Silvio Caldas – Madrugada, 1935 – 1938 (1968 LP)

Silvio Caldas
MADRUGADA
LP released 1968 on Imperial (IMP 30107)
Recordings, 1935-38

A1         Chão De Estrelas     (1937)
A2         Arrependimento         (1935)
A3         Arranha-Céu         (1937)
A4         Inquietação         (1935)
A5         Madrugada         (1936)
A6         Minha Palhoça         (1935)
B1         Quase Que Eu Disse     (1935)
B2         Pastorinhas         (1937)
B3         Confessando Que Te Adoro (1937)
B4         Professora         (1938)
B5         Choro Por Teu Amor     (1937)
B6         Nunca Mais         (1936)

This post is dedicated to minha sereia no outro lado do mar, Marta.  Veja que tô em baixo tua janela.

Needledrop info: 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.

I have a recurring dream where I am walking the streets of Santa Teresa alone at night.  It’s late and there’s nobody really around, just a few stray couples in the scattered restaurants and cafes. Sometimes I am following the old trolley rails, the bondê that still runs there, and sometimes just walking freely, but always climbing and descending, climbing and descending the old hills of that neighborhood.  I drink deeply of the bucolic air, a few degrees cooler and more refreshing here than elsewhere in the city, and as I turn a corner I hear a faint trace of a song.  In those hills on an otherwise silent evening it is difficult to gauge the providence of such sounds, how near or how far their source, and this  uncertainty is only amplified in dreams. But the wind carries the notes of a flute from some stray window, balanced above a slowly strummed guitar  and a muted cavaquinho.  The road twists around further and I am greeted by one of Santa Teresa’s breathtaking views, an ocean of city lights undulating below me, crowned with wisps of cloud blown in off the sea and backlit by moonlight.  An then, overpowering all of it, soars the voice of Silvio Caldas, that vozeirão, and the words of Orestes Barbosa like a broom sweeping me away on their Chaõ de Estrelas.

This LP is a late-60s compilation of classic recordings originally on 78 rpm discs.  As was typical for the Imperial label, the jacket contains no useful information whatsoever, but I’ve cobbled together the most likely recording dates of the songs by consulting the Dicionário Cravo Albin da MPB.  Caldas recorded many of these songs multiple times but these all seem to be the original versions, with quite a few of them being the A and B sides of the same 78.

Silvio Caldas is most usually thought of as the godfather of seresta or serenata, a genre of music whose Iberian name is a linguistic cousin of the English “serenade.”  Seresta is indeed music meant to be played late at night beneath the window of would-be lover, sung with voices pregnant with unironic romanticism and copious amounts of vibrato.  As a genre it is also related to the modinhas, lundus, and choros that also play a part in the origins of samba, and all of which are felt in the repertoires of the other big stars of Brazil’s “Golden Era” like Francisco Alves and Orlando Silva.   But although he is immortalized as “O Serresteiro” (incidentally, the name of an LP on the Recife-based Mocombo label that I stupidly passed up buying once…), Silvio was also an ace at singing sambas and marchinhas.  This brief little LP collection represents those styles well here too.  The immortal sambista Noel Rosa contributed the upbeat Pastorinhas, and Ary Barroso wrote the philosophical paean to romantic suffering and equanimity, Inqueitação.  The lyrics to Inquietação are brilliant, but it’s the partnership between Caldas and Orestes Barbosa for which most people remember Silvio the Seresteiro.  Orestes Barbosa was an established poet, writer of crônicas, and critic back in the days when those roles didn’t exclude active participation in popular music.  He wrote a an enormous amount of song lyrics, collaborating with the likes of Noel Rosa, Francisco Alves, Hervé Cordovil, and others.  But it is the stunning Chão de Estrelas with Silvio Caldas that most people associate with his name today, and at the time it even drew compliments from modernist poet Manuel Bandeira.   The song has been rerecorded countless times from artists as diverse as Maysa to Os Mutantes.  It has that rare perfect fusion of melody and words that is instantly recognizable in anyone’s interpretation.  It’s worth noting that the lyrics are truly written as poem, without a single line or stanza repeated throughout.   Unfortunately the only other collaborations from the pair featured on this collection are “Arranha-céu” and “Quase que eu disse.”

The production on these old records from the 30s was incredible as well.  In an interview at SESC during the 1990s, Silvio went on a bit about the luxuries afforded to artists in modern recording studios, and how back in his day they had none of that.  It was a bunch of people crammed into a tiny little room and arranged around a single microphone.  Then it is all the more impressive that the results usually had such a great balance of instruments and voice.  The version of Chão de Estrelas here not only sounds great but has an especially effective execution, with all the instruments taking their lead from Silvio’s vocal and guitar, at times dragging the beat and giving the arrangement an unhurried feel that I haven’t heard on any subsequent recordings (including Silvio’s) that tend to play it with straight meter.   Some of the tunes here have piano as well.  Sometimes it sounds like they had to put the piano in the hallways outside the sound booth, which may well have been the case! On other tunes like Arranha-céu the piano is up front in the mix.  Another arrangement I love comes early in the collection: Arrependimento (Silvio Caldas – Cristovão de Alencar), which is driven along by pandeiro, the only percussion instrument to feature on most of these recordings.  The aural gooseflesh moment comes about halfway through, when Silvio sings “ai, meu deus” before a slight pause in the music after which the full band comes back in with exquisite vocal harmonies to sing the next verse.  These ‘época de ouro’ songs were almost didactic lessons in musical and poetic economy, little essays packed into three minutes or less.

This needledrop was done close to a year ago when my setup was different, and as tempting as it was to start all over with my improved system, I just don’t have time.  Although my current soundcard has a lower noise floor and the capacity for a higher sampling rate, the nature of the source material is such that I think it would be a case of diminishing returns — this is, after all, an LP that used 78s as their source material and is quite noisy to begin with.

 

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Tim Maia – Nuvens (1982)

NUVENS
Tim Maia
Released 1982 on Seroma LP-TM-009
Reissue 2011 on Editora Abril

1 Nuvens
(Deny King, Cassiano)
2 Outra mulher
(Tim Maia)
3 Ar puro
(Tim Maia, Robson Jorge)
4 O trem – 1ª parte
(Tim Maia)
5 A festa
(Tim Maia)
6 Apesar dos poucos anos
(Beto Cajueiro, Tim Maia)
7 Deixar as coisas tristes para depois
(Pedro Carlos Fernandes)
8 Ninguém gosta de se sentir só
(Tim Maia)
9 Hadock Lobo esquina com Matoso
(Tim Maia)
10 O trem – 2ª parte
(Tim Maia)
11 Casinha de sapé
(Hyldon)
12 Sol brilhante
(Rubens Sabino, Tim Maia)

 Tim Maia would have been 70 years old today! So in spite of the efforts of US corporations imposing their mentality on the rest of the world, I am dedicating one more post to the grande mestre.

In his biography of Tim Maia, Vale Tudo, Nelson Motta called this album the best Tim Maia record that nobody ever heard.  Similarly the notes on this reissue go to great pains to point out its small cult following and contrast it against its lack of commercial impact.  Motta is prone to hyperbole in general, and the shoddy liner notes from Editora Abril on their series of Tim reissues can’t be taken too seriously.  But I remember the first time I ever heard this album, at the house of a guy who had an autographed vinyl copy.  I hadn’t even known of its existence, and the rather unflattering photo of Tim entering his Marshmallow Man phase had me skeptical.  So I was surprised at hearing all these new solid tunes, and after much beer and churrasco on that lazy Sunday afternoon I was probably ready to acclaim the album in similar hyperbolic terms.  It would be years before I was able to hear it again.  Does it deserve to be better known?  Most certainly.  Is it one of Tim’s best albums?  Depends on the listener, but its obviously well crafted and a mostly strong set of songs.  (However it is hard to reflect on the music when you can BARELY HEAR what is going on — see below!)  The thing about “Nuvens” is that you can’t call it a “commercial failure” because, as Motta said, nobody really got the chance to hear it.  So even Brazilians who were fans before Tim received the recent surge of hipster interest were by and large unaware of this album.

At this point in his career, Tim had pretty much alienated everyone in the music business through his often volatile temperament, penchant for not showing up for high profile gigs, and appetite for hedonism.  Label execs and promoters were wary of dealing with him.  During the 70s, however, Tim was one of the first Brazilian artists to control the publishing rights for his own material: perhaps taking inspiration from some of his North American soul music counterparts, he recognized music publishing as one of the most egregious forms of exploitation and set up his own company, SEROMA, to publish his songs.  Seroma was a publishing company first and only later an occasional record label, in which capacity Tim consistently lost money.  In many ways Tim was a shrewd businessmen but a horrible administrator, promulgating the motto that Seroma was the only label that “pays on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays after 9 o’clock.”  He kept the label’s treasury under lock and key in his own apartment, was known to occasionally pay musicians with drugs in lieu of money, and seems to have decided what to pay his band Vitória Régia based on his mood.  The decision to make Seroma a label in the first place was practically an accident, developing after RCA rejected the double-album project with which they had lured Tim away from Polygram.  This was what would become the two Racional albums, the sessions for which started out as straightforward soul and funk songs until Tim was introduced to his new-found (and short-lived) religion in Cultura Racional, after which he discarded all the lyrics and any vocal tracks, replacing them with bizarre musings on the world of Animal Energy and commands to “Read the Book, the Book of Life!”   The second Seroma release came a few years later with a wonderful little album, 1978’s “Tim Maia Em Inglês.”  Seroma would stay dormant as a label for a while afterwards, with Tim putting out records on major labels again (plus one on Som Livre in 1977).  Once more disenchanted with the music industry’s vampiric practices, in 1982 he resolved to release yet another album himself and prepared for it by putting out a single that yielded a huge hit, “Do Leme ao Pontal,” and then funneling all the profits from it into the new record.

Unfortunately for Tim, without a distribution deal, Tim was essentially doing all the legwork for the promotion and distribution himself, work for which he clearly was not suited.  The record went largely unnoticed, and was subsequently overshadowed by the phenomenal ‘O Descobridor das Setes Mares’ from the following year.

So, when I first heard that this record was at long last being reissued in 2011, I was very excited.  Until I began to actually hear the results from Editora Abril, that is.  Ed.Abril is actually a publishing company, responsible for the likes of trash-news magazine Veja, and their reissue series was originally intended to be sold at news stands.   In spite of having had a few cool series on LP (the informative História da MPB composers series), they are an empire of paper, and it shows.  The reissues had 50 page “booklets” that were light on information but full of garish graphic design and superfluous photos probably culled from their vast archives (Lulu Santos? Gretchen? why??).  And the sound was PAPER THIN.  Conspicuously avoiding any mention of master tapes or remastering, they managed to somehow downgrade the sound for the records that were previously widely available on CD at one time, such as his first four albums on Polydor.  This isn’t just the nit-picking of an obsessive audio junkie either.  Compare the Ed. Abril versions with any of those, or in fact the newer releases from the Universal boxset, and you will be forced to admit that Editora Abril did something very very bad to the audio.  All the more tragic in the case of ‘Tim Maia em Inglês” and “Nuvens” because those two titles have been long out of print. and fetching ridiculous prices from collectors.  It is painfully obvious that used subpar source material, and then applied a heavy-handed “noise filter” that makes these tracks sound like low-bitrate mp3s even when you are listening to 16-bit PCM WAVs.  Now that the the Abril editions are also out of print, I have been seeing vendors on Mercado Livre (a place notoriously out of touch with reality when it comes to pricing records) selling those pitiful reissues for questionable amounts of money justified by the catchphrase “out of print”.. Time to put a stop to that by any means.

Whether all this preamble above is necessary before talking about the actual music is debatable, but I will say this:  the experience of listening to this shoddy reissue is so much less enjoyable than hearing it on the original vinyl on that lazy Sunday afternoon, that it makes any kind of objective assessment nearly impossible for me.  That is in fact why I waited a year to even write this post – my disappointment was so profound that it killed completely killed my enthusiasm about the record.

Working again with his frequent collaborators Cassiano and Hyldon, Nuvens is from the start an organic set of soul tunes.  The production is slick but avoids the pitfalls of so much early 80s music (contemporary records by icons like Chico Buarque, Caetano or Gil sound positively silly by comparison).  Acoustic guitar, electric piano, percussion, meticulous horn arrangements.  The opening title cut has Cassiano’s melodic stamp of mellow soul all over it, and the next three tunes are pure Tim.  In their original analog form this is a record for breezy summer days.  “Ar Puro” picks up the tempo to get the dance floor moving, and the instrumental funk workout ‘O Trem’ is tremendous, although oddly divided up between the first and second sides.  The magic is broken by the turkey “A Festa” which is ruined by overdubs of giggling women, and even without them the song is the equivalent of Tim ‘phoning it in’.  “Apesar De Poucos Anos” was not written by Cassiano but sounds as if it were, his falsetto backing vocals adding to that feeling.   It could be an affect of the lousy CD reissue but Tim’s lead vocal is almost completely lost in parts of this song, making for a very odd mix.  The ballad that follows is really one of Tim’s best.   “Deixar As Coisas Tristes Prá Depois” opens with a baroque-tingued acoustic guitar figure by Pedro Carlos Fernandes, very brief but very unlike anything else in his discography, and which continues throughout the tune.  The production and arrangement is majestic — or rather it would be if it weren’t stifled by Editora Abril.  The few bars of acoustic guitar and saxophone at the minute and a half mark just slay me.  Next is an awkwardly direct, autobiographical “Ninguém Gostar De Sentir Só” that gives a glimpse to the loneliness hidden behind Tim’s ebullient personality.  It’s also a great tune.  The next is a turkey – “Hadock Lobo Esquina Com Matoso” pays tribute to a São Paulo streetcorner and Tim’s days ‘before the fame’ hanging out with Roberto and Erasmo Carlos.  It’s honestly pretty awful.  O Trem (part 2) continues the funk workout from the first side.  “Na Rua, Na Chuva, Na Fazenda (Casinha de Sapé)” is Hyldon’s signature song and the title of his first album.  Tim is a natural choice for recording this song (which has suffered some awful remakes in recent years) and his voice is much more powerful than Hyldon, but I prefer the original for being more emotionally satisfying and better arranged.  The closing number “Sol brilhante” has a riff that is uncannily similar to the Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love.”  It could be just my imagination or coincidence but it wouldn’t be the first time Tim lifted something directly from US music.  It’s a light and fluffy bit of summer breeze that blows shut the window pane on this little treasure of a record.  Hopefully it won’t be another 20 years before somebody gives this one the reissue it deserves.  I listen to this disc much less than I would if it sounded even halfway decent.

 

Noriel Vilela – Eis o "Ôme" (1969)

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EIS O ”ÔME”
Noriel Vilela
Released 1969 on Continental CLP 11565
Reissue 2011 EMI/COPA 0095

1 Promessado
(Carlos Pedro)
2 Saravando Xangô
(Avarése, Edenal Rodrigues)
3 Só o Ôme
(Edenal Rodrigues)
4 Meu caboclo não deixa
(Avarése, Edenal Rodrigues)
5 Pra Iemanjá levar
(Delcio Carvalho)
6 Samba das águas
(Josan de Mattos)
7 Eu tá vendo no copo
(Avarése, Edenal Rodrigues)
8 Acredito sim
(Avarése, Edenal Rodrigues)
9 Peço licença
(Avarése)
10 Cacundê, cacundá
(José de Souza, Orlando)
11 Acocha malungo
(Sidney Martins)
12 Saudosa Bahia
(Noriel Vilela, Sidney Martins)

——————————

Here’s a genuine relic. The sole album from the somewhat mysterious Noriel Vilela. It seems that not a whole lot is known about him. He had a basso profundo voice. He sang with a vocal group in the early 60s, Nilo Amaro e Seus Cantores de Ebáno, whose American doo-wop and gospel-influenced songs featured a huge all-black chorus where he sang alongside three baritones. The group only recorded one 78 and one long-player that I know of, and it was Noriel’s memorable bass voice that carried their biggest hit, “Leva o sodade,” where he sang lead on two verses.

After the Cantores de Ebáno kind of dropped out of circulation in the mid to late 60s, Noriel attended to his family and his job as a machinist, until being encouraged to approach Continental Records about recording his own album.

The result couldn’t be more different than the music of Nilo Amaro. The album is a nonstop upbeat blast of sambalança , samba-rock, and sometimes just plain samba. Accompaniment of funky sixties organ, drums, brass and woodwinds, and an occasional electric guitar that gets a solo on the finale. Smartly there is some baritone sax and bass clarinet to play off of Noriel’s voice. And the lyrics of pretty much every tune treat themes tied to the syncretistic Umbanda religion of Brazil. Devotional prayers to the orishás Xango and Iamanja never swung so hard as they do here. The title track is loaded with the mystique of crossroads vows, cocks crowing at midnight, and getting your problems resolved with, um, a little help from your friends. It’s a scorcher of a tune. Then there is the fairly straightforward sambas of “Meu caboclo não deixa” and “Acredito sim,” which is a simple but effective proclamation of faith in an often stigmatized religion. Which brings me to another interesting thing about this record. In the late 60s and throughout the 70s there was something of a niche market for umbanda records. All the ones I’ve come across were on small labels or specialized subsidiaries of larger labels. They tended to feature mostly batuques, traditional or stylized recordings intended for ceremonial contexts even if listened to for leisure on a hi-fi. There were exceptions, like the album I borrowed from a friend that has a swinging cover of “Jesus Cristo” by Roberto Carlos. But mostly it’s ritualized, ceremonial music, and not shot through with swinging pop elements like this album from Noriel Vilela. Of course, the genre of samba has a rich symbiotic relationship with the terreiros of Afrobrazilian religious traditions, and references both subtle and explicit can be found throughout the history that music’s sung poetry. But this album isn’t straight up samba. In fact it seems more aimed at the discotheques than the botequins. So although the title cut may have been a hit, there was probably a limit as to just how far a record like this could penetrate the mainstream, and it almost surely was regarded as something akin to novelty-music or kitsch by the snobbish gatekeepers of MPB at the time.

Perhaps it’s telling that Noriel’s biggest hit had nothing whatsoever to do with umbanda. It was also not even on this LP. Released only as a single, his rendition of Tennesee Ernie Ford’s hit “Sixteen Tons” was a smash and has become something of a cult hit over the years. Here it is on Youtube

16 Toneladas

As you can hear, it’s pretty badass. The lyrics also have nothing to do with the original from Ernest Ford (via Merle Travis), but are just a celebration of how groovy and badass their samba and sambalança is.. If the producers of these reissues had any sense it would have been included here. Probably a complication with publishing rights or the desire not to pay them by the record execs.

Because Noriel has nothing to say on the subject. He died young in 1974, apparently from an allergic reaction to anesthetic at a dentist’s office. His recording career seemed to already have been at a standstill by then, but I’d like to think that if he’d lived longer he would at least have been cast in the role of a singing frog in an animated film. At least, that’s often the bizarre image that pops into my head. An animated frog singing about umbanda.

 

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Marcos Valle – Marcos Valle (1974)

MARCOS VALLE

Released 1974 on Odeon (SMOFB 3854)
Reissued 2011 in the box Marcos Valle Tudo

1 No rumo do sol
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
2 Meu herói
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
3 Só se morre uma vez
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
4 Casamento, filhos e convenções
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
5 Remédio pro coração
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
6 Brasil X México
(Marco Valle)
7 Tango
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
8 Nossa vida começa na gente
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
9 Novelo de lã
(Walter Mariani, Marcos Valle)
10 Cobaia
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
11 Charlie Bravo
(Marcos Valle)

Marcos Valle – vocals, piano, arrangements
Tavito – arrangements
Wagner Tiso – keyboards
José Roberto Betrami – keyboards
Helio Delmiro – electric guitar
Luizão Maia and Alex Malheiros – bass
Robertinho Silva – drums
Vocals – Márcio Lott, Renato Correa, Ronaldo Correa, Marisinha, Regininha, Malu, Aninha e Claudio Telles

Produced by Milton Miranda
Musical direction by Lindolfo Gaya
Production assistant – Tavito
Recording technicians – Roberto, Dacy and Toninho
Remix engineer – Z.J. Merky
Photos and layout – Flavio D’Alincourt
Art – Roberto Souza
Cover – Juarez Machado

2011 reissue coordinated by Charles Gavin
Supervision by Marcos Valle
Remastered by Ricardo Gardia at Magic Master, RJ

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Marcos Valle’s restive spirit once again sees him changing things up. Rather than attempt to repeat the winning formula of 1973’s “Previsão do Tempo”, this album finds Marcos nesting in the clouds of baroque pop and blue-eyed soul. The vocal and orchestral arrangements – aided and abetted by composer Tavito – are meticulous, and the production, as always, is first-rate and delicious. Largely a mellow affair dominated by ballads, it is punctuated with a few more upbeat tunes beginning the with sensitive anti-hero anthem “Meu herói.” While not packing the pure funk punch of the Azymuth tunes of the last album, there are some funky hooks – “Casamentos, filhos e convenções” has a very satisfying chorus with chord changes to offset the verse well enough to be called perfection. Clavinet through a wah-pedal mixed with strings, brass, piano. Very nice analog synth work from Wagner Tiso and José Roberto Betrami on the whole record. The song “Remedio pro coração” reminds me of Taiguara’s albums from the early to mid 70s, but less melancholic and angst-ridden. “Tango” is probably the only Marcos Valle tune to have a bandeon, and is actually almost a tango, and a great song. “Nossa vida começa a gente” is a sonic orgasm, its lush pop exterior subverted by the inclusion of what appears to be a surdo drum dropped into the chorus that would almost make this prime material for a dub remix (but.. please don’t do this). “Novela de lã” is another ballad, downbeat with a lot of room for dynamics, muted electric guitar sneaking in some jazz chords, Hammond organ threatening to swell but never actually doing so, and of course more layered vocal harmonies. “Cobaia” is one of my favorite slow tunes on the album mostly due to the piano line that comes in about 27 seconds in and its interplay with the acoustic guitar. The whole album is full of these subtle touches that disguise the sheer creativity of the arrangements. Seven of the eleven songs clock in around two and a half minutes, three tunes barely crack the three-minute mark, and the album closes with one “long” tune that almost reaches five minutes, the gorgeous instrumental “Charlie Bravo”, which has Wagner Tiso’s influence in it pretty strongly. There is no track by track sessionography for this that I am aware of, which is a shame for this tune in particular – I have a feeling that Marcos himself may not even play on the song but only composed it. Well, “only” composed a five-minute elegy to his own legacy in a composition that evokes everything that came before on the record, and in a way much of his achievements as a musician and composer over the last decade. It is both a fitting and beguiling closer to this very necessary boxset. It leaves me wanting to hear more – and once again, these last few http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifvolumes in the box lack any alternate mixes or bonus tracks – but it also reminds that there is already so much here to keep a lover of good music happy, we should really just be thankful.

I know it was a long wait for this last piece of the Valle box. I hope its been worth it. By far this box has been the most satisfying reissues of any Brazilian artist’s back catalog in many years.

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Marcos Valle – Vento Sul (1972) with O Terço

“Vento Sul”
Marcos Valle
with O Terço

Released 1972 on Odeon SMOFB 3725
Reissued 2011 in the boxset Marcos valle Tudo

1 Revolução orgânica
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
2 Malena
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
3 Pista 02
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
4 Vôo cego
(Cláudio Guimarães)
5 Bôdas de sangue
(Marcos Valle)
6 Democústico
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
7 Vento Sul
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
8 Rosto barbado
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
9 Mi hermoza
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
10 Paisagem de Mariana
(Frederyko)
11 Deixa o mundo e o sol entrar
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)BONUS TRACK
12. O beato

Marcos Valle – vocals, piano
Ian Guest- orchestration and arrangements on `Bodas de sangue`
Hugo Bellard – orchestration and arrangements on `Deixa o mundo e o sol entrar`

O Terço:
Sérgio Hinds – electric guitar and coro
Vinícius Cantuária – drums, second vocal on ‘Revolução orgânica’, coro
César das Mercês – bass, and coro

Cláudio Guimarães – electric guitar
Fredera – electric guitar on ‘Pasagem de Mariana’
Robertinho Silva – drums, percussion
Paulo Guimarães – flute

Produced by Milton Miranda
Musical director – Lindolfo Gaya

———————-

“Vento Sul, from 1972, is an album very different from the earlier records – I experienced a lot in terms of rhythms, harmonies, melodies, arrangements and instrumentation. O Terço, one of the best bands of the era, accompanied me in all this and we recorded it all together. I also counted on the collaboration of Fredera, Robertinho Silva and the talented twins Cláudio and Paulo Guimarães (they were also part of the band in our shows). The bonus track here is a verion I did for Odeon of “O beato”, a song that was part of the soundtrack for the novela ‘Selva de Pedre.’

I consider this album a very experimental one: it was practically created in a modest fisherman’s house that we rented in Búzios, in a communitarian spirit. It marked my ‘hippie’ era…
– Marcos Valle, liner note / blurb

So here were are (finally) with the next installment as the Brothers Valle continue their trend of changing the approach to songwriting and recording and continued to make ingenious decisions regarding their musicians and production choices. This album features the band O Terço as part of the backing band, which unfortunately for Brazilians of a certain age will be associated with wanky overblown progressive rock from the mid-70s. But in their early days they were much more psychedelic, and I make no apologies for my own soft spot for early 70s prog. And on this album O Terço sounds more like the earliest O Terço than O Terço actually did by 1972 — the dreamy, acoustic haze from when Jorge Amiden was in the band (see the ‘Karma’ album also posted here). Also in the musician credits are stalwarts like Robertinho on the drums and Paulo Guimarães on flute

The marriage is a happy one. The album was recorded in Búzios, which was practically a hippie commune that received famous visitors like Joplin and Mick Jagger in the years leading up to this album, before it blew up into an overpriced tourist trap. It is the first album since 1963’s “Samba Demais” to feature songs that were not written by at least one of the Valle brothers. The collective creative process on this album is evident by how smoothly tunes like “Vôo cego” by Cláudio Guimarães and “Paisagem de Mariana” (Frederyko) fit in with the Valle’s tunes. In fact “Vôo cego” (or ‘Blind Flight’ in English) is one of my favorite songs on the album. It is followed by a beautiful instrumental tunes, ‘Bodas de sangue’, that was arranged by Ian Guest, someone I don’t know much about other than the fact that he also has album credits on Donato’s “Quem é quem” and on some Milton Banana Trio albums; and that, contrary to his very English-sounding name, he was in fact Brazilian and an important figure in jazz circles and taught quite a few students a music professor. The song is followed up by the quirky, somewhat experimental, somewhat silly ‘Democústico’, where you’ll hear an agogô played in an afoxê rhythm balanced against squiggly wah-wah guitar lines.

The lysergic textures of this record can hypnotize the unwary, so do not listen to this while operating heavy machinery. The title song “Vento sul” has an open, meandering, incompleteness to it that is equally charming and beguiling. Reflective lyrics dealing with the identity politics of alternative lifestyles in the tune ‘Rosto barbado’ give way to playfully schizoid moodshifts in ‘Mi hermoza’, which alternates between open acoustic strumming and big aural spaces to a chugging midsection that is about as hard-rocking as the Valles are likely to get. Sounds as much or more like an O Terço song than the tunes here actually written by O Terço members, in fact. It is followed by “Paisagem de Mariana”, a song that fits flows nicely in its surroundings and which bears a pretty heavy stylistic similarity to any number of Milton Nascimento/Ronaldo Bastos/Fernando Brandt compositions between 1970 – 72. “Deixa o mundo e o sol entrar” is a another gorgeous tune anchored in acoustic guitars with careful piano, occasional drums, and a meandering melody line that is as warm as the song’s title. It is a perfect finale for this masterpiece-in-miniature. For this reissue, I actually wish they had included a minute of blank audio / silence at the end in which to collect our wits. Not that “O beato” doesn’t fit with the rest of this — oddly enough, for a telenovela track, it is as equally hazy and tripped out as anything else on this disc. But the original album has a kind of poetic closure to it with “Deixa o mundo” that gets a bit lost when followed immediately by another song.

Since it is sandwiched in Valle’s discography between two giant albums, ‘Garra’ and ‘Previsão do Tempo’, it seems like `Vento Sul` may have gotten overlooked to some degree. At least one of my Brazilian friends who is old enough to have been alive when this album was released (unlike myself), and who is also more of an O Terço fan that I am, was completely unaware of it until I passed along this reissue to him. And as much as I personally love this album, it lacks any obvious hit singles or even anything that jumps out as particularly “catchy”, which could turn off listeners who are particularly enamored with the Valle Brothers’ pop sensibilities. Even though it has ‘big names’ attached to it, this album FEELS obscure, with repeated listenings never quite diminishing the sense that we are privy to some aural hidden treasure and secret between friends. These are qualities that should put it high up on the list of favorites for anyone into ‘cult’ favorite psychedelic Brazilian music from the late 60s and 70s. Marcos, in his blurb (too short to be called liner notes, really) seems to insinuate that this album is kind of an exception or even diversion in his discography, an experimental side-trip. It may be that, but it is also an exploration and perhaps a deepening of some of the aural territory he had already been traversing in the previous two albums. The next album, `Previsão do Tempo’, marks a return to more structured compositions, soul and funk influences, and songs that are easier to sing along to when you play them loudly. But don’t shrug off this album – it deserves a careful listen, with or without additional chemical enhancement.

Back cover liner notes, free translation (as in loose, as well as the fact that I don’t charge for this…)

I’m in the middle of the album. Five songs are already recorded. I’m certain that they are going to be some of the best things I’ve ever done. As good or better than “Samba Demais” (my first album) or “Viola Enluarda.”

The songs on this album were made with much care and tranquility, and I sincerely think that it’s been a long, long time since I’ve done anything that pleases me so much. I’ll say the same for the lyrics by Paulo Sérgio. We’re giving you the full picture of what we’ve recently been sketching out in our music. Nothing rushed, no worries about commercialism.

Paulo Sérgio came up with the idea to form a group. We formed one. It was a wonderful idea.

Sérgio, VInicius, Cézar, Frederico, Paulo e Cláudio (twins), Robertinho e Maurício Maestro. Musicians and people of the highest caliber.

We are working like eight arrangers. Every day we get together to hang out and talk and the ideas for each song keep coming. And the result couldn’t be better, I think; we all think so.

The album cover is from Juarez Macho, logically. Renato is responsible for the production and I can say that he also is part of the group, because he’s collaborating like a motherfucker with us on this album.

We are lucky to have the recording technicians are Zilmar and Nivaldo. Milton Miranda is the Director of Production, and is also one of the most sensational people I’ve ever known.

It’s all there.

– Marcos

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