Wilson Simonal – Na Odeon 1961 – 1971 (2004)




WILSON SIMONAL
Wilson Simonal na Odeon 1961-1971

9 CD Boxset
Released on EMI, 2004

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Disc 1 – Tem Algo Mais and A Nova Dimensão do Samba  (1963-64)

1- TUDO DE VOCÊ
2- AMANHECENDO
3- TELEFONE
4- SAUDADE
5- SAMBA CROMATICO
6- MENINA FLOR
7- LAGRIMA FLOR
8- BALANCO ZONA SUL
9- MENINO TRISTE
10- MEU COMPORTAMENTO
11- SAMBA E VERBO
12- MANHA NO POSTO SEIS
13- NANA
14- MAIS VALIA NAO CHORAR
15- LOBO BOBO
16- SO SAUDADE
17- ELA DIZ QUE ESTOU POR FORA
18- SAMBA DE NEGRO
19- JEITO BOM DE SOFRER
20- ELA VAI, ELA VEM
21- RAPAZ DE BEM
22- INUTIL PAISAGEM
23- CONSOLACAO
24- NANA
25- MAIS VALIA NAO CHORAR

 

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Disc 2 –  Simonal and S’imbora (1965)

 1- GAROTA MODERNA
2- SELECAO DE SAMBA DE ARY BARROSO
3- SO TINHA DE SER COM VOCÊ
4- MARINA
5- MESTICO
6- AS MOCAS DO MEU TEMPO
7- RIO DO MEU AMOR
8- OPINIAO
9- JUCA BOBAO
10- CHUVA
11- DUVIDO DIVIDIR
12- BRUXARIA
13- MANGANGA
14- FICA MAL COM DEUS
15- SONHO DE CARNAVAL
16- SAMBA DO CARIOCA
17- DUAS CONTAS
18- SE TODOS FOSSEM IGUAIS A VOCÊ
19- LADEIRA DO PELOURINHO
20- BALANCO ZONA SUL
21- NOS DOIS
22- O APITO NO SAMBA
23- O TEU AMANHA
24- LENDA
25- LADEIRA DO PELOURINHO

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DISC 3 – Vou Deixa Cair and Tempos De Pilantragem (1966-67)

1- VENTO DE MAIO
2- MEU LIMAO MEU LIMOEIRO
3- O CARANGO
4- MINHA NAMORADA
5- SEM VOCÊ EU NAO VIVO
6- ENXUGUE OS OLHOS
7- MARIA
8- A FORMIGA E O ELEFANTE
9- MAMAE PASSOU ACUCAR EM MIM
10- FRANQUEZA
11- TEM DO
12- SAMBA DO MUG
13- SE VOCÊ GOSTOU
14- A BANDA
15- DISPARADA
16- QUEM SAMBA FICA
17- MASCARA NEGRA
18- TRIBUTO A MARTIN LUTHER KING
19- DEIXA QUEM QUISER FALAR
20- ELA E DEMAIS
21- BALADA DO VIETNAM
22- O MILAGRE

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DISC 4 – Show Em Simonal (1967)

1- BARRA LIMPA
2- RODA
3- THE SHADOW OF YOUR SMILE
4- CANTIGA BRAVA
5- ESTRELA PRINCIPAL
6- ROCINHA ESTUPIDA (SOMETHING STUPID)
7- CONSOLACAO
8- O MORRO NAO TEM VEZ
9- O QUE FACO P´RA ESQUECER
10- PEGUEI UM ITA NO NORTE
11- UN HOMME ET UNE FEMME
12- NEM VEM QUE NAO TEM
13- MEXIRICO DA CANDINHA
14- QUEM TE VIU QUEM TE VE
15- CONSELHO
16- ARUEIRA
17- MEU LIMAO MEU LIMOEIRO
18- TRIBUTO A MARTIN LUTHER KING
19- ESTA CHEGANDO A HORA

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DISC 5 – Alegria, Alegria Volumes 1 and 2 (1967-68)

1- OS ESCRAVOS DE JO
2- AGORA E CINZA
3- VESTI AZUL
4- AOS PES DA CRUZ
5- BELINHA
6- PRA QUE ?
7- NEM VEM QUE NAO TEM
8- FIM DE SEMANA EM PAQUETA
9- PARA PEDRO
10- ESTA CHEGANDO A HORA
11- REMELEXO
12- DISCUSSAO
13- ALEGRIA, ALEGRIA
14- PATA PATA
15- SA MARINA
16- CAE CAE
17- MANIAS
18- RECRUTA BIRUTA
19- NESTE MESMO LUGAR
20- ZAZUEIRA
21- NAO TENHO LAGRIMAS
22- DE COMO UM GAROTO APAIXONADO PERDOOU POR CAUSA DE UM DOS MANDAMENTOS
23- CARTAO DE VISITA
24- PARAÍBA
25- GOSTO TANTO DE VOCÊ
26- VAMOS S’IMBORA
27- NAMORADINHA DE UM AMIGO MEU

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 DISC 6 – Alegria, Alegria Volumes 3 and 4 (1969)

1- SILVIA LENHEIRA
2- MUSTANG COR DE SANGUE
3- MENININHA DO PORTAO
4- SILÊNCIO
5- PRECE AO VENTO
6- WHAT YOU SAY
7- MOCA
8- ALELUIA, ALELUIA
9- MAMAE EU QUERO
10- MEIA-VOLTA (ANA CRISTINA)
11- PENSANDO EM TI
12- ATIRA A PRIMEIRA PEDRA
13- MULHER DE MALANDRO
14- SE VOCÊ PENSA
15- MAQUILAGEM
16- PORQUE HOJE E DOMINGO
17- EVIE
18- BRASILEIRA
19- OLHO D’AGUA
20- CANCAO DA CRIANCA
21- EU FUI NO TORORO
22- QUE MARAVILHA
23- UMA LOIRA
24- QUEM MANDOU
25- PAÍS TROPICAL
26- ADIOS, MUCHACHO v

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DISC 7 – Simonal and Jóia (1970-71)

1- SEM ESSA
2- DESTINO E DESATINO DE SEVERINO NONÔ NA CIDADE DE SAO SEBASTIAO DO RIO DE JANEIRO ( OH YEAH! )
3- COMIGO E ASSIM
4- O MUNDO IGUAL DE CADA UM
5- SISTEMA NERVOSO
6- NA BAIXA DO SAPATEIRO
7- MORO NO FIM DA RUA
8- DEIXA O MUNDO E O SOL ENTRAR
9- AI VOCE COMECA A CHORAR
10- NAO TEM SOLUCAO
11- NA TONGA DA MIRONGA DO KABULETÊ
12- OURICO
13- AFRICA, AFRICA
14- DE NOITE NA CAMA
15- GEMEDEIRA
16- IMPOSSIVEL ACREDITAR QUE PERDI VOCE
17- TRISTEZA
18- TUDO E MAGNÍFICO
19- LAMPIAO EM PROSA E VERSO
20- GAROA DIFERENTE
21- VOCÊ ABUSOU
22- NA GALHA DO CAJUEIRO
23- FOTOGRAFIA

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DISCs 8 and 9 – Singles, lados B e raridies (Singles, B-sides, and rarities)

1- TEREZINHA
2- BIKINIS E BORBOLETAS
3- EU TE AMO
4- BEIJA MEU BEM
5- TEM QUE BALANCAR
6- OLHOU PRA MIM
7- ESTA NASCENDO UM SAMBA
8- GAROTA LEGAL (You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby)
9- FALE DE SAMBA QUE EU VOU
10- WALK RIGHT IN
11- SO DANCO SAMBA
12- NAO PODE SER
13- EU SOU MAIS EU
14- DE MANHA
15- DAS ROSAS
16- CUIDADO CANTOR
17- TA POR FORA
18- MAMAE PASSOU ACUCAR EM MIM
19- MAMAE PASSOU ACUCAR EM MIM ( Versao em Espanhol inedita )
20- A PRACA
21- SAMBA DO CRIOULO DOIDO
22- A ROSA DA RODA
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1- TEREZINHA DE JESUS
2- A SAUDADE MATA A GENTE
3- CORRENTEZA
4- PAÍS TROPICAL
5- ECCO IL TIPO CHE IO CERCAVO
6- NO CLARAO DA LUA CHEIA
7- AS MENININHAS DO LEBLON
8- KIKI
9- EU SONHEI QUE TU ESTAVAS TAO LINDA
10- AQUI E O PAÍS DO FUTEBOL 11- HINO DO FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DA CANCAO
12- CANCAO Nº21
13- QUE CADA UM CUMPRA COM O SEU DEVER
14- RESPOSTA
15- BRASIL EU FICO
16- OBRIGADO PELE
17- O XOTE DAS MENINAS
18- MADALENA
19- A NOITE DO MEU BEM

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208 songs
Nearly-complete artwork (booklet will not scan)
Composer credits embedded in ID tags
Correct Portuguese orthographic characters in ID tags
This box is out of print
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So a few days ago, stuck in a mire of holiday malaise, I considered closing this blog completely.  Five years is a long time to keep one of these things going, even though I don’t update it as often as I would like.  I took it offline temporarily, and the only way to do that was to “restrict” access to blog authors, but the settings here made it look like it became an invitation-only place.  Don’t worry, you were not excluded from the club, it was just a party of one.

I reconsidered.  Thanks to M. for being reasonable when I couldn’t manage it, and to the handful of people who sent messages.  They were much appreciated.

To make up for the brief lapse in judgment, I am sharing this behemoth of a boxset.  I have contemplated doing to many, many times, but always felt this massive burden of having to write some insightful and elegiac homage to Simonal and so I never felt up to the task.  This is in addition to feeling like I had to write reviews of every album here.  The guy was putting out two records a year for a ten-year span, so excuse me if this write-up consists only of saying “Hey this is really good and you should check it out.”  Simonal had been one of Brazil’s most popular singers before some unfortunate altercations with his accountant and/or the military government put him on the wrong side of history for a few decades.  A documentary film about his career as well as this boxset – both mostly spearheaded by his sons – managed to reset the scales of justice a little.  The guy was a force of nature, with a croony swagger that could evoke casino show-biz performances, chilling on the beach, or cruising in your favorite fashionable low-mileage automobile.  This is the part of the write-up where I could just start dropping names to emphasize how important he was, so why not just get right to it – Carlos Imperial, Elis Regina, Som Três and César Camargo Mariano, Orlandivo, Stockhausen, Jorge Ben … Mug.

I am not even going to try and start singling stuff out, because some internaut hipster will inevitably come along and leave comments to the effect of “I can’t believe you didn’t mention X, Y, or Z, which is so obviously the best thing here yadda yadda”, like some people did for the Marcos Valle posts I did a few years ago.  And then I would start thinking about closing the blog again.  So to hell with it, it’s Christmas, you got this stuffed in your stocking and if that’s not enough then I  can insert a piece of coal in your orifice of choice.

This is a lot of music.  It will take anyone a while to digest it.  One of these days I might start posting some needledrops of individual records, as I have mono pressings of some of these that sound quite different – in those days, a stereo hi-fi was basically a piece of furniture with speakers built in, so stereo panning tended to be quite dramatic by today’s standards.  I think the mono mixes have a little more UMPH in many cases.  So whenever I get around to that, I will give more individualized comments on these records.

Did I mention this is filled with rarities?  Almost every disc has some bonus tracks, and then the final 2-CD set is entirely comprised of – you guessed it! – singles, B-sides, and rarities.  In some cases this means we get versions of the same song in Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian but who cares.

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Jamelão – A Voz do Samba, Volume 1 (2002)

Jamelão
A Voz do Samba, Volume 1
2002 Warner Music (092745932-2)
Recordings from 1974-76
Originally issued as a 3-CD boxset in 1997

1 Apoteose ao samba     (Mano Décio, Silas de Oliveira)
2 Casa grande e senzala     (Zagaia, Comprido, Leléo)
3 Macunaíma     (Norival Reis, David Corrêa)
4 Quatro séculos de paixão     (Arroz, Graúna)
5 Cântico à natureza     (A. Lourenço, Jamelão, Nelson Sargento)
6 Dona Bêja – Feiticeira do Araxá     (Aurinho da Ilha)
7 O grande presidente      (Padeirinho)
8 Rio Antigo      (Cícero dos Santos, Pelado da Mangueira, Hélio Turco)
9 Zaquia Jorge, a estrela do subúrbio, vedete de Madureira     (Avarese)
10 Rio Grande do Sul na festa do preto fôrro      (Nilo Mendes, Dario Marciano)
11 No reino da mãe de ouro      (Talito, Rubens da Mangueira)
12 Terra de Caruaru      (Sidney da Conceição, Corvina)
13 Festa do Círio de Nazaré      (Nilo Mendes, Aderbal Moreira, Dario Marciano)
14 Mangueira em tempo de folclore     (Jajá, Manoel, Preto Rico)     
I am not ideologically committed to the idea of a chronology retrospective approach to box sets or collections, but it does have its merits.  I just don’t get
the sense of starting out with tracks taken exclusively from the years 1974-76, squarely in the middle of Jamelão’s prolific career.  That is what this collection, originally released as three discs together and then reissued separately,  has chosen for reasons that elude me.  Is it because the 70s “samba revival” production value is more accessible to our contemporary ears than the classic, larger band/orchestra style in which he made his first hits?   It could be, but if so then it’s a pretty weak argument.Because what is beguiling about this is not really the chronology but the emphasis:   although Jamelão is renowned as the ultimate interpreter of the sambas written by his friend Lupicínio Rodriguez, this first disc is entirely comprised of samba enredo (none of which are associated with Lupicínio).Now a while back I had a comment from a blog reader about how they couldn’t handle an entire album of partido alto all at once.  While I personally could listen to partido alto all day long, I know how they feel – because I feel that way about samba enredo.  For those unfamiliar, samba enredo  is the style of didactic story-song that is popular during carnival and during the huge open rehearsals leading up to it.  Part of that popularity is of course the talent of the composers, who get a little extra motivation in the big prizes, awards, and accolades involve, but it is also in the spectacle of huge production that will happen once and once only – something that does not necessarily transfer its excitement to a petroleum-based disc.  When Rio’s samba schools decide on an annual theme, it falls to the carnavalescos, the artists and designers of costumes and floats, to decide how to interpret it and present something new and original, reflecting the theme from a different angle than all the other samba schools, and to collaborate with the choreographers and musicians and sambistas to make it all cohere.  Truly a marvel of creative coordination, wouldn’t you say?  Samba writers give it their all, because if the affiliated samba school gets top rankings at the concursos or showcase competitions, it means a lot both for the school and for whichever singer and composer helped them win a new title.  While you might find humor and critique tucked away in the selections, what predominates are celebratory anthems of one or another variety of nationalism.   On this collection we have a few songs praising famous literary works (Casa Grande e Senzala, Macunaíma), politicians (O Grande Presidente), geographic areas, cities or states (Rio Antigo, Terra de Caruarú, Rio Grande do Sul Na Festa do Preto Fôrro), and religious or mystical themes (Festa do Círio de Nazaré), or famous prostitutes (Dona Bêja).  Interestingly, to get back on the subject of chronology, a few of these sambas actually debuted decades before the recordings on this collection were made.  O Grande Presidente, a praise song for the populist and popular, authoritarian “man of the people” Getulio Vargas, was featured in 1956’s carnival, a year and a half after his legendary and dramatic suicide.

It is worth pointing out that while Jamelão’s name is forever linked with the green and pink colors of his beloved Mangueira,  a few of the other prominent samba schools are represented here either through affiliated sambista composers or through the song having featured in a particular school’s carnaval presentation.  (Not all samba composers, nor all singers for that matter, don’t always work exclusively with one samba school.)   The opening track, which happens to be my favorite on the whole disc, Apoteose ao samba, is written by Silas de Oliveira and Mano Décio of the Império Serrano samba school, both of whom feature on the lovely Encontro Com a Velha Guarda album too.  Portela and Estácio de Sá also get some entries here.

So perhaps the logic of this release was to start the collection by highlighting Jamelão as a grand figure of carnaval across several generations.  Which, of course, he was. The next two volumes focus on his role as interpreter of Lupicínio Rodrigues’ sambas, and as a crooner of romantic samba, respectively.  Well at least they left us something to look forward to.

password: vibes

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Paulinho da Viola – Meu Tempo É Hoje (2003)

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 PAULINHO DA VIOLA
Meu Tempo É Hoje
2003 Biscoito Fino

    1     Meu Mundo É Hoje (Wilson Batista)        1:24
2     Pot-Pourri: Injúria/Recado/O Sol Nascerá/Jurar Com Lagrimas
(Cartola / Milton Casquinha / Elton Medeiros / Paulinho da Viola )
feat. Elton Medeiros  4:07
3     14 Anos (Paulinho da Viola)    1:32
4     Rosinha, Essa Menina (Paulinho da Viola) feat. César Faria     1:42
5     Ruas Que Sonhei (Paulinho da Viola)      1:59
6     Sinal Fechado (Paulinho da Viola)    2:43
7     Chora, Cavaquinho (Waldemar de Abreu) feat. César Faria     2:02
8     Carinhoso (João de Barro / Pixinguinha) feat. Marisa Monte
9     Pra Fugir da Saudade (Elton Medeiros / Paulinho da Viola) feat.  Iris, Julieta, and Eliane Faria  2:24
10     Filosofia (Noel Rosa)    2:39
11     Pot-Purri: De Paulo da Portela a Paulinho da Viola/Foi Um Rio Que …
(Monarco / Francisco Santana / Paulinho da Viola) feat. Velha Guarda da Portela     4:21
12     Conflito (Marcos Diniz, Barbeirinho de Jacarezinho) feat. Zeca Pagodinho3:29
13 Retiro (Paulinho da Viola)     1:09
14     Coisas Do Mundo, Minha Nêga (Paulinho da Viola)   3:17
15     Um Sarau Para Raphael (Paulinho da Viola) feat. Nó em Pingo d’Água     4:38
16     Argumento (Paulinho da Viola)    0:37

I haven’t done a blog post in over a week so in a way this is a “filler” post.  Of course nothing Paulinho has done deserves to be called ‘filler’ even if it isn’t a major entry in his huge body of work.  This is a soundtrack record; I highly recommend the film, which is not so much a biopic as a musical portrait of one of Brazil’s national treasures.  On this record, as in the film, Paulinho performs alongside old friends and new as well as a few solo pieces.  A  purist to the core, he works through some classic samba and a little bit of choro with guests like Zeca Pagodinho, Cristina Buarque, and Elton Medeiros (with whom he started his career).  The only thing keeping this record from being perfect is the presence of Marisa Monte – a robot built by scientists working for the music industry – who sings an utterly forgettable version of “Carinhoso.”  I am also of the opinion that a moratorium should be declared on that song as well as Garota da Ipanema, with all due respect to Pixinguinha, Jobim and Moraes.  But this is also why God invented the “skip” button.  Feel free to use it.

There is a relaxed, unrehearsed quality to a lot of the songs here that is very charming.  A couple songs feature family members:  “Rosinha, Essa Menina” and “Chora Cavaquinho” feature his father, César Faria, one of the founders of the Época de Ouro band along with Jacob do Bandolim, and who would pass away a mere four years after this recording, while “Pra Fugir da Saudade” features his daughters.  A high point of the record is Zeca Pagodinho’s appearance, which injects a needed bit of energy into this otherwise nostalgic retrospective.  Not that nostalgia or saudades are bad: the medley with Elton Medeiros (who rocks out on the matchbook) is a bit sloppy but putting “O Sol Nascerá” (co-written with Cartola) next to “Jurar Com Lágrimas” works really well, and the medley with the Velha Guarda da Portela is also nice.  A few of these tracks sound like they came straight from the folio microphones used on the film and so have an almost field-recording quality (you can hear birds chirping outside the windows during “Retiro”).  The questionable acoustics of the “room sound” oddly draw your attention to the intimacy of Paulinho’s renditions on those songs, but I’m still glad for the richer studio textures of Noel Rosa’s “Filosofia” and his own “Sinal Fechado.”

If it wasn’t for his head full of gray hair, you wouldn’t know Paulinho  had aged a day since his first recordings in the mid 1960s.  Granted, this record is now 10 years old (the minimum for being featured on this blog…) but he still sounds this good today.  For fans who already love and respect the walking reservoir of samba who is Paulinho da Viola, this is a nice record to add to your collection, as is the film.  For newcomers, this little splash should inspire a deeper dive.

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Os Partideiros – Sambas do Partido Alto (1970)

OS PARTIDEIROS
Sambas do Partido Alto
1970 Beverley  BLP 80382
Originally released on Copacabana Records
Mono recording

“Partido alto e o samba de roda, improvisado e levado em tempo médio.
Com o reqeubrar das cabrochas vai até o sol raiar.
É acompanhado de pandeiro, agogô, reco-reco, prato de louça etc
Neste LP atuam os maiores partidieros das escolas de samba tais como:

Da Mangueira:  Xangô e Preto Rico
Do Salgueiro – Geraldo Babão e Roberto Ribeiro
Do Império Serrano – Silas de Oliveira, Edgard e Jorginho
Da Portela – Cabana e Casquinha”

PORTELA

1. A Paz do Coreção  (vocal – Cabana)
2. Barracão Número Seis  (vocal – Cabana)
3. Iaiá Sambou  (vocal – Casquinha)

IMPÉRIO SERRANO

4. Na Água do Rio  (vocal – Silas)
5. Que Samba É Esse  (vocal – Jorginho)
6. Canela Fina  (vocal – Edgard)

SALGUEIRO

7. Lola Crioula  (vocal – Geraldo Babão)
8. Te Dou Pancada  (vocal – Os Partideiros)
9. Velhos Tempos  (vocal – Roberto Ribeiro)

MANGUEIRA

10. Eu Vi Quem Foi  (vocal – Preto Rico)
11. Recordação De Um Batuqueiro  (vocal – Xangô da Mangueira)
12. Partido da Remandiola  (vocal – Xangô da Mangueira)

Coordinated by Moacyr Silva
Production assistant: Waldomiro João de Oliveira
Recording technician:  Norival Reis
Recorded at Continental Rio studio

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 192khz; Click Repair; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 – dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.


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“Todo batuqueiro gosta de um bom
partido alto
Seja ele lá no morro ou na
cidade, no asfalto.”
Cascinha, Iaiá sambou

“Quem não é de samba / é melhor se despedir…”
Roberto Ribeiro, Velhos tempos

A solid and ceaselessly propulsive album of partido-alto from singers and composers of four of Rio’s prestigious samba schools:  Portela, Império
Serrano, Salgueiro, and Mangueira.  Of particular note is that the album features several singers here who would have successful recording careers during the 70s but had yet to record LPs under their own name – Xangô da Mangueira, Jorginho do Império, and especially Roberto Ribeiro would all grow in stature as the decade went on.  Also some excellent contributions from Cascinha, Geraldo Babão, and Silas de Oliveira.  A fun trivia fact about Silas – he had been in the Brazilian army and was on the passenger ship Itagiba traveling from Rio en route to Olinda (where he was stationed) when it was torpedoed by a German submarine, an incident which directly led to Brazil’s entry into WWII.  Lot’s of people died; obviously Silas de Oliveira survived, and I for one am glad.

With each of the samba schools only offering up three choice compositions, you can imagine that they don’t disappoint.  The mighty Portela starts things off with “A Paz de Coração,” sung by Cabana in what could serve as a didactic lesson on how to conduct a perfect partido alto.  Casquinha’s “Iaiá Sambou” is a classic, with it’s story of broken high-heel shoes and dancing, as well as a shout-out to Clementina de Jesus, who “in spite of her age, still seems like a young woman.”  The lyrics also give a snapshot narrative of partido alto coming down from the hills, o morro (today simply referred to as favelas, after Rio’s historic Morro da Favela), to the center of the city, reflecting samba’s historical trajectory from “marginal” to ubiquity and acceptance by the elite.  It has two beautiful verses in sequence, the first one quoted above saying that every musician (drummer, specifically) loves a good partido alto and it doesn’t matter where it is (seja no morro ou asfalto);  He follows this by singing that partido alto in the morro is a thing totally natural, but to have one in the city is almost radical.  To my ears this communicates something that, while perhaps seeming superficially a contradiction, is an intentionally two-headed, ambiguous message. That for the musicians, it didn’t matter where they played, as long as the music was good; but for the city’s elite who lived downtown, samba was still a novelty with overtones of excitement and even danger, and not something natural.  The idea confirms something Donga once famously said, but also adds a different shading to it.  Donga had said (and I’m paraphrasing, because I am essentially lazy) that the notion that samba was something solely created or originating in the hills was a myth: wherever there was a party with a group of people playing samba music, they were there, no matter if it was on the morro or in the business district.  Not to belabor the point, but these expressions were kind of challenging the way samba was sometimes portrayed as inhabiting a world apart, ‘a black thing’ of the slums, that was slowly allowed to proliferate through the city perhaps by the benevolence of a newly-enlightened elite.

For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, I am particularly fond of the tunes from Império Serrano.  They start out with Águas Do Rio which features Silas on vocal, who is better known as a composer of famous samba-enredos, in particular in partnership with Mano Décio da Viola – who was, incidentally, the father of Jorginho who takes over the vocals on the next tune.  “Que Samba É Esse” is wonderful and in fact beats the version recorded by Xangô da Mangueira on his album “O Rei de Partido Alto” a few years later.  Note the name-checking that goes on, including João da Baiana and Martinho da Vila.  I love the way he drags out certain words in phrases, inserts pauses and emphasizes the accented syllable of certain words to give the effect of falling slightly behind the beat. Listening to him sing is like watching a Slinky undulate down a flight of stairs:

 Tendo viola afinada
Um surdo na mar…cação
Aí a mulata levanta poeira do chão
Fica bom, fica bom!

Serrano Império continues to kick up dust and agitate the dance floor, levantando poeira into their final tune “Canela Fina,” cooking up a slower-paced partido alto written and sung by Edgard Cardoso Barbosa, about whom I know nothing.

The sweet-voiced Geraldo Babão starts out Salgueiro’s selections with “Lola Crioula.”  Like Silas de Oliveira, Babão also composed some famous samba-enredos like “Chico Rei” and “A História do Carnaval Carioca” in the 1960s.  Like many partido altos the lyrics are a variation on a single verse, this time once again echoing the theme of “from the morro to the city,” this time for carnival:  Lola crioula na passarela (Vem ver, vem ver) ; Sacudindo com tudo que é dela (Vem ver, vem ver!) / Todo ano ela desfila / Representando a favela / A moçada compra ingresso / Pra ver o gingado dela “tem dendê, tem dendê  as cadeiras na nega tem dendê”.

The song “Te Dou Pancada” is a catchy bit of reprehensible misogyny that is better left uncommented upon, if truth be told.  I find it kind of ironic that it is the one track here that does not credit any individual for the vocal (leaving it only as “Os Partideiros”) almost as if nobody wanted their name on it.   Salgueiro redeem themselves, however, with the lovely Velhos Tempos, written by Aurinho da Ilha and interpreted by Roberto Ribeiro who manages to swagger with saudade while remembering the old days of Praça Onze, a location that was kind of ground zero for carioca samba.

Mangueira’s songs are all excellent but that kind of goes without saying.  The first is from Preto Rico, one-time Diretor de Harmonia and composer of the sambas like “Velha baiana” and “Mangueira em tempos de folclore.”  This is followed by two songs from Xangô da Mangueira who followed Preto Rico as Diretor in Mangueira.  I sang Xangô’s praises on another post but I will reiterate what a badass he was here.  “Recordação de um Batuqueiro” is one of his famous sambas, played here a little faster than it would be on his first LP.  “Partido de Remandiola” doesn’t appear on any of Xangô’s albums that I have and this might be it’s only appearance on record.  Both tracks are excellent although Xangô’s vocal is a bit muffled, either a technical issue with the recording or maybe he just wasn’t as comfortable in a studio yet as he would be in a few years.

Speaking of studios and lapsing into technobabble for a moment, my copy of this is a Beverly reissue of the Copacabana release.  Almost certainly it was a 1970s reissue, and I believe Beverly was owned by Copacabana and was sort of their budget-line reissue imprint.  You might notice some tape wow-and-flutter on the first few tracks, which is a bit disheartening – to think that only a few years down the road, the master tapes were already borked.  Or, perhaps, the tapes were damaged before even the first pressing, I don’t know ‘cus I haven’t heard an original.  Also, although this is a mono recording, this Beverly is not a true mono pressing: when I attempted a ‘fold down’ for this digitalization, it resulted in some ugly phase cancellation and the lost of just about all the upper-frequency transients.  So, better to leave it in ‘false stereo’.

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Xangô da Mangueira – Rei do Partido Alto (1972)

 Xangô da Mangueira
O Rei do Partido Alto
Released 1972 on Copacabana (CLP 11701)
Reissue 2011 Discos Cobacabana-EMI

1. Moro na Roça
2. Quando vim de Minas
3. Se o Pagode é Partido
4. Cheguei no Samba
5.Que Samba é Esse
6. Se Tudo Correr Bem
7. Pequenininho
8. Recordação de um Batuqueiro
9. Quem não te Conhece é que te Compra (Tiro no Escuro)
10. Arigó
11. Diretor de Harmonia
12. Olha o partido

Que samba esse que acabou de chegar?
É partido-alto, mas é pra quem sabe improvisar

A great record by one of the under-heralded sambistas, Xangô da Mangueira aka Olivéirio Ferreira.  Every track is a winner, and this has been one of the most-played samba records in my stash since I got it, often getting played twice in a row which is something I NEVER do.   A friend of Paulo da Portela, he passed through the samba schools of Portela, Lira do Amor (now defunct) and Mangueira.  This record has probably the biggest concentration of Xangô’s better-known compositions that he recorded in one place.  Well-known because they have been recorded by the likes of Clara Nunes, Martinho da Vila, Elza Soares, Beth Carvalho, Roberto Ribeiro and others since the 1970s heyday of “samba de raiz.”  The record lopes along in an old-school pagode, roda de samba vibe and is one of the best partido-alto records you’re likely to hear.

 

Xangô cultivated a style that was, in his own words, “bem
sacudido, bem jongo,” that is to say laying down a good solid groove: animated, danceable, strongly rooted in the batucada.  The first voice you hear on the record doesn’t actually belong to him, but to Jorge Zagaia, his singing partner on  three of the partido alto tunes here:  Mora Na Roça, Pequenininho, and Diretor de Harmonio, which Zagaia also wrote in homage of his friend.  Scholars and even sambistas don’t have a clear-cut definition of the subgenre in any way that can be condensed into a paragraph, but all agree that it has a long pedigree, going back to the Bantu-language presence in Brazil and the sambas de umbigada, jongo, and the lundu, existing in some form or another as a distinguishable dance and music when samba first urbanized in the early twentieth century.  The name itself connotes an “elite” of samba, something you have to be damn good to even attempt, so you had best be prepared before you enter into the roda de samba.  It’s key distinctive traits were improvised verses with a repeated group chorus or refrain, a refrãozinho really, sung in direct response and typically changing to accommodate the theme elaborated by the lead singer.  Sometimes you  have more than one singer taking the lead, which along with the element of improvisation places partido-alto in a continuum with northeastern traditions like the repentistas or emboladores. There were set compositions in the style in the 1930s from the likes of Noel Rosa, Donga and Pixinguinha.  According to some of its best practitioners, partido-alto had changed considerably by the 1970s, with Aniceto of Império Serrano saying “what we’re all singing today is a lesser thing (samba menor) and we are just calling it partido alto.”  His traditionalism was probably a bit overstated for effect – on the best of the 1970s examples, you can still get the sense of spontaneity and call-and-response.  But there is no doubt that the limitations of the record business, and even the medium of electronic sound reproduction itself, give us only a small taste of what went on in those old rodas de samba.  To paraphrase Aniceto again: partido-alto had a set time to start, but no set time to end.  It could go on and on without a break until eventually the energy runs out.. Then someone will start it up again with a different melody and theme.  You get a good sense of this watching the tragically brief Hirzman documentary “Partido Alto”, which has finally received a restoration (so I can finally ditch my copy transferred from an old VHS tape).   In fact listening to Candeia hold court in the first part of that short film is probably the best class on partido-alto you could wish for, notwithstanding his cara brabo.  Interested people would also do well to listen Candeia’s albums that have a couple extended cuts of partido-alto, and perhaps most especially the first record made by the group Partido em 5 (which also featured Candeia).A good number of the tunes on Rei do Partido-Alto all begin with a similar cavaquinho riff, and it doesn’t take much imagination to hear how, with a little variation in rhythm, most of these songs could have been strung together and most likely were at one point.  But while there may be some artifice in squeezing that experience into a three-minute composition, you won’t hear any complaints from me about gems like “Diretor de Harmonia.”  Xangô was in fact the director of harmony for the Mangueira samba school, a role of no small consequence:  the first office-holder of Diretor de Harmonia was none other than Cartola.

             Although written by Zagaia it works as autobiography and a bit of braggadocio (Eu sou o samba em pessoa) .  Other songs here take the same approach, with concise declarative lines placing the singer inside the universe of samba:  “Já cantei muito samba / Já foi batuqueiro / E na roda de samba / Foi diretor de pandeiro” (in Recordação de Batuqeiro).  There are so many great verses scattered around the album that evoke a lifetime seduced by samba, its physicality while lived out daily at every opportunity:  “Se o pagode é partido/ Ela conta comigo/ Eu vou lá/ Eu vou em casa buscarmeu pandeiro/ Eu sou partideiro/ Não posso faltar.”  And later,  “Senhora dona da casa / me dê licença pra entrar / Fui em casa buscar meu pandeiro

/ Sou partideiro / não posso faltar.”  Remembering hanging out with Donga and João da Baiana.  Or going out for a night of samba with a girl on your arm and a desire to “show these guys what I’m made of”Sem meu tamborim não fico
Sem minha cabrocha não vou
Quero mostrar a esses caras
Quero mostrar quem eu sou

(from Cheguei no samba)

This is the convivência of samba that Xangô da Mangueira so capably communicates; the sort of false-cognate in English “conviviality” doesn’t really get to it, because its not just about a festive atmosphere but about the intimacy of social relations and familiarity of people, many of whom earn their livelihood at jobs they don’t care much to talk about, because what they really for is this, the nightlife of music and poetry and friendship that characterized these scenes.   Xangô was a retired security guard by this point; Candeia had been a policeman, a job which left him in a wheelchair for life; Nelson Cavaquinho had been in the Policia Militar, apparently not a very good policeman either, prone to losing himself in local bars during his shifts and losing track of the battalion’s horses.  When you hear sambistas recount their lives, they may tell stories about the different jobs they’ve held but you rarely get the sense that they identified with them much – their identity was constituted in the botequim and the roda-de-samba, in the hours of leisure when their creative energy was allowed free play.

Probably the biggest ‘hit’ here is “Quando Vim de Minas,” which became immortalized by Clara Nunes.  Xangô was a native carioca but Clara was, of course, from Minas Gerais so the song is almost an anthem for her.  An unforgettable melody and refrain, and lyrics that  invoke images of the slaves put to work in diamond and gold mines who smuggled out gold dust under their fingernails or in religious statues.  It’s the kind of ambiguity that give samba and other kinds of popular music an edge of critique and subversion.

Xangô da Mangueira returned to performing and recording for a while before he passed away a few years ago at the age of 85.  He recorded a CD that was sold through a website set up by someone in his circle, maybe his family.  And we are lucky enough to have a ‘depoimento’ in the form of an interview-performance (ala MPB Especial format) that was filmed at the Múseo do Estado in the neighborhood of Catete, Rio.  This is a cool place, by the way, if you ever have the chance to visit it; It also has a movie theater showing Brazilian and international independent films.  (One of the things I really like about Rio is the number of independent movie theatres, all of them located conveniently close to Metro stations.  Something a lot of cities in Brazil sorely lack — Recife, hello?)  I’ve linked to the hour-long film HERE.  It’s not exactly riveting stuff but worth a look if you are enjoying this record.  Xangô’s voice is considerably more rouca or hoarse, and he has to teach his backing musicians a few numbers on the spot.   He tells some good stories, about how he gained his nickname, dispelling the appearance of him being some formidable pai-de-santo by relating how he received the name while working in a textile factory and there was a day when a guy was just giving out nicknames to anyone who didn’t have them.  He talks about his first tentative experiences singing samba on the last train leaving the downtown area, where all the sambistas typically met up to commute back to their homes in the periphery or in the morros, when each person would take turns singing.  He talks about sambas roots in improvisation, and in marginality; of working and socializing around Rua de Santana and Praça Onze.   And of advice he got when he first assumed an official position in a samba school:  “There are two things about samba: education and humility,” a value placed on knowing your art form, of a kind of sophisticated worldliness, coupled with the respect for the different roles in a samba school and the people who fill them, the pastores and the musicians, without which carnival would be impossible.  Well it seems Mr. Ferreira had plenty of these things.  He also recalls that when he went to meet the directorate of Mangueira the
first time, they gave him a “test” in improvising, to show if he was up
to their standards.  He then assumed the job of Diretor de Harmonia and
later on became one of their “intérpretes” or lead singers.

I hope you enjoy this addictive record.  I think I listened to it at least four times just while writing this blog post.

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MIRROR 1 //  MIRROR 2 ///

 

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Silvio Caldas – Madrugada, 1935 – 1938 (1968 LP)

Silvio Caldas
MADRUGADA
LP released 1968 on Imperial (IMP 30107)
Recordings, 1935-38

A1         Chão De Estrelas     (1937)
A2         Arrependimento         (1935)
A3         Arranha-Céu         (1937)
A4         Inquietação         (1935)
A5         Madrugada         (1936)
A6         Minha Palhoça         (1935)
B1         Quase Que Eu Disse     (1935)
B2         Pastorinhas         (1937)
B3         Confessando Que Te Adoro (1937)
B4         Professora         (1938)
B5         Choro Por Teu Amor     (1937)
B6         Nunca Mais         (1936)

This post is dedicated to minha sereia no outro lado do mar, Marta.  Veja que tô em baixo tua janela.

Needledrop info: 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 192khz; 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.

I have a recurring dream where I am walking the streets of Santa Teresa alone at night.  It’s late and there’s nobody really around, just a few stray couples in the scattered restaurants and cafes. Sometimes I am following the old trolley rails, the bondê that still runs there, and sometimes just walking freely, but always climbing and descending, climbing and descending the old hills of that neighborhood.  I drink deeply of the bucolic air, a few degrees cooler and more refreshing here than elsewhere in the city, and as I turn a corner I hear a faint trace of a song.  In those hills on an otherwise silent evening it is difficult to gauge the providence of such sounds, how near or how far their source, and this  uncertainty is only amplified in dreams. But the wind carries the notes of a flute from some stray window, balanced above a slowly strummed guitar  and a muted cavaquinho.  The road twists around further and I am greeted by one of Santa Teresa’s breathtaking views, an ocean of city lights undulating below me, crowned with wisps of cloud blown in off the sea and backlit by moonlight.  An then, overpowering all of it, soars the voice of Silvio Caldas, that vozeirão, and the words of Orestes Barbosa like a broom sweeping me away on their Chaõ de Estrelas.

This LP is a late-60s compilation of classic recordings originally on 78 rpm discs.  As was typical for the Imperial label, the jacket contains no useful information whatsoever, but I’ve cobbled together the most likely recording dates of the songs by consulting the Dicionário Cravo Albin da MPB.  Caldas recorded many of these songs multiple times but these all seem to be the original versions, with quite a few of them being the A and B sides of the same 78.

Silvio Caldas is most usually thought of as the godfather of seresta or serenata, a genre of music whose Iberian name is a linguistic cousin of the English “serenade.”  Seresta is indeed music meant to be played late at night beneath the window of would-be lover, sung with voices pregnant with unironic romanticism and copious amounts of vibrato.  As a genre it is also related to the modinhas, lundus, and choros that also play a part in the origins of samba, and all of which are felt in the repertoires of the other big stars of Brazil’s “Golden Era” like Francisco Alves and Orlando Silva.   But although he is immortalized as “O Serresteiro” (incidentally, the name of an LP on the Recife-based Mocombo label that I stupidly passed up buying once…), Silvio was also an ace at singing sambas and marchinhas.  This brief little LP collection represents those styles well here too.  The immortal sambista Noel Rosa contributed the upbeat Pastorinhas, and Ary Barroso wrote the philosophical paean to romantic suffering and equanimity, Inqueitação.  The lyrics to Inquietação are brilliant, but it’s the partnership between Caldas and Orestes Barbosa for which most people remember Silvio the Seresteiro.  Orestes Barbosa was an established poet, writer of crônicas, and critic back in the days when those roles didn’t exclude active participation in popular music.  He wrote a an enormous amount of song lyrics, collaborating with the likes of Noel Rosa, Francisco Alves, Hervé Cordovil, and others.  But it is the stunning Chão de Estrelas with Silvio Caldas that most people associate with his name today, and at the time it even drew compliments from modernist poet Manuel Bandeira.   The song has been rerecorded countless times from artists as diverse as Maysa to Os Mutantes.  It has that rare perfect fusion of melody and words that is instantly recognizable in anyone’s interpretation.  It’s worth noting that the lyrics are truly written as poem, without a single line or stanza repeated throughout.   Unfortunately the only other collaborations from the pair featured on this collection are “Arranha-céu” and “Quase que eu disse.”

The production on these old records from the 30s was incredible as well.  In an interview at SESC during the 1990s, Silvio went on a bit about the luxuries afforded to artists in modern recording studios, and how back in his day they had none of that.  It was a bunch of people crammed into a tiny little room and arranged around a single microphone.  Then it is all the more impressive that the results usually had such a great balance of instruments and voice.  The version of Chão de Estrelas here not only sounds great but has an especially effective execution, with all the instruments taking their lead from Silvio’s vocal and guitar, at times dragging the beat and giving the arrangement an unhurried feel that I haven’t heard on any subsequent recordings (including Silvio’s) that tend to play it with straight meter.   Some of the tunes here have piano as well.  Sometimes it sounds like they had to put the piano in the hallways outside the sound booth, which may well have been the case! On other tunes like Arranha-céu the piano is up front in the mix.  Another arrangement I love comes early in the collection: Arrependimento (Silvio Caldas – Cristovão de Alencar), which is driven along by pandeiro, the only percussion instrument to feature on most of these recordings.  The aural gooseflesh moment comes about halfway through, when Silvio sings “ai, meu deus” before a slight pause in the music after which the full band comes back in with exquisite vocal harmonies to sing the next verse.  These ‘época de ouro’ songs were almost didactic lessons in musical and poetic economy, little essays packed into three minutes or less.

This needledrop was done close to a year ago when my setup was different, and as tempting as it was to start all over with my improved system, I just don’t have time.  Although my current soundcard has a lower noise floor and the capacity for a higher sampling rate, the nature of the source material is such that I think it would be a case of diminishing returns — this is, after all, an LP that used 78s as their source material and is quite noisy to begin with.

 

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