Cartola – Verde Que Te Quero Rosa (1977)

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Cartola
“Verde Que Te Quero Rosa”
1977 RCA Records

Angenor de Oliveira, otherwise known as Cartola, was without doubt one of the greatest songwriters that ever lived. You don’t need the many tribute records with star-studded lists of participants to know this. You just need to listen to the man perform his own music. A founder of the Mangueira Samba School and the composer of their first samba, Cartola was a prolific composer in the 30s and 40s, with artists such as Carmen Miranda, Mário Reis, Francisco Alvez, and Silvio Caldas all recording his songs. He was esteemed by Hector Villa-Lobos, who invited him to visit with and perform for Leopold Stokowski when that composer visited Brazil in 1940 and wanted to know the “authentic” popular artists of Brazil. He recorded “Quem me Vê Sorrindo” on that occasion, on the S.S.Urugai! Cartola was also responsible for running the famous but short-lived samba venue Zicartola (a combination of his name with his wife’s, Zica, who ran it with him). Sadly, in a story all too similar to many a North American blues or jazz musician, Cartola himself dropped out of musical visibility and ended up working odd jobs such as a clerk for the Ministry of Agriculture and at a car wash. It was at the latter where he was “rediscovered” by a musical journalist and old friend who brought him back into active involvement with the music world.

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A classic. An essential. A staple that your home should no more be without than rice, beans, or OxiClean products. And in fact in many Brazilian homes this album is just as common as arroz or feijão and is kept on the same shelf. (OxiClean, on the other hand, stays under the sink).

This album, the third long-player he recorded, was his first record for RCA, and features material ranging from 1958 up to its release in 77. The majority of tunes are written by him, some with cowriters like his old friend Carlos Cachaça. One exception to that is “Pranto de Poeta” written by Guilherme de Brito and Nelson Cavaquinho, with Nelson sitting in on the performance.

The record was produced by music writer Sergio Cabral. My first impression of this album, after hearing the first two released on Discos Marcus Pereira, was that it was too slick and overproduced. On subsequent listens I found it to be….. still too slick and overproduced. But I have to admit that it actually does not distract from the merits of the incredible songwriting and strong performances throughout. However, you can take a wonderful song like “Autonomia” and orchestrate it, open it with an intro on a (very well-recorded) grand piano, and it sounds beautiful. But you can also take it to its bare knuckles, like on the posthumous EP-length album “Documento Inédito.” It’s up to the individual preference I suppose, but I prefer the latter. As much as the album might be over-produced, nothing is *ruined* here. There’s no synthesizers, or rocked-out drums, or any number of other things that could have been done to mangle it. Sergio Cabral’s intention, as insinuated in the liner notes, was to give Cartola the magisterial, kingly treatment and carinho that so many felt he deserved. And the record successfully does that. I hesitate to make such a broad generalization, especially as an ‘outsider’ to a culture, but if there was ever an artist and songwriter in Brazil who seems to have left virtually nobody untouched in a deeply meaningful, emotional way with his music, that would be Cartola.

“Verde que te quero rosa” also has one of the best album covers of all time in any genre.

If you are still not convinced, watch THIS CLIP
Cartola playing the song “Os Dois” for his wife Zica, for whom he wrote it on the eve of their marriage. One of the many amazing moments in the documentary CARTOLA: MUSICA PARA OS OLHOS, recently released on DVD (finally!!).

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Jorge Ben – Ben (1972) {Salve Jorge! boxset}

A1 Morre O Burro Fica O Homem 2:09
A2 O Circo Chegou 2:46
A3 Paz E Arroz 2:48
A4 Moça 4:57
A5 Domingo 23 3:48
A6 Fio Maravilha 2:13

B1 Quem Cochicha O Rabo Espicha 3:25
B2 Caramba 2:21
B3 Que Nega E Essa 3:34
B4 As Rosas Eram Todas Amarelas 3:45
B5 Taj Mahal 5:30

For me, this has always been the Holy Grail of Jorge Ben albums. A sentiment fueled largely by its scarcity since the time I got into the man’s music — This was one of the last of the classic Ben albums I managed to hear. I finally got my hands on it by way of an ex-girlfriend, and (not unlike the girl herself) it was damaged goods — the disc was scratched up and skipped, the cover artwork had long disappeared. But (not unlike the girl herself), it was better than nothing, and I made a personal copy of it anyway, skips and all. The vinyl for this baby has long been out of my price range (until I am lucky enough to find one at a random record stall), so this particular title is one of the main reasons I bought the Salve Jorge boxset.

A set of eleven songs, all written entirely by Jorge Ben, with unfortunately uncredited musicians after the departure of Trio Mocotó. Whoever it is playing the fretless bass on this album is just incredible. Crisp production and arrnangements by Paulinho Tabajós (with some help from Osmar Milito on a few tracks), this is probably the sparest, most stripped-down album of Ben’s discography. For all its wonderful glory, there are actually few ‘staples’ on this album that would continue to appear in Jorge’s live performances and various collections, with the major exceptions of Fio Maravilha (here presented in an extremely laid back, downbeat interpretation), Caramba!, and the earliest version of Taj Mahal which has an “Eastern-sounding” acoustic guitar solo in the middle of it.

Also, if you play the song Domingo 23 backwards, you will here references to the future death / murder of Michael Jackson, using imagery from the film BEN for which Jackson sang the theme song, also released in 1972.

Saravá Jorge, filho de Ogun!

Oh, and this is most likely my last blog post of 2009, so … HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Thanks to all the readers of this blog — especially those of you kind enough to take the time to leave comments! Lots of light and inspiration to you all in the new aeon.

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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…

With complete artwork, m3u playlist, and proper ID-tags

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

Jorge Ben – Negro é Lindo (1971) in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO

Wilson Simonal – Alegria! Alegria! Vol. 3 & 4 (1969)

Booklet notes:

Recorded under the uncontrollable shadow of the hit “Sá Marina”, Alegrie Alegria Vol 3, or Cada Um Tem o Disco que Merece, is a move in the direction toward a maturation of a style, of unity in the middle of the diversity that the public had already accustomed itself with Simonal. “Sá Marina” (from Alegria Vol. 2) loaned its soul-music romanticism to various songs on the album. “Meia Volta (Ana Cristina), “Moça” and “Aleluia Aleluia” all from Antonio Adolfo and Tibério Gaspar, are the clearest examples. But practically the whole album is calm and serene. From the delicate “Menininha do Portão” to the rhythm and blues “na lingua da matriz” of “What You Say,” Simonal and Som Três move their music into an area that is more adult, and more black. The reinterpretations of classics attest to this: ‘Pensando em ti” brings bassoons and flugelhorns to the old hit by Nelson Gonçalves; “Prece ao Vento” uses the riff from “Sunny”, a classic by Elizeth Cardoso; “Atire a Primeira Pedra” plays with Atualfo Alves for a generation enchanted with ‘Barbarella’.

Simonal and Som Três also grew in structure. Cesar debuts his electric piano and the synthesized sounds to the tone of different songs (especially “Mustang Cor de Sangue”). Sabá begins using to the electric-acoustic bass common to salsa groups. Also the “brass with mushrooms” (??) gain force here too, with the arrival of Aurino, Darcy and the singer’s brother, José Roberto Simonal, joining with the veterans Maurílio and Juarez. It is this era that saw the vertiginous sky-rocketing professional ascension of Simonal, exploding after his performance at Maracanãzinho on July 5, 1969, when the singer stole the show from Sergio Mendes and was dragged back to the stage by 30,000 fans. Soon after this show, Simonal joined up with Shell in a series of mega-events that brought him back to the sports arena, repeating the success of his first presentation.

The photo of this second show adorns the cover of Alegria! Aelgria! Vol.4. The alternative title (Homage to the Grace, Beauty, Charm and the Venom of the Brazilian Woman) comes from that which, maybe, could be the biggest hit of his career: “País Tropical,” composed by Jorge Ben and freely adapted by the singer, who cut entire passages of the lyrics, changed other parts, and through it created the expression “patropi”. Nothing seemed to conatin this great, exciting phase of Wilson Simonal.

—Ricardo Alexandre
Journalist and author of the biography “Nem Vem Que Não Tem: A Vide e o Veneno de Wilson Simonal”

Free translation by Flabbergast

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ALEGRIA, ALEGRIA VOL. 3 ou CADA UM TEM O DISCO QUE MERECE
Wilson Simonal (1969)
Released in April of 1969 as Odeon MOFB 3576

1 Silva lenheira
(Jorge Ben)
2 Mustang cor de sangue
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
3 Menininha do portão
(Nonato Buzar, Paulinho Tapajós)
4 Silêncio
(Eduardo Souto Neto, Sergio Bittencourt)
5 Prece ao vento
(Gilvan Chaves, Fernando Luiz Câmara, Alcyr Pires Vermelho)
6 What you say
(Wilson Simonal)
7 Moça
(Tibério Gaspar, Antônio Adolfo)
8 Aleluia aleluia
(Tibério Gaspar, Antônio Adolfo)
9 Mamãe eu quero
(Vicente Paiva, Jararaca)
10 Meia-volta (Ana Cristina)
(Tibério Gaspar, Antônio Adolfo)
11 Pensando em ti
(Herivelto Martins, David Nasser)
12 Atira a primeira pedra
(Ataulfo Alves, Mário Lago)
13 Mulher de malandro
(Celso Castro, Oswaldo Nunes)

BONUS TRACK
14. Se Você Pensa
(Roberto Carlos / Erasmo Carlos)

Recorded in November 1968, January and March 1969
Arrangements and orchestration, César Camargo Mariano (1-3,5,6,8-10, 12) Laércio de Freitas (13), Erlon Chaves (4,7,11).
Artistic director: Milton Mrianda
Musical director: Lyrio Panicali
Technical director: Z.J.Merky
Sound engineer: Jorge Teixeira da Rocha
Mixing and editing of the LP: Reny Rizzi Lippi
Art director: Moacyr Rocha
Photos: Studio Maitiry

Som Três: Cesar Camargo Mariano (piano), Sabá (upright bass and voice), Toninho Pinheiro (drums and voice).

Brass: Aurino (baritone sax), José Roberto SImonal (alto sax), Maurilio and Darcy (trumpets), and Juarez (tenor sax)
Electric guitar: Geraldo Vespar
Percussion: Chacau

Bonus track recorded in July and released by Odeon as since 7B 380 in August 1969.

ALEGRIA, ALEGRIA VOL. 4 ou HOMENAGEM À GRAÇA, À BELEZA, AO CHARME E AO VENENO DA MULHER BRASILEIRA

Odeon MOFB 3613 released November 1969

15 Maquilagem
(Nonato Buzar, Wilson Simonal)
16 Porque hoje é domingo
(Tibério Gaspar, Antônio Adolfo)
17 Evie
(Jimmy Webb)
18 Brasileira
(Sergio Augusto, Rubinho)
19 Olho d’água
(Nonato Buzar, Paulinho Tapajós)
20 Canção da criança
(René Bittencourt, Francisco Alves)
21 Eu fui ao Tororó
(Foclore)
22 Que maravilha
(Jorge Ben, Toquinho)
23 Uma loira
(Hervé Cordovil)
24 Quem mandou
(Sergio Bittencourt, Eduardo Souto)
25 País tropical
(Jorge Ben)
26 Adios, muchachos / Adios
(César Vedani, J.C.Sanders. E. Madrigeura)

Recorded in July, October, and November of 1969.

Arrangements, orchestration, horn charts: Cesar Camargo Mariano (15,16,18-24,25) Lyrio Panicali (17), Erlon Chaves (18,26)

Musician credits and technical credits same as Alegria Alegria Vol 3

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Reissue info:
Remastered in 24 bits and digitally edited from the original master tapes by Carlos Freitas and Jade Pereira at Classic Master, São Paulo, in February 2004.
Production and project coordination: Max de Castro and Wilson Simoninha
Reproduction of original album covers: Rogério Alonso

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One more Simonal brings us two more albums full of joy in this series. Tons of gems here, with the hard-swing accompaniment of Som Três. More songs by Jorge Ben, Antonio Adolfo & Tibério Gaspar — definitely moving into more soul territory here. There is even a cover of a rather obscure song, Evie, by Jimmy Webb (By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, and the notorious MacArthur Park). On that song Wilson’s singing in English has improved from “What You Say” (on Vol.3), which is pretty frankly awful but also charming in its awful-ness.

These four albums of ‘Alegria! Alegria!’ mark a hugely important phase in Simonal’s career and in many ways, taken as a whole, could be the centerpiece of his discography. There was a live album (show em Simonal) released in the middle of them, recorded earlier in 1967, that I may share here although frankly it is kind of for the die-hard obsessive collectors (more details later).

More ALEGRIA for the holiday seasons from Flabbergasted Vibes!

Wilson Simonal – Alegria! Alegria! Vol. 3 & 4 (1969) in 320 kbs em pee three


Wilson Simonal – Alegria! Alegria! Vol. 3 & 4 (1969) in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO

Complete artwork included. Composer credits are included in the ID tags, as well as restored Portuguese orthographic and diacriticals.

Gato Barbieri – Fenix (1971)

Gato Barbieri
“Fenix”
Released 1971 on Flying Dutchman (FD 10158)

Having already established himself in the vanguard of free jazz (stints with Don Cherry, an appearance on the landmark ‘Liberation Music Orchestra’ from Charlie Haden / Carla Bley), Barbieri was producing some incredible work as a bandleader by the late 60s. For some reason this album feels like an appropriate “holiday season” album to me, whatever your particular cosmological inclinations might be. The album is really part of a series of a politically-engaged, Pan-American albums whose musical sensibilities were damn unique. Barbieri’s riffing rarely drifts from the fiercer side of a Coltrane / Pharoah orientation. It’s soulful, spiritual jazz, but also angry. With Lenny White on drums, Lonnie Liston Smith on keys, and Naná Vasconcelos on congas and berimbau (Naná was, and still is, the most capable and expressive player of this instrument), you really can’t go wrong with this record. One really interesting cut is the song ‘Falsa Baiana’, written as a samba by Geraldo Pereira and made famous by Roberto Silva (to be reinterpreted later as bossa nova by João Gilberto, and in MPB’s idiom by Gal Costa and others). Gato’s rendition here, one of the calmer tracks on the album, is almost unrecognizable as he circles around the chord changes and doesn’t play the main melody until three minutes into the song. This album is a treasure for the ears and the soul, enjoy!

The BMG France reissue has the original sleeve notes from Michael Cuscuna and some newer commentary in French that I can’t really read.

Gato Barbieri – Fenix (1971) in 320kbs em pee three
Gato Barbieri – Fenix (1971) in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO format
PART ONE //// PART TWO

Emílio Santiago – Emílio Santiago (1975) {João Donato, Azimuth, Wilson das Neves..)

Emilio Santiago (1975)
1975, CID (8008)
CD Reissue, CID (0074102)1 Bananeira
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
2 Quero alegria
(Guilherme de Brito, Nelson Cavaquinho)
3 Porque somos iguais
(Pedro Camargo, Durval Ferreira)
4 Batendo a porta
(Paulo César Pinheiro, João Nogueira)
5 Depois
(Otávio Daher, Ivan Lins)
6 Brother
(Jorge Ben)
7 La mulata
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
8 Nega Dina
(Zé Keti)
9 Doa a quem doer
(Ivan Lins)
10 Sessão das dez
(Édson Lobo, Tita, Renato Rocha)

Truth be told, I am not a huge fan of Emilio Santiago. In fact all I have is this album, ‘Comigo é assim’ and `Feito Pra Ouvir` which might be his most famous from the 70s. But his early stuff is worth checking out, especially this debut album. This one is, in fact, pretty bad-ass. Emilio was sort of a protege, or at least a `discovery` of Roberto Menescal, who wrote the liner notes for this album and produced `Feito Pra Ouvir` a few years later.

In truth this album may be most interested for the insane lineup of musicians who contributed to it. João Donato’s contribution on the electric Rhodes is the most obvious — as is the song he co-wrote with Gilberto Gil, “Bananeira”, as solid a piece of Brazil funk as you could find. Donato also gives the track “La mulata” (penned by the brothers Valle) a salsa-style arrangement that stands out quite nicely. The funk-fusion band Azimuth provides backing on one track only, Jorge Ben’s “Brother.” Now, ‘Brother’ is from what many regard as Ben’s best album ever — A Tábua de Esmeralda — but for me that song has always been the weakest link in the great chain of that record. Here, I dare say that Emilio may surpass the original, and with big credit due to Azimuth, who make the song hit much harder than Ben’s laid-back style.

You can see the rest of the big names who helped out on this record on the CD tray like Wilson das Neves, Copinha, Ivan Lins, Dori Caymmi… Keeping in mind that the lineup of the musical backing changes on every track, sometimes entirely, the album is remarkably consistent in its sound. Emilio’s interpretations of sambas from the likes of Nelson Cavaquinho and João Nogueira are still growing on me, and perhaps they never will… His voice veers towards the schmaltzy style that would make him famous in the 80s and 90s. He is definitely not alone in giving classic samba that kind of slick treatment, but I will always prefer ‘samba do morro’ to ‘samba de calçada’ I guess..

By the way, his name is Emilio Santiago, in case you can’t read it clearly on the front cover of the album.  Bio in Portuguese

Carioca, começou a cantar em festivais universitários nos anos 70, quando freqüentava a faculdade de Direito. Participou também de programas de calouros na televisão, chegando às finais de um concurso no programa Flávio Cavalcanti, na TV Tupi. Foi crooner da orquestra de Ed Lincoln, e cantou em boates e casas noturnas. Seu primeiro compacto foi lançado em 1973 com “Transa de Amor” (S. Tapajós/ M. Amaral) e “Saravá Nega” (Odibar), o que abriu portas para participações em programas de rádio e televisão. Dois anos depois a CID grava o primeiro LP, “Emílio Santiago”, com músicas de Jorge Ben (“Brother”), João Donato (“Bananeira”) e outros. No ano seguinte assinou contrato com a Polygram, que lançou os dez discos seguintes. Foi eleito o melhor intérprete do Festival da TV Globo de 1985 com a música “Elis Elis” (E. Natolo Jr./ M. Simões). Em 1988 mudou para a gravadora Som Livre, onde iniciou o projeto “Aquarelas Brasileiras”, dedicado exclusivamente ao repertório de música brasileira. Lançou sete discos pelo projeto, alcançando a marca de 4 milhões de cópias vendidas. No final da década de 90 lançou discos fora do Aquarela Brasileira, inclusive um em homenagem ao cantor Dick Farney.

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(edit/update, March 20, 2013 – Emílio passed away today, only in his 60s too..  So I fixed the links here and reposted, but without any other changes.  Maybe in the coming weeks I’ll try to get another of his records up here..)