Trio Mocotó – Trio Mocotó (1973)

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Trio Mocotó
Released 1973 on RGE

Fritz Escovão (Luís Carlos de Souza)- cuíca and vocals), Nereu Gargalo (Nereu São José)- pandeiro and vocals) e João Paraíba (João Carlos Fagundes Gomes) drums and vocals

with Amilson Godoi (piano), Olmir Stocker (guitar), Itiberê (bass), and Bira (percussion)

Arrangements and orchestration by Rogérgio Duprat, Sérgio Carvalho, João Carlos Pegoraro, Waldemiro Lemke

SIDE ONE
01. Desapareça, Vá, Desapareça
02. Nó na Garganta
03. Vem Cá, Meu Bem, Vem Cá
04. Recordar
05. Não Vá embora
06. Desculpe

SIDE TWO
07. Maior é Deus
08. Samba da Preguiça
09. Palomares
10. Swinga Sambaby
11. Tô Por Fora da Jogada
12. Gotas da Chuva na Minha Boca


Feeling hungry? Help yourself to a steaming plate of mocotó. Trio Mocotó to be precise. These guys are more famous for being the percussion section underpinning some of Jorge Ben’s greatest records than they are for their own material. And it’s easy to understand that – as good as this album is, their original tunes are rather lackluster and their flat, boring vocals would have made them very popular with the hipster crowd in present-day Olinda or Recife. Which is my way of saying that their vocals are bloody awful and rather irritating (with the exception of Não Vá Embora and Palomares). Trio Mocotó excels at creating a groove, but without a musically-charismatic frontman like Jorge Ben to lead them, their stuff can feel a little uninspired. But this is still essential listening for anyone interested in the samba-soul, samba-rock scene of the mid-70s and has some wonderful moments. As you can see from the album credits, there were a TON of arrangers working on this album; Unfortunately their credits are not specified as to which songs were arranged by whom, but I am willing to guess that Rogério Duprat arranged “Nó na garganta” and possibly “Palomares.” The latter tune is easily the high point of the record — Once you make it through the chord changes of the first verse, you may say to yourself, “boy these guys really took a page from the Jorge Ben textbook of songwriting”, until you look at the album credits and see that it IS actually a Jorge Ben song. Kind of a throwaway tune, as he had songs to spare. He would end up recording it himself sometime in the 90s. Get this album just for this tune, if nothing else, and you will find the rest of the songs growing on you after a while. Other strong cuts here http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifinclude ‘Maior é Deus’ (NOT the Paulo César Pinheiro tune, by the way), the mellow sentimentality of ‘Recordar’, and Ben-like “Swinga Sambaby”, and the propulsive opener, ‘Desapareça’, which features nice Hammond B3 as well as an uncredited saxophone solo. It’s a very short solo, perhaps they just grabbed a sax player from the corridor of the recording studio and asked him to play a few bars and forgot to ask his name when they payed him.. If you are like me and find Burt Bacharach-Hal David songs to be cloying potential suicide-triggers, don’t even THINK about listening to the final song, the ridiculous closer “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Cuica.”

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Jorge Ben – Jorge Ben (1969) [Salve, Jorge! Boxset]


JORGE BEN
1969
Philips (R 765.100 L)

This reissue, Salve Jorge! Boxset, 2009
The Dusty Groove America pressing of this album from only a few years ago is on the blog HERE for your comparison. I have the original Philips pressing but without artwork (copy from a friend made a few years ago) if anybody is dying to compare all three pressings…

One of Jorge Ben’s best albums. The liner notes on the new reissue refer to it as a ‘comeback album’ — what they don’t tell you is that its also a ‘coming back to the Philips label’ album.. Ben had recorded one album for the United Artists label in 1967, O BIDU – SILÊNCIO NO BROOKLIN, that is not featured in this boxset for that very reason — which is really unfortunate since this boxset would otherwise be a complete document of his output up to 1976… I believe that Jorge Ben was in some kind of contractual dispute (such as disagreement on the terms of a new recording contract) that caused him to record for UA, but I’m not actually sure.

Regardless, ‘comeback’ notwithstanding, this is an amazing album, proving again that — just like his debut album — Jorge Ben was at his best when recording his own songs. EVERY track on this is his own. It is also remarkable and noteworthy that while other albums made by those more closely associated with Tropicália (e.g. any of the records made by Gilberto Gil, Caetano, or Gal in 68 or 69) contain little material that those artists would continue to perform (with some major exceptions scattered about…”Baby”, or “Aquele Abraço” for example), this album is packed with songs that continue to form staples of Jorge Ben’s repertoire.

This highlights one of the things I admire most about Jorge Ben — throughout the classic phase of his career, he could change elements of his stylistic approach while always retaining the ‘essence’ that was unmistakably Jorge Ben. Albums that are as different as they could be in terms of execution, approach, production — compare “Samba Esquema Novo”, this album, “A Tábua de Esmeralda”, and “África Brasil”, for example — never actually represent dramatic departures in Jorge Ben’s style of composition or playing. And I think this is a wonderful and remarkable thing. The notes on the boxset (sparse as they are, unfortunately) get things right when they demonstrate that in a very important way, Jorge Ben was always on the fringes of what was accepted as ‘serious’ music by the critics of his day — too much rock and jovem guarda for the bossa nova crowd, too much swing in his samba, too much funk in his feijoada. And in spite of critics he continued to be popular and to influence the music made by those artists more celebrated as ‘serious’, like the Tropicalístas, for whom (like Nara Leão) he was sort of an honorary member, a fellow-traveler whose career preceded the efflorescence of that movement and stood a bit further away from its center.

1 Crioula
2 Domingas
3 Cadê Teresa
4 Barbarella
5 País tropical
6 Take it easy my brother Charles
7 Descobri que eu sou um anjo
8 Bebete vãobora
9 Quem foi que roubou a sopeira de porcelana chinesa que a vovó ganhou da baronesa?
10 Que pena
11 Charles, Anjo 45

with Trio Mocotó and Os Originais do Samba

Arrangementes – José Briamonte, Rogerio Duprat (on “Descobri que eu sou um anjo” and “Barbarella”
Recorded at Scatena (São Paulo) and C.B.D. / Philips (Rio) studios
Recording technicians: Ary Carvalhaes, Célio Martins, Didi, Stélio Carlini, and João Kibelestis
Cover: Albery
Photo: Johnny Sálles
Layout: Lincoln
Violão: Jorge Ben
Produced by Manoel Barenbein

2009 Reissue mastered by Luigi Hoffer at DMS Mastering Solutions
Texts by Ana Maria Bahiana

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Jorge Ben – Negro é Lindo (1971) {Salve, Jorge! Boxset}


01 – Rita Jeep
02 – Porque é Proibido Pisar Na Grama
03 – Cassius Marcelo Clay
04 – Cigana
05 – Zula
06 – Negro é Lindo
07 – Comanche
08 – Que Maravilha
09 – Maria Domingas
10 – Palomaris

Original release:
Produced by Paulinho Tapajós
Recording technicians: Toninho and Mazzola
Studio: C.B.D.P.
Arrangements by Arthur Verocai
Photo: Wilney Cover design: Aldo Luiz

2009 reissue credits
Supervision: Alice Soares
Project conceptualization: Carlos Savalla
Liner Notes: Ana Maria Bahiana
Coordination: Rodrigo Faour
Remastering: Luigi Hoffer at DMS Mastering Solutions
Restoration of original LP covers and adaptation for CD: Leandro Arraes at LAStudio
Editing: Luiz Augusto
Graphic design: Geysa Adnet

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Interestingly, the bilingual texts on the new CD jackets do not actually have the same information, both containing some tidbits of info that the other doesn’t have. In the interest of globalization I am going to do a quick free translation here (all errors are my own..):


Jorge Ben Jor’s trilogy of albums with Trio Mocotó closes with the powerful “Negro É Lindo” (Black is Beuatiful) in 1971, in a phase of the Brazilian culture industry where blacks began to be perceived as potential consumers. Negro é Lindo delivers an homage to Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali) and also to João Parahyba, nicknamed Comanche. It has delcarations of love for his beloved wife Maria Tereza Domingas and, at the same time, proposes a pact of goodwill and unity to Rita Lee, responsible for his trips to and from the studio to his house in Brooklin (*southside neighborhood of São Paulo, not the one in New York…).

One difference in relation to the other LPs is the fact that this one was to be more centered on the acoustic guitar in its arrangements, possibly the fruit of his partnership with Paulinho Tapajós, who directed Ben’s recordings between 71 and 75. In the studio, Tapajós prefered to record Jorge one his own and on stop of a platform, under which were placed microphones that captured the time-keeping beats of the artists’ shoes and foot-tapping, and the scrape of his pick across the guitar strings. Beginning with this base, the arrangements were built around him. “With the pulse of the foot-taps, his, voice, and the guitar pick, Jorge transformed himself into a machine of rhythm. Afterward, I embellished this with the other instruments in arrangements (of scale and tone) that wouldn’t conflict with what he was doing. We recorded 30, 40 songs for one single album and I believe there must be a lot of unreleased material. It was the best way to work, because the coolest thing about Jorge is the freedom. He does not have discipline. Therefore, we had to follow along after him.” One could analyze this liberty and freedom as a certain kind of alienation between the techniques and artifices of the studio and the process of practicing as a group. There are classic moments calling for the bridge, or the end of a sing, same as LPs recorded live (“Em cima!”, “Miudinho!”). Add to this the fact that Ben, aside from composing the lyrics and music for the vast majority of the songs he created, did not do arrangements for other instruments: in this era, he played his guitar and sang, and the arranger (or Trio Mocotó) did their work on top of this.

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Side note from Flabbergast… Interesting that Arthur Verocai, who at this point in time is probably more famous outside Brazil than within it, does not get any mention in these liner notes even though he was responsible for the arrangements as much or more so than producer Tapajós…

The notes also sidestep Ben’s involvement with and importance to the movement(s) variously referred to as Black Rio, Black Power, Samba Soul, Movimento Negro, in the 1970s. An embracing of black identity in an allegedly colorblind ‘racial democracy’ where bring up something like “Black Pride” is likely to spark an argument. In fact doing so led to just such an argument for me TODAY — one has to remember this was even more polemical in the early 70s. It’s not the first foray into this territory in Ben’s music or lyrics, by any means, but probably the first where he is self-consciously integrating his work around Afrocentric ideas, making him part of a global phenomenon happening at the same time in the US, the Caribbean, in other parts of Latin America, and in Africa itself. The liner notes would almost imply that this was a marketing strategy (the black woman or man as potential consumer), an interpretation which I hope is just me being reactionary and radical and indignant as I sometimes tend to be… Because if that IS the implication, then its an insult to Jorge Ben and the massive accomplishments of his music during this period.

This pressing hails from the 12-CD boxset released just a week ago. There will be more of it to come…

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Jorge Ben – Negro é Lindo (1971) in 320 kbs em pee three

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