Arnaldo Baptista – Loki? (1974)

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1 Será que eu vou virar bolor?
2 Uma pessoa só (Mutantes)
3 Não estou nem aí
4 Vou me afundar na lingerie
5 Honky tonky (Patrulha do Espaço)
6 Cê tá pensando que eu sou loki?
7 Desculpe
8 Navegar de novo
9 Te amo podes crer
10 É fácil

All songs by Arnaldo Baptista except “Uma pessoa só” by Mutantes.

Recording in 16-tracks at Eldorado Studio (SP)
Produced by: Menescal/Mazola
Audio technician: Marcus Vinicius
Album cover by Aldo Luis, photo by Leila

Featuring: Dinho, Liminha, Rogério Duprat, Rita Lee, Rafa, and Arnaldo Baptista

The world of popular music is full of mythic figures whose eccentric reputations unfairly obscure and overshadow their actual contributions. Arnaldo Baptista is one such figure. In my younger days when I had just discovered them and was gripped by Os Mutantes “fever” (Mutant Mania?), I sought out this record with high expectations, knowing only that it was Arnaldo’s “nervous breakdown album” after which he took a long, um, “rest” and a break from the public eye. I admit I was slightly put off by the fugly album jacket design but I kept hope alive.

I brought it home full of eagerness, put it on the stereo expecting “The Madcap Laughs” and instead I got “The Madman Across the Water.” This is not a slam or a dis, as I will defend early Elton John and challenge anyone who wants to argue about it to a duel. Not a duel to the death with pistols or sabres, mind you, but maybe with a fencing foil. But still, Sir Elton doesn’t even rank in the realm of ‘loony’ tortured souls. So I was rather shocked to find myself listening to a subdued album of piano-driven rock music (hell, there isn’t any guitar on the whole record until the very end), rather than the Brazilian equivalent of “Oar,” “Easter Everywhere” or the aforementioned “Madcap.” What “Loki?” offers us is a piece of reflective pop music, a fragmented narrative of a life in the midst of post-psychedelic fragmentation of identity and doubt, of struggling with the ambiguities of celebrity and modernity, a “concept album” whose concept continually eludes the listener. For sure, the album is peppered with oddball, beguiling lyrics in praise of fruits and vegetables (“xuxu beleza, tomate maravilha”), lingerie, or an unexplained aversion to Alice Cooper, and his vocal delivery occasionally bursts into an odd Screamin’ Jay Hawkins warble, but for the most part Baptista’s stream-of-consciousness tales bring us a mix of the quotidian and the transcendent moments that made up a life lived to the limits of mental, spiritual, and physical exhaustion. For my money Baptista was the driving force behind Mutantes — I have never been terribly impressed with Rita Lee’s solo work, even the first two albums that Baptista produced. For me, those records are listenable largely by way of Arnaldo’s involvement; In fact her record “Hoje é o primeiro dia do resto da sua vida” is sort of a counterpart to this one.

But “Loki?” is far more tranquil and pensive; it’s occasional prog-rock flourishes never become cloying or annoying. Some of the songs flow one into the other in true rock-opera fashion. Mileage may vary, however, for the non-Portuguese speaker, as the music here is very much driven by the lyrics. Some of the tunes are self-referential to themselves; in other words, conjuring phrases and images already dealt with in other places on the album. I particular love his occasional use of an English lyric thrown in seemingly at random that matches perfectly the rest of what is going on musically and discursively. There are metaphysical musings – We are all one and the same person, I am the Alpha and Omega, and so on. “Uma Pessoa Só” is graced by the lush arrangements of Rogério Duprat, cradling Baptista’s explorations into the inner cosmos. And then there are moments of raw, confessional tenderness and intimacy — “Desculpe” and “Te amo podes crer” are both too plaintive and profound, too human and eternal, to suffer any hackneyed translations at my hands. My favorite song in the whole bunch is “Navegar de novo” which mixes reminiscence of going to the cinema with his girl, lamenting that the car he bought six months ago is already out of fashion, the tough impersonality of São Paulo; with musings about humanity, the speed of light, the conquest of space, of Brazil as being still a child, and, um, urban planning (I think..) Rita Lee sings backup on “Não estou nem aí.” The album ends with two minutes of an open-tuning 12-string solo guitar piece whose only lyrics, “I love myself like I love you. It’s easy. It’s easy,” his hushed voice mixed into the left channel as if he is whispering in your ear, before he ends the tune banging out guitar chords that rock out more than anything else on the record, giving way to a heavily-flanged fade out. The end. Like one of his more obvious anglophone parallels, one Roger Barrett, the album leaves me with the persistent feeling that there was (is) much more to the man than the “loony” tales and stories, the idiosyncratic behavior, the health problems. Don’t let the legend and the myth distract you from what this album is – a beautiful swan-song.

Additional info contributed by blog friend CK:

I love this album, which I bought back in the days of vinyl records. I’d
like to comment on the so-called Rita albums produced by Arnaldo. The
story that I’ve heard is that her first album, Build Up, was not
originally Rita Lees idea. Os Mutantes went into a forced recess due to
her husband Arnaldo deciding on an adventurous vacation with a friend
traveling by motorcycle from São Paulo to New York. Hitting into some
difficulties along the way (I think he made it to Panama), Arnaldo gave
up on the idea and returned to São Paulo to find Rita midway into an
album. So it was agreed that he can produce some of the remaining
recordings. So yes, he did have a hand in it, but its not like he was
the mastermind behind the helm of the whole thing.

Regarding her
so called second album, ‘Hoje É O Primeiro Dia Do Resto Da Sua Vida’,
the story of this album is quite well known. Mutantes informed their
record company that they have enough material for, and intend to,
release a double album. The record company explained that Mutantes did
not sell enough to warrant a double album. The compromise was to have
the second album out as a Rita Lee album, because she was always the
bands main pull or main attraction in minds of the populous. Arnaldo was
the musical genius, Sergio the guitar wiz kid, but it was Rita’s charm
and charisma that made Mutantes television friendly. So, this is really a
Rita’s album at all although it is officially credited to her.

Regarding
Loki the album, one of the important things to know about the album is
that it was recorded after Rita and Arnaldo split up. Almost all the
songs are directed to Rita in one way or another. Será Que Eu Vou Virar
Bolar questions his musical future without her (venho me apegando ao
passado e em ter você ao meu lado // trans.: I’ve been getting attached
to the past and with you by my side). Uma Pessoa Só is a rerecording of a
Mutantes composition form their 1973 album O A E O Z (The A And The Z),
that was shelved until the nineties. In Não Estou Nem Aí he shows
himself unwilling to deal with the pressures in his life; rather get
high every morning (Não estou nem aí pra morte, nem aí pra sorte/ Eu
quero mais é decolar toda manhã). Rita Lee and Lucy Turnbull, who at
that time were working as a duo called ‘Cilibrina do Eden’, sing
background vocals on this and the following Vou Me Afundar Na Lingerie.
Arnaldo jokingly tuants them (or maybe it’s a shout-out?) on Cê Tá
Pensando Que Eu Sou Loki? (Cilibrina pra cá / Cilibrina pra lá / Eu sou
velho mas gosto de viajar). Descuple is an obvious open letter to Rita
Lee that warranted her to write and record her answer Agora Só Falta
Você on her 1975 album Fruito Proibido. Certainly not the answer Arnaldo
was hoping for. Desculpe is heart breaking in it’s vocal
interpretation, and has Limninha and Dinho giving us pure Mutantes power
in its execution, with only brother Sergio absent. Te Amo Podes Crer
follows Navegar de Novo, both stream of conscience type lyrics, and
follows the pattern of woes for the person identified as ‘you’ that left
and doesn’t want to return. Its a sad record thematically, but
beautiful in it’s playing. The Last song É Facil, Arnaldo amazes me as
how good a guitar player he really is, although he hardly plays the
instrument, up to that point in his carrer.

NOTE #1: There is noticeable noise / digital drop-outs beginning at the 1 minute and 20 second mark on the track “Uma pessoa só”. You may only notice them if you use headphones or a accurate speakers for playback. I compared two different CD copies of this first pressing, and the noise is in the exact same place. Quite likely damaged master tapes. I recently came across a new remaster of this album released on by the Universal group. I have not heard it and am not too inspired to pick it up, since the first pressings on Philips typically sound better than the newer remasters.

NOTE #2: There is a documentary about Arnaldo Baptista also called “Loki.” To my chagrin and consternation I still have not managed to see it. I am sure it has some lovely anecdotes about this album. Hopefully nothing that will make my commentaries look silly (or sillier..).

 

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Ronnie Von – A Máquina Voadora (1970)

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Ronnie Von
“A Máquina Voadora”
Released 1970 on Polydor (LPNG 44.050)
This pressing, Discos Mariposa, Argentina, 2006

01. Máquina Voadora
02. Baby de Tal
03. Verão nos Chama
04. Seu Olhar no Meu
05. Imagem
06. Continentes e Civilizações
07. Viva o Chopp Escuro
08. Enseada
09. Tema de Alessandra
10. Águas de Sempre
11. Cidade
12. Você de Azul

I have to admit it. If I were around in Brazil in the 1960s, I would have hated Ronnie Von with a passion. A former air-cadet pretty-boy (Top Gun, anyone?) who then went on to work at the Brazilian stock-market… A guy who would have been selling designer jeans in magazines if he had not eventually become interested in the idea of playing or singing music. He began cultivating this interest in 1964 because of a Brazilian Beatles’ cover band, and by 1966 was being presented on TV as a jovem guarda singer. I’m not kidding, it would have been very very hard for me to take this guy seriously. Ah and those hypnotic come-hither green eyes of his, how could I resist those?? Pretty easily, actually. As a friend of mine here put it, she always found Ronnie Von a bit too “mocinha”, which I discovered is probably the best translation of ‘pretty boy’, or at least of an effeminately macho heterosexual. He was also nicknamed “The Small Prince”, which sounds much better in Portuguese. Sort of.

In truth Ronnie is known more for his work as a TV presenter than a singer, being thrust into the spotlight rather quickly with those good looks and bad haircut (featured in one shot in the booklet and in this vintage clip on Youtube). He hosted a ton of different TV specials, introducing musical artists and interviewing guests. And here is where I begin to like Ronnie’s story, although I know nothing about his media personality. You see, as the 1960s drew to a close, he psychedelized himself. Rather convenient of him, you might be justifiably thinking to yourself. But how can you not like a guy who hosted a TV special in 1968 that is listed simply as “Ronnie Von and The Robot (In Which Ronnie Talks With a Robot).”

Ok, so now I’m all ears.

He made three long players in this period that are worth hearing, and this one is by far the best. In fact, I like it quite a lot. It’s got some pretty heady stuff on it to please any obsessive psychedelic-rock collector, while still retaining enough jovem guarda sensibility to never take itself too seriously (“Verão nos chama” and especially “Viva o chopp escuro”). The album has decent orchestral arrangements that don’t try too hard to sound like Rogério Duprat. The title track is a monster of a bad-ass song, in my opinion. In 1968 Brazil it would have come off as totally derivative of The Beatles simply by way of its production, but in the rest of the world at that time that was full of much more rock derivative of The Beatles, it wouldn’t sound that way at all. And in fact the song owes more to Taiguara and Roberto Carlos then to McCartney or Lennon. “Seu olhar no meu” has a lot of Donovan in it (another pretty-boy, come to think of it), which is completely alright by me as I happen to really like Donovan. And while some people may find his spoken poem “introduction” on “Continentes e civilações” a bit overdone (I put “introduction” in scare quotes because it lasts for a full two minutes), I find it highly entertaining when the crescendo kicks in and… well, goes nowhere really, that’s basically the end of it. The two songs apparently written for his daughter, “Tema de Alessandra” and “Você de azul”, are both really nice, even beautiful. Like other parts of the record, the production strikes gold with a delicate balance of strategic use of strummy acoustic guitars, bombastic organ chords, some noodling on a recorder or okarina flute, and fuzzy fuzzy electric guitar lines. Whatever dude, I find this album charming and I hope you do to.

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Ronnie, looking fabulous and not ‘mocinha’ at all, in fact.

The preparation of this post must have been cursed by haunted television personalities of ages past or whatnot. First I put together a folder with all the artwork crooked and barely usable and failed to notice this until all the other work had been done, including hosting the file. Alas, easy enough to fix and only slightly time-consuming. Then I discovered that I somehow missed a page or two of the booklet giving Ronnie’s bio, and one of the badly-translated pages in English. More importantly, I missed a shirtless photo of Ronnie. I am not fixing it again, but alas, I found the entire text of the booklet online to give you here. But no sexy chest, sorry.
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RONNIE VON – Biografia

Nascido em Niterói sob o signo de câncer, em 17 de julho de 1944, nos primeiros minutos de uma Segunda-feira.

Teve uma infância tranquila, fazendo muitas molecagens como era comum nas crianças da sua idade.

Em 1960 prestou exame para a Escola Preparatória de Cadetes do Ar de Barbacena, tinha 15 anos, entrou em 72º lugar, entre 4000 candidatos e 240 aprovados. Aos 17 anos de idade fez seu primeiro vôo sozinho num Folker T-21, um dos dias mais emocionantes de sua vida. Foi um bom piloto, mas fez um montão de molecagens, coisas da juventude.

Mas ser piloto não era o seu destino, então saiu da escola da Aeronáutica e foi para a faculdade de Economia onde passou a estudar a noite e durante o dia a trabalhar com seu tio que administrava empresas que operavam no mercado de capitais. Tempos depois casou-se com Aretusa, mãe de seus dois primeiros filhos e montou uma distribuidora de valores, começando a operar no mercado paralelo. Não obteve muito sucesso e teve que vender seu carro, presente de casamento de seu pai, e outros bens para honrar seus compromissos.

Em 1964 começou a interessar-se pelos Beatles, que tornaram-se seus grandes ídolos, iniciando assim o seu interesse pela música.

Em 1965, muito amigo de Eli Barra, um dos integrantes do grupo Brazilian Beatles (grupo “cover” dos Beatles), foi apresentado ao produtor Glauco Pereira, que sentindo o talento e as grandes possibilidades do rapaz, contratou-o imediatamente.

Sua estréia deu-se no programa BRAZILIAN BEATLES CLUB (1965), na antiga TV EXCELSIOR do RJ, onde cantou a música mais bonita da época – YOU’VE GOT TO HIDE YOUR LOVE AWAY, de Lennon e McCartney, tema do filme HELP, surgindo a seguir o seu contrato com a Philips, lançando seu 1º compacto com a música “MEU BEM”, versão feita pelo próprio Ronnie com o auxílio de seu pai, da música GIRL.

Agnaldo Rayol, em seu programa CORTE RAYOL SHOW, foi a grande chance que Ronnie procurava para vencer em SP, onde recebeu a consagração de ídolo (seus olhos verdes e tristes, conquistaram os corações das garotas).

A partir de MEU BEM, abriram-se as portas para um novo ídolo do iê iê iê.

Passando pelo programa de Hebe Camargo, tornou-se o “Pequeno Príncipe”(1966), um título que perdura até hoje.

Outubro de 1966, com o sucesso de MEU BEM, Ronnie ganha um programa exclusivo na TV Record: “O PEQUENO MUNDO DE RONNIE VON”.

No mesmo ano de 1966 surge o 1º LP, e os shows começam a aparecer por todo o país. Depois de MEU BEM, um novo sucesso: – A CATEDRAL.

Em 1967 Ronnie Von grava “A PRAÇA”, música de Carlos Imperial, com a qual vendeu muitos discos, mostrando um cantor mais versátil, menos “Beatles”, mas igualmente romântico. O estouro desta música mudou muito a vida de Ronnie, todas as cidades queriam conhecer o cantor de “A Praça”.

Com o final do “PEQUENO MUNDO”, Ronnie viaja para a Disneylândia onde passa 17 dias e aprende muitas coisas no bairro dos Hippys, voltando psicodélico.

Com o seu retorno vieram outros programas:

-RONNIE & RONALDO (TV RECORD – NOV/67)

-Na rádio Jovem Pan, “O mundo colorido de Ronnie Von” (67 / 68)

-RONNIE VON ESPECIAL (TV RECORD 1968)

-RONNIE VON E O ROBOT (onde Ronnie conversa com um Robot) (1968)

-RONNIE E OS ALEGRES COMPANHEIROS (com Renato Aragão) (1968 / 69)

Ronnie participou também de um dos Festivais da Record, defendendo a música “UMA DÚZIA DE ROSAS”, de Carlos Imperial.

Em 25/06/1968 Ronnie recebe o título de CIDADÃO PAULISTANO na Câmara Municipal de SP das mãos da vereadora Ana Lamberga Zeglio, onde Ronnie fez um breve discurso destacando a frase: -“HÁ MAIS ALMAS DO QUE TERRAS PARA CULTIVAR”.

Mais tarde recebe também o título de “Comendador” em BIRITIBA MIRÍM, onde inaugura a Avenida e Escola RONNIE VON.

Saindo da TV Record, Ronnie apresentou o programa “ASSIM CAMINHA A JUVENTUDE”, na antiga TV EXCELSIOR (1969 / 1970).

Em fevereiro de 1969, Ronnie inicia também um programa na rádio Nacional de SP, e lança mais um LP.

O pequeno Príncipe cresceu, cortou seus cabelos longos….tornou-se um “grande Príncipe”.

Entre um disco e outro Ronnie se dedica a outras atividades: empresário, produtor de modas, participa de filmes e novelas, entre elas “A Menina do Veleiro Azul” (1969).

Em 02/01/1970, nasce sua primeira filha, Alessandra, e Ronnie lança mais um LP contendo uma música em sua homenagem: – “TEMA DE ALESSANDRA”. No mesmo ano, em 02/12/1970, nasce Ronaldo, seu segundo filho com Aretusa.

Em 1977 ocorre uma nova reviravolta em sua carreira, Ronnie grava a música “TRANQUEI A VIDA”, pela RCA, e devido ao grande sucesso alcançado, regrava esta música em vários idiomas e passa a fazer muito sucesso também fora do Brasil.

Nesse mesmo ano Ronnie começa a participar de um programa de competição musical, o “QUAL É A MÚSICA”, onde torna-se o grande destaque do programa, devido aos seus conhecimentos e incrível memória.

Ainda em 1977, Ronnie faz mais uma novela: CINDERELA 77 (TV TUPI), onde vive um Príncipe motoqueiro.

Com o final da novela, surge mais um programa: RONNIE VON ESPECIAL (1977/78), desta vez pela TV TUPI.

No ano de 1979, Ronnie grava seu 2º LP pela RCA e logo depois, assina contrato com uma nova gravadora, a SOM LIVRE.

Nesse mesmo ano de 1979 Ronnie é pego de surpresa por uma grave doença, POLIONEURITE NEURO RADICULAR, que o deixa impossibilitado de andar e de cama por vários meses. Mas a vontade das pessoas de vê-lo curado era tanta, que através de orações e promessas, deu a ele forças para se recuperar.

E finalmente, depois de uma terrível luta contra a doença, Ronnie volta a cantar e promete: – “Só saio do Palco se me abaterem a tiros, e mesmo assim vou lutar muito para que isso não aconteça.”

Surge então em 1981 o LP “SINAL DOS TEMPOS”, onde Ronnie canta músicas com mensagens profundas, onde fala das mudanças e também do seu recaminho.

Nesse mesmo ano de 1981, Ronnie faz uma participação especial na novela O AMOR É NOSSO (TV GLOBO).

Em 1983 Ronnie aparece com força total, através da música “CACHOEIRA”, e novamente vem ocupar os primeiros lugares das paradas de sucesso.

Em 1984, Ronnie casa-se com a atriz Bia Seidl e muda-se para o Rio de Janeiro, mas mostrando que é um bom cidadão paulistano, um ano depois, retorna a SP, a terra que lhe adotou como filho.

Ainda em 84 Ronnie participa de um dos capítulos da novela “A GATA COMEU” (TV GLOBO), onde Bia Seidl é uma das protagonistas.

Em 1986, após ter protagonizado um filme em Buenos Aires/Argentina, entitulado TAXI UNO, Ronnie, no clima romântico de Buenos Aires, descobre o verdadeiro amor de sua vida, sua amiga de infância, Cristina, que esperou por ele durante muitos anos, e que havia ido até lá apenas para acompanhá-lo a uma exposição de arte.

Ainda em 1986 Ronnie grava o tema de abertura da novela SINHÁ MOÇA (TV GLOBO), – “Sinhaninha”.

Para comemorar os seus 20 anos de carreira artística, Ronnnie inicia em 18/11/1986 uma temporada de shows no ESPAÇO ELIS ARTE & RESTAURANTE.

Em 1987 Ronnie lança mais um LP, desta vez pela gravadora 3M, entitulado Vida e Volta.

Em 06/06/1987, nasce Leonardo, seu 3º filho, o primeiro com sua atual esposa Cristina.

Nesse mesmo ano de 87 Ronnie participa do Filme “A FILHA DOS TRAPALHÕES”, ao lado de Myrian Rios, Renato Aragão, Dedé Santana, Mussum e Zacarias.

Em 11/12/1988, Ronnie, emocionado, leva sua filha Alessandra ao altar.

Já na gravadora RGE, em 1989 Ronnie lança mais um LP, onde a música “Eu Amo Amar Você” e “Sinal de Vida” ganham grande destaque.

Março de 1991, Ronnie estréia um Talk show na TV RECORD que recebe o nome de SINAL DE VIDA, voltando a alegrar seus fãs com um programa semanal noturno.

1992 – Ronnie escreve seu primeiro livro: MÃE DE GRAVATA pela Editora Maltese. Uma autobiografia, cujo objetivo foi passar para os outros a experiência, a vivência, os acertos e os erros cometidos por ele.

A proposta desse livro era levar o conhecimento que adquiriu ao assumir a guarda de seus filhos, quando da sua separação, onde assumiu os dois papéis (pai e mãe), com êxito. Seus filhos aí estão, como um exemplo vivo de que o homem é capaz de educar e formar as crianças, mesmo com a ausência da mãe.

Em 1996, Ronnie lança seu primeiro CD pela gravadora PARADOXX MUSIC, intitulado “ESTRADA DA VIDA”.

Em 24/05/1999, Ronnie estréia pela CNT GAZETA o programa “MÃE DE GRAVATA”, um programa diário, dedicado em grande parte ao público feminino mas que acaba conquistando também o público masculino.

Em 05/03/2001 Ronnie é contratado pela TV MULHER onde continua a apresentar o programa “MÃE DE GRAVATA” e ganha o seu primeiro site na internet: www.maedegravata.com.br

Desde o dia 03/05/2004, Ronnie Von voltou a apresentar um programa na TV GAZETA intitulado “TODO SEU”, onde vem conquistando grande audiência, recebendo muitos elogios pela beleza do cenário, o bom gosto musical, pela sua simplicidade, e pela maneira carinhosa com que recebe a todos os convidados. Um momento de destaque do programa é o quadro “Visão Masculina” onde mulher não entra, e os homens debatem assuntos sobre as mulheres.

Este é apenas um resumo da carreira linda desse nosso ETERNO PRÍNCIPE RONNIE VON.

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Jorge Ben – Salve, Jorge! Inéditas e raridades (2009)

jorge ben
jorge ben

Finally, here it is — The grand finale, the 2-CD ‘bonus’ of the Jorge Ben boxset. Two discs of material that is either unreleased or only available on rare compilations or on B-sides, all from Ben’s golden years of genius and productivity. For Ben fans this is the most anticipated part of the box, since he has never had any similar releases of rare stuff. My only gripe is the FUGLY packaging (*for non-native English speakers, that is Fucking + Ugly). With all this rare audio, there is not a single rare photograph in the booklet, no real liner notes, and the graphic design gives me a migraine headache.

I am cranky and curmudgeonly today. I am blogging on autopilot this week and I don’t like it. I had hoped to post this when I had some pithy remarks and observations. I moved recently (for the third time in as many years) and had managed to prepare the rest of this box before the tumult overtook me, while this two-disk set needed a bit more TLC. It’s new enough that the tracklists do not exist in the online databases like freedb so everything had to be manually entered in. Normally I also like to restore the orthographic characters to the Portuguese titles in the ID-tags, so that the proper orthography is visible in your digital music player. I have also taken to putting composer’s names in the ID tags. I am not sure if anyone notices or appreciates this type of obsessive-compulsive fussiness or not, but it keeps me going. However sometimes it, er, holds things up. I have received nearly daily requests for this collection of rarities since the first posts from this box-set appeared at Flabbergasted Vibes. For those who have been patiently waiting, I hope you find it was worth it. I think you probably will.

Perhaps I will post some of my pithy comments and witty observations about the actual music, sometime in the near future, in the comments section here.



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Gil & Jorge – Ogum Xango (1975)


Jorge Ben & Gilberto Gil
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Gil & Jorge / Ogun Xango

Released 1975 Phonogram (9299 453/4)
This reissue: Salve, Jorge! Boxset 2009

LP 1

1 Meu glorioso São Cristóvão
(Jorge Ben)
2 Nega
(Gilberto Gil)
3 Jurubeba
(Gilberto Gil)
4 Quem mandou (Pé na estrada)
(Jorge Ben)

LP 2

5 Taj Mahal
(Jorge Ben)
6 Morre o burro, fica o homem
(Jorge Ben)
7 Essa é pra tocar no rádio
(Gilberto Gil)
8 Filhos de Gandhi
(Gilberto Gil)
9 Sarro
(Jorge Ben, Gilberto Gil)

Since this album was reissued on the Verve label for years, and thus available domestically in the US, it was actually the first Jorge Ben I had ever heard in my life. Note: if you have your 3-D glasses left over from Avatar, the original album cover of this was apparently designed to be viewed in 3-D. Far out.

I remember not knowing what to think the first time I put it on. The songs were so loose, so long and jangly and laid back — just not what I had expected after everything I had heard about Jorge. Also Gilberto Gil is doing his thing and being, well, Gil — his vocal whoops and falsetto vocalizations can be a little weird and grating. In fact in some ways this might possibly the most ‘psychedelic’ album either one of them recorded. I don’t know if I can back that statement up if you haven’t heard this. This has nothing to the production of this record — very straight-forward recording of a jam session with some slight delay and reverb added to the vocals and guitars. Some bass guitar on one track only. But it’s free-flowing improvisational acoustic attack, with little regard for conventional song structures in the commercial sense, this could almost have the same vibe as an Amon Duul (Mach I) album, albeit with actual talent involved. I have said this before and will repeat it here — I wouldn’t recommend this as an introduction to Jorge Ben, or Gil for that matter. Not because it’s bad, just because its well… kind of weird and atypical. But there is a reason why its a classic. There is great music from start to finish, and songs by both artists that don’t appear anywhere else. ‘Filhos de Gandhi’ is one of my favorites, and unique to this record. Essentially a slowed-down afoxé minus the percussion, its title is taken from one of the more famous carnaval blocos of Salvador, Bahia. Gil tells the story himself on his own website, which I will leave untranslated out of pure laziness, for the moment at least:

“Chegado de Londres, em 72, eu fui passar o carnaval na Bahia, e encontrei o Afoxé Filhos de Gandhi sem massa humana na avenida, reduzido a apenas uns quarenta ou cinquenta na Praça da Sé. O bloco, tão vivo na minha memória, tinha sido um dos grandes emblemas da minha infância e era o mais antigo da cidade. Começou a sair em 49, quando eu tinha sete anos; os integrantes passavam pela porta de casa no bairro de Santo Antonio, todos de branco, com turbantes e lençóis, palhas de alho trançadas e fita na cabeça, e com um toque que era diferente do samba, da marcha, do frevo, dando uma sensação de espaço sagrado (depois viemos a saber que o afoxé era mesmo um toque religioso do candomblé). Eu tinha veneração pelo Gandhi, e ao revê-lo numa situação de indigência, me deu uma dor seguida de um arroubo de filialidade, de amor de filho, arrimo de família; resolvi dar uma força. A primeira coisa que fiz foi me inscrever no bloco – para ‘engrossar o caldo’. Depois fiz a música, e continuei saindo – saí treze anos seguidos. As fileiras foram aumentando, e o Gandhi se recuperando. Os jovens ficaram entusiasmados com minha presença, e os velhos se sentiram mais estimulados a trabalhar; enfim, foi um estímulo geral.”

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Album cover from the US release on VERVE RECORDS:

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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Novos Baianos – Vamos Pro Mundo (1974)

baianos

1 Vamos pro mundo (Galvão – Pepeu Gomes)

2 Guria (Galvão – Moraes Moreira)

3 Na cadência do samba (Paulo Gesta – Ataulfo Alves)

4 Tangolete (Galvão – Moraes Moreira)

5 América tropical (Pepeu Gomes – Moraes Moreira)

6 Chuvisco (Pepeu Gomes – Moraes Moreira)

7 Escorrega sebosa (Paulinho Boca de Cantor – Galvão – Moraes Moreira)

8 Ô menina (Galvão – Pepeu Gomes – Moraes Moreira)

9 Um dentro do outro (Jorginho – Pepeu Gomes)

10 Um bilhete pra Didi (Jorginho)

11 Preta pretinha no carnaval (Galvão – Moraes Moreira)

One look at the album cover, and you know that all is not well here…..

As somebody who was previously only familiar with their first few albums, one of them being the “most important Brazilian album” according to Brazilian Rolling Stone, I have to say that this album leaves me frustrated, if not quite cold.

It is sad to admit this but it took almost a whole listen to realize what is sorely missing from this record — Moraes Moreira! Although he has writing credit on it, he is not playing or singing on the album.

To give you the succinct low-down: This feels like HALF a great album to me, which is what makes the non-great half so frustrating. Literally half the record is instrumental, and while they are undoubtedly all talented players, this material seems largely inspired to me, as if they had run out of songs and just needed to fill up the other half o the record. But if you like jamming-for-the-sake-of-it type stuff, this album could make your day, who know?

The first four songs are all excellent, particularly the second track Guria which is simply gorgeous. Baby Consuelo is in fine form on these and her energy only increases my desire to make out with her in 1974. The fourth track Tangolete sees the Baianos taking up their rockier side, with Paulo Boca de Cantor singing. From this point on, things get more and more uneven. The instrumental ‘America Tropical’ sounds the band doing their best Santana impression, followed IMMEDIATELY by another instrumental (whose sequencing idea was *that*?), the acoustic choro-flavored “Chuvisco.” The next two tracks are delicious — the jazzy post-bossa acoustic laid backness of Escorrega Sebosa winds up with a little coda of samba de roda (hey i made a rhyme!), and thes stylized samba canção of ‘Ô Menina’ once again makes me pine for nutty Baby Consuelo. Then, if you are like me, you will find yourself turning the album off after this track as the last 12 or 13 minutes takes a serious nosedive into mediocrity. Two more BACK TO BACK instrumentals (really now, what were they thinking?), complete with dueling guitars and a gratuitous drum solo …. Zzzzzzzz. Um Dentro do Outro is the more interesting of the two, slightly funky, slighly progged-out ensemble playing; but the second, Um Bilhete para Didi, is just irritating to me, although it does have what appears to be a bowed bass solo in the middle of it. I remember hearing this track as an Mp3 years ago and thinking it was pretty cool, but at this point I… just don’t. And then the clincher — an abominable version of Preta Pretinha played in hyperdrive trio electrico style, here called “Preta Pretinha no Carnaval”.

I wish I knew the story about why Moraes Moreira has writing credits on half the songs (even the lackluster instrumentals) but then left the band for a while. In any event, it does confirm his place at the center of what made the magic happen. For even when this album is good — and I do think the highlights I’ve mentioned here ARE quite good – they still lack a certain energy, cohesiveness, and inspiration that they had going earlier. Of course by 1974 the hippie lifestyle was wearing down a lot of bands, so the Baianos aren’t exactly an exception.

This album, on the whole, confirms my belief that when (non-jazz) bands start putting drum solos on their studio albums, they are basically running out of ideas…

Still this is a worthy addition to any Brazilian music collection and especially anyone who likes Novos Baianos.

Novos Baianos – Vamos Pro Mundo (1974) in FLAC LOSSLESS

Novos Baianos – Vamos Pro Mundo (1974) in 320kbs mp3

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