Jackson do Pandeiro – Forró do Jackson (1958)

Jackson do Pandeiro
“Forró do Jackson”
Released 1958 on Copacabana Records (CLP 3068 / CLP 11086 )
This CD pressing, Copacabana (99301)
Pressed by Sonopress Brasil, probably 1995

Above are two of my personal favorites, tracks penned by the Rosil Cavalcanti, also a Paraíban who found a second home in Recife just like Jackson, and who aside from contributing some of the most memorable moments of Brazilian music, also played football and worked at the Ministry of Agriculture.

01. Falso Toureiro
(Heleno Clemente – José Gomes)

02. Rosa
(Ruy de Moraes e Silva)

03. Ele Disse
(Edgar Ferreira)

04. Forró em Limoeiro
(Edgar Ferreira)

05. Cumpadre João
(Rosil Cavalcanti – Jackson do Pandeiro)

06. Meu Enchoval
(Gordurinha)

07. Moxotó
(José Gomes – Rosil Cavalcanti)

08. 17 na Corrente
(Manoel Firmino Alves – Edgar Ferreira)

09. Coco do Norte
(Rosil Cavalcanti)

10. Êta Baião
(Marçal Araujo)

11. Cajueiro
(Raimundo Baima – Jackson do Pandeiro)

The sweet smell of São João bonfires is already wafting through my windows. Unfortunately in some strange postmodern (or is it post-ironic?) twist, I have been without running water in my house for five days now, I’ve been sick with alcohol poisoning from someone serving “moonshine” in a single mixed-drink I had over the weekend, and the big musical attraction for São João here has nothing whatsoever to do with “cultura Nordestina”, except for the fact that they are very popular here, numerically speaking probably more popular than the home-grown sounds of pé-de-serra, ciranda, or samba de coco. Indeed, the big attraction today is romantic sertaneja duo BRUNO E MARRONE!! Now, if you happen to have heard any of the GOOD sertaneja from the earlier decades of the twentieth century and mostly made in the south and center-west of Brazil… this has nothing to do with that whatsoever. Think of Lefty Frizzell or Hank Williams Sr. versus Garth Brooks or Alan Jackson, and you get the idea. This stuff is totally corporate, totally mass-marketed, so much so that I am having trouble finding an un-protected YouTube clib to subject you for my masochistic gratification. For tonight’s debacle, the city has erected a stage in the central plaza that is two or three times the size of what we had here for Carnaval. No doubt built according to the duo’s megalomaniac specs, the funny thing is that its a small plaza and I have no idea where the audience is going to fit. The other problem is that some of my friends here genuinely like this crap, so I have to respectfully keep my mouth shut. Although I drew a line when it came to the stage – I was remarking on its absurd size and one of them said, “well they have huge band,” to which I responded..”Um, bullshit. There were a LOT more people crammed onto the stage during carnaval and nobody was seriously inconvenienced by it. It’s just the ego of these famous guys..” Here is a clip, probably filmed on a cell phone, of the duo playing in what seems to be a smallish place in comparison

Another funny thing is that comparatively speaking, there is MUCH worse out there than these guys. At least they seem to avoid the tendency towards over-sized ten-gallon hats and women in trashy outfits on stage who pole dance on and around the musicians and singers. But its still crap, and crap from Goiás, which is far away from the Nordeste. I wish I had that second-hand car I’ve been thinking of buying, so I could kidnap Ariana Suassuna and bring him here to brow-beat these two with his crypto-fascist regionalist puritisms, bludgeoning them into submission with his ancient croaking voice until they beg for mercy and play some damn pé de serra.
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All of which brings me to the point of today’s post, Jackson do Pandeiro. It’s been my intention to post something every day during the regional mayhem that is Festa Junina and São João. I am getting rather tired of all of it, frankly. Between the World Cup and this daily party, I can’t get a lot of my work done, at least not the parts that depend on the participation of other people. But then I get revived when I randomly happen across a stage of *decent* pé de serra, or when I put a record like this one — a classic Jackson do Pandeiro from 1958, with a classic cover of him in repose in the lap of the gorgeous Almira.

Jackson (who also went by “Jack” and also “Jaques” in earlier phases of his career) is LONG overdue for a proper box-set treatment of his discography that surpasses the weak ‘retrospective’ type CDs like the “Millenium” collection, one of the only ‘best-of’ packages I think is still currently in print. The guy was a larger-than-life figure, charismatic and innovative, and to my ears he is as important as Luiz Gonzaga, although I understand all the social and historical reasons why Gonzaga’s legacy is more prominent in Brazil as a whole. This record, like just about he everything he did, has no bad songs on it. The tracks “17 na corrente” and “Coco do Norte” were both hits but any of these songs will get a dance floor moving and most of them will be recognizable to the discerning ear of many a fan of Brazilian music. Unfortunately “Forró em Limoeiro”, a song that did a lot for his career and earned him enough money to go and schmooze with music journalists and `ipmortant` industry people in Rio de Janeiro`, sounds like it was sourced from a 78-rotations record rather than a master tape, but the music still shines. Here is a clip of him performing it a good fifteen years later, along with some commentary from various people about his tremendous contributions, principally in the area of syncopated rhythm —

With any luck this MPB Especial which see a DVD release someday if TV Cultura can liberate the tapes. And HOLY CRAP what do we have here?? “O Canto da Ema” performed Jackson and João do Vale (who has a writing credit on this song) performing inside what seems like a train car or a small diner…

Too bad its only a minute long, because its a riveting minute. I should have more incisive critique about this album but I am simply enjoying far too much coming across these great clips of Jackson. He managed to appear in 10 different films during his lifetime (I don’t have any ready statistics on this but I believe his colleague Gonzagão has him beat in terms of film appearances..). This montage shows him in full cangaçeiro regalia, in proper São João spirit:

More sources on Jackson do Pandeiro

An interesting-looking book that I hope to read someday soon, by Fernando Mouro and Antonio Vicente

A rather simple website that does not have a ton of information, but DOES have a fairly thorough collection of song lyrics in an easily accessible format, plus some choice quotes (under ‘depoimentos’) from famous artists about the importance of Sir Jaques. Check it out here at directly in your browser as http://jacksondopandeiro.digi.com.br/

And another website, a bit more professional design than the last but is a bit more clunky to navigate. It does have a fairly detailed discography although I have reasons to doubt that all the dates are correct, it is still a useful resource: http://jacksondopandeiro.com.br/

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Jackson do Pandeiro – O Cabra da Peste (1966)

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Jackson do Pandeiro
“O Cabra da Peste”

Original release: 1966, “Jackson do Pandeiro – O Cabra da Peste”, Continental, PPL 12265)

Censored release: 1969

reissue: 1978, “Jackson do Pandeiro – O Cabra da Peste – Edição Limitada”, Popular/GE/Continental, 146411047)

This pressing, Warner/Continental CD, 2001 (092741523-2)

01. Capoeira mata um (Alvaro Castilho – De Castro) Balanço
02. Tá roendo (Figueirôa – Maruim) Samba
03. A ordem é samba (Jackson do Pandeiro – Severino Ramos) Samba
04. Pinicapau (Codó) Baião
05. Forró quentinho (Almira Castilho) Forró
06. Bodocongó (HUmberto Teixeira – Cicero Nunes) Baião
07. Secretária do diabo (Osvaldo Oliveira – Reinaldo Costa) Forró
08. Vou sambalançar (Antonio Barros – Jackson do Pandeiro) Samba
09. Alegria do vaqueiro (Zé Katraca) Baião
10. Forró do Biá (Luiz Moreno – Jeronimo) Forró
11. Papai vai de trem (Ivo Martins – Jackson do Pandeiro) Baião

DELETED TRACK between tracks 10 and 11 above, Polícia Feminina (Severino Ramos – José Pereira) Forró

What a confusing release history this album has had, which utter lack of any information whatsoever on the CD reissue fails to clear up. This is what I was I have been able to piece together for you: “O Cabra da Peste” was released in 1966 (sometimes listed as 1963, which I originally fell for but was thankfully corrected about), censored and re-released without the song “Polícia Feminina” in 1969, then reissued again in limited edition in 1978, from which I suspect this album cover at the top was taken. I am not sure what is meant by the text under the photo, “rerecording with a new cover,” unless they consider the removal of one track to be a rerecording. Or perhaps by 78 they decided to put “Polícia Feminina” (a fairly innocuous and silly song about having your heart locked up in prison, etc) back on the album…. Whatever the case may be, the CD issue is still missing the track. The recording is in mono, so we can at least be glad they didn’t use a version “electronically rechannelled for stereo”…

Jackson do Pandeiro recorded a ton of hit songs that are very important for Brazilian popular music. None of those are on here. (You might, however, want to visit the previous post of O Rei do Ritmo on this site..). I read one review of this album, in Portuguese, that criticized the song selection as being the weakest of any album from Jackson’s career.. Well, if that’s true, I am still pretty impressed by this record and it only shows just how much of a genius this guy to give these tunes so much life. It’s a solid set of forró, samba, and samba de coco. And although there might not be anything that immediately has you singing along like many of his better-known releases, there are some real stand-out cuts here. “Capoeira mata um” totally kicks off right. “A ordém é samba” written by Jackson and and Severino Ramos, and “Bodocongó″ by Humberto Teixeira e Cícero Nunes are catchy tunes and hot performances, showing just how easily Jackson could interpret a variety of styles and have it still come out like, well, Jackson do Pandeiro. One difference between material from this era and his earlier 1950s successes can be found in the suingue (or, swing) of the rhythm section — the influence of bossa nova is felt in the way the drummer lays down some jazzed-out chops on even the forró numbers. While this might not be the place to start for people new to Jackson do Pandeiro, this a fine album on its own. It makes me happy.

Links removed and post bumped

Jackson do Pandeiro – Sua Majestade, O Rei do Ritmo (1960)

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Jackson do Pandeiro
“Sua Majestade – O Rei do Ritmo”
Copacabana records, 1960

1 Forró em Caruaru (Ze Dantas)

2 Cabo Tenório (Rosil Cavalcanti)

3 O canto da ema (João doVale – Alventino Cavalcanti – Ayres Vianna)

4 Sebastiana (Rosil Cavalcanti)

5 Cremilda (Edgar Ferreira)

6 Coco de improviso (Alventino Cavalcanti – Edson Menezes – Jackson do Pandeiro)

7 Xote de Copacabana (José Gomes)

8 A mulher do Anibal (N. de Paula – Genival Macêdo)

9 Um a um (Edgar Ferreira)

10 Coco social (Rosil Cavalcanti)

11 Falsa patroa (Geraldo Jacques – Isaías de Freitas)

12 O crime não compensa (Eleno Clemente – Genival Macêdo)

This long-player, which by all appearances seems to be a collection of the many singles put out by Jackson do Pandeiro in the decade or so before 1960, quite a few of them on 78s. Save Chiclete com Banana, most of his biggest hits are here, and it’s an incredibly fun listen. It is also one of the only releases from him you will find on CD besides a few anthologies. This is at least partly do the fact that Jackson recorded for at least four or five different labels during his career, and a lot of his output was in the form of singles. Hopefully someday there will be a boxset deserving of this huge figure in Brazilian music. Along with Luiz Gonzaga, he is a master of the genre of forró, but also known for his interpretations of ‘samba de coco’ — traditionally a type of samba found in the sertão or backlands of Pernambuco and Paraíba, accompanied by hand-claps and group call and response singing, but reinvented by Jackson into an ensemble setting. The guy just oozed musicality out of his pores. The style of syncopation he injected into his music is credited with transforming Brazilian music, changing the way musicians and composers were rhythmically approaching their material. I can believe it.

Whereas, Luiz Gonzaga – the undisputed king of the baião ballad and sort of the ambassador of forró “pé de serra” style – was in a way more of a curator of the rich, musical and cultural heritage of the northeast (my opinion, feel free to dispute it), Jackson do Pandeiro was forging new sounds and textures, or as the music-writers’ cliché would have it, “pushing the boundaries” of the genre(s). This is not meant to be a dig against Luiz Gonzaga: I adore him and his musical legacy, but there is a real way in which that legacy has become almost a stand-in for the culture itself, and Gonzaga was deliberately “reinventing tradition” to promote a previously devalorized part of the country. But Jackson, man, Jackson do Pandeiro was as ‘modern’ as any bossa nova, as charismatic and tempestous a stage presence as any rocker. Even if he wasn’t jumping around the stage, his performances would leap off of it and into your consciousness.
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Why does Almira look so scared and horrified?
I’ll tell you.
It’s because Jackson do Pandeiro was an unstoppable rhythm machine. And, he was dancing right next to her.

Here is a bio of Jackson do Pandeiro from cliquemusic, translated by yours truly for your enjoyment:

BIO from CLIQUEMUSIC, translated by Flabbergast

Born in the interior of Paraíba, his first wish was to play the accordion. But since that instrument was very expensive, his parents gave him a pandeiro (tambourine). His mother was a singer of coco, and played the zabumba and ganzá. At 13 years-old he moved with his family to Campina Grande, where he worked at odd jobs and began to pay attention to the singers of coco and the guitar-playing minstrals at the open markets and fairs. It was in this city where his first stage name emerged, Jack, influenced by North American Westerns that he would watch at the cinema. In the 1940s he moved on to João Pessoa, where he played in cabares and on radio stations. Much later he went to Recife, Pernambuco, and it was there at the Rádio Jornal do Comércio that he definitively adopted the name Jackson do Pandeiro. In 1953 he recorded his first hits: “Sebastiana” (Rosil Cavalcanti) and “Forró em Limoeiro” (Edgar Ferreira). Three years later he married Almira, who would become his partner during performances. In the same year they moved to Rio de Janeiro, and Jackson was contracted by Rádio Nacional, where he was a popular and critical success for his way of singing baiões, cocos, rojões, sambas, and marchinhas of carnaval. His influence is felt still today in artists that have rerecorded songs that Jackson made famous, like “O Canto de Ema,” recorded by Lenine (*Flabber note: much better version recorded by Gilberto Gil on Expresso 2222… But I don’t like Lenine at all, he makes me cringe..), “Na Base de Chinela,” by Elba Ramalho,” “Lágrima” by Chico Buarque, or “Um a Um” pelos Paralamas do Sucesso.** An inspired composer and instrumentalist of rare talent, he popularized other classics of Northeastern music, like “Chiclete com Banana” (Gordurinha/Almira Castilho), “Xote de Copacabana” (José Gomes), “17 na Corrente” (Edgar Ferreira / Manoel Firmino Alvez), “Como Tem Zé na Paraíba” (Manezinho Araújo / Catulo de Paula), “Cantiga do Sapo”, “A Mulher do Aníbal”, “Ele Disse” (Edgar Ferreira) and “Forró em Caruaru” (Zé Dantas). In 1998 he was the honored figure at the 11th Prêmio Sharp de Música (Flabber note: I don’t know what this event is…)

** Flabber note: A glaring omission from this list by cliquemusic — “Sebastiana” was recorded by Gal Costa on her 1968 album, and its one of the wildest renditions of anything associated with Jackson do Pandeiro.

*** An even more glaring omission is Gilberto Gil’s version of CHICLETE COM BANANA, which is still performed by him frequently. Along with O Canto de Ema recorded by Gil on Expresso 2222, these songs were my first exposure to Jackson.

**** Flabber note: This brief bio also does not mention that Jackson became involved with the same religous sect, Cultural Racional, that had Tim Maia recording his wonderfully looney masterpiece(s) of funk in 1975. The album of Jackson’s where the Racional philosophy gets reflected most is titled “Alegria Minha Gente” from 1978 and as far as I know has never received a CD release.
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HAVE A LOOK AND A LISTEN!!!

SEBASTIANA – A fantastic song, also great for practicing your vowel sounds (and sometimes epsilon)

CHICLETE COM BANANA

This clip of “Chiclete Com Banana” is a rather odd piece compiled by someone wanting to make a statement about the Americanization of Brazilian culture, splicing in old footage of films and carnaval and cartoons. It may or my not have something to do with cineaste Jose Nelson, I don’t know, I can’t figure it out.. I like it though. And keep an eye out for a George Bush playing percussion!

Clip of a documentary made by TV Cultura — sign the petition to get this shown in full!

And more — A Globo documentary (using some clips from the TV Cultura one, incidentally), just the first bit