Paulo Diniz – Eu Quero Voltar Pra Bahia (1970)

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QUERO VOLTAR PRA BAHIA
Paulo Diniz   
1970 Odeon MOFB 3664
Reissue 2007 Odeon Classics

1 Piri Piri
(Odibar, Paulo Diniz)   
2 Um chope pra distrair
(Odibar, Paulo Diniz)   
3 Ninfa mulata
(Odibar, Paulo Diniz)   
4 Quero voltar pra Bahia
(Odibar, Paulo Diniz)   
5 Felicidade
(Lupicínio Rodrigues)   
6 Marginal III
(Odibar, Paulo Diniz)   
7 Chutando pedra
(Nenéo)   
8 Chega
(Odibar, Paulo Diniz)   
9 Canseira
(Odibar, Paulo Diniz)   
10 Ponha um arco-íris na sua moringa
(Odibar, Paulo Diniz)   
11 Me leva
(Nanuk)   
12 Sujeito chato
(Pedrinho, Paulo Diniz)   

What a lovely little record this is from Paulo Diniz!  The title song, dedicated to an exiled Caetano Veloso, was a counter-culture anthem at the time, a big hit in the summertime of 1969/70.  And the  twelve tracks here are suitably saturated in an understated incense-and-maconha haze while still remaining completely lucid.  Whether distracting oneself with a cold beer, or frolicking with mulata nymphs washing clothes by a river (his imagery, not mine..), it may be the perfect recreational sunny day album.  Almost.

Vocally and melodically, Diniz borrows a lot from Roberto Carlos and especially Wilson Simonal, even if he couldn’t approach the swagger or emotive range of either.  Songs like “Canseira” could have been written for Simonal. In fact I can image them singing it together as a duet, except with Diniz being the voice for a Muppet version of Neil Diamond singing with Simonal on TV.  He could have been more popular than Mug! 

Which brings me to what may have jumped out at some listeners right away, others perhaps not so much: Diniz’s voice, which on this record is frequently distracting.  Before I say anything further, have a listen to this gorgeous album “E Agora José” over at Jthyme’s blog.  It is less of a rock record, and Diniz doesn’t sing like a Muppet Neil Diamond.  He actually has quite an expressive voice on that album, which only makes his choices on this one more beguiling.  It’s fair to say that the “José” record is a more mature artistic statement overall: for one thing, the title track is a musical interpretation of Carlos Drummond de Andrade’s famous poem with the same title, and he makes it sound completely natural.  Kind of brilliant actually, and in terms of songwriting most of that album is a quantum leap beyond this one.   Maybe the interval of two or three years left Paulo in better command of his voice and his art, or perhaps it’s a reflection of the vision for the record.  I mean just LOOK at the cover of “Eu Quero Voltar Pra Bahia” – trippy, right? I mean, you have to sing it like you mean it if you are going with album art like that.   Pernambuco since the 1970s seems to have a pattern of yielding interesting and important musicians and songwriters who can’t sing worth a shit (see: anyone associated with ‘Mangue Bit’ and its progeny), and I have been trying to pin down just exactly when that weird tendency started.  Maybe it was with Paulo Diniz?  Well at least he got better over time.  The thing is, his over-driven throat blowing works on about half of this material, but on the rest – in particular on some slower tunes like “Chega” and “Canseira” but also some up-tempo ones like football homage “Me leva,”  it is distracting if not outright annoying.  “Um chope pra distrair” strikes a nice balance between his two singing styles.  In fact this tune is one Diniz’s most famous compositions and rightly so.    Muppet-voice aside, the tunes on this record (all of them original except an odd
interpretation of a Lupicínio Rodrigues number) are well put together, with good lyrics, and
the arrangements and musicianship are top notch.  Some nice harpsichord too, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Ronnie Von – A Misteriosa Luta Do Reino de Parasempre Contra O Império de Nuncamais (1969)

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Ronnie Von
“A Misteriosa Luta Do Reino de Parasempre Contra O Império de Nuncamais”
Original release Polydor (Brasil) LPNG 44.037, 1969
This reissue 2006 Discos Mariposa, Argentina

1- De como meu herói Flash Gordon irá levar-me de volta a Alfa do Centauro, meu verdadeiro lar
2- Dindí
3- Pare de sonhar com estrelas distantes
4- Onde foi “Morning Girl”
5- My cherie amour
6- Atlântida “Atlantis”
7- Por quem sonha Ana Maria?
8- Mares de areia
9- Regina e o mar
10- Foi bom
11- Rose Ann
12- Comecei uma brincadeira “I started a joke”

BONUS TRACKS
13. Meu Bem
14. O Pequeno Príncipe
15. Meu Mundo Parou
16. Paraíso

———

Here’s some more  pós-jovem guarda psychedelia  (or is it psychejovem guardelia-iê-iê?)  from former teen-idol and past and present TV star and show host Ronnie
Von!  Pretty heady stuff for such a heart-throb: the title translates as “The Mysterious Struggle of the Kingdom of Forever Against the Empire of Nevermore.” And this record was made before that North American whats-her-name made absurdly long and silly album titles trendy!   Of his three psych albums from the late 60s-early-70s, this only narrowly loses out to the third one as my favorite.  Mostly because it has one too many ‘cover songs’ of contemporary hits on it.  In particular, the rather odd choice of My Cherie Amor just doesn’t fit.  A Brazilian-Portuguese version of Donovan’s “Atantlis” is a campy highlight though, and his version of Jobim’s “Dindi” is just plain great.  I like his version of The Bee
Gee’s “I Started A Joke” even  if I prefer the original.  It’s got a very fuzzy guitar and everyone is accenting the down stroke (even the piano player!), giving the tune an unexpected headiness (or is it heaviness?) and it makes  a good closer for the album.  (Everything after that track consists of bonus cuts).

This record is best when it’s at its most psychedelic, which also happens to include most of the tunes co-written by Ronnie.  The opening cut is great, so is “Pare de
sonhar com as estrelas distantes”, features a sound collage bridge very much inspired by the Fab Four.  Von first got his start in music by way of a friendship with a group called The Brazilian Beatles and appeared on their TV show in 1965 singing “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” so it is only natural that his sound followed the instincts of their idols.  Although this kind of stuff was vociforously attacted by the reactionaries of the day as being an agent of imperialism and a “mass culture” threat, Von’s music isn’t nearly as derivative as all that.  He doesn’t attempt to ape Beatle-esque harmonies, and the approach to arrangements has its fair share of blue-eyed soul (or is it green-eyed soul?) and is just as inspired by contemporaneous Roberto Carlos.  In other words, he might have been heavily inspired by The Beatles – along with, um, pretty much everyone else recording pop music in 1969 – but there was far more derivative stuff being produced by pop and psych-pop contemporaries in the anglophone world.  There is quite a bit of originality here, and if I were to complain it would be that the record doesn’t have enough of Von’s own compositions.  He fixes that on his next record, however.

The track “Rose Ann” manages to squeeze English, Portuguese, and French into the same tune, briefly breaking down into an accordion-driven bit of chanson.  There’s some very nice vibraphone on this too.    Ronnie was really gifted at doing spoken parts in between his sung vocals.  I would like to hear him read an entire audio-book.  What great works of literature should we suggest to his agent?  Please leave your suggests in the comment suggestion.  Meanwhile, “You’re love will be, like summer to me.”

One of favorite tunes on the album is “Regina e o Mar,” which has a perfect blend of a groovy bass line and rhythm guitar, loose drums, creative string arrangements, Ronnie’s soulful vocal, and just the right amount of tape delay.  This tune is followed by an unexpected and equally groovy tune penned by Benedito da Paula, which adds horns to the previous winning combination.  No tape delay, though.  Oh well, it’s good to be sparing with it anyway.

Tagged at the end are some bonus tracks, including yet another cover (The Beatles’ “Girl”), which if the liner notes here are correct he managed to record without crediting them,  and Ronnie’s signature hit tune, “O Pequeno Principe”.  “Girl” / “Meu Bem” has a pretty wicked tremolo-surf guitar part.

This release on Mariposa Records (Argentina) is a needle-drop, and not a particularly good one, but it gets the job done.  Since my birthday is coming up soon, feel free to send me original vinyl copies as a gift.  Thanks!

Oh and I almost forgot – the bilingual booklet is a wonderful example of what happens when you use Google Translate to convert Brazilian Portuguese to English.  Fun!!

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Marcos Valle – Vento Sul (1972) with O Terço

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“Vento Sul”
Marcos Valle
with O Terço

Released 1972 on Odeon SMOFB 3725
Reissued 2011 in the boxset Marcos valle Tudo

1 Revolução orgânica
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
2 Malena
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
3 Pista 02
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
4 Vôo cego
(Cláudio Guimarães)
5 Bôdas de sangue
(Marcos Valle)
6 Democústico
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
7 Vento Sul
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
8 Rosto barbado
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
9 Mi hermoza
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
10 Paisagem de Mariana
(Frederyko)
11 Deixa o mundo e o sol entrar
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)BONUS TRACK
12. O beato

Marcos Valle – vocals, piano
Ian Guest- orchestration and arrangements on `Bodas de sangue`
Hugo Bellard – orchestration and arrangements on `Deixa o mundo e o sol entrar`

O Terço:
Sérgio Hinds – electric guitar and coro
Vinícius Cantuária – drums, second vocal on ‘Revolução orgânica’, coro
César das Mercês – bass, and coro

Cláudio Guimarães – electric guitar
Fredera – electric guitar on ‘Pasagem de Mariana’
Robertinho Silva – drums, percussion
Paulo Guimarães – flute

Produced by Milton Miranda
Musical director – Lindolfo Gaya

———————-

“Vento Sul, from 1972, is an album very different from the earlier records – I experienced a lot in terms of rhythms, harmonies, melodies, arrangements and instrumentation. O Terço, one of the best bands of the era, accompanied me in all this and we recorded it all together. I also counted on the collaboration of Fredera, Robertinho Silva and the talented twins Cláudio and Paulo Guimarães (they were also part of the band in our shows). The bonus track here is a verion I did for Odeon of “O beato”, a song that was part of the soundtrack for the novela ‘Selva de Pedre.’

I consider this album a very experimental one: it was practically created in a modest fisherman’s house that we rented in Búzios, in a communitarian spirit. It marked my ‘hippie’ era…
– Marcos Valle, liner note / blurb

So here were are (finally) with the next installment as the Brothers Valle continue their trend of changing the approach to songwriting and recording and continued to make ingenious decisions regarding their musicians and production choices. This album features the band O Terço as part of the backing band, which unfortunately for Brazilians of a certain age will be associated with wanky overblown progressive rock from the mid-70s. But in their early days they were much more psychedelic, and I make no apologies for my own soft spot for early 70s prog. And on this album O Terço sounds more like the earliest O Terço than O Terço actually did by 1972 — the dreamy, acoustic haze from when Jorge Amiden was in the band (see the ‘Karma’ album also posted here). Also in the musician credits are stalwarts like Robertinho on the drums and Paulo Guimarães on flute

The marriage is a happy one. The album was recorded in Búzios, which was practically a hippie commune that received famous visitors like Joplin and Mick Jagger in the years leading up to this album, before it blew up into an overpriced tourist trap. It is the first album since 1963’s “Samba Demais” to feature songs that were not written by at least one of the Valle brothers. The collective creative process on this album is evident by how smoothly tunes like “Vôo cego” by Cláudio Guimarães and “Paisagem de Mariana” (Frederyko) fit in with the Valle’s tunes. In fact “Vôo cego” (or ‘Blind Flight’ in English) is one of my favorite songs on the album. It is followed by a beautiful instrumental tunes, ‘Bodas de sangue’, that was arranged by Ian Guest, someone I don’t know much about other than the fact that he also has album credits on Donato’s “Quem é quem” and on some Milton Banana Trio albums; and that, contrary to his very English-sounding name, he was in fact Brazilian and an important figure in jazz circles and taught quite a few students a music professor. The song is followed up by the quirky, somewhat experimental, somewhat silly ‘Democústico’, where you’ll hear an agogô played in an afoxê rhythm balanced against squiggly wah-wah guitar lines.

The lysergic textures of this record can hypnotize the unwary, so do not listen to this while operating heavy machinery. The title song “Vento sul” has an open, meandering, incompleteness to it that is equally charming and beguiling. Reflective lyrics dealing with the identity politics of alternative lifestyles in the tune ‘Rosto barbado’ give way to playfully schizoid moodshifts in ‘Mi hermoza’, which alternates between open acoustic strumming and big aural spaces to a chugging midsection that is about as hard-rocking as the Valles are likely to get. Sounds as much or more like an O Terço song than the tunes here actually written by O Terço members, in fact. It is followed by “Paisagem de Mariana”, a song that fits flows nicely in its surroundings and which bears a pretty heavy stylistic similarity to any number of Milton Nascimento/Ronaldo Bastos/Fernando Brandt compositions between 1970 – 72. “Deixa o mundo e o sol entrar” is a another gorgeous tune anchored in acoustic guitars with careful piano, occasional drums, and a meandering melody line that is as warm as the song’s title. It is a perfect finale for this masterpiece-in-miniature. For this reissue, I actually wish they had included a minute of blank audio / silence at the end in which to collect our wits. Not that “O beato” doesn’t fit with the rest of this — oddly enough, for a telenovela track, it is as equally hazy and tripped out as anything else on this disc. But the original album has a kind of poetic closure to it with “Deixa o mundo” that gets a bit lost when followed immediately by another song.

Since it is sandwiched in Valle’s discography between two giant albums, ‘Garra’ and ‘Previsão do Tempo’, it seems like `Vento Sul` may have gotten overlooked to some degree. At least one of my Brazilian friends who is old enough to have been alive when this album was released (unlike myself), and who is also more of an O Terço fan that I am, was completely unaware of it until I passed along this reissue to him. And as much as I personally love this album, it lacks any obvious hit singles or even anything that jumps out as particularly “catchy”, which could turn off listeners who are particularly enamored with the Valle Brothers’ pop sensibilities. Even though it has ‘big names’ attached to it, this album FEELS obscure, with repeated listenings never quite diminishing the sense that we are privy to some aural hidden treasure and secret between friends. These are qualities that should put it high up on the list of favorites for anyone into ‘cult’ favorite psychedelic Brazilian music from the late 60s and 70s. Marcos, in his blurb (too short to be called liner notes, really) seems to insinuate that this album is kind of an exception or even diversion in his discography, an experimental side-trip. It may be that, but it is also an exploration and perhaps a deepening of some of the aural territory he had already been traversing in the previous two albums. The next album, `Previsão do Tempo’, marks a return to more structured compositions, soul and funk influences, and songs that are easier to sing along to when you play them loudly. But don’t shrug off this album – it deserves a careful listen, with or without additional chemical enhancement.

Back cover liner notes, free translation (as in loose, as well as the fact that I don’t charge for this…)

I’m in the middle of the album. Five songs are already recorded. I’m certain that they are going to be some of the best things I’ve ever done. As good or better than “Samba Demais” (my first album) or “Viola Enluarda.”

The songs on this album were made with much care and tranquility, and I sincerely think that it’s been a long, long time since I’ve done anything that pleases me so much. I’ll say the same for the lyrics by Paulo Sérgio. We’re giving you the full picture of what we’ve recently been sketching out in our music. Nothing rushed, no worries about commercialism.

Paulo Sérgio came up with the idea to form a group. We formed one. It was a wonderful idea.

Sérgio, VInicius, Cézar, Frederico, Paulo e Cláudio (twins), Robertinho e Maurício Maestro. Musicians and people of the highest caliber.

We are working like eight arrangers. Every day we get together to hang out and talk and the ideas for each song keep coming. And the result couldn’t be better, I think; we all think so.

The album cover is from Juarez Macho, logically. Renato is responsible for the production and I can say that he also is part of the group, because he’s collaborating like a motherfucker with us on this album.

We are lucky to have the recording technicians are Zilmar and Nivaldo. Milton Miranda is the Director of Production, and is also one of the most sensational people I’ve ever known.

It’s all there.

– Marcos

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Marcos Valle – Garra (1971)

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GARRA
Marcos Valle
1971 on Odeon (MOFB 3683)

1 Jesus meu Rei
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
2 Com mais de 30
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
3 Garra
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
4 Black is beautiful
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
5 Ao amigo Tom
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Osmar Milito, Marcos Valle)
6 Paz e futebol
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
7 Que bandeira
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Máriozinho Rocha, Marcos Valle)
8 Wanda Vidal
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
9 Minha voz virá do sol da América
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
10 Vinte e seis anos de vida normal
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
11 O cafona
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)

———-
bonus tracks 2011

12. Com mais de 30 (versao instrumental)
13. Garra (versao instrumental em sol)
14. Black is beautiful (alternate version instrumental)
15. Que bandeira (alternate version instrumental)
16. Que bandeira (instrumental mix)
17. Wanda Vida (instrumental mix)
Marcos Valle – vocals and piano
Dom Salvador – piano and organ
Marizinha – vocal on Black is Beautiful
Geraldo Vaspar – acoustic guitar, orchestrations on 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8
Orlando Silveira – orchestrations 9, 10
Cesar Camargo mariano – orchestration on 6

Produced by Milton Miranda
Musical direction by Lindolfo Gaya
Assisten producer – Mariozinho Rocha

2011 reissue supervised by Charles Gavin
Reamstered by Ricardo Garcia at Magic Master, RJ

Another classic early 70s album from Marcos Valle, But, this album took a little while to grow on me. Perhaps because, when I’m obsessively-compulsively collecting, consuming, and divulging music, I am busy worshiping the Dark One, Satanáis, Beelzebub, Lucifer, or Jimmy Witherspoon – I am a little put off by the opening track on this one, ‘Jesus Meu Rei.’ On the other hand, there is an apocryphal and even millenarian streak to a lot of the content on this album. Satan may have granted me the power to acquire gluttunous amounts of music over the years, but far be if from me to question The Brothers Valle if their faith is strong. It’s a gorgeous baroque pop tune with whispy harpsichord and strummy acoustic guitar and very, um, “churchy” organ from none other than Dom Salvador. Then tuning into the lyrics and I am surprised, in spite of knowing that I shouldn’t be, of Paulo Sérgios genius. In its hymnal piety the song also calls on Jesus to look around at how the world has changed, and ambiguous lines that can either be a lament of world gone down the wrong path, or perhaps a plea to some type of moral relativity adn realism (“nada e ninguem / sabe o que é mal / e o que é bem / Jesus meu rei / fazendo lei / Passa seu tempo real”). A chorus of voices that’s built since the first verse swells into the transcendent bridge and the softly provocative lines:

De repente, achou a verdade / Informou ao seu ministério / Que o mistério estava na vida / Vida lá fora / Fora dali

Era só olhar para o mundo / Ver a gente amando na grama / E as crianças pelo jardim Escorrendo pra mãe, pro pai // Pro paísFor the non-Lusophile, I regret to inform you that are missing out on quite a bit here and subtle wordplay that translation just can’t get at. Listen to how well the lyrics, vocals, and arrangments hang together and reinforce each other.

When I first played this album I didn’t quite know what to thing of it. But since then I’ve decided this may be the “sleeper” in the whole batch of Marcos’s 1970s output, a near perfect album. In his liner notes Marcos admits to his inability to classify these songs: “sambas-pop-bossa-jazz”, he calls them, but there is definitely some pós-Tropicália rock here too.

“Com mais de trinta” begins by playing with the trendy phrase of the late 60s and early 70s, “Never trust anyone over 30,” after which Paulo gives us a hold LOT of reasons not to trust the number 30. Then seemingly leaving the whole idea of 30 in the dust as the narrator contemplates the things in life he dreams about but never does, his sensation of dislocation in time and space, “Passo a passo, faço mais um traço”.. This is deceptively simple, unadorned lyricism. Bereft of the layered complexity of Chico Buarque’s genius work, or unburdened by the density of Caetano Veloso’s beguiling forays into solipsism, Paulo Sérgio seems to have had a way of saying speaking in a very simple way about very complex ideas. So simply and directly that might leave you utterly unstruck and unconcinved when first encountered. There is a clean symetrical beauty to the words, Marcos’ vocal delivery, and the production and arrangements. When the truth of this hit me, the parts of this album that had seemed like a bit of a confused mess became utterly uncluttered. Paulo had a way of setting words to Marcos’ musical ideas that makes them one of the classic telekinetic songwriting teams. And Paulo had a way of churning out pointed, sardonic, and nuanced critiques of all manner of societal patterns, preconceptions, of issues contemporary and contextual and quasi-eternal, without ever succumbing to bitterness or hipster irony, holding on to his own brand of humanist optimism.

The title track is just plain weird, with Marcos’s out-of-breath ‘ha ha’ sounding completely bizarre in one of his brother’s stranger lyrics concoctions of urban dislocation, ambition, alienation. Musically it’s infectiously punchy in a soft painted-velvet arrangement of drums grooving in the left channel, utterly unhurried and laid-back; Dom Salvador laying down percussive bursts of organ and swells of Hammond vibrato at the end of certain measures; breaks at the ends of the chorus where suddenly flutes and violins sneak their way. Then a verse of Marcos singing scatlike nonsense syllables. Once again, sonically it is a pastiche of elements that probably shouldn’t be thrown together and yet couldn’t sound more natural (and, once again, Paulo Sérgio manages a lyrical mimesis). The alternate version here, at a faster tempo and in different key, sheds light on the creative process and makes me even more impressed with the final version. Its not that the two are terribly different in structure or execution, but the album take is much more “in the pocket.”

The album continues to challenge the listener, to greater or lesser success or failure. “Black Is Beautiful” almost feels like they are (as the British would say) ‘having a go’ at the listener with a playful send-up of Afrocentric pride; then I think to myself, no, they are totally sincere, just hopelessly clumsy and even naive about it. From a sociohistorical context, in Brazil or in the US where the phrase “Black is beautiful” was born, there is so much that is just WRONG with this tune that I wouldn’t know where to start. I still can’t honestly say what they were thinking.. This album has plenty of The Brother’s Valle blue-eyed soul on it, but this song has enough exaggerated torch-song drama to it that I just can’t take it too seriously But it’s also too damn intriguing for me to leave it at face value, and its kind of, well, a bit hilarious:

“Hoje cedo na Rua do Ouvidor // Early today on Ouvidor Street
Quantos louras horríveis eu vi // I saw so many horrible blondes
Eu quero uma dama de cor // I want a lady of color
Uma deusa do Congo ou daqui // A goddess from the Congo or from here
(Que se integre no meu sangue europeu) // To blend with my European blood

Black is beautiful (2x)
Black beauty is so peaceful
I wanna a black
So beautiful”

If this is sardonic, then it may be complex commentary on the foundational myths of Brazilian mestizagem (race-making, and often coerced in the master-slave relationship) as the roots of an alleged “racial democracy” that has never existed in reality. Or, perhaps its just completely silly drivel from two blond-haired blue-eyed surfista beach bums. In which case, its still hard to be mad at these guys. It’s just too damn honest and awkward, and the broken English (is this intentional? These guys spent two years living in the States…) only adds to the sense that somebody is mocking somebody else about…something.

Amigo Tom… At this time Tom Jobim had spent quite a few years in the US recording with the likes of Frank Sinatra and producer Creed Taylor (for his CPI label). This song is a simple `welcome home’, things weren’t the same without you, please don’t leave again, yes things have changed here but it will all be okay in the end.. The melody line and chordal structure is a worthy homage to the master of bossa nova.

“Paz e futebol” takes up the trope of Brazilian culture a culmination of tropical laziness and a Lusitanian aversion towards work, a critique strongly linked to Anglo-Saxon prejudices against Brazil but just as equally bought into by Brazil’s upper class who looks to Europe (or the US) as their model for “civilzation”. This is a gentle rebuttle without an exclamation point to punctuate its rancor. “Que bandeira” is probably just a song of thwarted, spurned love and the misunderstandings in changing relationships. Or maybe it’s a coded critique of the military dictatorship that the censor`s missed because they thought Marcos and Paulo were harmless pothead surfers at this point.. “Wanda Vidal” is lyrically like the opening of some unwritten mystery novel, but was actually on the soundtrack to a telenovela (Os Ossos do Barão) and musically driven by heavily strummed acoustic guitar, bossa-rock drums, chunks of organ chords and piano, congas.. Apparently this song has some cult status in Europe and the US as Madlib apparently did a remix of it. The following tune “Minha voz vira do sol de América” is, in spite of its possibly megalomaniac title, an understated instrumental based around Marcos or Dom Salvador’s piano and Veraldo Gaspar’s lush arrangement, with a stray female vocal drifting in and out (uncredited, but maybe his wife Ana again?). “Vinte e seis anos de vida normal” – this song couldn’t possibly have a cooler introduction of vocal harmonies, strings, followed by strong propulsive drums, erogenous arrangements, and more of Paulo’s lyrical talent in narrating another disaffected, alienated young person who feels they’ve spent their life reading newspapers and watching TV, wishing he’d done things he hadn’t, regretting things he had, until he comes across an announcement in the paper that mentions that he has died, um, reading the newspaper, followed by a stanza of millenarian hyperbole too good to spoil.

“Cafona” (translated roughly as in bad taste, tacky, ‘brega’ or whatever) is either utter nonsense or deep and profound. I’m not sure. But its definitely got one of the deepest grooves around on this disc and Marcos vocals couldn’t be more, well, Marcos. And it was the lead track for a another telenovela sountrack, a show with the same name of “Cafona.” It’s a perfect album closer, and again a perfect marriage of voice-lyric-instrumentation-arrangement.

The instrumental bonus tracks all make for great listening. And sense we mentioned Madlib in this post — is he actually hoping for more remixes and samples? One thing that hasn’t been mentioned in these posts is that, in a big way, Marcos Valle is more valorized outside Brazil than within it, where is almost forgotten except for his bigger hits. In a lot ways he was either ahead of his time, or just ‘out of time’, existing in some weird alternate musical universe. I am aware that these write-ups have perhaps begun leaning towards the breathless prose of idyllic idol praise but, damnit, this album really IS probably a masterpiece. It is nothing if not masterful, and it makes it all sound so easy – as if blending sun-dappled soul music with post-bossa pop, mild psychedelia (as in, about five or six hours into a psychedelic experience..), and rock attitude is just something they guys could do with a shrug or the casual nonchalance displayed in the back cover photos.


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Marcos Valle – Marcos Valle (1970) with Som Imaginário

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MARCOS VALLE

Marcos Valle with Som Imaginário
Released 1970 (Odeon MOFB 3596)
Reissued 2011 in the box Marcos Valle Tudo

1 Quarentão simpático
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
2 Ele e ela
(Marcos Valle)
3 Dez leis [Is that law]
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
4 Pigmalião
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Novelli, Marcos Valle)
5 Que eu canse e descanse
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
6 Esperando o Messias
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
7 Freio aerodinâmico
(Marcos Valle)
8 Os grilos
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
9 Suíte imaginária: Canção – Corrente – Toada – Dança
(Marcos Valle)
———-
bonus tracks

10. Esperando o Messias (instrumental version)
11. Freio aerodinamico (instrumental version)
12. Berenice (B-side)

Marcos Valle – vocal, piano

Leonardo Bruno – arrangements on 3, 7, 11
Orlando Silveira – arrangements on 2, 4, 5
Ângela Valle – vocals on Freio aeorodinâmico and Ele e ela
Noveli – bass
Nelson Ângelo – acoustic guitar
Som Imaginário:
Wagner Tiso – keyboards
Tavito – electric guitar
Luiz Alves – bass
Robertinho Silva – drums
Produced by Milton Miranda
Musica director – Lyrio Panicalli

———————————-

First let me confess: When I first took this box set home, this is the first album I took out of the shrink-rap and put on the stereo. It had been a long time since I’d heard it and everything about it just calls out to you to play it again once you’ve known its charms — including the classic album cover (and back cover, contracapa)

This album is the kind the critics call a “career milestone”, I think. It marks in no uncertain terms the Brothers Valle’s turn to resplendent weirdness and a series of masterpieces or near-masterpieces for the first half of the 70s. The shift isn’t objectively all that dramatic from 1969’s “Mustangue cor de sangue”, but the album is considerably more confident and focused. It kicks off with the powerful “Quarentão Simpático”. It sports a relaxed psychedelic pop groove and Paulo Sérgio Valle really showing his lyrical genius with a portrait of an outwardly-brusque but big-hearted friendly barstool dweller that reminds him of his father

“Quarentão, rei do palavrão
Não parece não
Mas é tido como um tipo que não faz mal não
Que só beija a mão
Não quer confusão
Tão simpático, me lembra muito bem meu pai

Fez do seu mundo o fundo de um bar
Sempre o mesmo bar
Não viu que a vida foi
E a zinha à toa pode ser a mãe ou a sua irmã….”

Apparently the evocative personage sketched in this song ended up as the theme music for a character in the telenovela Fogo Sobre Terra for the character Diogo Fonseca (played by Jardel Filho). It is confusing in Marcos’s brief notes introducing the album – he makes it seem as if the song was written with the telenovela in mind but my brief research (and I *do* mean brief) shows that the novela actually ran from 1974 to 75. The song also isn’t listed anywhere in the soundtrack that I found in the Wiki article, and that’s the extent of my research – as important as the telenovela phenom was to the decade of the 1970s (and its continued importance), they just generally bore me to tears and I almost compulsively avoid knowing anything about them. It’s a character flaw of mine.

The album continues with instrumental / scat-sung “Ele e ela” which has some some awkward sounds of a guy and gal smooching and kissing and giggling, made even more awkward when I looked at the album jacket and saw that the female voice is HIS SISTER, and now I can’t really listen to the song without feeling kind of creepy.

This is followed by the groove gospel of “Deis leis”, which is lyrically either broken English aaaamixed with Portuguese or a surreal pastiche, either way the song is pretty bad-ass. The arrangements by Leonardo Bruno (heavy strings and brass in the left channel, and weird crowd-sounds that remind me of people on a roller coaster) do a lot to take the tune “to another level.” “Pigmalião 70” is swinging bossa pop; I don’t know what the deal is about this tune but it’s another televnovela tune, this time from a show in 1970 with the same name, and a song by this name appeared on the soundtrack twice, once performed by Erlon Chaves (probably instrumental) and again credited to a group called “Umas e outras”. Before my time, and I haven’t yet started collecting LPs from telenovelas (which could easily become another obsession and my doctor has advised me to avoid it, if possible). “Que eu canse e descanse” is a lush ballad that would have fit nicely anywhere on “A viola enluarda” and also fits very nicely here as a respite from the dayglo-and-velvet trippiness that resumes in short order with “Esperando o Messias” (Waiting for The Messiah), more foot-tapping pop with brilliant lyrics. I am mildly surprised that this song wasn’t questioned by the censors of the time, whose unlimited reach by 1970 were forcing all kinds of revisions by songwriters or just banning songs altogether – because the song is a powerful critique of the Brazilian middle-class, again couched in a character portrait of a young married couple consumed by work, TV, consumerism, rational planning and with no time for love, sex or the finer things in live. Paulo Sérgio does not waste a word in his parsimony and, like all his word, there is a profound empathy in all of it, so perhaps even a paranoid censor couldn’t find an objection. It’s also breathlessly groovy and the instrumental version in the bonus tracks highlights this fact.

“Feio aerodinamico” is another instrumental with some wordless vocalizations from Ana Maria Valle, an earlier version of which was included on the previous disc in the boxset. Catchy and memorable and engrossing (and apparently a Euro-disco hit, according to Marcos “years later”). “Os grilos” belongs in a soundtrack somewhere, maybe a Brazilian equivalent of a Quenton Tarantino film, in some scene involving beach-bum hedonism and drug deals and possibly violent scenes that would scar the song forever like he did with Stealers Wheel “Stuck In The Middle With You”…. The song first appeared on the USA album “Samba 68” where it had completely different lyrics about his wife sneaking out through a window at night for a date when they were youngsters, whereas here it becomes a bohemian love song with the protagonist courting his lover with offers of a life of leisure and ‘no stress.’ Another ‘nota 10’ on the production, with an infectious groove topped by vocals dripping with tape delay to add a lysergic edge to it all.

Up until this point of the album, Marcos has had help in the backing band fro Som Imaginário, whose name will be familiar to any collector of Brazilian psych and prog rock, but who have thus far kept themselves in more of a ‘supporting’ role, and proving themselves as equally adept at executing jazz-bossa and pop arrangements. (Not a colossal shock, actually – One listen to the song “Supergod” from their first album should demonstrate why they were perhaps the ultimate choice as accompaniment for this album). This restraint changes, but only a little, with the album’s closer, the 9-minute “Suite Imaginária” which is straight-up orchestral progressive-pop/rock with a strong presence of Wagner Tiso on the piano, split up into four or five “movements.” It’s a pretty radical move for the blond-haired blue-eyed heart-throb Marcos Valle to end his album with this abstract baroque beauty, with harpsichord and organ pounding out some slow modal chord changes (with the harpsichord adding blues flourishes) alongside a chorus of melancholic wordless melodies, a “flute break” with harpsichord and percussion, followed by dreamy piano arpeggios. If this tune tickles your musical erogenous zones, just wait until we get to 1972’s “Vento Sul”, recorded with the band O Terço, which is saturated with the cosmic haze of early 70s psychedelic art-rock.

This is one of the only that I can clearly recall hearing the original vinyl. Although I was rather full of beer when I heard it, I have to say I recall the drums being LOUDER on some tracks. Or maybe I just want to hear them mixed louder. Or maybe everything seems louder after a few beers. But it’s Robertinho Silva for fuch’s sake. Bad-ass drummer and ubiquitous session player during the 70s. So without a copy on wax I can’t make a fair comparison but it wouldn’t be unusual for a modern mastering job to ‘soften the edges’ off an album like this. Even so, I find the mastering quite agreeable, not too loud, and keeping sufficient dynamics and detail to make me happy. Good headphone listening too.

It’s nice to hear the instrumental tracks before the vocal overdubs, and (if anyone still needs any proof) show clearly that there is a lot of tightness and deliberateness to what comes off on first listen as a rather spontaneous or even sprawling album. “Berenice” is pretty little tune released as a single. A lot of Marcos Valle from this period makes me wonder if Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys had any interaction with Marcos during his stay of 2 years in the USA. It seems like Van Dyke Parks would have dug the arrangements on these tunes, as well as obviously appreciating the eternal summer-breeziness of all of Marcos’ music. Any Beach Boys fanatics want to chime in on this question?

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