Jorge Ben – Força Bruta (1970) [2009 remaster]

1970 Philips (R 765.121 L)
2009 Reissue, Salve Jorge! Boxset
1 Oba lá vem ela
2 Zé Canjica
3 Domenica Domingava num domingo linda
4 Charles Jr.
5 Pulo pulo
6 Apareceu Aparecida
7 O telefone tocou novamente
8 Mulher brasileira
9 Terezinha
10 Força brutawith Trio Mocotó

I don’t typically like to make posts here that only a feature a review someone else has written. But I have been too otherwise preoccupied to post here lately and I realized I had gone amiss in my vaguely chronological presentation of the new Jorge Ben box by skipping ahead to 10 Anos Depois (but then, we started with Negro é Lindo, so it doesn’t matter..) Also, this album already received a post once, way back when this blog first started (it is still here, if you search for it, featuring the Dusty Groove label’s reissue).

So here is Força Bruta, Ben’s first great album in a decade of really great albums for him. The track “Pulo, pulo” would be covered by Elza Soares in 1972 in a great samba-soul sendup. And then there’s all the other tracks, which are … all great. I will let the aforementioned review take it from here, courtesy of Sylus Magazine. Well written and better than the trite garbage found on most of the websites people use to copy-and-paste music ‘critique’, I quite enjoy this guy’s write-up. And, it also manages to emphasize once again that Caetano Veloso is a douchebag.

It might sound like a slight to call Jorge Ben Brazil’s most genteel offering
from the early ’70s—he didn’t have a beard; he didn’t go to jail—but it
shouldn’t, per se. Gentility—a kind of aesthetic gentility, at least—is one of
those oddly polarizing qualities in Brazilian music: some people find it
soothing and soulful, others hear it as limp and indifferent. Even Ben at his
most rugged (1976’s África Brasil) doesn’t have the haywire quality of Gilberto
Gil’s work from the same time, a difference in approach all the more obvious
when the two collaborated in 1975 for Gil e Jorge (Gil is usually the one
screaming). Nah, Ben always seemed like the mannered one of his generation, but
sacrificing some passion in a bargain for consistency isn’t a crime—I’d rather
listen to an OK Ben album than a Caetano Veloso album that annoys me, and there
seem to be more of the latter than the former.

By the time Ben recorded
Força Bruta at age 30, he was already a legitimate pop star in Brazil; he’d
crossed over into the States via a Sergio Mendes cover (“Mas, Que Nada”) when he
was 23; and he’d already had hits backed by Trio Mocotó (who played with him on
this record). It’s in the context of history that the laid-back quality of Ben’s
music becomes refreshing, almost bulletproof: it’s hard to imagine one of our
own pop stars at the height of his or her popularity being self-assured enough
to make an album as loose as Força Bruta, not to mention using a cover photo of
them playing the harmonica with their eyes half-closed. Ben was chill as hell
and did not mind letting you observe.

But it all proceeds as you’d
expect: demure samba-rock laced with sliding strings, an agreeable, samey
atmosphere, no strife on the horizon. Ben manages to be soulful without being
gritty; any hoarseness in his voice is a play, part of his overall finesse.
Again, this could be a bad thing for you—I’m preferential to 1974’s A Tábua de
Esmeralda because it’s a little less accommodating—but it also seems like a
ridiculous thing to really lodge a complaint about. When Ben was relaxing with
Força Bruta, other prominent musicians of his generation were freaking out over
a new military dictatorship and making big, declarative artistic statements.
Gentility might not always be a flattering word, but temperance and
consideration usually are—and Ben was nothing if not both.

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  1. Hola Flabber!! El formato FLAC en Megaupload esta temporalmente desactivado!!! Ojala se pueda solucionar por que es el disco mas esperado por los flabbervibers!!
    Gracias por todo de antemano!

  2. Hmmm.. Megaupload may be interested in shutting me down…. I am not sure what is up but I am going to wait a day or so before trying to fix this.. Sorry Calisan. I am limited to 15kbs upstream right now and it takes forever to get a file on the server(s).

  3. password: vibes

  4. Buenísimo, gracias. ¿Por las dudas no tendrás para compartir el disco "Africa Brasil" en FLAC? Sólo lo encuentro en mp3 y se escucha bastante mal.

  5. E aí cara, blz??? Muito obrigado por essas sessoes remasterizadas do Jorge Ben, q sou fanzasso!!! Este disco em especial é um grande classico!!!!

    Vc nao publicou meu comentario, mas no disco Ben o link está desativado (EM 320 KBPS)!!!! Vc poderia subi-lo no MEGAUPLOAD??? Pra evitar SUA FADIGA os links estão abaixo pra vc conferir, hehhehehhe!!! – DESATIVADO!



  6. Aw, what's wrong with Veloso? He's one of my favorites!

  7. Veloso?? I could write an essay on this. In fact, I think I have. The guy hasn`t put out a good record since `Bicho` (although `Banda da Terra has its moments). Yet he continues to try to be "relevant" by reinventing himself, badly. This last two records of pseudo-indie-rock material, hyped as cutting edge (though they sound about as cutting edge as U2 in 1987, which is to say, not very cutting-edge at all)… Oh, and his politics these days, which are total bullshit. That would just be his own business, if he didn't feel compelled to mouth off his half-backed neoconservative opinions to the Brazilian press. Like calling Lula 'an illiterate' and 'tacky' in statements that ended up being quite a scandal last year. None of this is, of course, known much in the anglophone world were he is still esteemed for his work as a Tropicalista and where his new material (oddly) is considered "important", or something. If you want consistently interesting and engaging (and, yes, 'cutting edge') music from one of the original Tropicalistas, look no further from Tom Zé. Zé, when he's felt he had nothing new to say, has chosen to stay silent, and take long breaks from recording. I personally admire that. Veloso, as his autobiography will attest, is kind of arrogant prick who makes it hard to like him the more you get to know about him. He can still move me, when he choses to be 'the balladeer' which is what I feel he's been best at since the mid-70s, and not a 'rocker' like he's been trying to be recently. So, that's what's wrong with Caetano in 2010. Caetano in 1972, different story altogether. 😉

  8. Thanks again Flabbergast. Loving these JB transfers, they give my poor vinyl a rest and also replace some nasty 128s of the really early sides from the Napster days.

    Being one of them anglophones I dunno too much about all that politics and hype stuff but I do know I can't listen to any of Veloso's albums made in the 80s or later. The last one of his I enjoyed was "Joia."

    I know a bit of his output but I guess I need to check out more Tom Zé as well one of these days…

    Thanks again

  9. Cara, esse disco é maravilhoso!
    Se eu não me engano este disco nunca havia saido em CD.
    Valeuzão cumpade!
    Também estou conhecendo coisas maravilhosas que você tem postado por aqui. Manu Dibango foi uma das melhores.
    Aos poucos vou ouvindo tudo.


  10. I agree 200 pr cent with you about Caetano: ahere is his music since the 80's!!!! Those last years he stayed in a position that everybody get borred qith his pseudo Rock'n Roll! so poor music! i don't understand why he's insisting in a demodé style that everybody is vomiting in Europe! It's a peatty! as G.Gil he turns himself a diva and it's dificult to understand their way politicaly! They seems compltly out of the reality for this World'moment … they sould change a little and help their culture and forget a little the sad way of '`Pop Stars''that they never been outside of Brasil! Qhere is the good brasilian music ! where is the tropical way of life with their sound americanized!!! It's realy amazing for people important like them, this english identity! I'm borred qith thoses last Caetano's pseudo albums!!! since the 80's.
    Chris from Niteroi-Rio de Janeiro.

  11. I agree Veloso's later material has been lackluster, but I'm so used to that with rock musicians I care about (Bowie, Peter Gabriel, basically anybody over 50) that I hardly feel I can hold that against somebody. It's just harder to stay relevant when you're not as hungry.

    I admit, I don't know Veloso's politics. On the surface it seems strange to call him a neoconservative. I'm not sure it means the same thing it does in America. Here, or at least in my mind, that means BUSH/WAR/FASCISM/etc.

  12. Dismissing everything Caetano has done since Bicho or Joia is beyond silly. Cinema Transcendental, Circulado, Tropicalia 2, Livro — all fine albums. Plus lots of great moments on the other albums. Sure, "Ce" and "Zii e Zie" perhaps try a little too hard, but they don't suck either. No one dismisses Bob Dylan or Neil Young out of hand when they go off the reservation, which has been often. And no one can be more haughty than Dylan. Finally, Caetano is not a fucking "neocon," and Lulu is a tacky drunk, but that's why he's loved LBJ style. Caetano is an arrogant fuck, like all great artists, but he's also got his heart in the right place and he's a card. Plus he's always loved to undercut the Brazilian Left's sacred cows, which are many. This goes all the way back to the late 60s, when the Left was as rigid and humorless as the military dictatorship. Finally, for whatever reason, I've never found a Brazilian man that admits to liking Caetano. He's way to faggy and campy, and that's why his spiritual (and sometimes physical) home is N.Y.C. Just like his idol, Joao "total weirdo" Gilberto.

  13. First of all, I am not a Brazilian man. His masculinity has nothing to do with it. Caetano comes nowhere close to the integrity, or influence, of João Gilberto, and never has.

    Cinema Transcendental has its moments, as does his Banda da Terra album. Circulado, Tropicalio 2, Livro are all utterly unlistenable garbage in my opinion.

    ANd for the record, I *do* give Dylan shit. I have never seen him play a good show. I saw Caetano in 2002 and thought he was just fine, he is better playing the mature world-music-genre artiste at this point. These days he is slaughtering old sambas and talking about making a record of axê music, one of the most horrid creations to ever be unleashed by the state of Bahia.

    Neocon was the wrong word. And I am not a huge fan of Lula's politics, but calling him a tacky drunk completely plays into the way the extremely centralized, very right-wing media portrays him. The person Caetano is supporting has no political platform. What she has is what too many Green Party candidates have in other countries – only a moral discourse, with no real political or economic plan for change. She is a fucking evangelestic born-again Christian for fucks sake.

    Your depiction of the Brazilian left during the dictatorship betrays either a profound lack of insight into the historiography, or else you just read Caetano's book and believed it.

  14. Dylan's only interesting album to me in the last several decades was 'Time Out of Mind.' Neil Young, on the other hand, has never had any real concern with staying contemporary in any commercially viable sense, and has made wonderfully awful records like Trans that have to be loved for their downright strangeness. Seeing the live performance of his 'Greendale' album was one of the oddest experiences of my life. There is really no comparison, as Neil Young just doesn't come anywhere close to Caetano in the arrogance department, and he has as much dignity in his performances now as he ever has, because the type of music he writes has never depending on the swagger and hubris of youth, and he is able to play rock with Crazy Horse and not look like an ass.

  15. By "integrity," do you mean adherence to traditional Brazilian musical forms? An unwavering devotion to one style of music? If so, that makes me yawn. I can't think of anything more boring than Joao Gilberto's supposed "purity." The poor guy has been placed in a psychological museum exhibit, most of all by Caetano himself, who to this day fawns all over him. I mean, I dig his music, but I believe it's less adventurous, searching, and interesting than Caetano's. And while I certainly love Jorge Ben, he doesn't have Caetano's reach or ambition. By any stretch of the imagination Caetano has been massively influential worldwide.

    I'm not going to claim any great authority on Brazilian politics or history (although I have been there many times and half my extended family are Brazilian), but I'm pretty sure that a significan swathe of the Brazilian Left in the 1960s was rigid and humorless. Much has been written and said about this, Caetano's book being only the most recent. The Tropicalistas, merry anarchists and dadaists that they were, were booed by earnest crowds of young people and hounded by right-wing authorities. But they weren't all that overtly "political." Brazil is a pretty traditional place culturally, and this traditionalism extends to both sides of the political spectrum.

    As regards the current election, the only thing I know about Dilma is that she was a member of the Leftist group who kidnapped the American Ambassador in the early 70s (Alan Arkin in the film). Since Lula can't run, it's either her or somebody most likely more tied to establishment in Brazil. Ultimately, I don't see how any of this has to do with Caetano's music, whether he's mouthed off or

    And don't blame Caetano for "Axe," blame those damned meddling Bahian kids and their Trios Electricos! Go get up in Daniela Mercury's grille if you want a celebrity takedown!;]

  16. João Gilberto didn't adhere to anything, he completely changed the way people played and composed. And yeah he hasn't ever really changed what he does. So what. Experimentalism for its own sake makes ME yawn. By dignity I mean that he doesn't record much when he has nothing to say, and he doesn't give interviews, and especially doesn't think anybody cares what he thinks of the current political situation.

    I am not inclined to argue aboutthis any more, really. It's my blog and I can say what i want! 😛 Actually it's just that I find Caetano to be arrogant in a particularly abrasive way that others (like Gilberto Gil) are not. And I really don't think anything he has done since the late 70s has been terribly searching, interesting, or influential. In fact if his name wasn't attached to it, I don't think too many people would pay attention at all.

    I do agree with 'rigid and humorless' as I have yet to make it through an entire Geraldo Vandre album. But the Brazilian left, traditional or not, has never had the same power as the interests of the latifundia or the military and to conflate the two is putting things a bit disproportionally. The current administration has opened the road to the declassification of documents pertaining to the torture and 'disappearance' of thousands of people, but language in the new human rights bill was changed by "special interests" so as not to endanger the amnesty law put in place decades ago to keep anyone from ever being prosecuted for acts of torture and murder. It was the ALN of Carlos Marighella that kidnapped Charles Elbrick, with collaboration from the MR-8, Movimento Revolucionário 8 de Outubro, with which Dilma was involved. I have friends here who were involved with them. It was not my struggle, but I am living in a part of the northeast were a lot of people were jailed, tortured, killed, and pretty much all of the social problems that existed prior to 64 still remain or have only been augmented by the particular path of 'uneven development' the country took since then. Lula himself hasn't done much to change this, and the PT is not the same PT it was in the 1980s… What do I care, I can't vote here anyway.

  17. I enjoyed the interchange. With Caetano, I agree to disagree about the merit of his post-70s discography. There's too much to richness to enjoy for me to dismiss it. And, although we can agree that he's a bit of a prick, I just hope that I'm as "dignified" as he is when I'm 67 years old. I'd rather hear what he has to say than not.


  19. password


  20. thanks great music!!!

  21. Thanks for all this remastered Ben!

  22. Cara, valeu demais por isso!
    Voce é um iluminado!!!

    Tomei a liberdade de publicar seu blog no meu,

    Aquele abraço!

  23. outro link

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