Leon Thomas – Full Circle (1973) (24-96khz vinyl rip)

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Leon Thomas – Full Circle

1973 Flying Dutchman (FD-10167 A/B-R)

1 Sweet Little Angel (B.B. King, J. Taub) 4:59

2 Just In Time To See The Sun (Carlos Santana, Gregg Rolie, Michael Shrieve) 2:58

3 It’s My Life I’m Fighting For (Neil Creque) 10:10

4 Never Let Me Go (Joe Scott) 2:28

5 I Wanna Be Where You Are (A. Ross, L. Ware) 4:22

6 Got To Be There (Elliot Willensky) 4:27

7 Balance Of Life (Peace Of Mind) (Leon Thomas, Neil Creque) 7:02

8 You Are The Sunshine Of My Life (Stevie Wonder) 5:47

9 What Are We Gonna Do? (Leon Thomas) 5:56

incomplete credits from `Discogs` website — full credits are in the LP jacket

Bass – Richard Davis

Berimbau, percussion – Sonny Morgan

Drums – Pretty Purdie, Herbie Lovelle

Guitar – Joe Beck, Lloyd Davis

Percussion – Richard Landrum

Piano – Neal Creque

Saxophone – Pee Wee Ellis

Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Jimmy Owens

Flute – Joe Farrell

Vinyl original pressing ; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15 ; M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard; Adobe Audition 3.0 at 32-bit float s 96khz; Click Repair light settings, additional clicks and pops removed in Audition ; ID Tags done in foobar2000 v.1.0.1 and Tag & Rename. For 16 bit/ 44.1 khz version, additional processing in iZotope RX Advanced.

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This is probably one of Leon Thomas’ lesser-known albums, and I can see why. Not that it’s bad, it just completely bizarre by virtue of its utter normality. Putting this album on the turntable for the first time was a jarring experience for me, because I would never have envisioned the singer I know through Pharaoh Sanders’ band – the guy who innovated “jazz yodeling” as a technique all his own — covering songs from B.B. King, Santana, The Jacksons, and Joe Scott (writer of “Never Let Me Go” and also responsible for the classic “Turn On Your Love Light.”) The title of the album, Full Circle, might indicate a return to R&B and soul-music roots for Thomas. The album cover, which has him pimped out in bad-ass blaxploitation-soundtrack garb, does nothing to clarify this mysterious record.

The first time I played it, I thought it was a confused, incoherent mess of songs. It probably still is that, but over time I’ve come to enjoy it quite a bit for what it is. According to Discogs database, there were two versions released in quick succession with different track running order — according to this, I have the second of those two. They also seem to have been issued in the same year — it seems like maybe Flying Dutchman also didn’t know how to market this stylistic jumble of tunes and tried messing around with them. I would be curious to hear from somebody who has the other version, as I have one major gripe with the mix on some tunes: the songs that have strings have the strings mixed WAY too loud, overpowering everything else.

The album leads off with “Sweet Little Angel”, which oddly enough seems to have been the most played track on my copy if the surface noise is any evidence — I am thinking “college radio DJ at a southern university where they like their black men playing unthreatening, beaten-to-death blues standards…”. It’s not terrible, but its not terribly convincing. Thomas makes an okay blues singer. The next tune, a cover of Santana’s “Just In Time to See The Sun” is actually quite good, with no attempt to “rock” but instead given a full soul-jazz Latin-tinged treatment with Pee Wee Ellis on sax. So far, things are getting better. The next song is the first original tune and one of the highlights of the album for people who have followed and admired the rest of Leon’s career. “It’s My Life I’m Fighting For”, written by keyboardist Neil Creque, is driven by his Rhodes electric piano, its ten minutes of a soulful jam with `free` elements and, FINALLY some jazz yodeling! I never thought Thomas’ jazz yodel would sound so welcome to my ears. Herbie Lovell on the drums on this track really keeps things going, with great riffing from Joe Farrell on flute, solos by Creque and Jimmy Owens that keep this solidly chugging along. The song is then inexplicably followed by old-school R&B ballad “Never Let Me Go”…. the word “buzzkill” comes to mind. Leon redeems himself with “I Want To Be Where You Are,” a Jackson 5 tune that seems to have been in vogue with soul-jazzers in the early 70s: Gary Bartz also released an instrumental version around this time where he went all modal on its ass. Here, this is easily the most successful of the cover tunes on the albums, slowed down a notch, augmented with some choice Muscle Shoals slide guitar courtesy of Joe Beck, punchy trumpet from Farrell, and Leon just can’t help himself — he lets rip a few JAZZ YODELS here and there on the chorus. But they only last for a couple of seconds, as if he remembers suddenly that he is supposed to be a soul music balladeer on this song and must restrain his urges. Flip the LP over, and another Jackson-related tune, “Got To Be There”, is a huge disappointment, with Leon just taking it on as a straight interpretation with nothing particularly remarkable about it. “Balance of Life (Peace of Mind)” is another original tune and brings us back to more familiar Leon Thomas territory. Opening with the Brazilian instrument, the berimbau, accompanied by other urgent percussion that seemlessly gives way to a mellow jam led by Creque’s electric pianoa and congas by Pabldo Landrum and Sonny Morgan, it keeps the groove going for 7 minutes with a full-on percussion jam in the middle. Then, once more, the album shifts gears for a basically pointless reading of Stevie Wonders “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life”. It is almost a novelty song for its straightness, getting slightly trippy towards the end. The album closes with the somber and soulful “What Are We Gonna Do?” which is just Thomas on vocal and Neil Creque on acoustic piano. A meditation on ecology, peace, love, and violence, its a beautiful tune, reminding me of all the reasons to love Leon Thomas in the first place.

Perhaps this album was meant to `prove` that Leon Thomas could have been a huge figure in straight soul and rhythm and blues, which he probably could have been if he felt inclined. But the album is indeed a weird jumble. The three original tunes are the best here, followed by “I Want To Be Where You Are” and “Just In Time To See The Sun.”

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in 320 kbs em pé tre

in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO: 16-bit 44.1 khz /// 24-bit 96khz

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Pretty Purdie and The Playboys – Stand By Me (Watcha See Is Watcha Get) (1971) 24-96khz vinyl

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Pretty Purde & The Playboys
“Stand By Me (Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get) “
Released 1971 Mega Records (M51-5001) / Flying Dutchmen
This reissue — Year unknown

Stand By Me 4:55
Modern Jive 3:18
Spanish Harlem 3:29
Artificialness 3:05
Never Can Say Goodbye 3:00
Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get 5:13
It’s Too Late 4:30
Funky Mozart 3:00
You’ve Got A Friend 3:51

Vinyl repressing -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply) > Creek Audio OBH-15 -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard -> Adobe Audition 3.0 at 32-bit float s 96khz -> Click Repair light settings, additional clicks and pops removed in Audition -> ID Tags done in foobar2000 v.1.0.1 and Tag & Rename.

* Bongos, Congas – Norman Pride
* Drums – Pretty Purdie
* Electric Bass – Chuck Rainey
* Guitar – Billy Nichols, Cornell Dupree
* Harpsichord, Tambourine – Neal Rosengarden*
* Horns [Reeds] – Billy Mitchell, Don Ashworth, Lou Delgatto, Seldon Powell, Warren Daniels
* Piano, Electric Piano, Arranged By, Conductor – Harold Wheeler
* Trumpet – Snooky Young*, Gerry Thomas
* Vocals – Carl Hall, Hilda Harris, Norma Jenkins, Tasha Thomas

Recorded at Atlantic Recording Studios, NYC, August 12 & 13, 1971
Producedy by Bob Thiele
Photography by Clarence (CB) Bullard, Ray Ross, Bob Thiele, Giuseppe Pino, Popsie
Design by Haig Adishian
Liner notes by Nat Henthoff
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This record inhabits a weird space of deep soul originals and funky covers of pop and Brill Building material. The actual 45 RPM hit single off this record was one of the former — the infectiously silly “Funky Mozart”, which begs for a promotional video with an afro-cut Amadeus at a Hammond B-3. But the rest of the repertoire sees Purdie interpreting Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector, Clifton Davis / Jackson 5’s “Never Can Say Goodbye”, Carole King (twice!) and Ben E. King. In fact that opening title cut starts out sappy enough to make a person wonder whether or not they made a good choice putting this album on the platter, but those doubts are quickly dispelled. Thankfully, the album isn’t titled “Pretty Purdie Sings!” and this is the only vocal number than he handles himself, there than some scat, um scatting, Like all of Purdie’s albums under his own name – this is a ride based on fun, and if you can’t relax and enjoy yourself then you should probably get a job at AMG or Pitchfork or something.

One particular surprise on this one is an early cut from the recently-late, always-great Gil Scott-Heron, “Artificialness” in which he reads a poem relating domestic strife (and implied violence, incidentally) to the policies of the Vietnam War. Again, it’s humorous, but darkly so, and read over a blues groove that takes the song out swinging. Purdie had just finished playing on Gil’s “Piece of a Man” and http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifthis tune probably has its origins in that initial pairing up.

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Tim Maia – Tim Maia em Inglês (1978)

TIM MAIA (1978)
aka “Tim Maia em inglês”

Original recording sessions 1976
Original LP release, Seroma 1978
CD reissue on Continental 1995
This reissue, Editora Abril 2011

 

1 With no one else around
(Tim Maia)
2 I love you, girl
(Reginaldo, Paulo, Tim Maia)
3 To fall in love
(Tim Maia)
4 Only a dream
(Tim Maia)
5 People
(Paulo, Tim Maia)
6 Let’s have a ball tonight
(Reginaldo, Tim Maia)
7 I
(Tim Maia)
8 Day by day
(Reginaldo, Paulo, Tim Maia)
9 Vitória régia
(Reginaldo, Carlos, Paulo, Tim Maia)

This had long been the Holy Grail of Tim Maia albums for me. Even with all the mystery surrounding the deleted Racional albums, they were long available as bootlegs and then the first finally saw an official reissue a few years back on Trama Records (the second saw a reissue this year). But this album, one of Tim’s strongest, never garnered the kind of critical attention and cult status of those albums. This is probably for several reasons — it is straight-up, top-notch quality SOUL with none of the bizarre lyrical rants of the Racional religious cult attached to it; it was Tim’s intention to record an album singing entirely in English, so in a way it would have alienated a great deal of his Brazilian public; and, most importantly, nobody ever really heard it. These factors were also aided and abetted by the fact the he ended up releasing the album in 1978, when he also had an album out on Warner Brothers that would become one of his biggest successes, “Tim Maia Disco Club”, which also happened to be “more in tune with the times,” as the cliché goes.

And by the time this album came out, Tim had truly alienated most of the record industry. Although an innovator and an entrepreneur in a million ways (he was one of the first Brazilian artists to found his own label), he had relatively no business acumen, and his penchant for not keeping to scheduled meetings and even his own concerts — showing up obscenely late, or not at all — had grown so famous as to make concert promoters and record labels reluctant to work with him. Warner Brothers took on a risk putting out ‘Disco Club’ in 1978. I forget the circumstances (time to reconsult the frivolous Nelson Motta biography), but it was also the *only* album he recorded for them.

The story goes that this album was actually recorded in 1976 when Tim had come to his senses and left behind the bizarre charismatic / religious / semi-apocalyptic cult when he found out its founder was growing rich on its members donations. The album was recorded and the album covers were printed up. Some say that Tim lost his nerve at the last minute about the risky move of releasing an album entirely in English; other versions say he simply didn’t have the money left to press the vinyl. Most likely both versions are true. The result was that he ended up releasing the 1976 album often known as “Rhodêsia” (for the hit it contained) on Polygram records, and then another album (sometimes called ‘Verão Carioca’) in 1977, before this album ever saw the light of day. Tim released it on his own imprint, SEROMA Records, and it fell on deaf ears. With no distributors willing to work with him or take up the album, Tim took it on himself to go personally to radio stations and journalists handing out copies (he joked that the album covers had begun to ‘yellow’ in the two years that they waited for the vinyl to be pressed). The results were utterly ineffectual. It seemed that nobody cared.

And it’s a damn shame. I have said before that if Tim’s records had been released in the US, he would have been a huge soul music star there. This is especially true of this album, as it really stands among the best of its peers in American soul music. And the most incredible part is that although Tim drank at the font of American soul, funk, and rhythm and blues (he also lived in New York and bummed around the US for about ten years before getting himself deported) – he only sounds like HIMSELF, Tim Maia. Unmistakeably Tim Maia.

The entire first half of the album is saturated with mellow chill-out soul ballads with gorgeous melodies and lush arrangements, that manage to keep a certain hard edge in the production, keeping the base arrangements (bass, guitar, drums, keyboards) anchored well while letting the horn arrangements add further depth. The first song, “With No One Else Around”, is just plain gorgeous. Another love song, with the nondescript title of “I Love You, Girl” makes up in musicality what it lacks in lyrical content, and ends with a swinging crescendo. The third track “To Fall In Love,” the favorite of the writer of the reissue’s liner notes, combines poignant by simple lyrics (To fall in love is like burning fire), with the bands ability to work the dynamics between tight and close, and swinging and large, as well as some tight full-stop breaks with very long pauses leaving you wondering where they are going next. They are really going anywhere but back into the main groove but it still works to charm you.

“Only A Dream” has Tim singing in falsetto in a way he rarely did, that oddly enough puts me in a mind of someone on another continent who would release his first album in 1978 – Prince Rogers Nelson. Of course, falsetto is a 70s soul trademark but something about the first bars of the chord progression remind me of something that could have been on ‘For You’… The lyrics are, once again, nothing complicated, but striking in their sincerity – “Let me live the life I dreamed once before, let me live the way I once wished to be.” Anyone who knows about Tim’s tumultuous personal life with substance abuse and women can’t help but be moved by the vulnerability expressed in this tune. The next track, “People,” is another ballad but changes the theme to social commentary of the ‘enough with all the hate, we are all the same’ variety. Kind of weak the weak cut of the bunch but still respectable. This is followed by “Let’s Have a Ball Tonight”, which is the first upbeat tune on the whole album. In fact, its a slowly undulating funk number but comes off as fast given all the ballads preceding it. Lyrics are again a foray in social commentary of anti-war, peace-on-earth sentiments but more effective this time – nothing overreaching or pretentious but just direct candor: “There are so many conversations / meeting parties and cocktails / to preserve peace on earth / They never find the way. / You know why? Because love is really the answer, this you’ll have to agree…” The band then whips into a muscular bridge that sounds very much like the groove of ‘Rational Culture’, especially a four-note vamp plucked out on the guitar. And it works joyously. Another ballad follows, “I,” in which Tim seems in a rush to sign the papers for a wedding. “Day By Day” follows the tried and true formula of some of the other ballads here – mid-tempo, and going out swinging. Its good, but its overshadowed by the closer “Vitória Régia”, which was also the name given to Tim’s band at this point. The tune is a festival of funk that ends up being a kind of call to arms for environmental preservation and a hymn to Mother Nature. Victória Régia is the name given to the HUGE lily pads found in parts of Brazil (fine examples of which exist in Rio’s Botanical Gardens). It’s also a bad-ass name for a band.

This reissue couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Not only was it hard to even find a crappy-sounding mp3 version of this on the interwebs, but I was also preparing to shell out several hundred dollars for the one and only CD pressing this album ever saw, issued on the Continental label in th
e mid 1990s. They only come around once in a blue moon and the sellers usually ask obscene amounts of cash, and buying a used CD through the mail for that kind of money is a risk I am reluctant to take.

The sound on this Editora Abril edition isn’t actually mind-blowing — I am curious what masters were used, and IF original masters even exist for this recording. These kinds of details that a Tim fanatic like myself is hungry for are annoying absent from the 50-page booklet. And you know something else — speaking as someone who scanned every page of that booklet: There is NO REASON for this booklet to be that long. A lot of it is filler – graphic design tricks that attempt to give a 1970s’s “period” look to the packaging with lots of pastels and free-floating bubble shapes interspersed. As well as completely superfluous information like the fact that The Police had a new album out in 1978. Who cares? Even stranger, a picture of Black Sabbath and a note about *their* album of the year, the largely-unliked ‘Never Say Die.’ I suppose this could have something to do with Editora Abril being more of a news publishing house than a record label. But let me level this criticism which I find to be more serious: It is sad that, even after all these years, a lot of Brazilian journalists and the music press still don’t seem to GET Tim Maia. A great of time is spent at the beginning of the booklet’s essay describing the climate of disco music that was becoming a popular fad in the later 70s in Brazil. That would be fine, except this album has NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT!! These facts are more relevant to 1977’s “Verão Carioca” and especially 1978’s “Tim Maia Disco Club”, which was – obviously – deeply influenced by disco. But “Tim Maia em inglês” is pure soul, there isn’t a single NOTE deserving of the label ‘disco’ on it, making all of this commentary in the notes beside the point. Also questionable is the inclusion of a well-known anecdote about the recording of “Verão Carioca” while noisy construction was going on in the building next door — Did they accidentally include this in the booklet for the wrong CD??

But enough with the complaining. The book has some cool photos,contains some informative anecdotes, its a nice package, and most importantly – this music is available again without my having to sell one of my kidneys on the black market (which, in Brazil, is easier than you might think).

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Tim Maia – Tim Maia (1972) {Polydor} REPOST

This is a repost from an old entry made in 2008, by request. In the first few months I was not posting FLACs at all and this em pee tree set is also higher quality. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about the ugly art scans since my copy is currently locked in my vault in the Kayman Islands.

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I heard a rumor that there is a Tim Maia boxset in the works. That will be a welcome thing since most of his classic discography is stupidly out of print. However I will make you a bet (‘o que você quer apostar?’) about one thing: They will fuck up the sound. I know a lot of you don’t give a flying rats ass about mastering techniques and audio engineering but I will give you a little experiment to try at home with the kids. Put this album on, this original Polydor/Polygram pressing from the early 90s, and crank it up REALLY LOUD. Tim would have liked that. Notice anything? Notice how everything is still crisp and clear and doesn’t distort? Notice how the music has something called *dynamic range*, valleys and peaks? Take a good look and note the number or notch on your volume knob or fader and keep track of it. Now put in any CD mastered in the last ten years — new album, reissue of an old album, doesn’t matter so long as it was issued in the last 10 years or so. Put the volume to the same place as this Tim Maia album. Notice anything? Sounds like shit, doesn’t it? End of lesson.

This pressing sounds unfuckingbelievably good. It even sounds good on an iPod.

This isn’t just audio psychobabble either, because the PRODUCTION on this album is really amazing. If you had any doubt that the studios in São Paulo and Rio during the late 60s and early 70s were producing albums that sounded just as good or better than anything coming out of England or the United States, just listen to this early Tim Maia stuff. The whole LP is consistent production-wise but the track ‘Pelo amor de Deus’ has to be singled out here. They double-tracked the drums to make them sound even heavier on a album that has a pretty heavy drum sound to begin with. And in the last verse, Tim’s vocals is pulled down in the mix and drenched with plate reverb, making it seem like he is being carried away from us down a long dark hallway while the drums get LOUDER. (I don’t think they actually *do* get louder, rather it’s an aural illusionist’s trick by making Tim magically disappear… No mean feat, being a big guy and all that.)

As much cult-status as the Racional records have on account of being, a) mind-blowing and fantastic, b) extremely rare until finally reissued only a few years ago, circulating mostly as a bootleg, and c) freakishly weird and messed up (in a good way, like UFO cults and Scientology before it went all Hollywood) — those records really require an appreciation of his earlier work to get their full effect, in my unhumble opinion.

The opening cut “Idade” blisters with 60s soul tones and just enough Jovem Guarda swagger to make this still unappealing to many a navel-gazing Tropicalista fan of 1972. You can see him ripping through it in the video above. (Too bad there’s no shots of the band on this, as they actually are playing live and not faking it). The second track is even more wonderfully alienated, singing in ENGLISH and a lot more Motown than MPB. And damn perfect English too, demonstrating Tim’s long devotion to playing his anglophone soul and rock record collection until the grooves were so thin you could see through the vinyl. Wonderful flute solo by Isidoro Longano followed by a short sax solo from Antonio Arruda here. For the last minute or so the band just rocks the arrangement. Did I mention Tim produced this album himself? The arrangements are very well thought-out on every track, and since they are uncredited I will also assume Tim had a hand in those until I get around to reading Nelson Motta’s biography. The next track, “O que você quer apostar?” is as a gritty a funk soul number as anything Wilson Pickett could kick out up in the northern hemisphere, with nice lyrics for a mulher mentirosa. “Canário do reino” is another baião-flavored forró and I’m pretty sure Tim is trying to capitalize on the success of the hit he had by covering João do Vale’s “Coroné Antonio Bento” a year or so earlier. This track doesn’t work nearly as well as that one, and while it’s still good it’s also the weakest cut we’ve heard thus far. “Já era tempo de você” is the happiest swinging-big-band-with-a-small-band song of disenchantment I can think of, a friendly way to tell someone they already had their chance and you’ve moved on with your life.

Back to English again with “Where Is My Other Half” with Tim singing plaintively over gently strummed acoustic guitar (steel string and not nylon, I might add) and then the band kicks in with heavy drums for the end as Tim wonders over and over again why she left him. I think Tim is following a formula here he learned from his U.S. soul records – the first half is the uptempo dance party, the second half is for dimming the lights and making out with your lady (or man). “O que me importa” is Tim and company being as soulful as they can be, this time with vibraphone, again blowing me away with their ability to arrange all the instrumentation and capture it all so well in the mix. It also sets a template for basically every song Hyldon would write.. “Lamento” is quite honestly kind of tedious and sounds an awful lot like “Where Is My Other Half”. Unfortunately this cut is followed by an attempt at a blues number, “Sofre,” that reminds me why the blues is a quintessentially North American black art form. In fact I am suffering listening to it right now as I write this. It just kind of falls flat, but I’ll give Tim credit for asserting his blackness. Most other Brazilian acts attempting blues at this time were prog-rockers with wanky guitar solos that went on far too long. It is also interesting to note that Tim would later reuse the formula of the opening rap a decade later with the huge hit song “Me dê motivo”, including opening it up with “é engraçado” (it’s funny..), and oddly enough the vocal line from “Lamento” also reappears in that tune. A good way for Tim to recycle some of his good ideas that didn’t quite work the first time around, and “Me dê motivo” is a much better song than either of these. “Razão de sambar” is a minute and half of jazz-samba. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD the next song is amazing — “Pelo amor de deus”, well, I already ranted on about it but let me reiterate again how great it is. “These are the songs,” is a piece of Latin lounge, in English again, that is a nice way to end the album and assert his unique musical identity. Elis Regina would later record a lame version of this song with Tim guesting on vocals.

Even with the weak points on this record, it is still thoroughly essential listening. Valeu, Tim!

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LINKS REMOVED BY CORPORATE SCUMBAGS who are going to sell you a shitty
compilation made for gringos in October.  Hey, where do you think most
of your buyers will have heard this music for the first time??  Blogs,
maybe?  Fuck you AmeriKKKa.

Tim Maia – Tim Maia (1972)

This is an old post disguised as a new post (as you surmise from the verb tense used related to the box set). It was written in May. I have not written anything new for it. Except that last sentence where I wrote that I wasn’t going to write anything new — and this one too. Otherwise this is the same post, with a difference in that it actually has a purpose now at the bottom of the page. By request.

I heard a rumor that there is a Tim Maia boxset in the works. That will be a welcome thing since most of his classic discography is stupidly out of print. However I will make you a bet (‘o que você quer apostar?’) about one thing: They will fuck up the sound. I know a lot of you don’t give a flying rats ass about mastering techniques and audio engineering but I will give you a little experiment to try at home with the kids. Put this album on, this original Polydor/Polygram pressing from the early 90s, and crank it up REALLY LOUD. Tim would have liked that. Notice anything? Notice how everything is still crisp and clear and doesn’t distort? Notice how the music has something called *dynamic range*, valleys and peaks? Take a good look and note the number or notch on your volume knob or fader and keep track of it. Now put in any CD mastered in the last ten years — new album, reissue of an old album, doesn’t matter so long as it was issued in the last 10 years or so. Put the volume to the same place as this Tim Maia album. Notice anything? Sounds like shit, doesn’t it? End of lesson.

This pressing sounds unfuckingbelievably good. It even sounds good on an iPod.

This isn’t just audio psychobabble either, because the PRODUCTION on this album is really amazing. If you had any doubt that the studios in São Paulo and Rio during the late 60s and early 70s were producing albums that sounded just as good or better than anything coming out of England or the United States, just listen to this early Tim Maia stuff. The whole LP is consistent production-wise but the track ‘Pelo amor de Deus’ has to be singled out here. They double-tracked the drums to make them sound even heavier on a album that has a pretty heavy drum sound to begin with. And in the last verse, Tim’s vocals is pulled down in the mix and drenched with plate reverb, making it seem like he is being carried away from us down a long dark hallway while the drums get LOUDER. (I don’t think they actually *do* get louder, rather it’s an aural illusionist’s trick by making Tim magically disappear… No mean feat, being a big guy and all that.)

As much cult-status as the Racional records have on account of being, a) mind-blowing and fantastic, b) extremely rare until finally reissued only a few years ago, circulating mostly as a bootleg, and c) freakishly weird and messed up (in a good way, like UFO cults and Scientology before it went all Hollywood) — those records really require an appreciation of his earlier work to get their full effect, in my unhumble opinion.

The opening cut “Idade” blisters with 60s soul tones and just enough Jovem Guarda swagger to make this still unappealing to many a navel-gazing Tropicalista fan of 1972. You can see him ripping through it in the video above. (Too bad there’s no shots of the band on this, as they actually are playing live and not faking it). The second track is even more wonderfully alienated, singing in ENGLISH and a lot more Motown than MPB. And damn perfect English too, demonstrating Tim’s long devotion to playing his anglophone soul and rock record collection until the grooves were so thin you could see through the vinyl. Wonderful flute solo by Isidoro Longano followed by a short sax solo from Antonio Arruda here. For the last minute or so the band just rocks the arrangement. Did I mention Tim produced this album himself? The arrangements are very well thought-out on every track, and since they are uncredited I will also assume Tim had a hand in those until I get around to reading Nelson Motta’s biography. The next track, “O que você quer apostar?” is as a gritty a funk soul number as anything Wilson Pickett could kick out up in the northern hemisphere, with nice lyrics for a mulher mentirosa. “Canário do reino” is another baião-flavored forró and I’m pretty sure Tim is trying to capitalize on the success of the hit he had by covering João do Vale’s “Coroné Antonio Bento” a year or so earlier. This track doesn’t work nearly as well as that one, and while it’s still good it’s also the weakest cut we’ve heard thus far. “Já era tempo de você” is the happiest swinging-big-band-with-a-small-band song of disenchantment I can think of, a friendly way to tell someone they already had their chance and you’ve moved on with your life.

Back to English again with “Where Is My Other Half” with Tim singing plaintively over gently strummed acoustic guitar (steel string and not nylon, I might add) and then the band kicks in with heavy drums for the end as Tim wonders over and over again why she left him. I think Tim is following a formula here he learned from his U.S. soul records – the first half is the uptempo dance party, the second half is for dimming the lights and making out with your lady (or man). “O que me importa” is Tim and company being as soulful as they can be, this time with vibraphone, again blowing me away with their ability to arrange all the instrumentation and capture it all so well in the mix. It also sets a template for basically every song Hyldon would write.. “Lamento” is quite honestly kind of tedious and sounds an awful lot like “Where Is My Other Half”. Unfortunately this cut is followed by an attempt at a blues number, “Sofre,” that reminds me why the blues is a quintessentially North American black art form. In fact I am suffering listening to it right now as I write this. It just kind of falls flat, but I’ll give Tim credit for asserting his blackness. Most other Brazilian acts attempting blues at this time were prog-rockers with wanky guitar solos that went on far too long. It is also interesting to note that Tim would later reuse the formula of the opening rap a decade later with the huge hit song “Me dê motivo”, including opening it up with “é engraçado” (it’s funny..), and oddly enough the vocal line from “Lamento” also reappears in that tune. A good way for Tim to recycle some of his good ideas that didn’t quite work the first time around, and “Me dê motivo” is a much better song than either of these. “Razão de sambar” is a minute and half of jazz-samba. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD the next song is amazing — “Pelo amor de deus”, well, I already ranted on about it but let me reiterate again how great it is. “These are the songs,” is a piece of Latin lounge, in English again, that is a nice way to end the album and assert his unique musical identity. Elis Regina would later record a lame version of this song with Tim guesting on vocals.

Even with the weak points on this record, it is still thoroughly essential listening. Valeu, Tim!

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LINKS REMOVED BY CORPORATE SCUMBAGS who are going to sell you a shitty
compilation made for gringos in October.  Hey, where do you think most
of your buyers will have heard this music for the first time??  Blogs,
maybe?  Fuck you AmeriKKKa.

Tim Maia – Tim Maia (1973) (24-96 vinyl)

This post inaugurates a Tim Maia project that will hopefully inaugurate a separate Tim Maia page that will be a repository for all things Tim. In the meantime I want to register that this is in some ways a PROTEST for the disgraceful boxset that has just been issued by Universal records (shamelessly called ‘Tim Maia Universal’) that gives his hardcore fans absolutely NOTHING. No rarities or unreleased tracks, no material that was not released on Universal (which excludes at the very least three very important records), and I will bet you $20 that they also butchered the audio in the mastering by making everything as loud as everything else. It is a travesty that an artist as important — and as popular — as Tim Maia could have the majority of his catalog fall out of print for so long, only to be reissued in such a careless format in what is simply a money-making venture in time for the holidays. I had been hearing about this boxset being in the works for over a year now, and I had hoped that my doubts and reservations would be proven wrong. They weren’t. As with the Jorge Ben box, it is better than NOT having the music in print, but they could have done a lot better. (For Jorge Ben, we at least got 2 discs of hard to find and unreleased material). I am going to end up buying the damn thing anyway, because I am what it is called “a completist” about these things and am therefore cursed. But I ain’t going to like it.

With no further ado, here is…

TIM MAIA

Tim Maia”

Released 1973 on Polydor (2451 041)

1 Réu confesso (Tim Maia)

2 Compadre (Tim Maia)

3 Over again (Tim Maia)

4 Até que enfim encontrei você (Tim Maia)

5 O balanço (Tim Maia)

6 New love (Roger Bruno, Tim Maia)

7 Do your thing, behave yourself (Tim Maia)

8 Gostava tanto de você (Édson Trindade)

9 Música no ar (Tim Maia)

10 A paz do meu mundo é você (Mita)

11 Preciso ser amado (Tim Maia)

12 Amores (Tim Maia)


Vinyl -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply) > Creek Audio OBH-15 -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard -> Adobe Audition 3.0 at 24-bits 96khz -> Click Repair light settings, some isolated clicks removed using Audition -> dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000

Musician credits:

Drums – Myro

Bass – Barbosa

Piano – Cidinho

Organ – Pedrinho

Lead electric guitar – Paulinho

Acoustic guitar – Tim

Twelve-string guitar – Neco

Conga and tumba – Ronaldo

Gonzá and tamborine – Roberto

Cow bell – MitaTrumpets – Waldir Barros, José C. Amorim

Tenor sax – Aurélio Marcos

Baritone sax – Maurilho Faria

Trombone – Edmundo Maciel

French horns – Znedek Suab, Carlos GomesVocals- Paulo Smith, Sheila Smith, Gracinha, Edinho, Genival (Cassiano), Amaro, Tim

Arrangements – Tim Maia (arranjos de base), horns and strings – Waldir A. Barros

Produced by Tim Maia

Recording engineer – Ari Carvalhaes

Assistant engineers: João, Paulinho, Luiz Cláudio, Jayro Gaulberto

Mixed by Ari Carvalhaes and Tim Maia

Rehearsed at SEROMA Studios and recorded at Phonogram Studios, Rio

This is Tim Maia’s fourth album, and it really seems as if the guy had the Midas touch, simply could not make a bad record. His third album (also self-titled) was a bit of a drop-off in consistency, although by no means a weak effort. This record, though, is a masterpiece from start to finish. It opens with “Réu confesso” which unsurprisingly was the huge hit of the summer when it was released. Written for a girlfriend with whom Tim had just separated. This song was his attempt to get her back. It didn’t work, but it ended up being one of the biggest hits of his career. The other huge hit off this album was “Gostava tanto de você”, written by Édson Trindade. Both are heavy-hitting soul classics. “Compadre”, with its loping but heavy beat, warm vocals, lyrics of friendship, and strummy acoustic guitar (left channel) balanced against a quietly-mixed Hammond organ (right channel) is yet another perfect track. “Over Again”, sung in English, would fit well alongside any of the soul hits on the US airwaves in 1973. “Até quem enfim encontrei você” is another uptempo, breezy love song, not all that different from ‘Réu confesso’ to be honest but I am not complaining. The melody is distinct and it may have been another hit for him.

The album has some lovely soul ballads: “New Love”, once again in English; “A paz de meu mundo é você” which has a church hymnal quality to the melody and chord progression; and the austere solo guitar-and-voice “Preciso ser amado” are all excellent, although I would like to hear an alternate take of the latter as it seems to lack a little bit of the emotion Tim usually puts into his voice. There are a few all-out funk soul workouts on this record — “O balanço” with its punchy horns and wah-wah guitar are contrasted by Tim’s mellow (nearly slurred) vocals and the drummer laying on the ride cymbal. The clean-tone of the rhythm guitar is delicious too, making this tune sort of my special ‘secret’ favorite among the more obvious things to love here; “Do Your Thing, Behave Yourself” begins as another mid-tempo melodic swinging piece with uplifting vocals about taking it easy and remembering that unhappiness doesn’t last forever, if you just do your thing and so on, and then what is a great song becomes even greater as it goes out on a rocking crescendo that should remind us that Tim had once been a leather-jacket wearing Jovem Guarda rock rebel. The albums closes on a solid funk instrumental, “Amores”, with some nice fuzzy guitar lines. I remember the first time I heard it, I kept waiting for the vocals to kick in, as it sounds like one long build-up to a vocal number. Perhaps the band used this jam to warm up the crowd before Tim got out on stage (when he decided to finally come out on stage..). In the context of an LP, it has the effect of making me want to flip the record over and listen to the whole thing again, which is just fine by me. “Gostava tanto de você”, as has already been said, was the other huge hit off this album, and for good reason. Kicking off with a very-sample-worthy snare drum and tom-tom intro and then ripping into a gorgeous arrangement with horns, strings, and timbales giving a triumphal lift to what are bittersweet lyrics. There are rumors and urban legends about what the lyric is about, most of them having been invented on the internet, and Nelson Motta does nothing to clarify the matter as he simply doesn’t mention the content at all.

In fact Nelson Motta spends almost no time at all talking about this album in his sloppy biography of Tim, “Vale Tudo,” merely mentioning that the two singles off it were a huge success and then going on to give us more details about what Tim had for lunch. It is unfortunate, because I for one would like more insight into the creative process in the studio, what the vibe was like, and so on. Tim was notoriously picky about sound — something which Motta does in fact devote a bit of time writing about – and this album is mixed unbelievably perfectly, it is as if he finally managed the auditory orgasm he had been building towards in his first three records. This is also something like the pinnacle of the first phase of Tim’s career — after this album, things would become a lot more complicated. In fact, exactly as the album was being released, Tim got out of his contract with Polydor and was only in communication with them to collect his royalties. He had been courted by RCA-Victor, and he had his sights set on putting out a double album.

It has been said (somewhere, not by me), that there is a mysterious curse surrounding the creation of double albums. They are usually the mark of hubris and overindulgence, and it seems something usually bad happens — The Beatles began their process of splitting up during The White Album being one famous example, but there are plenty of others. Often the results are artistically very gratifying but frequently the whole process is very taxing on the mental health of those involved and often the results end up financially a disaster. Such was the case with Tim Maia, who ended up turning his double album project into a work of religious proselytization for the Cultura Racional sect. But that story is for another post. Let this album, then, mark the `end of the innocence` for Tim Maia, and what a joyous sound it is.

24bit