Conjunto Rosa de Ouro 1 & 2 (2010 Remaster)

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Clementina de Jesus & Aracy Cortes
with Conjunto Rosa de Ouro
“Rosa de Ouro” and “Rosa de Ouro No.2” (1965 & 1967)
REMASTER 2010, EMI (BR-EMI-67-00271)

As you can hopefully tell, this is the exact same album(s) as my last post, only a brand-spanking-new reissue, whose pressing includes a beguiling “Clementina Jesus 100 aos” printed on it, even though (as one of our readers observed) she is listed as having been born in 1901. But whatever the confusion about the occasion, it is good to see Clementina’s work coming back into print and hopefully more reissues will follow. UNFORTUNATELY, the label opted to issue this as a budget slipcase release that contains NO information WHATSOEVER (yes, I am using many capital letters). I mean, literally, no notes, no photos, no backstory, no musician credits unless you squint really hard at the reproduction of the LP cover (and even then, only the singers are listed, the other musicians having been credited elsewhere on previous releases). In my opinion, this is a rather lame way to honor the legacy of Clementina.

So what about the other reason people by reissued albums: new/improved/or at least different sound quality? Well let us have a look and a listen…

The song “Jura” from the 1993 CD pressing

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Left Right
Min Sample Value: -25959 -30224
Max Sample Value: 26572 32021
Peak Amplitude: -1.85 dB -.22 dB
Possibly Clipped: 0 0
DC Offset: .319 .243
Minimum RMS Power: -52.4 dB -56.87 dB
Maximum RMS Power: -8.06 dB -7.28 dB
Average RMS Power: -17.95 dB -14.85 dB
Total RMS Power: -17.16 dB -14.36 dB
Actual Bit Depth: 16 Bits 16 Bits

Using RMS Window of 50 ms

The same song, “Jura”, from the new 2010 remaster
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Left Right
Min Sample Value: -31332 -31968
Max Sample Value: 30974 31926
Peak Amplitude: -.39 dB -.22 dB
Possibly Clipped: 0 0
DC Offset: .006 .006
Minimum RMS Power: -88.58 dB -88.21 dB
Maximum RMS Power: -5.75 dB -5.6 dB
Average RMS Power: -15.25 dB -13.07 dB
Total RMS Power: -14.49 dB -12.59 dB
Actual Bit Depth: 16 Bits 16 Bits

Using RMS Window of 50 ms

This is not a tremendous difference – it is mostly just louder. There is some flattening of the dynamics but not nearly as bad as others I have heard and SEEN, where the resulting waveform ends up like a ruler-straight solid line instead of, well, a wave. The new mastering does seem to have fixed a rather huge problem with DC offset in the first pressing, but so far I haven’t figured out what cumulative effect (if any) this has on the final mix, although the stats are a pretty stunning difference.

On some tracks off the new remaster, the stringed instruments cut through a little better in the mix, a quality that I consider a positive change. And A/B comparison of some tracks where the ample, layered percussion nearly drowns out the guitars and cavaquinhos on the first 1993 CD pressing are now suddenly opened up to the listener to appreciate the detail of those instruments. Here I’ve taken one track as an example, the medley that numbers 18 on the CD (Degraus da vida /Mulher fingida /O que será de mim? /Que samba bom/Só pra chatear). On the original CD pressing the guitars and cavaquinho sound dull and buried in the mix, overpowered in particular by the sibilance in the percussion. Here’s what they look like displayed visually

Track 18, “Degraus da vida”, 1993 pressing
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Track 18, “Degraus da vida”, 2010 pressing
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What this shows is a pretty significant boost in the upper frequencies most prominently from 6khz to 15khz, which would explain why the harmonics from those instruments are suddenly foregrounded. I haven’t the time or the inclination to examine whether this new EQ curve was used across all of both Rosa de Ouro albums, but my guess is that an identical or very similar equalization curve was probably applied for most of the material. At this point I don’t have a particularly strong opinion about whether one is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than the other. To make matters more complicated, I recently got hold of a vinyl copy of the 2nd volume and am pursuing a vinyl copy of the *first*, after which I can drive myself insane trying to decide if either of these CD pressings actually improved a bit on the original vinyl. I know, perish the scandalous thought — but as my friend Justin Thyme has repeatedly observed, recording studios didn’t really *nail it* in terms of recording these larger samba conjuntos until the 1970s, when advances in multitrack recording allowed for better definition and separation between the instruments. So far, I am not completely in love with the sound of the original vinyl either, which makes me wonder why I have just spent all this time writing about the production values of these different releases.

Flabbergast needs a hug. Or a lady-friend. Or both.

In the end, make up your own minds.

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Standing, left to right: Elton Medeiros, Turíbio Santos (non-member), Nelson Sargento, Paulinho da Viola, Jair do Cavaquinho, Anescarzinho do Salgueiro. Sitting from left to right are: Clementina de Jesus, Aracy de Almeida (non-member) e Aracy Cortes.


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Clementina de Jesus & Aracy Cortes / Rosa de Ouro, Vol. 1 & 2 (1965 & 1967)

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Clementina de Jesus & Aracy Cortes
Conjunto Rosa de OuroVolume 1 (1965) (MOFB 3430) and Volume 2 (1967) (MOFB 3494)Released as a 2-for-1 on EMI in 1993 (827301 2)

Liner notes in English and Portuguese. Complete art scans, m3u, cue. Ripped in EAC V0.99 pb5 with log. Properly Tagged FLAC

rosa de ouro

The `Rosa de Ouro` was a theatrical production that was born out of the joining of the scenes bubbling up around the “Zicartola” samba club (a short-lived but very important business venture by Cartola and his wife, Zica), and the Opinão stage production put together by Nara Leão, Zé Keti, and João do Vale. To my knowledge there were no film cameras rolling around this cauldron of creativity, at least nothing in the way of a full-length feature, and it is a damn shame.

This show marked the “discovery” of Clementina de Jesus, her first time being thrust into the spotlight of the media, who was co-billed alongside Aracy Cortes who had years of experience as a singer in the theatre. As you can see from the woodcut shown here, the personnel is remarkably similar to the Conjunto “Voz do Morro”. Paulinho da Viola limits himself to the role of backing musician and vocalist on these records, contributing only two songs across both albums, but there are plenty of writing credits from Elton Medeiros, and the rest of the repertoire features tunes from Ismael Silva, Cartola, Pixinguinha, Assis Valente, Jair Costa, Noel Rosa and Anescar, Geraldo Pereira, and a host of public domain/’folklore’ sambas. There is even one tune credited to Heitor Villa-Lobos with Herminio Bello de Carvalho (the producer of the stage production). I am not sure if that composition was specifically created for this show. The theatrical production itself unfolded somewhat in the form of a documentary and manifesto of samba, with the live performances interspersed with pre-taped `depoimentos`, testimonial pieces of interviews with composers like Donga, Pixinguinha, Ismael Silva, and Cartola, singer Elizete Cardoso, and music critics and writers Mario and Sérgio Cabral. The musicians were seated around a simple table like one might find in any botequim in Rio de Janeiro. I am not a samba historian but I don’t think it would be too extravagant a claim to nail down the roots of the ‘samba revival’ that would eventually blossom in the early 70s to this moment right here. In the wake of the dominance of bossa nova, where so many sambistas and composers found themselves nudged out of the spotlight, the Rosa de Ouro was part of a revitalization and resurgence of new energy rising up out of the seemingly-bottomless fonts of inspiration of samba’s giants. These records are great, but I can’t shake the feeling that they are only a shadow of what the actual theatrical experience must have been like.

These two albums have just this year been released as a budget reissue in a digipak-style slipcase, from 2010 and according to the artwork celebrating 100 years of Clementina de Jesus. I will post something more about that shortly.

Gorgeous woodcut used on the jacket of Vol.2 first pressing
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Alternate cover for Volume 2. Kind of ugly, no?
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Conjunto A Voz do Morro – Roda de Samba (1965) {Paulinho da Viola, Elton Medeiros, Zé Keti, Nelson Sargento…}

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“RODA DE SAMBA”
– CONJUNTO ‘A VOZ DO MORRO’
Jair Costa / Anescar do Salgueiro / Zé Kéti / Nelson Sargento / Elton Medeiros / Paulinho da Viola / José da Cruz

Released 1965 Musidisc Hi-Fi 2114
CD issue Musidisc 777.6099

This is a massive album – historically vital to the history of samba, an amazing and compelling listen; a group made up of “heavy hitters” in samba, and one of the earliest recordings of Paulinho da Viola, who sounds as refined and confident as he would ten years later. Oddly enough, as far as I know the only time it was issued on CD thus far is this Musidisc pressing done by Sonopress Brasil in 1995 (if I am reading the code correctly). The sound quality is as top notch as the music.

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This recording has been reissued on vinyl throughout the 70’s with a different cover and credited to Paulinho da Viola (or at least, `Paulinho da Viola and Conjunto Voz de Morro`), which is obviously a way of cashing in on his celebrity status at that time. But in the mid-1960s, Viola was the up and coming youngster of this bunch. Names like Zé Keti, Elton Medeiros, Jair Costa, and Nelson Sargento would have been more familiar to the samba afficionado in ’65. But Paulinho is featured prominently — in the group photo, in the number of songs he sings lead on, and in the listing of his name first in the list on the cover. So this may have been an attempt to give his career a push.. I don’t know, I am an ignorant gringo, and it’s quite likely that a music journalist like Sergio Cabral has written about this album and explained the story and I should probably do my homework and find out more about it.

The compositions are all first-rate. You might notice the tune Elton Medeiros co-wrote with Cartola, one of many that Cartola never recorded himself. There are so many classic tunes here I feel silly trying to single anything out. But Anescarzinho`s “Intriga” and “Vai saudade” leap out at me, as does Mascarada from Zé Keti and Elton Medeiros. Zé Keti’s “Maria”, with Jair Costa on lead voice, is two minutes of perfect samba, with great leave-me-alone ‘dis’ chorus (Saia de meu caminho, eu não te quero mais/aonde eu vou/ Maria vai atrás). Paulinho’s “Coração vulgar” and “Jurar com lágrimas” are both stand-out tunes in his decades-long repertoire of memorable compositions, already demonstrating his special way of writing complex, long melodies and weaving them in a way that sounds deceptively simple. And it is nice to hear him sing in the context of this strong chorus of vocalists providing harmonies, counterpoint, and the whole package. The instruments are all recorded in pristine quality, mixed extremely well, and (of course) played with finesse. I am hoping my friend J.Thyme likes this album but he might be dismayed to know it is sans cuíca. It’s Cuíca-Free. Cuícaless.

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Paulinho da Viola – Paulinho da Viola (1968)

 

PAULINHO DA VIOLA
Paulinho da Viola (1968)
Odeon (MOFB 3560)Produced by Milton Miranda
Musical Director – Lyrio Panicali
Production Assistant – Herminio Bello de Carvalha
Orchestration and arrangments – Maestros Nelsinho and Gaya
Technical Director – Z.J. Merky
Recording engineers – Zilmar and Nivaldo
Lab technician – Reny R. Lippi
Lay-out and photo – Pedro de Moraes

1996 EMI Reissue (852503 2)
Remastered at Abbey Road by Peter Mew

1 Vai, amigo
(Cartola)
2 Encontro
(Paulinho da Viola)
3 Doce veneno
(Carlos Lentine, Goulart, Valsinho)
4 Sem ela eu não vou
(Paulinho da Viola)
5 Não te dói a consciência
(A. Garcez, A. Monteiro, Nelson Silva)
6 Coisas do mundo, minha nega
(Paulinho da Viola)
7 Batuqueiro
(Candeia)
8 Amor proibido
(Cartola)
9 A gente esquece
(Paulinho da Viola)
10 Meu carnaval
(Cacaso, Élton Medeiros)
11 Samba do amor
(Élton Medeiros, Hermínio Bello de Carvalho, Paulinho da Viola)
12 Maria Sambamba
(Casquinha)

Classic samba by the master of classic samba, Paulinho da Viola. Having recorded and album called ‘Samba de Madrugada’ with his friend and partner Elden Medeiros a few years previous, this is actually Paulinho’s first disc released under his own name. The liner notes contain a big chunk of autobiographical writing from Paulinho, talking about the first Carnaval blocos he formed in his neighborhood of Botafogo and the trajectory through which he eventually came into contact with the Portela samba school and began working around people like Candeia, Casquinha, Monarco and others. Eventually he began hanging around the bar ‘Zicartola’ with the likes of Cartola, Elton Medeiros, Nelson Sargento, Nelson Cavaquino, Elizete Cardoso.

This album struck me as odd the first time I heard it, because many of the arrangements are the same type of swinging jazz-samba that Milton Miranda and Maestro Gaya were producing for everybody else in the late 1960s. For someone introduced as I was to Paulinho via his 1970s work during the great ‘samba revival’, you might miss the more roots-oriented vibe of those records. The orchestrations here don’t get in the way at all, in fact they are quite well-down and even complimentary, but they are also not particularly necessary. However the repertoire, which contains classic sambas by all his friends — Cartola, Candeia, Elton, Casquinha — can’t be beat! This is an important first entry (sort of) in the discography of a master.

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Clementina de Jesus – Marinheiro Só (1973)

clementina,samba

Marinheiro só
Released 1973

1 Marinheiro só (Caetano Veloso)

2 Na linha do mar (Paulinho da Viola)

3 Madrugada (Antônio Motta – B. Miranda)

4 Sai de baixo (Eduardo Marques)

5 Taratá (Folclore adpt – Clementina de Jesus)

6 Essa nega pede mais (Paulinho da Viola)

7 Moro na roça (Zagaia – Folclore adpt – Xangô da Mangueira)

8 Cinco cantos religiosos:
• Oração de Mãe Menininha (Dorival Caymmi)
• Fui pedir às almas santas (Arr. Adpt. Clementina de Jesus)
• Atraca, atraca (Arr. Adpt. Clementina de Jesus)
• Incelença (Arr. Adpt. Clementina de Jesus)
• Abaluaiê (Waldemar Henrique)

9 Marinheiro só (Caetano Veloso)
• Me dá o meu boné (Padeirinho)
===============================================

“Marinheiro só” is an amazing samba record from the early 70s. Leading off with the Caetano Veloso song of the same name, it is start to finish an engaging listen. There are two tracks from Paulinho da Viola — “Na linha do mar” and “Essa nega pede mais” — and one from Caymmi included in the a medley of religious songs. The whole album is gold, but of particular note is this 12-minute suite of religious songs that celebrates sambas roots in candomblé and umbanda. It is recorded, performed, and presented in a way that communicates the feeling of a ‘terreiro’ (place of worship for Afro-Brazilian religious ceremony). A landmark record that brings some feeling of the old guard to the new 70s samba revival.

*note: This upload is taken from a 2 for 1 that includes “Gente de antiga,” which will be coming here soon. Because of this the track numbers run from 13 to 21.

Clementina de Jesus – Marinheiro Só (1973)320 kbs

Clementina de Jesus – Marinheíro So (1973) [FLAC]

Paulinho da Viola – 2 for 1 (1971)

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Record #1 called Paulinho da Viola released in 1971

01 – Perder e ganhar
02 – Sol e pedra
03 – Dona Santina e Seu Antenor
04 – Para um amor no Recife
05 – Mal de amor
06 – Depois da vida
07 – Moemá Morenou
08 – Oculos Escuros
09 – Cuidado, teu orgulho te mata
10 – Lenço
11 – O acaso não tem pressa
12 – Um certo dia para 21

Paulinho da Viola – Vocals, guitar, cavaquinho
Flute and Clarinet: Copinha
Rhythm and percussion: Elton Medeiros, Marçal and OScar
Drums: Elizeu, Juquinha
Bass: Dininho
Trombone: Norato
cornet: Maurilio

Produced by Milton Miranda
Musical director and orchestrator: Lindolfo Gaya
Technical director: Z.J. Merky
Recording technicians: Jorge and Nivaldo

Cover photo: Geraldo Guimarães

Record #2 called Paulinho da Viola released in 1971….

13 – Num samba curto
14 – Pressentimento
15 – Para ver as meninas
16 – Nas ondas da noite
17 – Filosofia do samba
18 – Consumir e viver
19 – Lapa em três tempos – Abre a janela
20 – Coraçao
21 – Minha vez de sorrir
22 – Reclamação
23 – Abracando Chico Soares
24 – Vinhos finos… cristais

Paulinho da Viola, 1971 #2
Musicians uncredited but probably much the same as #1, except who played te harpsichord!!
Produced by Milton Miranda
Musical director: Lyrio Panicali
Arrangements and orchestration: Maestro Gaya
Technical Director: Z.J. Merky
Recording engineers: Jorge ann Nivaldo

Cover photo: Marisa Alves de Lima

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I’ve been wavering back and forth on whether to share this here. Not because of the music – these two records are absolute classics, no problems there! But I do not know who mastered these 2-for-1 Paulinho pressings, and to my ears this is definitely NOT the work of Peter Mew at Abbey Road, who gave such a loving treatment to Paulinho’s catalog in the mid 90s as well as others like Milton Nascimento’s classic records (the good ones..) and non-Brazilian but personal favorite Kevin Ayers. Although music freaks and audiophiles are prone to disagreement over remasters, I find Peter Mew’s work to be some of the best out there, very gentle, maintaining dynamic range, and doing very LITTLE to the original recording. To my ears this 2-for-1, while it doesn’t sound terrible, sounds harsher and more compressed than Mew’s work in general and his work with Paulinho in particular. The careful listener will notice some distortion and modulation in places, and that is a sure sign of an assembly-line style rush job. So, I have been meaning to replace this disc with the individual releases. But not knowing who did the mastering for certain on THIS pressing has kept me from doing that — whoever it is, they are not credited.

BUT — as many of you are now probably saying to yourself, for @#$%’s sake its the music that matters, right? But of course. Even Charles Gavin couldn’t mess up these records (although I’m sure he would give it his best shot). Two records released in 1971 showing Paulinho at the height of his powers, still young and drinking at the font of the Portela samba school. “Pelo Amor em Recife” is one of his best-known compositions; I was lucky enough to hear him perform it IN Recife (well, Olinda actually, but they’re literally connected to each other). With other classics like “Mal de amor” and “Oculos escuros,” there is not a dull moment on this album. “Moemá morenou” is another classic, a samba-de-roda penned with his friend and frequent partner Elton Madeiros. This whole record is more of a classic, straight-up samba recording, and to speak more of production – everything is clear as a bell, especially Paulinho’s voice which is like crystal but does not dominate the balance, rather sitting nicely just barely on top of the instrumentation.

The next album from 1971 is a bit more of an elaborate affair. Immediately you know you are in different territory when you hear the chiming notes of a harpsichord tinkling your samba. Even if you detest harpsichord (I have heard of such people, although I do not quite understand hating an entire instrument), you have to credit Paulinho for a characteristically modest innovation and expansion of his sonic palette. A lot of this record has some post-bossa nova ensemble arrangements that make the record perhaps more “modern”-sounding than his release from earlier in the year, although hinted at on that record with the track “Cuidade, teu orgulho te mata” (Be careful, your pride will kill you…) . “Para ver as meninas” is yet another amazing samba-canção ballad, with what appear to be castinettes in the right channel yet are more likely to be somebody playing a box of matches (samba is excellent at improvising anything around your house into a percussion instrument) and — yet again — harpsichord in the left channel playing modal variations on the melody. This song was, unfortunately, covered by over-rated chanteuse Marisa Monte, but don’t let that keep you away. It is a great song. “Filosofia do samba” is a very famous composition by Candeia (another Portela luminary) and here Paulinho gives it a more than worthy interpretation, perhaps the best version committed to tape. “Consumir e viver” sees Paulinho moving into Samba-Rock territory, something of a rarity to hear him approaching a song with a swinging backbeat worthy of any Jorge Ben (that is Jorge Ben from the mid-1960s; by 1973 Ben had moved on to making amazing records with esoteric lyrics about alchemists and aliens..). “Reclamação” also works the same ground, although a bit more on a heavy bossa nova tip. The material on this second album is on the whole not as strong and memorable as the first, but then that is sort of an unfair comparison — this first album from 1971 is one of the high points of his entire career. one strange thing I noticed, even if you start this disc at track 13 (where the 2nd of the two begins), by the end of it you may find yourself with listening fatigue. Again, this is a direct consequence of the mastering, and further evidence that it was not Peter Mew’s work… I’ll get to the bottom of this mystery yet!