Nelson Cavaquinho – Nelson Cavaquinho (1973)

nelson cover

1973
Odeon
SMOFB 3809

1 Juizo final

(Élcio Soares – Nelson Cavaquinho)

2 Folhas secas

(Guilherme de Brito – Nelson Cavaquinho)

3 Caminhando

(Nourival Bahia – Nelson Cavaquinho)

4 Minha festa

(Guilherme de Brito – Nelson Cavaquinho)

5 Mulher sem alma

(Guilherme de Brito – Nelson Cavaquinho)

6 Vou partir

(Jair Costa – Nelson Cavaquinho)

7 Rei vadio

(Joaquim – Nelson Cavaquinho)

8 A flor e o espinho

(Alcides Caminha – Guilherme de Brito – Nelson Cavaquinho)
• Se eu sorrir (Nelson Cavaquinho-Guilherme de Brito)
• Quando eu me chamar saudade (Nelson Cavaquinho-Guilherme de Brito)
• Pranto de poeta (Nelson Cavaquinho-Guilherme de Brito)

9 É tão triste cair

(Nelson Cavaquinho)

10 Pode sorrir

(Guilherme de Brito – Nelson Cavaquinho)

11 Rugas

(Garcêz – Ary Monteiro – Nelson Silva)

12 O bem e o mal

(Guilherme de Brito – Nelson Cavaquinho)

13 Visita triste

(Anatalicio – Guilherme de Brito – Nelson Cavaquinho)

nelson cavaquinhonelson cavaquinho

Nelson Antônio da Silva, aka Nelson Cavaquinho. October 28, 1911 – February 17, 1986

“My voice, you know, is really raspy. But…. what is the name of that guy over there in North America? Ah, Armstrong is also raspy. There are people who like my voice more than many other singers. I don’t know why, but I think its because I feel it. There are singers that have killed my music. I have feeling when I sing.”

-from an interview with Sergio Cabral on the album’s back cover

Nelson Cavaquinho’s amazing gift for memorable melody meant that there was never any shortage of famous artists wanting to record his sambas. Just a glance at the jacket of this one and you see a quick handful, tunes that are better-known if not immortalized in the sweet tones of Clara Nunes, Elis Regina, Elza Soares, Elizeth Cardoso… Surely Nelson was not talking about THEM when he referred to people “killing” his songs. Pelo amor de deus, he couldn’t have been!

Whoever he might have had in mind, his point is well-taken. There is something about his songs, and maybe just samba in general, that particularly suits it to being sung by grissled old men and women. And I say that with love in my heart, of course. Nelson, who carried Cartola’s coffin at his funeral, did not have the sweetened vintage pipes of his close friend. His is more of a croak, but nonetheless endearing for it.

This 1973 record is a classic. It has made the rounds on the ‘blogosphere’ but I like it too much not to share it here, with my own rip of ‘primera qualidade’. The dynamic Odeon duo of Milton Miranda and Maestro Gaya are in the production seats on this one too. Guilherme de Brito, who had taken up his place as Nélson’s main songwriting partner at this point, sings on the medley of songs on Track 8. It’s also worth noting that Nélson plays guitar on the record, and *not* cavaquinho, which he more or less quit playing fairly early on. Nicknames tend to stick, I guess.

A lot of the highlights of this album have been recorded by other artists as well – Juizo Final, Folhas Secas, Vou Partir are especially well-represented songs in the broader samba discography.

nelson cavaquinho
Nelson Cavaquinho and Cartola, 1963, Carnaval in Rio. Photo by Walter Firmo

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Nelson Sargento – Sonho de um Sambista (1979)

The first album on his own from Nelson Sargento, sambista of the Mangueira samba school (and sometimes Portela) is an excellent addition to any Brazilian music collection!

Faixas:

1. Triângulo Amoroso
2. Falso Moralista
3. Agoniza Mas Não Morre
4. A Noite se Repete
5. Muito Tempo Depois
6. Minha Vez de Sorrir
7. Sonho de um Sambista
8. Infra Estrutura
9. Primavera
10. Por Deus Por Favor
11. Falso Amor Sincero
12. Lei do Cão

Biography
He moved to the Mangueira hill as a child, and there he met Cartola and Nelson Cavaquinho, with whom he learned to play the guitar. The nickname “Sargento” (Sergeant) came up when he was in the Army. He joined Mangueira’s composers group by the hand of Carlos Cachaça, and wrote sambas-enredo (theme-sambas) for the school during the 1950s, such as “Cântico à Natureza” (with Jamelão/Alfredo Português), from 1955. In the 60s, he became a regular at the bar Zicartola, where he met other samba artists and musicians. Nelson became a member of the group A Voz do Morro, recording the emblematic album “Roda de Samba 2”. His greatest hit, “Agoniza Mas Não Morre”, was released in 1978 by Beth Carvalho and turned into an anthem of the samba culture in Rio. Other hits are: “Idioma Esquisito”, “Falso Amor Sincero”, “Vai Dizer a Ela” (with Carlos Marreta), “Nas Asas da Canção” (with Dona Ivone Lara). In the 90s, he made albums in Japan which included previously unreleased Cartola songs. Sargento was the subject of the awarded documentary “Nelson Sargento” (by Estêvão Pantoja). Nelson is also a writer – having published two books -, an actor and a naïf painter.
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from Sacudinben blog

Só o nome do álbum já chama atenção e aguça a curiosidade pra ser ouvido, a expectativa de que tem coisa boa aí nos leva a correr até o aparelho mais próximo na ânsia de confirmar a suspeita. Basta o primeiro acorde. De fato têm coisas muito boas aí.

Primeiro disco solo do sambista, compositor, ator e artísta plástico carioca Nelson Sargento lançado em 1979. O repertório é composto por verdadeiras preciosidades, diamantes em forma de samba. Ao todo são 12 faixas, é desse álbum o clássico “Agoniza, mas não morre” uma espécie de hino de resistência do samba, coisa finíssima. O álbum é excelente de cabo a rabo, outras que são interessantíssimas: “Falso Moralista” que se não me engano foi gravada por Paulinho Da Viola, “A Noite Se Repete” poesia pura, singela ao extremo, “Infra Estrutura” que Nelson diz ter sido o primeiro a usar tal palavra num samba rsrsrsrs e “Falso Amor Sincero” samba realmente genial.

Acho que é isso…

“…Samba, agoniza mas não morre, alguém sempre te socorre, antes do suspiro derradeiro…

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Includes full artwork at 600 dpi and all the rest

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password: vibes

Paulinho da Viola – Foi um rio que passou a minha vida (1970)

PAULINHO DA VIOLA – Foi um rio que passou em minha vida
1970 (EMI 852504 2 )

1. para não contraria você ( paulinho da viola )
2. o meu pecado ( zé keti )
3. estou marcado ( paulinho da viola )
4. lamentação ( mauro duarte )
5. mesmo sem alegria ( paulinho da viola )
6. foi um rio que passou em minha vida ( paulinho da viola )
7. tudo se transformou ( paulinho da viola )
8. nada de novo ( paulinho da viola )
9. jurar com lágrimas ( paulinho da viola )
10. papo furado ( paulinho da viola )
11. não quero vocé assim ( paulinho da viola )
faixas bônus ( cd )
12. sinal fechado ( paulinho da viola )
13. ruas que sonhei ( paulinho da viola )

This is a fabulous record, with everything you would expect and nothing less from the inimitable Paulinho da Viola. Great musicianship, flawless songwriting, Paulinho’s voice (like butter!). It starts with a song, it ends with another song, it has highlights, it has a cool album cover, it is recorded really well, it is mastered by the masterful mastering engineer Pete Mayhew at Abbey Road, ba ba ba ba yadda yadda yadda, you get the idea.

What I REALLY wanted to write about was one of the bonus tracks on here, ‘Sinal Fechado’, released as a single.

I thought about providing a straight translation of it, but it would be hard to do it justice in any language but its own. The lyrics are simple, really, with scant repetition, arranged as a dialogue between two people in alternating lines. The idea is beautifully simple – two former lovers who have not seen each other in ages, running into each other on the street at the same corner. One of them (let’s say, a man – it’s never specified) is about to cross the street, and they have only a moment to talk before the traffic light changes. He apologies for not having more time to converse, “Forgive me, but hurry is the soul of our times…” [literally, ‘business’] The other implores him not to worry about it, she too has to run. When will you give me a call? We need to catch up. Next week I promise, maybe, we’ll see each other. Who knows? It’s been a long time… Yes, it has been a long time.
“I had so many things to say, but I disappeared in the dust of the streets.”
“I too had much something to say, but the memory hid from me.”
Please, call me, I need to
Drink something, quickly.
Next week….
The signal…
I’ll look for you…
It’s going to change, it’s going to open…
Promise, don’t forget, don’t forget…
Goodbye

As it’s presented this way, this is a stirring vignette of romance and estrangement, love and distance. The lyrics play off the halting arpregiated and rather dissonant chords of Paulinho’s guitar that run through the song, punctuated only briefly by syncopated chords more familiar to samba and bossa nova. The string arrangements accent the tension, weaving a second melody that feels like a third voice in the dialog, the unspoken subtext. Extremely powerful, the song manages to feel both stark and warm at the same time. It terms of structure and execution, it’s quite different from Paulinho’s usual styles of writing, creating the suspicion that this is more than just another melancholic love song among many. The entire piece also works as a metonym for the feelings of Brazilians held under the heel of the military dictatorship (which grew considerably more oppressive in the same time Paulinho was writing this song, after the passing of Institutional Act No.5 that decimated political rights and civil liberties). Looked at from that perspective, everything becomes multivalent and laced with double-meaning. This was a technique used by many Brazilian songwriters – Chico Buarque most famously – to evade the censorship to which all popular music at the time was being subjected. A certain grim satisfaction was attained by fooling the authorities, a joke at their expense in a way – and if any questions or doubts were raised by the censorship board, the composer could simply respond, “It’s a love song, that’s all.” Throughout the seventies, songwriters adopted this as a deliberate technique – however I am not sure if that’s what Paulinho da Viola was doing here. In many ways it’s a tired and academic question, to look for the ‘hidden meaning’ of a work of art. Part of the magical quality of so many varieties of song is the refusal to spell things out, to assign hard and fast correspondences to word, tone, context, hard facts… I am not interested in robbing the composer or the listener of that magic. But I think it’s safe to say that many listeners in 1970 heard this song with ears informed by the political and social oppression that was becoming more and more part of daily life. The song was covered a few years later by Chico Buarque on the record “Meus Caros Amigos,” and later by Elis Regina on “Tranvsersal do Tempo” as part of a show that was rife with this shuttling back and forth between the emotions of interpersonal relations and political realities. They are not, after all, discrete phenomenon. People loved and lost and married and had children all the while that people were being “disappeared” in Brazil, in Chile, in Argentina… Just as the unjust war in Iraq has affected so many lives for six years and counting, or the inexcusable massacres in Gaza leave scars on our eyes. People move on and live their lives and find ways to nourish their spirit, attempting dignity no matter how ignoble the situation, putting energy into their families, their work, their art. “Hurry is the soul of our times,” indeed, but songs as perfect as ‘Sinal Fechado’ make you stop, and listen.

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