Ary Lobo – Poeira de Ritmos (1963)

ary lobo

Ary Lobo
Poeira de Ritmos (1963)
RCA Victor LP – BBL 1236
Reissue on Coleção “Essential Classics” (BMG, 2004)

O forrozeiro de raiz Ary Lobo (1930-1980) nos mostra em seu sexto LP na RCA, de 1963, um caldeirão de ritmos nordestinos. Alguns bons para dançar juntinho num baile de forró (Coco da Juliana ou A cigana mentiu) ou numa boa quadrilha junina (Mané Cazuza). – Rodrigo Faour

A true representative of the genuine forró, ARY LOBO (1930-1980) shows on his 6th LP under RCA, originally released in 1963, a real “melting pot” of Brazilian rhythms. There are tracks meant to bring couples dancing close together (“Coco da Juliana” or “A cigana mentiu”) as well as a good old Brazilian-style “square dance” (quadirlha) (the track “Mané Cazuza”). – Rodrigo Faour

1. Quem encosta em Deus não cai
2. Mané Cazuza
3. Vítimas do Nordeste
4. Faca de ponta
5. A cigana mentiu
6. Cento e vinte
7. História de um órfão
8. Patrulha da cidade
9. História do Jeová
10. Coco da Juliana
11. Aqui vou bem
12. Escada da glória

Reissue produced by Charles Gavin
Remastered by Jade Pereira and Carlos Freitas at Classic Master, SP

Although I would recommend you start with his other album that I posted here simply because it grabs you immediately, this is also a very fine album. It starts out with a ballad, which seems an odd choice – the beautiful prayer-like “Quem encosta em Deus não cai) from João do Vale, Ary Monteiro, and J.Ferreira. Rodrigo Faour neglects to mention in his blurb that the record also contains a good ‘frevo’ song (a style specific to the city of Recife), in “Vitimas do nordeste.” Another highlight is yet another religious catechism in “História de Jeová,” as well as the inclusion of an Adoniram Barbosa song, “Escada de Glória.” Unfortunately, Ary Lobo himself does not contribute any compositions of his own on this album, but there is a lot that was composed specifically for this album by various permutations of the composers who were working with him. I quite like the sound of these RCA/Victor reissues. And its not like I have any choice — finding these as original vinyl pressings would cost more than I have to spend, and any reissues around would be on the RCA-flexi-disc style pressings that I personally don’t care for.

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Thre Green Arrows – 4-track Recording Session 1974-79 (2007) {Analog Africa No.1}

This post is for Waltzing Matilda in São Paulo


analog africa

4-Track Recording Session
Released 2006 on Analog Africa
Original recordings made between 1974 – 1979

1 Mwana Waenda
2 Bambo Makwatila
3 Chitima Nditakure
4 Amai Mandida
5 Towering Inferno
6 Nkosi’s Intro
7 Chipo Chiroorwa
8 Dororengu Rinonaka
9 No Delay (Bullitt)
10 Nhengure
11 Infalilibe Chisoni
12 Madzangara Dzimu
13. 13 Nherera Zvichengete
14. 14 Musango Mune Hangaiwa
15. 15 Nyoka Yendara
16. 16 Hurungwe
17. 17 Chechule Wavala Botom
18. 18 Chimamuna Chamímba
19. 19 Vaparidzi Vawanda
20. 20 Wasara Wasara

This is a great compilation from the wonderful Analog Africa label. The first release in their catalog, it is put together with all the loving care you would come to expect — great notes, great research, amazing photos and graphic layout. Sound is good too. One weird thing is that the booklet refers the listener to their website to check out the lyrics, and the website — even in 2010 — is a placeholder with nothing on it. It is almost charming that they don’t give a crap about websites and instead focus on such amazing, dedicated PHYSICAL OBJECTS of their releases!

In the links you will find full artwork scans of the 20-page booklet in JPG and TIF. Lots of photos of the band posing around motor vehicles of some kind — cars, buses, tractors…

I don’t typically like posting reviews from other places, but I am busy writing other things today and this brief piece from the BBC is smart and succinct:

Garth Cartwright 2007-04-17

Zimbabwe is an African nation that is constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons: Robert Mugabe’s lethal grip on power, the collapse of the economy, brutal oppression of any individuals brave enough to challenge the ruling regime, absolute poverty and a soaring mortality rate. To think Zimbabwe was once a nation feted by the likes of Bob Marley and celebrated internationally for its fertile music scene!

Depressing as current conditions in Zimbabwe are this album reminds of how magical the nation once was and hints that the natural talent and ingenuity of the citizens will once again flower in a better future. The Green Arrows are now considered the most important musical act to emerge from Zimbabwe in the 1970s. Initially formed by Zexie and Stanley Manatsa in 1966, The Green Arrows rapidly rose to become (by 1970) the most popular bar band in Rhodesia (as the nation was then known). Stanley quickly developed into a superb guitarist whose sparkling, melodic playing continues to inspire today.

Nicknamed “wha-wha (=beer) music” as they made their name playing the large drinking dens the nation’s workers congregated at, The Green Arrows were the first Zimbo band to record an LP (in February 1976) and still hold the record for the longest stay at No 1 (with ”Musango Mune Hangaiwa” holding on for four months). This 20-track compilation covers their recording history from 1974-1979 and reveals a remarkably dynamic and imaginative band. While the drums-bass-guitar(s) line-up mimics Western pop-rock acts, the Manatsa brothers were inventive musicians who effortlessly fused traditional Southern African flavours with American influences. Superb sleeve notes from African music expert Banning Eyre make this a CD to treasure.

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Elza Soares – Elza Soares (1974) (Tapecar/Discobertas)


Elza Soares
1974 Tapecar (X.23)
Reissue 2010 on Discobertas 2010 (DB-051)

1 Bom dia Portela
(Bebeto de São João, David Correia)
2 Pranto livre
(Everaldo da Viola, Dida)
3 Não é hora de tristeza
(Walter da Imperatriz, Lino Roberto, Wilson Medeiros)
4 Meia noite já é dia
(Norival Reis, David Correia)
5 Desabafo
(Nezinho, Campo, Tatu)
6 Partido do lê lê lê
(Otilo Gomes)
7 Deusa do rio Niger
(Motorzinho, Walter Norambê)
8 Quem há de dizer
(Alcides Gonçalves, Lupicínio Rodrigues)
9 Louvei Maria
(Elza Soares)
10 Xamêgo de crioula
(Zé Di)
11 Falso papel
(Dario Marciano)
12 Giringonça
(Josealdo Fraga)


13. Salve a Mocidade
(Luiz Reis)
14. Festa do Círio de Nazaré
(Aderbal Moreira, Dario Marciano, Nilo Mendes)
15. O Mundo Fantástico do Uirapuru (Tatu, Campo, Nezinho)

Produced by José Xavier
Arrangements by Ed Lincoln
Album artwork by Randall

This is Elza Soares’s first album for the Tapecar label after she asked to be let go from her contract at Odeón. It is also noteworthy for the fact that organist Ed Lincoln was the arranger on the album, and his keyboard work can be heard peppered throughout the record. And whereas her Odeon albums were built around her singular and unique interpretations of time-tested samba clasics or more recent compositions from time-tested composers, this album contained new songs by mostly unknown writers, with the one big exception being the Lupicínio Rodrigues tune ‘Quem há de dizer.’ And check out the heavily-Jorge-Ben influenced `Deusa do Rio Niger` and the samba-soul `Giringonca`!!

The reissue — which possibly marks the first time this has ever been on CD — also includes three bonus tracks. The first was a hit from a telenovela that was dominating the TV airwaves at the time, the “Salve a Mocidade” from the novela ‘O Rebu.’ This was quite probably the biggest hit that Elza had during the entire decade of the 1970s. The other two tracks appeared on one of the many Tapecar carnaval compilations, this one called ‘Samba Enredo 75’.. I see some of these Tapecar releases on the street every now and then and should really pay closer attention — I had mostly assumed they contained album tracks available elsewhere and basically ignored them. Alas, I was quite wrong!

I find the sound a bit lifeless and ‘stiff’ sounding, but the only vinyl copy of this that I have found has a skip on it that makes a vinyl rip impossible. And the bonus tracks are a nice touch. You can’t go wrong with any Elza Soares from the 60s or 70s, and this album is a fine example of why!

There are some lame and poorly-written internet bios of Elza at allmusic and Wikipedia, and this one from All Brazilian Music is not much better, but anyway here it is. Oh, and Elza has recently written her own autobiography (or had someone ghost-write it for her) in 2009, but I have not picked up a copy yet.

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Cassiano – Imagem e Som (1971)


1971 RCA Victor
BSL 1551
Reissue 2001 on BMG/RCA ‘100 Anos de Música’ Series


1 Lenda
(Lula Freire, Marcos Valle)
2 Ela mandou esperar
(Cassiano, Tim Maia)
3 Tenho dito
(Cassiano, Tim Maia)
4 Já
5 É isso aí
6 O caso das bossas
(Zil Rosendo, Dabliu Namor)
7 Eu, meu filho e você
8 Primavera (Vai chuva)
(Silvio Rochael, Cassiano)
9 Minister
10 Uma lágrima
11 Canção dos hippies (Paz e amor)
(Professor Pardal)
12 Não fique triste

Genival Cassiano was one of the architects of Brazilian Soul music, although his work is eclipsed (and rightly so, in my opinion) by his friend Tim Maia. Tim was actually an admirer of Cassiano’s vocal group Os Diagonais and drew inspiration from them for his own sound, and the two soon came to be friends and collaborators. Os Dianonais provided backing vocals for Tim’s records and live shows in the early days. Not only does Tim have a few writing credits here, but he is also singing backup, uncredited, as part of Os Diagonais. (NOTE: I do not have any proof of this, yet, other than my own ears. I have been searching through Nelson Motta’s biography of Tim, “Vale Tudo”, for some evidence, but as yet have found none. While its an entertaining read, it is kind of sloppy in terms of presenting his recorded work, so I don’t consider this a *denial* of his participation). Likewise, Cassiano played guitar on several of Tim’s albums.

But how to consider this album on its own terms? Well, it was his first album under his own name, and is a bit uneven, but it has its transcendent soul moments. Oddly, for the man who is credited as being so adept at creating the vocal harmonies of Os Diagonais, his voice takes a while to grow on me — he lacks the swagger and charisma of his friend, Tim Maia. The first track, the Marcos Valle song Lenda, is to me an odd choice to open the album, as there are a lot of other tracks that grab the attention more. The album picks it up a notch with two collaboration with Maia and by the time it hits “Já”, credited solely to Cassiano, the album has found its pace. The orchestrations on this album stand out — meticulous, full brass and string arrangements in the same style as those on Tim’s records of the same period, all of this goes to distinguish what was truly a ‘movement’ in Brazilian music, and a rogue one at that, going against the grain of what the critics of the time thought was worthy of praise. Other exemplary stand-out tracks here are “Eu, meu filho, e você”, “Canção dos hippies,” and “Não fique triste.” I should also point out the prominent use of vibraphone on this record — another thing in common with Tim’s records, alas – that is a particular delight to me.

A historic and somewhat-rare album of the Brazilian Soul scene, I hope you enjoy this!

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Rail Band – Soundiata: Belle Epoque Volume 1 (2007)


Rail Band
Belle Epoque Volume 1
2007 Sterns Music (STCD 3033-34)

01 Soundiata (L’Exil) Feat. Mory 27:50
02 Maliyo Feat. Lanfia Diabate 06:40
03 Sunjata Feat. Salif Keita 14:50
04 Armee Mali 04:22

01 Duga (Bambara Version) Feat. M 08:00
02 Mali Cebalenw Feat. Salif Keit 06:35
03 Armee Malienne Feat. Mory Kant 04:23
04 Fankante Dankele Feat. Magan G 07:02
05 Armee Mali Feat. Tatine Dembel 04:53
06 Soundjata (New Version) 10:29
07 Mali Tebaga Mogoma 05:54

This is the first of three volumes that Sterns Music has devoted to the discography of the Rail Band, also known as The Super Rail Band, Orchestre Rail-Band du Bamako, Rail Band du Mali, and on occasion, the West African Lynyrd Skynyrd. It is a lot of music, but even if you have never listened to the Rail Band, this is not a bad place to start. Being the band that launched the careers of both Salif Keita and Mory Kanté, three double-disc anthologies is not excessive at all. As of this writing I only have the first two but they are both treasured items of my musical stash.

The centerpiece of this set is the opening track from which it takes its name, ‘Soundiata’ (also spelt Sondiata). The song is epic – not only in its length of 27 minutes, but in that its content is straight from Malian griout oral folk epics dealing with the founding dynasty of the thirteenth-century Mandingo empire. Its relaxed pace, gorgeous horn arrangements, hypnotic organ chords, and complex bass and percussion immediately grab the attention. In fact the adjectives “relaxed”, “gorgeous,” “hynotic,” and “complex” come to mind so often while listening to this collection that you can just imagine that I’ve written three or four entire paragraphs egregiously overusing them. Done imaging that? Ok, great. Also noteworthy is the fact that there is dialogic banter going on between singer Kanté and one of the band members across the 27 minutes of ‘Soundiata’ that I can’t understand a word of, and is no doubt important in some way. Except for the more uptempo ‘B’ section that happens a few times, the groove remains essentially unchanged until about 17 minutes in when they start to rock it out like an equatorial Yes and take the piece through several time signature and tempo changes. The song is captivating for the enthusiast of African music but its length is apt to lose a few casual listeners, coming as it does right at the beginning of the disc. It should also be noted that the second CD contains the confusingly-titled “New Version” of the same song. Having actually been recorded 3 years earlier, I am not sure what Stern’s Music intends by this, unless the title suffers from an overly literal translation of the French “nouvelle”, and what is meant to be expressed is that this is an ‘updated’ or ‘modern’ version of an old folk song. Both versions are influenced by the Afro-Cuban and merengue sounds popular in West Africa at the time, and even though the ‘new version’ (1972) is essentially sans drums, the opening introduction is heavily Latin. With all the great blogs from people who are actually knowledgeable about African Music (Comb&Razor, Omogod, Awesome Tapes..) rather than just dabble in it like I do, I should probably keep my speculation to a minimum.

There are a few other peculiarities that seem out of step of Stern’s usual high standards, including some rough sound quality even by African crate-digger criteria, and a blatant absence of the discography details that is the bread-and-butter of their ‘target market.’ The liner notes do a decent job of telling the story of the band, underwritten by the National Railways of Mali who needed a house band for their booming hotel, but they are not of the same quality as many of the other Sterns releases and at least 2 out of the 3 volumes use the same, brief text that attempts to cover twenty years of musical history in a couple of pages. I am always uncomfortable writing about music whose lyrics I don’t understand a word of, and feel that I should put a large neon disclaimer on all such things, but it would seem that Sterns also does not place much emphasis on lyrical content with the Rail Band. Aside from epic folkloric poetry, the rest of the tracks seem centered on the usual preoccupations of most post-colonial governments’ official discourse: praising the army, praising the workers, praising progress, praising democracy, praising the army again. The question of how much or how little control the band had over its lyrical content is something that is either willfully ignored or just considered unimportant by the people who put together this collection. In any event we should not expect any blistering social critiques from a band with a national/corporate sponsor, and allow ourselves to be content with the abundant pleasures of the music itself and its innovations. Which occasionally included FOUR guitarists. That’s right, FOUR. Another oddity is the inclusion of one sole track from the 1980s (which would seem to belong on Volume 3), however it manages to fit comfortably with the rest of the tracks reasonably well.


Lineups during the period of these recordings included the following musicians.

Trumpet, tenor and alto sax – Tidiani Koné
Vocals – Salif Keita
TImbales – Marius
Percussion – Abdouramane Koumaré
Guitars – Nabé Baba, Ousmane Sogodogo, Mamoutou Diakité


Vocals – Mory Kanté, Magan Ganessy, Djelimady Sissoko
Balafon – Mory Kanté
Drums – Pacheco
Bongos – Korobala
Percussion – Moussa Traoré, Abdouramane Koumaré
Trumpet – Sourakata Cissé
Tenor and alto sax – Tidiani Koné
Guitars – Djeliady Tounkara, Chiek Traoré, Mamoutou Diakité, Ousmane Sogodogo


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Chico Buarque & Ennio Morricone – Per Un Pugno Di Samba (1970)

Chico Buarque & Ennio Morricone
Per Un Pugno Di Samba
Originally released as RCA VICOR (LSP 34085), 1970
Reeissue 1993, BMG/RCA (74321945712)

01 – Rotativa
02 – Samba E Amore
03 – Sogno Di Un Carnevale
04 – Lei No, Lei Sta Ballando
05 – Il Nome Di Maria
06 – Funerale Di Un Contadino
07 – In Te
08 – Queste E Quelle
09 – Tu Sei Una Di Noi
10 – Nicanor
11 – In Memoria Di Un Congiurato
12 – Ed Ora Dico Sul Serio

Produced by Sergio Bardotti

I believe the first time I heard this record was due to my friend Justin Thyme over at his blog. I was very charmed by it and after blogging about Chico’s debut LP the other day, I felt like I wanted to draw some attention to this gem. It was recorded by Chico during his self-imposed exile in Italy, and witnesses a kind of dream-pairing with famed arranger and composer Ennio Morricone. The new orchestrations and arrangements by Morricone add a deeply baroque element to the songs, with several featuring a pipe organ — possibly the last instrument I would expect from a Buarque album from this period, second only to a blazing distorted guitar solo. Along with lush choral harmonies and Buarque`s lyrics sung in Italian (translated by producer Sergio Bardotti), all these elements lend themselves to making this one of the most curious items in Chico’s vast discography. But as interesting as these tracks are to listen to for the person already familiar with the originals, none of them possess the emotional weight of the those original recordings, giving the whole album a feeling of an elaborate, well-intentioned experiment. The careful crafting of the music by these respective masters prevents the album from drifting into merely a “novelty”, but I can also understand why the album is not one of Chico’s better-known works from this period. Sometimes the arrangements become cloying and overbearing, like in Funerale Di Un Contadino (Funeral de um lavrador), in other instances they are delightfully different (Sogno Di Un Carnavale / Sonho de um carnaval). This latter tracks segues beautifully into Lei No, Lei Sta Ballando (Ela Desatinou), which is probably the most avant-garde moment of the whole album, with a lone female voice in the left channel singing a counter melody that transforms the track and lends a dissonance not found on other Chico Buarque albums until his momumental Construção.

The liner notes are ample but unfortunatley in Italian, which I don’t read, so I can’t tell you much about them. It is unfortunate that the record label did not provide a Portuguese translation (at least from the lavish boxset from which this edition comes). Fans of either Chico or Ennio will definitely want this album and it is well worth tracking down. Neophytes to either of them would be best served by exploring other areas of their discographies before delving into this one. It is beautiful, immensely creative, and is not to missed, but its cumulative power depends in large part on a familiarity with the original records from Chico Buarque.

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