Luiz Gonzaga – São João na Roça (1962)


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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Candango do Ypê – Vol.3: Lambada (1979)

Front cover of "Lambada Volume 3" showing a woman in knee-high white boots and a white onesy leotard dancing with Candango do Ypê


Candango do Ypê
Vol. 3 – Lambada
1979 Copacabana COELP-41213
Carimbó das Guianas
Carimbó Agarradinho
Carimbó de Dezembro
Carimbó da Crioula
Carimbó dos Namorados
Gafieira Pernambucana
Feira de Troca-troca
Forró Lascado
Ciranda do Navio
Marcha da Cobra
João Felicidade
Festa de Nazareth
Arrangements – Pachequinho
Recording engineer – Deraldo
Mixing engineer – Zilmar
Recorded at Somil (Rio de Janeiro) and Dó-Ré-Mi (São Paulo)
Cover photo – Micheloni
Lay-out – Impulso Marketing & Propaganda Ltda
Direção artistica – Paulo Rocco
Direção de Produção – Talmo Scaranari
Vinyl -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 2496Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 96khz; Click Repair light settings; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 – resampled (and dithered for 16-bit) using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.

As I have mentioned repeatedly in the sparse posts over the last six months to a year, it’s been a very busy time for Flabbergast, filled with momentous “real life” things that were extremely demanding and required all of my attention, and thus have kept me away from blogging.  Foremost among these been the absorbing work I put into proposals for the Lego Ideas initiative whose mania is sweeping the nation!  Unfortunately my efforts brought me nothing but frustration and headaches.  My first attempt was a scale model of Motown Studios which I designed after one visit to their Detroit museum back in 1999 and a postcard that I’ve kept ever since as a souveneir.  It was going pretty well – I even had the moveable drum riser, built out of Legos! – when I received a “cease and desist” letter from Berry Gordy’s estate and was forced to abandon the project.  The last thing I needed right then, especially when trademarking my name back in 2013 failed to produce any revenue whatsoever, was a lawsuit.  Sadly, litigation was exactly what I would get from my next project, a scale model of the Berlin Wall.  The city kept telling me that I needed something called a “permit” and told me that the armed Lego guards were scaring the townsfolk.  But what really killed the project was a lawsuit from both Phil Spector and ex-Pink Floyd guy Roger Waters, who had heard about my run-in with Berry Gordy’s people and automatically assumed my giant Lego wall must be music-related and so obviously somehow about them.  I think I had a pretty good chance of winning the court case, but since I couldn’t find a lawyer who would accept payment in Reddit gold, I decided to just abandon that project too.  For payback, I mailed Spector a Lego gun but apparently the prison deemed it an unacceptable gift.  But don’t worry about me, I always land on my feet.  I’m not interested in any trendy get rich quick schemes anyway, I’m a guy who likes to commit to the long haul.  Legos!  It’s such a fad, I’ll bet you twenty dollars (in Reddit gold or possibly Bitcoin) that nobody will even remember what they are five years from now.

Alright, so let’s just establish right at the outset that I bought this record because of the cover without knowing anything about it. It was definitely buying it just from the front photo – after all it has popcorn in it, sitting next to a bowl of ice! But then I flipped it around and saw that more than half of it was carimbó music, which would have sealed the deal had I not already made up my mind.

Rather fittingly for the cover, in the grooves is a so-so party record of tunes that will grow on you but that probably won’t end up on your regular party playlist.  In spite of being called “Vol.3 – Lambada” there is only one tune which flirts with that genre here, the outright awful “Carimbó das Guianas.” The tightest thing here is the track Carimbo de Dezembro, a funky little number meant for celebrating New Years Eve, and which I included on Flabbergasted Freeform No.10 .  The runner-up might be Carimbó da Crioula which starts out at a slower tempo and keeps speeding up until it’s pretty frenetic.  Candango gets bonus points for authoring all his own tunes, with a handful of writing partners, including Pinduca on one track.

Mr. Candango has kind of a weird voice, one that is suited for the forró music here.  Based on the range of his repertoire and  his accent, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he might have been a Northeastern transplant to Pará, the birthplace of carimbó.  A little lazy searching turned up the fact that he apparently lived for a while in Ilheús, Bahia.  If he wasn’t a nordestino then he was certainly playing to an audience that appreciated the region’s music.  Along with some genres native to Pernambuco (which is, as a matter of fact, where I found this record) like frevo and ciranda here, you also get fandango / marujada, and the aforementioned forró.  But then he also takes a stab at a samba de roda.  He seemed to be a jack of all trades, as further sleuthing turns up that he made at least one record of seresta / serenata music, as well as an entire album of fandango.  But I know little else about him.  He may have worked in construction of the modernist capital city of Brasília: candango is a name given to the construction workers there, and he seems to have been old enough to have done it.  He could have invented this off-road Jeep, the Brazilian version of the German “Munga”:
 photo DKW_Candango_1960_zpsxjbiqvnn.jpg

If anyone wants to replace this speculative biography of the mystery man known as Candango do Ypê, feel free to leave a comment.  Also feel free to click the links button!


Incidentally, as you will hear, this record wasn’t in the best of shape and neither was the cover.  I did a little “restoration” on the glorious cover art, you can see the original state it was in here below.  I left a little of the wear and tear to keep the “authenticity” in tact….

16-bit 44.1 khz

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Marinês e Sua Gente – Nordeste Valente (1976)

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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Luiz Gonzaga – Volta Pra Curtir (2001)

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Luiz Gonzaga – Volta pra curtir (ao vivo)
BMG / RCA 2001

Recorded live at the Teatro Tereza Rachel
March, 1972

Luiz Gonzaga – vocals, accordion, triangle
Dominguinhos – accordion
Maria Helena – vocals, triangle, cabaça
Toinho – Triangle
Renato Piau – guitar
Porfírio Costa – bass
Raimundinho – reco-reco / guiro
Ivanildo Leite – surdo drum / sabumba, percussion

01 Boiadeiro (Klecius Caldas – Armando Cavalcante)
Cigarro de paia (Armando cavalcante, Klecius Caldas)

02 Moda da mula preta (Raul Torres)
Lorota boa (Luiz Gonzaga, Humberto Teixeira)

03 Siri jogando bola (Luiz Gonzaga – Zé Dantas)
Macapá (Luiz Gonzaga, Humberto Teixeira)

04 Qui nem giló (Luiz Gonzaga – Humberto Teixeira)
Oiá eu aqui de novo (Antonio Barros)

05 Asa branca (Luiz Gonzaga – Humberto Teixeira)
A volta da asa branca (Luiz Gonzaga, Humberto Teixeira)

06 Assum preto (Luiz Gonzaga – Humberto Teixeira)
Ana Rosa (Humberto Teixeira)

07 Hora do adeus (Luiz Queiroga – Onildo Ameida)

08 Estrada de Canindé (Luiz Gonzaga – Humberto Teixeira)
Respeita Januário (Luiz Gonzaga, Humberto Teixeira)

09 Numa sala de reboco (José Marcolino – Luiz Gonzaga)
O cheiro da Carolina (Amorim Roxo, Zé Gonzaga)
O xote das meninas (Luiz Gonzaga, Zé Dantas)

10 Adeus, Rio (Luiz Gonzaga – Zé Dantas)
Aquilo bom (Garotas do Leblon) (Luiz Gonzaga, Severino Ramos)

11 No meu pé de serra (Luiz Gonzaga – Humberto Teixeira)
Baião (Luiz Gonzaga, Humberto Teixeira)

12 Pau de arara (Guio de Moraes – Luiz Gonzaga)
Juazeiro (Luiz Gonzaga, Humberto Teixeira)

13 Derramaro o gai (Luiz Gonzaga – Zé Dantas)
Imbalança (Luiz Gonzaga, Zé Dantas)

14 A feira de Caruaru (Onildo Ameida)

15 Olha a pisada (Luiz Gonzaga – Zé Dantas)
Boiadeiro (Armando Cavalcante, Klecius Caldas)


Leap through a bonfire, dance a quadrilha, have a mock marriage, eat lots of food made out of corn and enjoy the kids dressed up in cute little ‘matuto’ costumes of country
people in peasant blouses and rustic clothes. Little girls with freckles painted on and boys with fake mustaches.

I think it is safe to say that there is no symbol more iconic or more strongly associated with São João than the King of Baião, Luiz Gonzaga!
Every one of his records had some reference to it, and he made quite a few LPs entirely devoted to Festas Juninas or São João, and literally
everywhere you go in the month of June in the Nordeste you will hear his compositions being played by all kinds of bands of varying competence, and in all kinds of
styles.  Last year was his centenary so celebrations were even more Gonzaga-centric.  But I expect this guy’s legacy will last for another hundred years, easily.

Gonzaga recorded a ton of hugely-popular 78s in the 1940s and 50s, and while he never stopped recording or performing, his popularity dipped
for a while in the 60s as bossa nova, jovem guarda, and Tropicália saturated the music market.  But he got a boost from the recognition of
the Tropicalístas who recorded a number of his compositions and soon he was back on top.  This live record, released after his death, is pretty
cool.  The notes from Sérgio Cabral claim this was the first time Gonzaga played in the Zona Sul in his entire life; I find this highly doubtful given his earlier fame.  It would probably be more accurate and plausible to say that he had not played in Rio’s south zone for a decade or so.   Notable for having protege Dominguinhos in the band as well as an
electric guitar (a rarity for Gonzaga), they run through a whole bunch of highlights in his oeuvre.  But the concert was a month-long run at a
posh Copacabana theatre, after his “rediscovery,”  and the music lacks some of the urgency and energy you might expect from a live recording.
Granted that Gonzaga was already a bit older than in his heyday, but I can’t help thinking some of it is about the fact that he’s playing for a
seated audience of polite middle-class people.  Without the dancing and drinking and convivial revelry that has always been part of forró pé de
, it loses a little something.  So I usually reach for earlier recordings when I want to crank up the Rei de Baião, but this show is
kind of a good greatest-hits retrospective, with Gonzaga telling stories during the songs, and the arrangements are cool.  This must have been
recorded for television but I don’t know for certain.  It’s a good document and a fun listen even if it’s not on my top-shelf choices of the great Seu Luiz.

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Zé Paraíba – De São Paulo ao Ceará (1974)

 photo 01-Front-1_zps5f16913d.jpg

Zé Paraíba – De São Paulo ao Ceará
1974 Beverly (81.269)

01 – De São Paulo ao Ceará (Renato Leite)
02 – Bagunceiro (Zé Paraíba)
03 – São João na roça (Luiz Gonzaga – Zé Dantas)
04 – Teimoso (Renato Leite)
05 – Sarrabuiado (Zé Paraíba)
06 – Remoido bom (Oscar Teodoro)
07 – Fumaçando (Zé Paraíba)
08 – Revendo Brasília (Renato Leite)
09 – Forró no Juazeiro (Renato Leite)
10 – Xodó de 8 baixos (Zé Paraíba)
11 – Remelexo (Renato Leite)
12 – Reboliço (Zé Paraíba)

Vinyl -> Sansui XP-99 with Denon DL-160 capsule >
 Sansui G-7500 receiver> Zoom H4N at 24-bit 96khz -> Click Repair -> individual clicks and pops removed in Adobe Audition 3.0 -> Dithering and resampling (for 16 bit only) in iZotope Rx Advanced

This is an instrumental album of forró pé de serra by hotshot accordionist Zé Paraíba, who has recorded dozens of albums. But this one presents the listener with a particularly provocative album cover. It provokes questions and more questions the longer a person stares at it. Who is he talking to on the telephone? Is he receiving a call or making a call? Don’t be ridiculous, it’s Zé Paraíba, you don’t call him — he calls you! Well then, what is the call about? Did he find a lost dog, the one uncomfortably cradled in his lap? Is he calling the cleaners to find out if his other shirt is ready to pick up? “Which one?! The one with the rhinos and giraffes on it, of course. Yes, the one with the sarapatel stains. It’s still not ready? Vai tomar no cú, seu safado!” Zé Paraíba is always getting in arguments with dry cleaners and tailors. It is up to you, the audience, to decide who reigns victorious, but if you encounter Zé Paraíba on the street I suggest you compliment his clothing.

This record came from my friend Tchêras’ collection and was transferred at his house at one of our extended sessions of conversation and music. This is a good record for conversation, especially if you are lucky enough to have a friend as solid as Tchêras, with whom I can hang out with for hours and never get bored, without the need for any alcoholic lubrication. And without the engaging conversation, a record like De São Paulo ao Ceará usually necessitates a drink or two, because twelve tracks of instrumental forró is an awful damn lot. I recommend invoking your inner DJ and pulling out a few tracks for your mix tape, party, or rug-cutting session, because LP’s like this are not necessarily meant to be listened to from start to finish. In fact while editing some of the blemishes out of the vinyl, I began thinking about how João Donato started out as an accordion player and hated it. He once said that if there is music in hell, it would be an orchestra comprised entirely of accordions, and where no one is allowed to sing. (Actually I am not sure if he ever said that, I may be making that up.)  

But with that caveat, this is in fact solid pé de serra, or “traditional” forró,” and at any São João party worthy of the name you will find an instrumental ensemble like this, although the presence here of guitar and cavaquinho is often optional. In cities in the northeastern interior, pé de serra might still be an integral part of São João but it is also frequently segregated onto a separate stage from the more popular electrified forró estilizado (modified or stylized forró) of groups with classy names like Garota Safada. Now, on principle I make an effort not to dismiss entire genres or subgenres of music base on classist or elitist biases. It is all too common a sight to find a middle class member of the university set preaching about the real popular culture and how those uneducated and poor people in the small town just don’t know what’s good for them and go on listening to that brash, vulgar and impossibly-loud forró estiliazado, “music of low quality” (the phrase is música de baixa qualidade, with ‘quality’ having a distinctly classist ring). The paternalistic attitudes behind those kind of sentiments need to be questioned. That being said, I am still trying to find some redeeming musical qualities and examples of ‘forró estiliazdo’ because I generally find it to be god-awful and unappealing, although the best bands are definitely capable of coming up with a catchy tune now and then. So catchy that they are blasted out of car trunks on every street corner from São João until Carnaval, inescapable soundtracks that you hear in your sleep in spite of yourself, like an infernal accordion orchestra except substituted with synthesizers equipped with accordion and brass patches, requiring deep hypnosis to yield a cure.

Putting aside the elitist paternalism of the universitários regarding “the masses” and what they should be listening to, there are legitimate concerns about preserving the old-school pé de serra. In the first place, it is not as if there needs to be an either-or choice: although there might be some who regard it as “old fashioned”, and in my experience many cannot identify an old song with its composer or singer like a generation or two before them, most of the audience that goes to an electric, stylized forró show would also dance to a good traditional pé de serra band if given the opportunity. And therein lies the crux of the issue – opportunity. There is a lot of money to be made off of the slick electric forró bands mounted on the backs of huge sound trucks (trios eléctricos) and typically adorned with scantily-clad dancing females. There is not so much money in pé de serra. In the world of big events, the more traditional styles often depend on state subsidies and arts funding to maintain visibility, although on the local level you can find neighborhoods or church parishes pooling their money to hire a local forró band to play for a family-oriented São João.  I have never gone to commemorate São João in the city of Caruarú, where it holds a record in the Guinness Book for the largest outdoor celebration or concert, because I think I’ve become slightly agoraphobic over the years (a very un-Brazilian trait, mind you).  But the tension between “traditional” and “modern / stylized” forró has been a hot topic there over the last decade.  Elsewhere in Pernambuco, some of the most “traditional” music during São João can be found in Recife at places like Sítio Trindade and the Pátio de São Pedro, free performances that would not be possible without the robust system of cultural subsidies in place there, while in the small towns of the interior – the “source” of much of this cultura popular – the municipal governments are swayed by kickbacks and corporate sponsorship money to allow these gigantic trios eléctricos to set up in their town and rattle windows with their trucks loaded with subwoofers. For whatever reason, in Pernambuco the majority of these touring groups come from Ceará and the music they play is heavily influenced by styles made popular in Bahia like axê and calypso. When you talk to local musicians or music fans over the age of 30 in these small towns, you are likely to hear someone express that their traditional celebrations (like São João) are being “colonized” by this stuff coming from outside their borders, and that there is a need to preserve their raízes or roots. However the flipside of this argument is that these trio eléctrico bands have adopted remarkably successful business models that allow them to exist as self-managed entities. Although some do get quite a bit of radio airplay in the interior, and exposure on television, these styles are by and large not dependent at all on record sales (their fans are more likely to buy pirated copies of their albums on the street), but subsist by relentless touring. The more traditional acts, as well as innovative / artsy / hybrid artists that cater to the university crowd, have depended largely on the aforementioned arts funding and state subsidies to stay visible, and as a result have often suffered from meager renumeration or payments that show up so late as to be leave a lot of people hungry. (It is common for artists to be left waiting up to six months to a year to receive payment for one of the city- or state-sponsored presentation during Carnaval.) So in a sort of ironic twist, more and more independent “high-brow” bands and artists are beginning to look toward corporate partnership to fund mini-tours. This seems to be often presented as some kind of novel idea about ‘sustainable’ art but the more candid artists will likely admit that this model was pioneered by these “low class” bands years ago, instead of being left suckling at the teat of the benevolent state, a situation that can be just as unstable as the free market when you consider how much depends on the patronage systems of local political bosses.

I’ve strayed a long way from Zé Paraíba, his zoological shirt, and mysterious phone call. But I guess the digression can still be relevant, because back in 1974, only a few years into the “Disco É Cultura” incentives that the military regime put into the phonographic industry, this kind of good-time party music was still of relatively little consequence in the cultural hierarchy. Although forró pé de serra had briefly been so fashionable in the 1940s and 50s as to become a new kind of ‘national music’ embraced as widely as samba, it was overtaken in the marketplace by the bossa nova craze and went through a period of relative obscurity. Northeastern composers and a handful of ‘traditional’ singers had become de rigeur again starting with the ‘engaged’ musical theater Show Opinão and later with the Tropicalistas trotting out tunes from Luiz Gonzaga, the king of baião, and Jackson do Pandeiro (the king of rhythm!) whose careers underwent a second wind. Samba giants like Clara Nunes or Elza Soares included forró and baião in their repertoires. Some forró artists began to play in the upper-middle class Zona Sul of Rio for the first time of their lives, where they performed in theaters rather than dance halls, in big “shows” that employed directors and set designers. (This close relationship with the theater, particularly with MPB from the 60s onward, merits a whole other blog post or maybe a book.) Other singers like Ary Lobo or Marinês had more modest careers in this era. The unique Dominguinhos, a student of Gonzaga’s and his natural heir on the accordion, featured prominently on some of the biggest-selling albums of top-shelf MPB in the seventies, but the records released under his own name only garnered a cult following. Forró had become another tonal shading in the palette of Brazilian musicians and composers, a fonte or well to be dipped into for inspiration, but rarely an end in itself. Then there were the regional conjuntos like Trio Nordestino and their fans who never really went away, and virtuosos like Zé Paraíba, always ready to drop into the nearest São João party and play for a receptive public. As much as I like to champion the idea of a symbiosis between the acts of listening and dancing, this type of instrumental forró is really better suited for getting up and moving than for sitting down and critically listening. Most likely, Zé Paraíba’s records were an appendage to his live performances, a physical souvenir to help spread the word for the next time he played in your town. This album may not rock your world, but it will move your feet. Or torso if you are into chair-dancing.    

Luiz Gonzaga – Quadrilhas e marchinhas juninas (1965)

Luiz Gonzaga
1965 RCA
This vinyl rip from a 1973 RCA Dynaflex repress

1 Pot-pourri Instrumental:
Fim de festa (Zito Borborema)
Polca fogueteira (Luiz Gonzaga)
Lascando o cano (Luiz Gonzaga – Zé Dantas)
Pagode russo (Luiz Gonzaga)
Fogueira de São João (Luiz Gonzaga – Carmelina Albuquerque)

2 Olha pro céu (Instrumental)
(José Fernandes, Luiz Gonzaga)
3 São João na roça (Instrumental)
(Luiz Gonzaga, Zé Dantas)
4 Fogo sem fuzil
(José Marcolino, Luiz Gonzaga)
5 Quero chá
(José Marcolino, Luiz Gonzaga)
6 Matuto de opinião
(Gonzaguinha, Luiz Gonzaga)
7 Boi bumbá
(Gonzaguinha, Luiz Gonzaga)
8 O maior tocador
(Luiz Guimarães)
9 Piriri
(Ary Rangel, João Silva)

Vinyl -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; Click Repair light settings; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 – resampled (and dithered for 16-bit) using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag&Rename.


Well I had hoped to get this post done yesterday but it just didn’t happen. Yesterday was the official day of São Pedro but since today is the very last day of June, I am barely saved from being a day late and a dollar short. There are still festas juninas going on the northeast, and if you are at one you obviously don’t need this LP, but for everyone else you can entertain yourself with Luiz Gonzaga. Gonzagão must have made a dozen São João-themed LPs in his lifetime (including a “volume two” to compliment this particular record a decade later, which I’ve never seen). The first side of the LP is entirely instrumental, including a medley that rips through tunes both familiar and arcane from his catalog. Gonzaga’s playing never fails to stun but if instrumental forró is not your thing, you might find yourself checking your watch as you wait for the second half. Side Two features six short and sweet vocal tracks. Although none of these probably make it on a ‘best of’ collection (I’m not sure about the CD boxset, which one of these days I will invest in), but I had heard at least a couple of them somewhere before picking up this album. Boi Bumbá and Piriri are Gonzaga at his finest, the latter being a fantastic São João song with a chorus that will stick in your head for hours.

The former track, Boi Bumbá, has a great extended verse/bridge section where the singers divide up cow and deliberate on which parts go to whom. This is actually a vocal duet, trading off with another singer, whose identity is unknown to me. I could try to find this out by reading a biography on Gonzaga, but I am basically lazy and do not know how to read. So I will appeal to any blog followers here for information – does anybody know? It is a double mystery in that the song also has a writing credit (along with preceding track `Matuto de opinão’) given to a Luiz Gonzaga Junior. My first reaction to seeing this was — this CAN’T be Gonzaguinha, the adopted son of Gonzagão who had his own brilliant recording career in the 70s. Well, checking on his birth date, I discovered that he actually would have been twenty years old by 1965, so technically it is possible. But Gonzaguinha’s own work would totally eschew the kind of rustic regionalisms that form the backbone of his father’s repertoire in favor of jagged social commentary and political engagement, having over 50 of his compositions censored by the military government. Even though his recording career had yet to begin in 65, as far as I know he was involved with the student movement of the time and I just can’t imagine him having anything to do with these two tracks. So, it must be a coincidence, right? Or maybe not. Anyone with clues please leave them in the comments here.

I felt so badly about the mediocre O Cavaquinho no Forró album earlier this week having been the only ‘celebration’ for São João or the festas juninas on the blog this year, that I thought I would make it up to you by getting this post up just under the wire. Please accept my peace offering.

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Pra onde vai a barrigueira?
Vai pra Miguel Pereira
E a vassoura do rabo?
Vai pro Zé Nabo
De que é o osso da pá?
De Joãozinho da Fornemá
E a carne que tem na nuca?
É de seu Manuca
De quem é o quarto trazeiro?
De seu Joaquim marceneiro
E o osso alicate?
De Maria Badulate
Pra quem dou a tripa fina?
Dê para a Sabina
Pra quem mando este bofe?
Pro Doutor Orlofe
E a capado filé?
Mande para o Zezé
Pra quem vou mandar o pé?
Para o Mário Tiburé
Pra quem dou o filé miõn?
Para o doutor Calmon
E o osso da suã?
Dê para o doutor Borjan
Não é belo nem doutor
Mas é bom trabalhador
Mas é véio macho, sim sinhor
É véio macho, sim sinhor
É bom pra trabaiá
Rói suã até suar
Ê boi, ê boi
Ê boi do mangangá..

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