Trio Nordestino – E O Homem De Saia (1979)

Trio Nordestino E O Homem De Saia
1979 Copacabana COELP41150

01. Fartura de beijo (Durval Vieira – Jorge Paulo)
02. Não sou culpado (Jacinto José – Lindolfo Barbosa)
03. Homem de saia (Enéas de Castro – Gatinho)
04. Chamego proibido (Jorge de Altinho – Lindolfo Barbosa)
05. O fazendeiro (Geraldo Barbosa – Xavier)
06. Linda sinfonia (João Silva – J. B. Aquino)
07. Torrado de moça nova (João Silva – J. B. Aquino)
08. Amor demais (Jorge de Altinho – Francisco Costa)
09. Bem obrigado (Jair do Pandeiro – Severino Ramos)
10. Tá com raiva de mim? (Onildo Almeida)
11. Amor misterioso (Midiam Alves – Lindolfo Barbosa)
12. O xouxinho (João Silva)

Transfer info:  Copacabana vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on light settings, manually auditioning the output; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.


Well I had this post nearly ready to share for Saturday but other things got in the way.  Although the festas juninas were officially over, there were still pockets of activity and parties going on in the Northeast through the weekend.  Oh well, pé de serra has no expiration date, it’s good all year round.

The album title “Trio Nordestino and The Man In The Dress”  might initially have caused me some trepidation.  Northeast Brazil, for all its charms, is also a deeply troubled place and has been since the days of colonization and slavery.  It bears the dubious distinction of leading the country in homicides and in violence against women.   Add to those statistics a horrifying rate of violence against transgender individuals, and one could almost forgive the ham-fisted public health “discourse analysis” article I unfortunately stumbled across recently, which sought to link the lyrical representations of masculinity (and related themes of violence, homophobia, etc) to this hard data.  There are, of course, all kinds of valid arguments one could make by looking at cultural production this way, but these authors chose to cherry pick the worst examples they could find (using a broad quantitative sampling technique whose criteria are known only to them), as well as some very obscure songs that had no broad social impact and were probably not heard beyond a few hundred people, and decontextualized them rather thoroughly to hammer home a very unsophisticated, knee-jerk argument that did a disservice to the very real problem of gender-based violence.

So,  you can imagine my relief when the lyrics of “Homem de saia” turn out to be not just relatively harmless, but practically progressive, to use the current parlance.  It’s simply about a man trying to crash an all-female social event, a party where everyone from the person working the door to the members of the band were all women, by disguising himself in a dress. He is found out, and bounced from the party. Hilarity ensues?  Anyway, one could argue that Trio Nordestino e o Homem de Saia is about the role of exclusively female spaces and their necessity in a culture tainted by patriarchy, which encompasses contentious debates between women with a uterus and transwomen.  Who knew Trio Nordestino would be so prescient?

And for my next trick, I’m going to make this glass of whisky disappear.

Musically speaking, this album once again shows the group in fine form and with lots of memorable tunes, even if it lacks contributions from Dominguinhos and Anastacia like the last one I posted.   Não sou culpado is a catchy invocation blending proud regionalism with an assertion of the Nordestino’s brasilidade or national belonging.  Linda sinfonia brings us a frevo in a forró style.   Bem obrigado sounds like it was written for Jackson do Pandeiro and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him covering it in the 1980’s, it has his syncopation and cadence imitated perfectly.  But what may be most striking is that the Trio has “modernized” with electric bass and a full drum kit here.  Even I tend to hear the new, electric forró bands – most of which are not my cup of tea – as having little to do with traditional pé de serra.  But as always, these things are more of a continuum than a sharp break.  If you listen to the slightly-funky bass riffs on this album and the way the drummer plays loud, booming fills on the tom-tom drums at the end of the choruses of the album’s title track,  the stuff ain’t that different than Mastruz Com Leite, arrangement-wise.

I realize that I’ve fallen into the trap of only posting about this type of music around São João season, which is a pity.  I promise to do better in the future and keep them coming throughout the year.

 

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Luiz Gonzaga – São João na Roça (1962)

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Luiz Gonzaga
São João na Roça
1962 RCA-Victor
01. São João na Roça (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
02. Fogueira de São João (Luiz Gonzaga / Carmelina Albuquerque)
03. Festa No Céu (Edgar Nunes / Zeca do Pandeiro)
04. Olha Pro Céu (Luiz Gonzaga / José Fernandes)
05. Noites Brasileiras (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
06. São João Antigo (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
07. São João no Arraiá (Zé Dantas)
08. O Passo da Rancheira (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
09. Dança da Moda (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
10. Lenda de São João (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
11. Mané e Zabé (Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas)
12. São João do Carneirinho (Guio de Morais / Luiz Gonzaga)

Well the festas juninas have been in swing in the Nordeste for a few weeks now, and the midsummer holiday of São João (June 24) is rapidly approaching.  This is, in essence, a holiday album.  I believe it is the first long-player of what would turn out to be many LPs that Gonzagão released to commemorate / cash-in on this prototypically Northeastern holiday.  I am not a fan of “holiday albums” of any stripe, to be honest.  If I had to rank them, the list would probably mirror pretty closely how I feel about the holiday in question.  Hence Halloween, Carnival, solstices and equinoxes near the top, Christmas would be at the bottom near Talk Like A Pirate Day, and São João would be somewhere in the middle with New Years Eve and Groundhog Day.  It’s a lovely holiday, stretched in typically Brazilian fashion to encompass all of June and into the first week of June.   But as readers of this blog know, I am by nature cantankerous and curmudgeonly, and maintaining cheeriness for such a prolonged period of time is very exhausting.  Also, I’ve never been interested in marriage and I can only eat so many things made from corn.
This is the type of record that you pick a few tunes for your party playlist but don’t typically listen to from start to finish.  And I think that’s fine, especially since it is actually a collection of 78s recorded and released between 1950 and 1960.  In fact this appeared twice as an LP with this title: once in the late 50s and then again in 1962 with a few added tracks.   LOTS of Zé Dantas here, who was Gonzaga’s most important songwriting partner aside from Humberto Teixeira.  Highlights for me include Dança da moda  and the wistfully melodic Noites brasileiras.  I may gravitate to the latter because it is the only thing approaching a mid-tempo song here.  Why do Pernambucans all have to play music so damn fast?   They talk fast too.  Can’t they slow down once in a while?  Get off my lawn!
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Marinês e Sua Gente – Nordeste Valente (1976)

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Marinês e Sua Gente
Nordeste Valente
1976 CBS 104333

 01. Nordeste valente (João Silva – J. B. de Aquino)
02. Casa de marimbondo (Djalma Leonardo – Antonio Barros)
03. Carimbó de vovó sinhá (Naldo Aguiar)
04. Flor de croatá (João Silva – Raymundo Evangelista)
05. Sou o estopim (Antonio Barros)
06. Grilo na moringa (G. de San – José Gomes Filho)
07. No laço do carimbô (Naldo Aguiar)
08. Você me machucou (Kim de Oly – André Araujo)
09. Mestre mundo (Julinho – Luiz Bandeira)
10. Nosso amor está morrendo (Antonio Barros)
11. Maracá de menino (Assizão)
12. Como vai passando (Cecéu – Ademar Caetano)

———————

Here’s a thoroughly pleasant album by forró singer Marinês, the Queen of Xaxado, because I’ve been remiss in commemorating the Festas Juninas this year.  It probably won’t knock your socks off or anything, but the arrangements and playing are very tight and a make for fun listening.  There are also no less than three tracks of carimbó here, a style that is northern rather than northeastern, proving again that Nordestinos embrace good dance music no matter where it’s from.  And also that the carimbó was getting super popular in the second half of the 70s.

What keeps this record from rising above merely average is the sparsity of stand-out compositions on it, a failing of a lot of records in this genre from the time.  I mean, the first song is kind of an earworm.  I’ve always liked that word, “earworm.”  For me it always seemed like an earworm ought to be a sinister psychic phenomenon from the world of Dune.  You are stranded somewhere on Arrakis with a song you can’t get out of your head.  You start tapping your foot involuntarily, and within seconds a gigantic spice-crazed sandworm has appeared from the ground and swallowed you. My point is that earworms can kill you.  As further evidence I present “Sou o estopim” – I am the fuse – which is clearly intended to manipulate the listener, Manchurian Candidate-style, into blowing up a government building with homemade explosives.

Actually the latter song was written by Antônio Barros, composer of a ton of forró and a performer in his own right along with partner Cecéu, who also has a credit on the final song of this record.  Look, I don’t want to compare all songwriters of forró or baião to Zé Dantas or Humberto Teixeira, because that would be like comparing every English pop band to The Beatles.  It’s not fair.  I also don’t know nearly enough about Antônio Barros to make bold claims, but there is something formulaic in his writing that just doesn’t do it for me.  It’s sort of the “hook school of songwriting” that pushes all the buttons you are supposed to push to make a catchy memorable song, but still ends up producing something that is essentially forgettable as soon as the next catchy song comes around and pushes it out of your ear canal.  He’s got song credits all over the place, including Jackson do Pandeiro’s albums from the 1970s that nobody remembers.

I feel the opposite way about the track featured here from João Silva (and Ronaldo Evangelista), “Flor de Croatá.”  It has a beautiful melody, one that works at different tempos with equal effect.  Check out these two very different versions, the one from this album and another from Jacinto Silva

 

Good, innit?

Well, enjoy the Festas Juninas if you have one in your area.  If not, and don’t have any trendy Euro-American faux forró bands playing in a gentrified neighborhood near you, at least you can put on this record.  It’s fun for a least a spin or two.

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