Ataulfo Alves – A Você – Volume 2 (1936-1962)

A VOCÊ – ATAULFO ALVES VOL. 2
Ataulfo Alves
1996 Revivendo RVCD 112
1 A você – 1937, Carlos Galhardo
(Aldo Cabral, Ataulfo Alves)
2 É um que a gente tem – 1941, Carmen Miranda
(Torres Homem, Ataulfo Alves)
3 No meu sertão – 1937, Augusto Calheiros
(Ataulfo Alves)
4 Ela sempre ela – 1950, Ataulfo Alves
(César Brasil, Ataulfo Alves)
5 Infidelidade – 1948, Déo
(Américo Seixas, Ataulfo Alves)
6 Geme negro – 1946, Ataulfo Alves
(Sinval Silva, Ataulfo Alves)
7 Eu não sou daqui – 1941, Aracy de Almeida
(Ataulfo Alves, Wilson Batista)
8 Sinto-me bem – 1941, Nelson Gonçalves
(Ataulfo Alves)
9 Ironia – 1938, Odete Amaral
(M. Nielsen, Bide, Ataulfo Alves)
10 Reminiscências – 1939, Carlos Galhardo
(Ataulfo Alves)
11 Lá na quebrada do monte – 1941, Ataulfo Alves
(F. Martins, Ataulfo Alves)
12 Vai, mas vai mesmo – 1958, Nora Ney
(Ataulfo Alves)
13 Mania da falecida – 1939, Cyro Monteiro
(Ataulfo Alves, Wilson Batista)
14 Positivamente não – 1940, Aracy de Almeida
(Marino Pinto, Ataulfo Alves)
15 Mal de raiz – 1951, Déo
(Américo Seixas, Ataulfo Alves)
16 Pela Luz Divina – 1945, Ataulfo Alves
(Mário Travassos, Ataulfo Alves)
17 Saudade dela – 1936, Sylvio Caldas
(Ataulfo Alves)
18 Na cadência do samba – 1962, Jorge Veiga
(Paulo Gesta, Ataulfo Alves)
19 Talento não tem idade – 1952, Ataulfo Alves
(Ataulfo Alves)
20 Arrasta o pé moçada – 1951, Carlos Galhardo
(Maria Elisa, Ataulfo Alves)
21 Errei… erramos – 1938, Orlando Silva
(Ataulfo Alves)
 
Recordings originally released on Odeon, Star, Continental, Victor, RCA Victor, and Todamérica labels

 

Meus companheiros do samba
Do samba bem brasileiro
Ouçam o lamento de um triste
Que tem na alma um pandeiro
O samba foi lá em casa
E disse a mim soluçando
Tiraram tudo de belo que eu tinha
Pediu socorro chorando
Onde andarão os valores
Daqueles tempos de outrora
Seus lindos versos de amores
Que até hoje o povo chora
Voltem de novo que é grande a saudade
Talento não tem idade

So all hell has broken loose in Brazil since the last time I made a blog post of Brazilian music.  I’m not even going to touch it today – if you want to read about it English, there are some good sources out there (but mostly mediocre ones).  Otherwise, poor yourself a glass of something – wine, whiskey, milk, the blood of the workers, orange juice, I don’t really care – and prepare to enjoy some great music.

A long time ago, in a galaxy next door, I posted the first of these two Ataulfo Alves collections from the Revivendo label and, naturally, implied strongly that the second one would be soon to come.  If you’ve been following this blog for a while you should know better than to believe such silver-tongued assurances.  Like the fortune teller told me once, it is my destiny to let people down.

One of my favorite blog readers, Valladão, commented on the first installment that he honestly didn’t expect to enjoy the CD too much because of the age of the recordings, but instead found himself loving it.  That struck me as an interesting comment because I suppose it is a natural enough bias no matter where you come from.  Even though as a teenager I spent countless hours borrowing old jazz and blues records from the public library, I think  a few decades would pass before I could appreciate pre-war American jazz and blues beyond a detached, almost academic interest and begin to hear it in a more personal way.  Perhaps in a similar way, the extremely dense and layered bedrock of Brazilian popular music can sometimes goes unacknowledged by music fans, regardless of nationality.  You know it is there under your feet, supporting the present and making possible so many of the things in life that you appreciate, but it remains unexamined, taken for granted.  Well, I was delighted to hear that Valladão was turned on to one of his country’s great samba composers because of an innocuous blog post here.  I also think there is something extremely “modern” or at least forward-thinking about Ataulfo Alves’ compositions that keeps them sounding fresh (although he is definitely not alone in that regard).  He churned out a dazzling variety of material, performing chameleon-feats of tailored stylizations, until it is difficult to comprehend how the same person could have written everything represented in this and other collections.  There are threads that tie them together, but I will leave that to the musicologists to explain in depth while I simply marvel at the work, deliberately dumbfounded.  If I could meet Ataulfo today, or summon his spirit to ask detailed and nuanced questions about his life and career, I would probably just end up asking him: “Are you a wizard?”

This collection features so many different artists who recorded Ataulfo’s compositions that it becomes kind of impossible to properly present the disc without writing a post that would exceed the patience of most readers.  The scant liner notes from Revivendo are kind of disappointing in that regard as well.  Suffice it to say that all of the artists collected here have their own squares in the quilt of Brazil’s “Golden Age” of samba.  I like these Ataulfo collections so much that I’ve included several tracks in various podcasts over the years: in fact, two on this disc (the Carmen Miranda and Jorge Veiga cuts) appeared on my first ever genre-specific podcast from February, dedicated to samba.  I’ll just single out a couple below that tickle my eardrums.

The wonderful Odete Amaral performs the carnival hit “Ironia.”  Odete put in a lot of time on sessions as a backup singer, appearing on many great recordings by Francisco Alves and Mario Reis and others from the Golden Age.  She married Ciro Monteiro, who also appears on this collection more than once.  Thirty years after this recording, incidentally, she would appear on the historic “Fala, Mangueira” album alongside Nelson Cavaquinho, Cartola, and Clementina de Jesus.

Many of Ataulfo’s compositions show a strong influence of choro or chorinho, like Infidelidade sung by Déo.  Is that Pixinguinha and Abel Ferreira I hear playing? Strains of that inspiration are heard on a great deal of the instrumental ornamentation woven throughout this material like filigree.  Listen to the flute flourishes dancing around Aracy de Almeida singing “Eu Não Sou Daquí” and Nelson Gonçalves on “Sinto-me Bem.”  Later on, Déo is featured again and gets downright jazzy as he croons over some punchy blasts of horns that wouldn’t sound out of place on a big band record.  The popularity of Latin dance band styles like mambo is evident throughout this collection as well.

My first exposure to Nora Ney was an early 70s record for which Vinicius de Moraes wrote the liner notes.  At the time, not being familiar with her classic material, I was left indifferent.  The track “Vai, vai mesmo” from 1958 has a wicked kind of edge to it, a deliciously cool “get out of my life” break-up tune.  It was also a carnival hit.  Also, it has a tuba bass line.

I mentioned in the post for the first volume how Ataulfo is that rare specimen for the era who was both a composer widely-recorded by the top singers of the day, and a first-class performer of his own material at the same time with a successful singing career.  He shares that accomplishment with Noel Rosa and some others, but the trajectory of composers like Ismael Silva or Cartola, who came back as performers in another subsequent wave of music, seems to be more common.

Although there are the exact same number (5) by Ataulfo himself on both volumes, for some reason these didn’t jump out as me as much. Or perhaps they just fit in better with the rest of the material?  The influence of jazz once again bleeds all of “Ela, Sempre Ela.”  Then there is a kind of seresta waltz with a country or caipira vibe, “Lá No Quebrada Do Monte.”  I was considering featuring a clip of “Pela Luz Divina” because it’s awesome, but this post is getting rather thick with YouTube clips and I want to chose just one more track.  The aforementioned Jorge Viega puts in a memorable rendition of the much-recorded “Na Cadência Do Samba” from 1962, the “newest” track on this disc.  This is a trademark tune for Ataulfo, and the liner notes state that Viega’s recording might be the first but they’re not really sure, because several versions were released almost simultaneously. You can hear Viega’s version tucked into that podcast I mentioned, so let’s feature an Ataulfo performance from this disc (which happens to have a similar melody in the refrain),  “Talento Não Tem Idade,” where he is backed by Guio de Moraes e Seu Conjunto, kind of a Brazilian Pérez Prado.  This recording features an electric guitar on it, a decade before certain purists would start claiming that electricity was killing samba, as well as a full drum kit swinging the beat with panache.  But there is no doubt the song is 100% samba. The drummer plays a floor-tom fill halfway through the song that bangs out the rhythm where the surdo drum would be, which kicks the song into another level of intensity, slowing down slightly for the ending so that you aren’t left too disappointed that the it’s over.  The notes observe that the recording had no impact on the public via chart success, but I imagine musicians and composers of the upcoming generation playing this one on the Victrola and having their mind’s blown.  The sub-genres of jazz-samba (and samba-jazz) were really still nascent, developing phenomena when this record was made in 1952.  This was guy was so nonchalantly on the cutting edge of his musical times, he was the definition of “cool.”

The disc winds down with a marchinha sung by Carlos Galhardo, “Arraste O Pé, Moçada”, and a grand finale from Orlando Silva in “Errei, Erramos” (1938), arranged by Radamés Gnattali, in which Silva seems to be channeling Carmen Miranda in his phrasing.   Oh, I almost forgot to mention: the Carmen song featured here, “É um que a gente tem” (1941), is one of the songs she recorded to respond to her critics that lambasted her after her return from living and working in the US. They accused her of having become Americanized, her concert appearances were panned, and she quickly turned around and went back to the US to stay, but not before recording a handful of killer sambas fighting back at her attackers.  The most of famous of these had the rather forthright title of “Disseram que eu voltei americanizada” (They said I came back Americanized).  The Odeon sat on this recording here and didn’t release it until the scandal had passed, when they were scraping the vault for any more Carmen material.

Not a bad song here, folks.  Compilations like this one represent the best that the Revivendo label have to offer, so listen up.

 

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Carmen Miranda – Os Carnavais de Carmen (2006)

Ruy Castro apresenta
Os Carnavais de Carmen
CARMEN MIRANDA

01 – Querido Adão
Benedicto Lacerda, Oswaldo Santiago
02 – Nova descoberta
Arlindo Marques Junior, Roberto Roberti
03 – Fala, meu pandeiro
Assis Valente
04 – O que é que você fazia ?
Hervé Cordovil, Noel Rosa
05 – Alô, alô, Carnaval
Hervé Cordovil, Janeiro Ramos
06 – Duvi-d-ó-dó
Benedicto Lacerda, João Barcellos
07 – Cantores de rádio
A. Ribeiro, João de Barro, Lamartine Babo
08 – Beijo bamba
André Filho
09 – Dou-lhe uma
André Filho, Alberto Rilbeiro
10 – Balancê
João de Barro, Alberto Ribeiro
11 – Minha terra tem palmeiras
João de Barro, Alberto Ribeiro
12 – Nem no sétimo dia
Benedicto Lacerda, Herivelto Martins
13 – Camisa listada
Assis Valente
14 – Onde vai você, Maria ?
Benedicto Lacerda, Darcy Oliveira
15 – A pensão da dona Stella
Paulo Barbosa, Oswaldo Santiago
16 – Cuidado com a gaita do Ary
Oswaldo Santiago, Paulo Barbosa

 

Well, dear readers, Carnaval is here again.  I am skipping it this year, since I recently rejoined the Jehovah’s Witnesses after my lapse, and promised Prince that I would spend a few days handing out fliers with him and the guy from The Revolution who always dressed like a surgeon on stage, Dr. Fink.  Maybe he will wear the hospital scrubs and mask while we go out, and it will feel like our own kind of private Carnaval, and I’ll feel less sad.
So this post goes out to all the other people who are missing Carnaval.  Because if you are within spitting distance of Carnaval right now, you should get off the damn internet and go outside.

Carmen Miranda deserves a more verbose entry on this blog than I can give her today.  The story of her life and career is so rich, complex, and fascinating that it often serves today as a didactic lesson on Brazilian history and culture.  But I’m not feeling teacherly this evening.  For now, suffice it to say that she was a tremendously talented woman, and the reigning queen of samba for many years in the 1930s.  She also featured in many musical comedy films of the day – one of which features prominently in the CD presented here – before she left for the US to star in Broadway shows and, of course, Hollywood films.This collection was released as a companion to the biography penned by Ruy Castro.  I haven’t read Castro’s book but I’ve no doubt that it’s excellent.  (His book on bossa nova is great fun, even if I suspect some of it is rather apocryphal, and I was just given a lovely Christmas present of his newest book on the golden age of samba-canção, which I am looking forward to reading.)  Castro gets to take all the credit at the excellent song selection here and on the other three discs that came out at the same time.  I’m not sure why they weren’t put out as a boxset, and in fact I find it rather irritating: one of the four discs has eluded me for several years now.

For the samba aficionados among us, a glance at the track list with the composer credits gives a clear idea of what we’ve signed up for.  Assis Valente, Lamartine Babo, Noel Rosa, João de Barro, Hervé Cordovil, Benedito Lacerda… Not much to complain about there.  These are all Odeon releases from the period after she left the Victor label.  Here’s one of my favorites from this set, Assis Valente’s “Camisa Listrada”

And she has guests to duet with like Silvio Caldas, Barbosa Junior, and – most famously – her sister Aurora.  She sings with her sisters Cecilia and Aurora on “Alô, Alô Carnaval”, a song from the film of the same name which is sadly the only one of her Brazilian-made films to survive the ravages of time.  There is a very famous, iconic scene in it where Carrmen and Aurora sing “Cantores do radio” in matching sparkly suits.  It is up on YouTube but the audio is barely listenable: somewhat disgracefully, it seems as if nobody has done a proper restoration of this film yet.  They did record it as a 78 single, which appears in this collection, so here’s an awesome still image and you can just play the CD and look at it:

Isn’t it great?
Some other musical highlights are Beijo Bamba, Balancê, A pensão da dona Stella, and her aforementioned duet with Silvio Caldas, Onde Você Vai, Maria? – for which I really wanted to post a YouTube clip but – shock and horror – it doesn’t exist on YouTube yet!  I guess you will just have to track down this CD or an approximation of it floating around the interwebs in the form of a random link somewhere…
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Ataulfo Alves – Vida de Minha Vida, Vol. 1 (1933 -1956)

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VIDA DE MINHA VIDA – ATAULFO ALVES VOL. 1
Ataulfo Alves 1993 Revivendo (RVCD 086)

1 Sexta-feira (Almirante, 1933)
2 Saudades do meu barracão  (Floriano Belham, 1935)
3 O coração não envelhece  (Ataulfo Alves e Seu Estado Maior, 1950)
4 Teus olhos  (Aurora Miranda, 1939)

5 Mulher, toma juízo (Gilberto Alves, 1938)
6 Canção do nosso amor  (Déo. 1939)
7 Não irei lhe buscar (Ataulfo Alves e Suas Pastoras, 1944)
8 Fale mal, mas fale de mim  (Aracy de Almeida. 1939)
9 Até breve  (Sylvio Caldas, 1937)
10 Vida de minha vida  (Ataulfo Alves, 1949)
11 Mensageiro da saudade  (Elisete Cardoso, 1950)
12 Eu não sabia  (Anjos do Inferno, 1943)
13 Rainha da beleza  (Orlando Silva, 1937))
14 Mártir no amor  (Ataulfo Alves e Suas Pastores, 1945)
15 Mulher do Seu Oscar  (Odete Amaral, 1940)
16 Mil corações  (Nuno Roland, 1938)
17 Quanta tristeza! (Carlos Galhado, 1937)
18 Quem me deve me paga  (Ataulfo e Suas Pastores, 1956)
19 Errei sim (Dalva de Oliveira, 1950)
20 Pelo amor que eu tenho a ela  (Francisco Alves, 1936)
21 Pai Joaquim d’Angola  (Ataulfo Alves e Suas Pastoras, 1955)

Produced by Leon Barg
Engineering – Ayrton Pisco

Recordings originally made for the following labels: Odeon, RCA Victor, Columbia, Star, and Sínter


 Ataulfo Alves was a badass.  He was one of a rare handfull of samba
composers of his generation who also had a successful career as a
recording artist at the same time, and was amazing in both roles.  He had striking good looks and stage charisma, a marvelous singing voice, and his arrangements of his own tunes are some of the funkiest things you’ll hear from the golden age of samba.  These
two volumes from Revivendo (a label that is to older “Velha Guarda”
music what Chronological or Yazoo are to U.S. music) do a fantastic job
of presenting some of his own recordings alongside hits by huge icons of
the day like Francisco Alves, Silvio Caldas, Aracy de Almeida,
Almirante, Orlando Silva and others.  They all bring tremendous vivacity to his work.  Both Carmen Miranda AND her sister
Aurora are represented.  Another rarity of note is one side of Elizete
Cardoso’s very first 78 rpm recording.  Apparently the release was
recalled “for technical reasons” (no idea what that means), and no
indication is given of what was used for this CD – in spite of the date
being 1950, the sound is much worse than the tracks dating from the 30s.
 Anyway it is cool to have it.

I love the Revivendo label.  The
sound is typically very good, avoiding the pitfalls of trying to
“polish” these old gems with heavy-handed noise reduction and so on.  
 I wish they would hire a decent graphic designer, though.

Ataulfo deserves a long blog post celebrating his life and work.  But it is carnaval right this second and what are you doing at home on the internet anyway?  If you aren’t in a carnivalesque country, at least put on some music and dance around your room.

It is hard to pick a few tunes off this for a short playlist because, seriously, they are all great.  But here are a few, including one performed by the Anjos do Inferno, a group whose name translates into “Hell’s Angels” which is kind of funny since they couldn’t be more temporally or culturally removed from the biker gang or from Roger Corman exploitation flicks.   These are Hells Angels you could invite over for tea.  

 

Carmen Miranda, for Caymmi (1914-2008)

Well, I wanted to make a tribute to Dorival Caymmi, the tower of Brazilian song who passed away yesterday in Rio at 94 years of age. But until I have time to do vinyl rips, I found I had nothing to share that isn’t available over at Loronix, where you will also find a very nice post remembering Caymmi with some wonderful quotations from notables who have been deeply affected and influenced by the man and his music.

Instead I’ve chosen a different approach by posting some music I think he would have liked to listen to along with us, from a woman who was very important to putting his career in the spotlight early on – Carmen Miranda. This is a collection of her recordings from 1930 to 1945, and while it doesn’t feature any of Caymmi’s music it does feature songs from his colleague Ary Barroso as well as titles from Luiz Peixoto, Andre Filho, and Assis Valente. Highly recommended for understanding why Carmen was a huge star in Brazil before Hollywood got hold of her.

CARMEN MIRANDA
Carmen Miranda (1930-1945)
Released on Harlequin Records, 1997

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1 Iaiá, Ioiô 3:10 José Barros
2 Pra Você Gostar de Mim (Taí) 3:20
3 Quero Ver Você Chorar 3:19
4 Dona Balbina 2:57 (José Barros)
5 Cuidado Hein! 2:42 (Andre Filho)
6 Malandro 2:37 (Andre Filho)
7 Moleque Indigesto 3:00 (Lamartine Babo)
8 Um Pouquinho… 3:29
9 Na Batucada da Vida 3:43 (Ary Barroso, Luís Peixoto )
10 Mamãe Não Quer 2:06
11 Elogio da Raça 3:18 (Assis Valente)
12 Pra Quem Sabe Dar Valor 2:58 (Assis Valente)
13 Amor! Amor! 3:03
14 Eu Quero Casar Com Você 2:08 (Andre Filho)
15 Minha Deusa Partiu 2:49 (Ary Barroso)
16 Balance
17 Minha Terra Tem Palmeiras 2:30
18 Boneca de Piche 3:20 (Ary Barroso)
19 Salada Mista 3:15 (Ary Barroso)
20 A Pensão da Dona Stella 2:57 (Oswaldo Santiago, Paulo Barbosa)
21 Cuidado Com a Gaita Do Ary 2:41 (Oswaldo Santiago, Paulo Barbosa)
22 Voltei Pro Morro 2:52
23 Tico-Tico No Fubá 2:36 (Luís Peixoto)

One can immediately feel the difference between this and Harlequin’s earlier release The Brazilian Recordings. The CD kicks off with a type of syncopated pop jazz whose most Brazilian element is the language. This might disappoint some, but it’s good pop jazz. The lion’s share of this CD comes from the period before Carmen joined forces with Bando da Lua, the excellent band who joined her when she went to the US. That is not to say that this album is all pop jazz material. Within a few tracks, it’s firmly in uniquely Brazilian territory. By virtue of it being earlier material, one can hear different instrumentation than when Carmen was performing with Bando da Lua. Some feature jazz band orchestra, some small Brazilian combo of guitar, flute and percussion, others a hybrid of popular jazz band instruments and a Brazilian batucada section. Brazil has long been a font of such syncretism and it’s immensely enjoyable as exemplified in the tracks on this collection. One of the more curious tracks is “Minha deusa partiu.” Carmen cannot be obviously heard in this song but it swings, even sporting a Mills Brothers-like bit of instrument imitation. One wishes for more details about the actual recording session and side artists, but perhaps records don’t exist for this. With the explosion of interest in all Brazilian music from bossa nova to tropicalismo, it’s time to examine the undeserved reputation of Carmen Miranda as a sellout and let the recordings speak for themselves. ~ Megan Lynch, All Music Guide

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