Candeia – Candeia (1970)

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Candeia (1970)
1970 Equipe (EQ-865)

Reissued (poorly) in 2011, Discobertas (DB-079)

1 Samba da antiga
(Candeia)
2 Sorriso antigo
(Aldecy, Candeia)
3 Viver
(Candeia)
4 O pagode
(Candeia)
5 Prece ao sol
(Candeia)
6 A volta
(Candeia)
7 Paixão segundo eu
(Candeia)
8 Dia de graça
(Candeia)
9 Outro recado
(Otto Enrique Trepte, Candeia)
10 Chorei, chorei
(Candeia)
11 Coisas banais
(Candeia, Paulinho da Viola)
12 Ilusão perdida
(Otto Enrique Trepte, Candeia)

*note: Otto Enrique Trepte is otherwise-known as Casquinha de Portela

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A classic, wonderful, and rare album from Candeia that has unfortunately been nearly ruined by that awful, truly godawful sound of the Discobertas record label. They should be ashamed of themselves. On one hand, one could say that we should just be thankful that this music is being reissued; in fact, the existence of this reissue probably means that nobody else will bother reissuing this material again for another decade or longer — meaning that the end result is that we are stuck with this subpar representation. I know I have said this before about Discobertas and I hate sounding like a broken record, but it is a point worth emphasizing. The shoddy quality of their releases would make a person think they operate like the old Radioactive records (i.e. only a semi-legitimate but essentially bootleg label), but instead these guys seem to have a publicity department. All of their Candeia reissues were sourced from mediocre vinyl copies and seemingly played back on a cheap turntable with a twenty year-old stylus (maybe they were going for a needle / agulha as vintage as the records themselves, so perhaps 30 years old)…

Well on to the music (if you can hear it over the noise). As far as I know this is Candeia’s first actual album, and marks his coming out of self-imposed seclusion after a shooting left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. (This happened while Candeia worked as a police officer, and according to legend followed closely on the heels of a night when Candeia had a curse put upon him by a prostitute who he apparently had beaten up while on the job.) Although he had written some of the Portela samba school’s most famous compositions, leading them to victory in the Carnaval competitions several times, he withdrew from the bohemian life after his accident and had to be nudged back into writing and performing by friends like Martinho da Vila and Paulinho da Viola. And thank the stars that he had such persistent friends. Because Cartola may have only recorded a handful of records as a leader or member of a group during his brief decade of the 1970s (he passed away in 1978), but all of them are essential. This one is particularly strong, better than his second album (Seguinte: Raiz). Leading off with the self-reflexive “Samba da antiga” and just taking off from there on all cylinders. There is the infectious refrains of the samba da roda, “O Pagode”, with Candeia holding court between the chorus of “não se pode ficar sem entrar no pagode”, to beautiful samba-canção like “A volta.” One of the wonderful flourishes of this record is the trombone playing credited only to Raulzinho. If the sound wasn’t so terrible on this reissue, we could hear the interplay between the trombone, the lead and group vocals, the surdo, the agogô on divine “Outro recado”, co-written with Casquinha and easily one of the highlights of this consistently high-caliber record. But in the condition the audio is in, it all sort of gets lost in a wash of white noise that will leave you with tinnitus if you play it too loudly. This is sandwiched by two other sambas that ought to be canonical, ‘Dia de graça’ and ‘Chorei, chorei’. Hard to fathom that he wrote so many fantastic tunes without partners, which makes his infrequent partnerships all the more special, especially when they are with people like Casquinha or Paulinho da Viola — “Coisas banais” has Paulinho’s both lyrically and melodically pretty heavy on it, but Candeia adds his charismatic ebullience to it. The record is short, and it is so good that you want to play it over again immediately when it finishes.. Except that Discobertas put out a product that sounds like shit.

If you are wondering what to get me for Christmas, you can track down a copy of the Equipe vinyl and mail it to me. Thanks in advance.

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