LUIZ GONZAGA CANTA SEUS SUCESSOS
COM ZÉ DANTAS
Luiz Gonzaga / Zé Dantas (1959)
1959, RCA Victor
2 O xote das meninas
3 Vem morena
4 A volta da asa branca
5 A letra I
6 O forró de Mané Vito
7 A dança da moda
8 Riacho do Navio
9 Vozes da seca
10 Cintura fina
12 Paulo Afonso
All songs by Luiz Gonzaga and Zé Dantas
The season of Festas Juninas began a week ago in Northeastern Brazil, building up to the holiday of São João on June 24 (midsummer’s eve in the northern hemisphere) . If I had more energy I would provide you with some penetrating insights into the sociocultural significance of this annual festivity, its inextricable ties to regional history and identity, and its ramifications in securing a place for the Nordeste in the national imaginary. But for now, I will just say it has something to do with lots of funny hats and food made out of corn.
I almost did a vinyl transfer of this record from a 1970s repressing on one of those rubbery RCA “flexi-discs” they were making during the oil crisis, which has a bright orange ugly cover completely different from the original, before I realized I also had it on compact disc. This is a case where I will opt for the digital over the analog option… Released in 1959, it’s a collection of songs that had been released previously, mostly on 78’s if I’m not mistaken, in the period of 1949 to 1955 and that had Zé Dantas as co-writer. Zé Dantas (José de Sousa Dantas Filho) is probably Luiz Gonzaga’s most famous writing partner after Huberto Teixeira, and every song on this is great. Comprised pretty much entirely of “baião” and “xôte” tunes, it’s a pretty relaxing listen for such a danceable record. As the title of the record suggests this is a collection of hits of greater or lesser fame. I’ve posted two audio samples below. “Xôte de Meninas” is so damn catchy that it will actually blot out the complete butcher-job done on it by Marisa Monte from your brain if you were unlucky enough to have heard that version. “A volta de Asa Branca” is just what it would imply – a revisiting of Gonzaga’s famous anthem of the Nordeste. It’s not as good as the original “Asa Branca”, written with Teixeira, basically just a continuation of the story of the retirante but it’s still quite good, and in later years Gonzagão would often play the two songs back to back.
Most of the volumes in the Coleção Luiz Gonzaga reissues by RCA have precious little in the way of information, but this time they’ve graced us with the original liner notes from Zé Dantas, who has a little to say about every song on here. Very nice.
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