The original form of this blog, at another address, was just a gratuitous forum to host streamable and downloadable files from my freeform radioshow — Flabbergasted Freeform. I took that site down, and also gave up my show in May because of other things I had going on. I occasionally fill in for other people, however, and so I bring you the most recent episode of Flabbergasted Freeform! Enjoy! (Streamable files are coming later this evening)
Alegre All-Stars – The Best of..(2005) 320kbs
Released pm Vampi-Soul, 2005
This set of music really cooks. VampiSoul is a cool label that puts out great music, but isn’t exactly known for thorough packaging or notes. The blurb below the tracklist here is literally all we get. The lineup listed on the inside of the digipack is filled with heavy hitters, but probably not playing all the same time! But, the music is fantastic and that’s what counts!!!
1. Ay Camino y Ven
2. Rareza del Siglo
3. Soy Feliz
5. Peanut Vendor
7. El Sopon
8. Sono Sono
9. Guajira en “F”
10. Clo Clo Ki-Ki-Ri-Ki
12. Los Dandies
13. Ensayo Pa’La Luna
14. Se Acabo lo Que Se Daba
The first Alegre All Stars was recorded in 1961, and it became an immediate favorite of latin oriented musicians and the so-called “super-hip”. The public did not take to it so rapidly, and it became a “sleeper”. In retrospect we must remember it was released at the time when the latin record business was geared mostly for the “le lo lai” market (a typical Puerto Rico festival). Guitar music of trios and quartets were the thing then. The latin dance music of New York was limited to the connoisseur (i.e., D.J’s, musicologists merchant marines and the Palladium crowd). Eventually it had its impact: it was loose, relaxed and it ventilated many brain cells. It blended latin and jazz, improvised yet melodically interesting because the soloists were not guessing, they were confident, they knew their horns, skins and tonsils and were playing and singing for themselves at a party. Not a recording session, a real party. Without charts, less restrictions and less organized, it was therefore freer to swing and be creative. Over the years the Alegre All Star albums have become “classics”, and this album is a compilation of their best.
Milton Nascimento “MILTON” Released in 1970 on EMI/Odeon Remastered at Abby Road in 1994
Milton Nascimento tends to get a bad rap these days among music connoisseurs. Much of that is his own doing: since he became an international jazz-fusion star in the late 1970s, his records just became worse and worse. Another reason why “jazz-fusion” is often synonymous with the Devil’s work. Satan may torture music snobs with Britney Spears or Pink when they arrive in his fiery domain, but when the Prince of Darkness wants to just chill out and relax with some of his demonic underlings, he puts some jazz-fusion on the box. Trust me on this.
In a way, that all started with Milton’s first album for A&M (Courage) produced by Rudy Van Gelder and featuring Herbie Hancock, Hubert Laws, Airto, Eumir Deodato and others, but his work really becomes ‘fusion’ in his second album for A&M, recorded seven years later in L.A. and featuring Wayne Shorter, Hancock and Airto again. That record is actually not that bad in itself (it’s also not that good), but only once you’ve appreciated WHY all those American heavyweights of jazz were so interested in Milton in the first place. The key to that question lay in his records released in Brazil in the interim between 1969 and 1976. Most of that second A&M record was comprised of songs he had already recorded and released in Brazil, but with new arrangements and occasionally English lyrics. This 1970 effort is the first of the influential albums where Milton finds his voice. (The one LP between ‘Couragem’ and 1970’s Milton sees him searching for something new but artistically stumbling in the process..)
Backing him up on this record is the psychedelic/progressive band Som Imaginario, a group of musicians from the mountainous interior state of Minas Gerais. Many of these guys — Wagner Tiso, Toninha Horta, Robertinho Silva among them — would go on to be central to Milton’s ‘corner club’ band that would record the amazing “Clube da Esquina” album. This record is essentially gestating the ethereal vibe that would culminate in that landmark — rock numbers tinged with Brazilian funk; languid, pastoral pieces fringed with psychedelic flourish and soaring arrangements; at times sparse, at times grandiose; and all of it capped with Milton’s angelic voice heard here for the first time as it would come to make him famous — rooted in the Baroque gold-leafing of his church-choir boyhood, as someone once said, “In Milton’s voice, you can HEAR the mountains.” The statement is spot on. There is a melancholy in his tone and phrasing, but also a enveloping warmth, a permanence and solidity in the face of tectonic change. A nostalgia for that to which there is no returning. Saudades.
There is something unmistakable in Milton’s melodies, in the intervals he chooses to express the layered complexity. It’s this that makes his compositions immediately recognizable no matter who is performing them — case in point is Elis Regina, his most important interpreter, she recorded a ton of his songs, and all of them stand out as high points on her records. Unlike some of his contemporaries (Caetano or Gil, for example) a lot of his lyrics are really nothing special. But the vibe he and his fellow Mineiros created on these records from 1970 to 1976 was unmatched and, in my opinion, deserving of much more attention than they’ve received, overshadowed as they were by the iconic Tropicalístas based in São Paulo. Caetano Veloso remarks in his memoir Verdade tropical about a conversation he and Gilberto Gil had on the eve of their exile from Brasil, where they reflected that Milton Nascimento was the most important thing happening (after themselves, of course…) in Brasil’s musical world at the time, that he was deepening what they had begun. This may be taking too much credit for himself, as Caetano is wont to do. I think of Milton and the Clube da Esquina crowd as having been working on something different, something perhaps more ‘Pan-Latino’ in its vision, as we’ll see in his subsequent albums that I hope to share here soon. But the compliment still stands.
The songs here are not quite as developed as the ones that would come together on ‘Clube da Esquina’ but they still make for a very solid listen and one of my favorite albums from 1970 in Brasil. If the haunting ‘Durango Kid’ does not grab you, or the beautiful ‘Pai Grande’ which begins quietly enough but soon becomes nearly unhinged swell of acoustic of reverb-laden percussion, organ, recorder, and Milton’s voice rising above the din. This is probably the high point of the record for me, and hints at the experimentation that we’ll find on his Milagre Dos Peixes record a few years after this, but in a more accessible form. The album as a whole is very similar to Nelson Angelo & Joyce’s album from 1972 – very relaxed and dreamy but with more of a sense of urgency to it. Note that tracks 10-13 are bonus tracks not on the original album. Milton Nascimento – Milton (1970) in 320 kbs
Milton Nascimento – Milton (1970) in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO.. Available as soon as I find my EAC backup. The original is locked in my bunker in the Kaymans.
This goes out to Agnes in Atlanta on her BIRTHDAY! Happy birthday, yo!!! Agnes is one of my oldest friends (by which I mean a friend I’ve held on to for years, not as in old age) We haven’t actually seen each other in years but hopefully that will change soon.
I can’t get enough of Mr. Kendricks lately. I DJ’d a party this Halloween and played two or three of his songs, and could have just played an entire hour-long set. All of his solo albums are fantastic. This will be the first of several I’ll post here. It’s actually taken from a boxset called “The Thin Man”. I’ve left the track numbering intact but changed the ID tags to reflect ‘Going Up In Smoke.’
A typical AMG review that makes me say “whatever…” But it’s something:
Review by Lindsay Planer
Although the title could be interpreted to portend the relationship between Eddie Kendricks and his longtime record label, contextual and lyrical clues would suggest Goin’ Up In Smoke (1976) has a motif of triumph over tragedy. In many ways it is a continuation of the work that had begun on He’s A Friend (1976) with songwriter/arranger and multi-instrumentalist Norman Harris back at the helm of the same Philly-based Stigma Sound Studio with many musicians likewise making encore appearances.
With pop and soul music having been temporarily hijacked by disco, it stands to reason that Harris’ scores reflect the latest trend in pop music. All the more significant is that the title song joined “Goin’ Up In Smoke,” “Music Man,” “Born Again,” and “Thanks For The Memories” as they collectively sent the LP to a very respectable #11 on the recently created Dance/Disco survey.
That impressive accomplishment aside, in retrospect Kendricks does not seem well served by the aggressive brass section. He occasionally struggles to be heard over them. Or, perhaps producers intentionally buried the vocalist deep inside the mix as to not get in the way of the four-on-the floor beat. To a similar effect, the slow churning of “The Newness Is Gone” is awash in overbearing strings that sadly detract from the intimacy of the artist’s performance. While the heart is definitely in the right place, “Don’t You Want Light” is little more than an homage to “The Hustle” and again, does little to reveal the singer’s talent
I’ve decided my eclectic tastes just can be contained in a single blog, so I’ve started a “splinter blog” named FLABBERGASTED FOLK. The layout needs tweaking and I’ll mess around with it when I have some time. We’re starting it off with a repost of a Bert Jansch record featured here in the early days of this blog – Jack Orion from 1966. Check it out here!
This in no way means that I’ll be putting any less effort into Flabbergasted Vibes. It just makes sense to have two parallel blogs, in my view.
Deve Ser Amor – 3:54 Choro Para Metronome – 3:00 Adágio – 3:07 Berimbau – 3:03 Samba Em Prelúdio – 3:30 Chanson D’hiver – 2:27 Samba Triste – 3:33 Berceuse A Jussara – 2:37 Prelude – 2:54 Euridice – 3:05 Bachiana – 4:10 Garota De Ipanema – 2:59
AMG Rating: 3 Stars Release Date: 2005 Recording Date: 1964 Label: Universal Music France
Baden Powell (git) Alphonse Masselier (b) Arthur Motta (dr) Silvio Silveira (perc) Paul Mauriat and his orchestra Francoise Waleh (vcl on “Samba Em Preludio”)
Brazilian music is, as its country which is 16 times as big as France, diverse, varied, surprising, subtle and simple all at the same time. This music only asks, as Brazil, for regognition and love. With this album, which is the first he releases in Europe, the guitarist & composer BP presents us a complete palette of his musical world. From African rythms to his personal perceiving of classical european composers, and through delicate reminiscence of melodies from the Antilles, to negro american jazz accents: BP reminds all these influences on his guitar.
He’s 27 years old. Born in Rio. He played since 8 y.o. After having studied in Rio academy, where he improved his style and learned composition, he started like many other, in clubs with little rythmic entities. He eventually showed up in several Tv & radio broadcasts, and his compositions became very popular. He teamed with Tom Jobim, Carlos Lyra, Roberto Menescal for work and tours in several big cities in Brazil. He recorded with Herbie Mann and Jimmy Pratt just before his departure to the US. After some concerts in the Village Vanguard, his friend and poet Vinicius de Moraes made him come to Paris in the late of 63. He gave recitals and tv shows: Living room, musicorama etc… Asked for his guitaristic influences he answers: Segovia, Van Eps, Django are people that are part of the musical world i love. With this record you’ll be able to discover samples from this musical universe.
Here are the themes: DEVE SER AMOR: was recorded using play back device. Baden first recorded the rythmic part with the bass & drums. Afterwards he recorded the melody. The same process was involved with BACHIANA.
CHORO PARA METRONOME is quite a challenge. The choro which was originally an improvisation over folkoric patterns, turns here into a guitar piece. The metronome replaces the whole rythm section. Fitting perfectly with this souless rythm, BP shows here its astounding technique.
The Albinoni ADAGIO and the Bach PRELUDE so seduced the guitarist, that he did want to give a respectful homage to these composers by playing these two pieces.
BERIMBAU is the name of a musical instrument looking like an arc, which is used in the Capoeira. This is a dance which partly look like wrestle, and is done by Nordeste youth, especially in the Bahia area. It is undoubtly of African inspiration.
SAMBA EM PRELUDIO is made of two distincts melodies. Baden plays the first which is in turn played by the orchestra. Then the guitar plays the second theme, and then the two parts are played together, and taken by cello and Francoise Waleh’s voice. CHANSON D’HIVER is the first song that Baden wrote when he came to Paris in December 63.
SAMBA TRISTE opens on a very dark climate and dramatic first part, then the repetitive rythm takes over and leads to the conclusive chords. BERCEUSE A JUSSARA is a delicate composition, dedicated to his little niece “Sobrinha” Jussara. EURIDICE is a Vinicius de Moraes composition, which illustrates the Orphee myth. BACHIANA is a piece written with, once again, Johann S. Bach in mind. GAROTA is a new composition from Tom Jobim and Vinicius. Baden takes it as a basis for a free improvisation, with a complete command on the instrument.
Jacques Lubin, 1964.
Scott Yanow, AMG wrote:
When it was originally released in 1964, this set of music was a bit of a hit, selling over 100,000 copies. Brazilian guitarist-composer Baden Powell was working regularly in France at the time and he is joined on various selections by a French rhythm section and an orchestra. There are also some unaccompanied guitar solos. Listened to over four decades later, much of the music comes across as being overly sweet, safe and sleepy. Powell plays well enough, but the lack of mood variation and the unimaginative arrangements are unfortunate. Since the guitarist rarely gets beyond the melody, the overall results are pleasant background music, nice but predictable. [Universal reissued Le Monde Musical de Baden Powell on CD in 2005.]
This RIP and PRESENTATION courtesy of the almighty KUNG. I only uploaded this for him because he’s busy, and I’m still rebuilding my machine to do new rips and scans. This is essential listening, enjoy!!