing the liner notes, but more about that later).   What immediately makes this record stand out is that Luiz Gonzaga’s son, Gonzaguinha, wrote a bunch of the songs here.  Part of the student protest-song movement, Gonzaguinha would go on to become a respected MPB star in the seventies while still retaining his ‘engaged’ stance, putting out some real solid records as well as a few clunkers like everyone else.  But however poetic the lyrics might be here, the famously dour, humorless flavor of 1960s protest music just doesn’t sound natural coming from the ebullient and emotive elder Gonzaga.  Hearing him sing lines like “It’s always the same hunger / that drives me to despair. / It’s always the same hand / that lives to exploit me,” is really awkward.  This song, “Pobreza por pobreza”, was rerecorded by Gonzaguinha the following year for the theater group Arena, for which it seems more fitted.   This sort of didactic, literal approach to a socially-engaged song-craft is in many ways the best argument for why a song like “Asa Branca,” with its flowing, evocative, and multivalent imagery of drought, migration and redemption – is a tremendously more powerful statement than anything the self-defined protest singers could dream up.  In fairness to historical accuracy, it should be noted that Father and Son stood at different points of the political spectrum and, in a common effect of the generation gap of the time, this finds Gonzagão occasionally defending the military takeover of the country while his son was of course outspokenly against it.

I’ve included samples of both the Gonzaguinha and Gonzagão versions of this song by way of illustration, reversed chronologically so you can it hear performed by the songwriter first.

Gonzagão’s version is noticeably less stiff and more agreeable to the ear.  Gonzaguinha finally did find the right tempo and approach to make the song work better several years later, in 1972  (you can check it out here).

 Two of  Gonzaga Jr.’s contributions to Canaã feature the rhythms of maracatu nação, the afro-Brazilian tradition tied to the xangô temples of this region, similar to but distinct from Bahian candomblé, and something that was (and still is) celebrated as an emblem of cultural resistance by the artistic and intellectual elites.  Introducing this rhythm into the godfather of the baião’s repertoire is an interesting thing to hear, but it comes off a bit quaint, and in the end I’d rather hear him play a good xôte or arrasta-pé.  The sound of nação maracatu has been drawn on by a variety of artists making records for the commercial market, most effectively by Chico Science and Nação Zumbi who managed to both retain and translate its thundering urgency, but here it just sounds polite and slightly ponderous.

The non-Gonzaguinha tunes here are also a mixed bunch.  The closing track, Chico Valente, is a bit of a classic, and was penned by Rildo Hora who incidentally has a bunch of arranging and producing credits, including on some albums that I plan to share here soon.  There are two songs co-authored with Luis Queiroga, a humorist and radio personality who had written tunes with Gonzaga as far back as the 1950s (and whose son is currently a recording artist).  “Nordeste Pra Frente” begins as a light-hearted deposition to an imaginary journalist about how much the Northeast has changed into a happening, groovy place with girls who wear miniskirts, men with long hair, hotels that serve Scotch and country people with Japanese radios.  But the tune quickly devolves into political propaganda.  By the time of the second verse, where Gonzaga praises the progress and accomplishments of various cities in his native Pernambuco, I began to think “Jesus, this sounds like SUDENE propaganda,” and sure enough by the third verse he is singing the praises of that organ of the state.  SUDENE, for those who don’t know, was the development agency charged with analyzing and addressing the Northeast’s perennial problems of drought, poverty, illiteracy and overall “under-development.”  Originally populated by leftists like the economist Celso Furtado, the organization was pretty thoroughly co-opted after the 1964 military coup and reoriented towards big capital-intensive projects through which they courted foreign investors in the same strategy used throughout the dictorship’s “economic miracle” more generally.  (In fact I have some odd and slightly unnerving archival photos that I took of some SUDENE material from this era found in a special collections section of the state archive of Pernambuco, a small book published in English and specifically targeted at the US and English business communities).   The song goes so far as air the “common sense” opinion of the dictatorship’s apologists – that the “old” SUDENE wasn’t accomplishing anything until the new military government took it over.  So while this song might be upbeat and kind of “cute,” it is also creepy and that makes it hard for me to get behind it.   My friend Bertha also points out that the title is uncannily similar to a propaganda phrase used during the Medíci years of the dictatorship, as found in this “cute” little ad that would run before feature films or in between TV commercials:

The penultimate song, “Canto Sem Protesto,” is also co-written with Luis Queiroga.  Artistically it is definitely an improvement over “Nordeste Pra Frente.”  It also adds further to the cognitive dissonance that has been building up during the album, in that it is basically a rebuttal to his son’s generation of university-based protest singers.  It illustrates in very plainspoken, earnest terms the aforementioned generational divide, saying that his role as a singer is not to make social commentary but to bring people joy.  This of course touches on a debate that never goes away about the role of popular music and entertainment.  But as expressed in this song, it’s part of a pretty profoundly conservative worldview:  “He who has hate in his heart doesn’t sing / And I wouldn’t want to hear them sing anyway” he says in the first verse, presumably alerting us to the likelihood that he probably wasn’t going to embrace punk rock when it came around, and then follows this with “Since the time of Pilot / Jesus protested / but since he wasn’t a singer / there’s weren’t big crowds // Since then there is always something / that needs to be protested / But that’s not my song / My place is to bring joy.”    Say what you will about the point of view here, but this is pretty clever, managing to get in a dig about the inevitable self-aggrandizement of socially-engaged ‘pop’ music while also giving them a bit of genial sympathy.  On the one hand it represents a typically “traditional” worldview in the Northeast, one that is acquiescent about the region’s injustices and even openly supportive of the social hierarchy that undergirds them.  On the other hand it also expresses the opinion – completely legitimate, in my view – that protest music just wasn’t Gonzaga’s style and he wasn’t going to change simply to keep up with fashion.  Pity he didn’t stick to that position while recording this album…  There is more going on here than just the pressures on an artist with more than twenty years of career behind them to stay “relevant” – that is something that we find in all times and places.  The debate here is particularly weighty because of the role that the Northeast has played in the country’s cultural politics, taking center stage as a nexus of artistic creation in clusters and bursts of activity since the 1930s.   The stark inequalities of the region, and the resilience of its stalwart residents to find ways to survive them (if not necessarily overcome them), made Northeastern themes a favorite of the mid-60s protest song movement.  And here was Gonzaga, the best-known singer from the region whose image hinged on the notion of his own authenticity, and he was taking a different point of view.

In a way, all of these things combine to make an otherwise unremarkable album, one that was barely on my radar, into a sort of time capsule of all the contradictions and tensions in Brazilian society and their corresponding dynamics in the world of popular culture.  The album’s liner notes, as I pointed out earlier, were written by Humberto Teixeira, in spite of him only having contributed two songs here.  These notes are somewhat beguiling because they are largely addressed to people standing in the wings of contemporaneous debates, not exactly illuminating anything for the casual listener in 2015.  In them, Teixeira suggests that baião was by nature always a type of “protest” song in the most pure sense, in that simply to sing about the Northeast at the time it came on the scene was to shed light on the lives of a forgotten people.  At the same time that he contextualizes the contribution of the baião to the idea of a national song-writing tradition, he also inadvertently seems to be interring it in a museum, speaking of its history in a way that comes off kind of like a eulogy.  And there is no denying that the golden age for baião and forró had in fact come and gone – the vast majority of canonical classics and staples in the repertoire date from the 1940s to the early 60s.  Of course there would be people like Domiguinhos to carry the torch and contribute some more immortal compositions, or groups like Trio Nordestino to heat up the dance floor.  But the time of composers like Teixeira and Zé Dantas, who churned out hundreds of songs that remain classics to this day, was already receding in the rear view mirror at this point.

 In fact it would fall upon the brilliance of artists like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil to reclaim that “contribution to national song” on its own terms:  they embraced the work of Gonzaga, Jackson do Pandeiro and others without the need to ventriloquize them into mouthpieces for political activism.  Just as they did with samba, the Tropicalístas’ irreverent treatment of this body of work ends up being the most sincere homage, decentering and subverting the use of these styles of music as vehicles for any kind of over-arching political ideology, whether from the right or the left.  Gonzaga and Jackson owed a debt to the Tropicalístas for the resurgence of interest in their music which enabled them to have productive and lucrative “final acts” in their late-in-life careers.  I say this, too, as a non-Brazilian who was introduced to their songs by way of albums from Gal Costa, Caetano, and Gil.  The first time I heard Gal sing “Sebastiana” I nearly crapped myself, and wasted no time in tracking down the original.  Naturally when I heard Jackson do Pandeiro’s version my first reaction was a bit of “WTF?!”, as Gil’s arrangement had drastically dismembered and reconstructed it into a tropical Frankenstein.  And yet somehow those crazy baianos were tapping into the essence of these songs.  They were certainly getting closer to the spirit of these Northeastern genres than their contemporaries in the student protest song movement, with whom they had a notoriously antagonistic relationship.  Meanwhile many of those Northeastern artists with roots in the student movement ended up rising through the music business ranks and coming back with a less strident approach during the mid-70s, in the careers of the new generation of MPB singer-songwriters like Belchior, Fagner, and of course Gonzaguinha.  That stuff has it’s place, and I will defend the early albums from all those guys from their detractors.  Gonzaguinha, who group up carioca in Rio de Janeiro rather than the Northeast, would eventually collaborate as a performer with Gonzaga Sr. in the late 70s and throughout the 1980s, releasing some very commercially-successful albums where they were given equal co-billing.  But in an alternate 1968, I would much rather be listening to Gonzaga singing songs with “Veloso/Gil” in the composer credits than Gonzaguinha or, for that matter, Luis Queiroga.  Instead, we have this confused, conflicted jumble of pleasant songs.

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Jackson do Pandeiro – São João Autêntico (1980)

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 Jackson do Pandeiro
São João Autêntico
1980 Sinter 2493-
009
01 – O navio tá bom na marcha (Antonio Barros)
02 – Canoeiro novo (João Silva – Raimundo Evangelista)
03 – Sanfoneiro de vocês (Carlos Diniz – J. Nilo)
04 – Dá eu pra ela (Venâncio – Corumba)
05 – Três pedidos (Jackson do Pandeiro – Maruim)
06 – Vamos chegar pra lá (Almira Castilho)
07 – Na base da chinela (Jackson do Pandeiro – Rosil Cavalcanti)
08 – São João na roça (Antonio Barros – Jackson do Pandeiro)
09 – Acenderam a fogueira (Maruim – Jackson do Pandeiro)
10 – São João no brejo (Zé Catraca)
11 – Véspera e dia de São João (Jackson do Pandeiro – Maruim)
12 – Viva São João (Jackson do Pandeiro – Buco do Pandeiro)

 

Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Audio Technica AT440MLa cartridge), Speedbox power supply; Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 96khz; Click Repair; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 – dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced (for 16-bit). Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.

Like the last post, this is also  a compilation of São João material, this time by the great Jackson do Pandeiro.  As a collection, I find this to be a better listen than the Gonzaga record, something that you can put on from start to finish, in part because of the great variety here.

I think I am going to curate my own São João-themed compilation and put it out as a limited edition CD and vinyl release.  I will call it “More Songs About Marriage and Corn”, and the cover art will feature 100 Polaroid close-up photos of a Festa Junina bonfire arranged in a mosaic.  Production starts tomorrow.

There is no information whatsoever on the jacket of this “econo-series” budget LP by the Polygram-family Sinter label.  Jackson, like Gonzaga, recorded and released hundreds of songs, released on dozens of LPs and CDs (although Jackson’s catalog is poorly represented on compact discs).  The tracks on this seem to be drawn from the 1960s and 70s.  I mentioned the variety earlier, which applies to the different sub-genres of festive Northeastern dance music played here, but also the instrumentation found in the arrangements.   There’s saxophone, clarinet, even a tin whistle found in these groves.  There is also the talented Almira Castilho on two songs.  This may not be an essential record – in fact, I forgot I owned it until stumbling on it last week, and this post is officially the quickest vinyl-to-blog-rip in the history of this blog as I am normally notoriously slow and unhurried about these sorts of things.  But there is still another week left of Festas Juninas during which this cute little collection is still relevant, so I moved a little quicker for you, dear readers.

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