Paulinho da Viola – Meu Tempo É Hoje (2003)

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 PAULINHO DA VIOLA
Meu Tempo É Hoje
2003 Biscoito Fino

    1     Meu Mundo É Hoje (Wilson Batista)        1:24
2     Pot-Pourri: Injúria/Recado/O Sol Nascerá/Jurar Com Lagrimas
(Cartola / Milton Casquinha / Elton Medeiros / Paulinho da Viola )
feat. Elton Medeiros  4:07
3     14 Anos (Paulinho da Viola)    1:32
4     Rosinha, Essa Menina (Paulinho da Viola) feat. César Faria     1:42
5     Ruas Que Sonhei (Paulinho da Viola)      1:59
6     Sinal Fechado (Paulinho da Viola)    2:43
7     Chora, Cavaquinho (Waldemar de Abreu) feat. César Faria     2:02
8     Carinhoso (João de Barro / Pixinguinha) feat. Marisa Monte
9     Pra Fugir da Saudade (Elton Medeiros / Paulinho da Viola) feat.  Iris, Julieta, and Eliane Faria  2:24
10     Filosofia (Noel Rosa)    2:39
11     Pot-Purri: De Paulo da Portela a Paulinho da Viola/Foi Um Rio Que …
(Monarco / Francisco Santana / Paulinho da Viola) feat. Velha Guarda da Portela     4:21
12     Conflito (Marcos Diniz, Barbeirinho de Jacarezinho) feat. Zeca Pagodinho3:29
13 Retiro (Paulinho da Viola)     1:09
14     Coisas Do Mundo, Minha Nêga (Paulinho da Viola)   3:17
15     Um Sarau Para Raphael (Paulinho da Viola) feat. Nó em Pingo d’Água     4:38
16     Argumento (Paulinho da Viola)    0:37

I haven’t done a blog post in over a week so in a way this is a “filler” post.  Of course nothing Paulinho has done deserves to be called ‘filler’ even if it isn’t a major entry in his huge body of work.  This is a soundtrack record; I highly recommend the film, which is not so much a biopic as a musical portrait of one of Brazil’s national treasures.  On this record, as in the film, Paulinho performs alongside old friends and new as well as a few solo pieces.  A  purist to the core, he works through some classic samba and a little bit of choro with guests like Zeca Pagodinho, Cristina Buarque, and Elton Medeiros (with whom he started his career).  The only thing keeping this record from being perfect is the presence of Marisa Monte – a robot built by scientists working for the music industry – who sings an utterly forgettable version of “Carinhoso.”  I am also of the opinion that a moratorium should be declared on that song as well as Garota da Ipanema, with all due respect to Pixinguinha, Jobim and Moraes.  But this is also why God invented the “skip” button.  Feel free to use it.

There is a relaxed, unrehearsed quality to a lot of the songs here that is very charming.  A couple songs feature family members:  “Rosinha, Essa Menina” and “Chora Cavaquinho” feature his father, César Faria, one of the founders of the Época de Ouro band along with Jacob do Bandolim, and who would pass away a mere four years after this recording, while “Pra Fugir da Saudade” features his daughters.  A high point of the record is Zeca Pagodinho’s appearance, which injects a needed bit of energy into this otherwise nostalgic retrospective.  Not that nostalgia or saudades are bad: the medley with Elton Medeiros (who rocks out on the matchbook) is a bit sloppy but putting “O Sol Nascerá” (co-written with Cartola) next to “Jurar Com Lágrimas” works really well, and the medley with the Velha Guarda da Portela is also nice.  A few of these tracks sound like they came straight from the folio microphones used on the film and so have an almost field-recording quality (you can hear birds chirping outside the windows during “Retiro”).  The questionable acoustics of the “room sound” oddly draw your attention to the intimacy of Paulinho’s renditions on those songs, but I’m still glad for the richer studio textures of Noel Rosa’s “Filosofia” and his own “Sinal Fechado.”

If it wasn’t for his head full of gray hair, you wouldn’t know Paulinho  had aged a day since his first recordings in the mid 1960s.  Granted, this record is now 10 years old (the minimum for being featured on this blog…) but he still sounds this good today.  For fans who already love and respect the walking reservoir of samba who is Paulinho da Viola, this is a nice record to add to your collection, as is the film.  For newcomers, this little splash should inspire a deeper dive.

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Candeia – Candeia (1970)

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Candeia (1970)
1970 Equipe (EQ-865)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Paulinho da Viola – Nervos de Aço (1973)

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NERVOS DE AÇO
Paulinho da Viola
1973 Odeon (SMOFB 3797)
1996 EMI Abbey Road Remasters (85206-2)

1 Sentimentos
(Mijinha)
2 Comprimido
(Paulinho da Viola)
3 Não leve a mal
(Paulinho da Viola)
4 Nervos de aço
(Lupicínio Rodrigues)
5 Roendo as unhas
(Paulinho da Viola)
6 Não quero mais amar a ninguém
(Zé da Zilda, Carlos Cachaça, Cartola)
7 Nega Luzia
(Jorge de Castro, Wilson Batista)
8 Cidade submersa
(Paulinho da Viola)
9 Sonho de um carnaval
(Chico Buarque)
10 Choro negro
(Fernando Costa, Paulinho da Viola)

 

Copinha – Flute and clarinet
Cristovão Bastos – Piano, harpsichord, electric piano
Nelsinho – trombone
Paulinho da Viola – acoustic guitar and cavaquinho
Dininho – electric bass
Drums – Juquinha, Eliseu (on ‘Não quero mais amar ninguém’)
Percussion – Elton Medeiros, Dininhos, Elizeu, Juquinha, DazinhoProduced by Milton Miranda
Musical director – Maestro Gaya
Orchestration and arrangements – Gaya, Nelsinho, Cristovão Bastos,
Paulinho da Viola, CopinhaTechnical director – Z.J. Merky
Recording technicians – Toninho and Dacy
Remix engineer – Nivaldo Duarte
Album artwork – Elifas Andreato

Remastered at Abbey Road, London, May 1996 by Peter Mew
Under supervision by Paulinho da Viola
Projecto Coordinator – Sonia Antunes

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This is another classic of Paulinho da Viola’s illustrious discography and of samba more generally. As with most of his albums, when not featuring his own material Paulinho choses to reinterpret tunes by masters of the genre to whom he owes spiritual and musical debts. On this record we get Lupicínio Rodriguez (the title track), Cartola & Carlos Cachaça, Wilson Batista, and — a more contemporary master – Chico Buarque. Of the originals there is “Não leva o mal” which is an open critique of the flaws and crises in the directorship of his beloved Portela samba school. The song also features the harpsichord, NOT a traditional samba instrument, which at first sort of through me off as being unnecessarily ‘innovative.’ I am still not sure how I feel about it but I have made my peace with it being there. The song is a classic, plain and simply, but when I get my hands on the master tapes I am going straight back to Abbey Road and mixing out that damn harpsichord.

Another odd original on this is “Roendo as unhas” (Nail-biting, biting your nails, etc) which has a nervous tension and angular structure that sounds like it could have been found on a Tom Zé album (such as, for example, Estudando o Samba). “Comprimido”, appearing earlier on the album, also has a somewhat adventurous arrangement. “Cidade submersa” has some gorgeous electric piano work on it from Cristovão Bastos. The album ends with an elegant instrumental “Choro negro.” All in all, the original compositions on this album are not Paulinho’s best work (my opinion of course, divergence and arguments are welcome), but his reinterpretations/reinventions of the other composers here are top-notch. The album seems to have been received well by the public and the critics, nevertheless Paulinho took a break from recording for two years after this album.

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Paulinho da Viola – Paulinho da Viola (1978)

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Paulinho da Viola
1978 EMI-Odeon (062 421133)
1996 Abbey Road Remasters Series
(Peter Mew remaster)

1 – Sentimento perdido (Élton Medeiros – Paulinho da Viola)
2 – Atravessou (Paulinho da Viola)
3 – Mudei de opinião (Casquinha – Bubú da Portela)
4 – Coração leviano (Paulinho da Viola)
5 – Sofrer (Paulinho da Viola – Capinan)
6 – Uma história diferente (Paulinho da Viola)
7 – Cenários (Catoni – Jorge Mexeu)
8 – Pelos vinte (Paulinho da Viola – Sergio Natureza)
9 – Apoteose ao Samba (Silas de Oliveira – Mano Décio da Viola)
10 – Sarau para Radamés (Paulinho da Viola)
11 – Nos horizontes do mundo (Paulinho da Viola)
12 – Miudinho (Tradicional – Adaptação: Bucy Moreira – Raul Marques – Monarco)
Participação: Bucy Moreira, Raul Marques e Monarco

Produced by Fernando Faro
Production director – Mariozinho Rocha
Recording technician – Dacy
Mixing engineer – Nivaldo Duarte
Mastering and cutting – Osmar Furtado
Album cover by Elifas Andreato
Photos by Ivson and Paulinho da Viola

Recorded at Odeon studios, Rio de Janeiro in September 1978

Remastered at Abbey Road, London, in May, 1996 by Peter Mew
Supervised by Paulinho da Viola
Project Coordinator – Sonia Antunes

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How does a person review a Paulinho da Viola album anyway? “It’s really great!”. Probably the best I can offer you. And for the 1970s it’s true of every single release. This album has Paulinho incorporating more of the choro and chorinho styles that were on his previous couple records before this one, continuing his writing partnerships with Elton Madeiros and Capinan, and interpreting other samba masters like Casquinha. Like the album artwork and brief blurb written on the inside jacket make clear, this album is like an homage to wooden acoustic instruments and the sound is steller between the original production from Fernando Faro and Peter Mew’s great remastering. One of the big standout tracks that became a samba staple here is ‘Coração Leviano’. Another special treat is the final cut featuring Monarco and others (but mostly Monarco), a `traditional` tune called `Miudinho` that’s been recorded, well, a lot. “Atravessou” critizes Paulinho’s own Portela for its morbidity and stagnation (as he saw it) in the late 70s, calling on his `camarada` to save it from itself. “Sarau para Radamés”, an instrumental chorinho, is a favorite of a friend of mine but I personally find it kind of stale and isn’t a high point for me. Again, it is hard to pick highlights in Paulinho’s 1970s discography given the consistently high quality of it all, but this one definitely stands out.