Tim Maia – A Festa do Santo Reis (1971)

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I have no time for real blog post today. But it is Three Kings Day, Os Três Reis Magos, and I have been working on getting this Tim Maia album edited to post here. This is of course the huge hit off it, and on my well-played vinyl copy it is obvious that it got played a lot more than the rest of the album! Hopefully I will have the final restoration and editing all done by the weekend, but here is a teaser and a timely holiday one.

“A Festa do Santo Reis” by Tim Maia, from TIM MAIA (1971)
Composed by Márcio Leonardo

Tim Maia – Tim Maia (1972) {Polydor} REPOST

This is a repost from an old entry made in 2008, by request. In the first few months I was not posting FLACs at all and this em pee tree set is also higher quality. Unfortunately there is nothing I can do about the ugly art scans since my copy is currently locked in my vault in the Kayman Islands.

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I heard a rumor that there is a Tim Maia boxset in the works. That will be a welcome thing since most of his classic discography is stupidly out of print. However I will make you a bet (‘o que você quer apostar?’) about one thing: They will fuck up the sound. I know a lot of you don’t give a flying rats ass about mastering techniques and audio engineering but I will give you a little experiment to try at home with the kids. Put this album on, this original Polydor/Polygram pressing from the early 90s, and crank it up REALLY LOUD. Tim would have liked that. Notice anything? Notice how everything is still crisp and clear and doesn’t distort? Notice how the music has something called *dynamic range*, valleys and peaks? Take a good look and note the number or notch on your volume knob or fader and keep track of it. Now put in any CD mastered in the last ten years — new album, reissue of an old album, doesn’t matter so long as it was issued in the last 10 years or so. Put the volume to the same place as this Tim Maia album. Notice anything? Sounds like shit, doesn’t it? End of lesson.

This pressing sounds unfuckingbelievably good. It even sounds good on an iPod.

This isn’t just audio psychobabble either, because the PRODUCTION on this album is really amazing. If you had any doubt that the studios in São Paulo and Rio during the late 60s and early 70s were producing albums that sounded just as good or better than anything coming out of England or the United States, just listen to this early Tim Maia stuff. The whole LP is consistent production-wise but the track ‘Pelo amor de Deus’ has to be singled out here. They double-tracked the drums to make them sound even heavier on a album that has a pretty heavy drum sound to begin with. And in the last verse, Tim’s vocals is pulled down in the mix and drenched with plate reverb, making it seem like he is being carried away from us down a long dark hallway while the drums get LOUDER. (I don’t think they actually *do* get louder, rather it’s an aural illusionist’s trick by making Tim magically disappear… No mean feat, being a big guy and all that.)

As much cult-status as the Racional records have on account of being, a) mind-blowing and fantastic, b) extremely rare until finally reissued only a few years ago, circulating mostly as a bootleg, and c) freakishly weird and messed up (in a good way, like UFO cults and Scientology before it went all Hollywood) — those records really require an appreciation of his earlier work to get their full effect, in my unhumble opinion.

The opening cut “Idade” blisters with 60s soul tones and just enough Jovem Guarda swagger to make this still unappealing to many a navel-gazing Tropicalista fan of 1972. You can see him ripping through it in the video above. (Too bad there’s no shots of the band on this, as they actually are playing live and not faking it). The second track is even more wonderfully alienated, singing in ENGLISH and a lot more Motown than MPB. And damn perfect English too, demonstrating Tim’s long devotion to playing his anglophone soul and rock record collection until the grooves were so thin you could see through the vinyl. Wonderful flute solo by Isidoro Longano followed by a short sax solo from Antonio Arruda here. For the last minute or so the band just rocks the arrangement. Did I mention Tim produced this album himself? The arrangements are very well thought-out on every track, and since they are uncredited I will also assume Tim had a hand in those until I get around to reading Nelson Motta’s biography. The next track, “O que você quer apostar?” is as a gritty a funk soul number as anything Wilson Pickett could kick out up in the northern hemisphere, with nice lyrics for a mulher mentirosa. “Canário do reino” is another baião-flavored forró and I’m pretty sure Tim is trying to capitalize on the success of the hit he had by covering João do Vale’s “Coroné Antonio Bento” a year or so earlier. This track doesn’t work nearly as well as that one, and while it’s still good it’s also the weakest cut we’ve heard thus far. “Já era tempo de você” is the happiest swinging-big-band-with-a-small-band song of disenchantment I can think of, a friendly way to tell someone they already had their chance and you’ve moved on with your life.

Back to English again with “Where Is My Other Half” with Tim singing plaintively over gently strummed acoustic guitar (steel string and not nylon, I might add) and then the band kicks in with heavy drums for the end as Tim wonders over and over again why she left him. I think Tim is following a formula here he learned from his U.S. soul records – the first half is the uptempo dance party, the second half is for dimming the lights and making out with your lady (or man). “O que me importa” is Tim and company being as soulful as they can be, this time with vibraphone, again blowing me away with their ability to arrange all the instrumentation and capture it all so well in the mix. It also sets a template for basically every song Hyldon would write.. “Lamento” is quite honestly kind of tedious and sounds an awful lot like “Where Is My Other Half”. Unfortunately this cut is followed by an attempt at a blues number, “Sofre,” that reminds me why the blues is a quintessentially North American black art form. In fact I am suffering listening to it right now as I write this. It just kind of falls flat, but I’ll give Tim credit for asserting his blackness. Most other Brazilian acts attempting blues at this time were prog-rockers with wanky guitar solos that went on far too long. It is also interesting to note that Tim would later reuse the formula of the opening rap a decade later with the huge hit song “Me dê motivo”, including opening it up with “é engraçado” (it’s funny..), and oddly enough the vocal line from “Lamento” also reappears in that tune. A good way for Tim to recycle some of his good ideas that didn’t quite work the first time around, and “Me dê motivo” is a much better song than either of these. “Razão de sambar” is a minute and half of jazz-samba. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD the next song is amazing — “Pelo amor de deus”, well, I already ranted on about it but let me reiterate again how great it is. “These are the songs,” is a piece of Latin lounge, in English again, that is a nice way to end the album and assert his unique musical identity. Elis Regina would later record a lame version of this song with Tim guesting on vocals.

Even with the weak points on this record, it is still thoroughly essential listening. Valeu, Tim!

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LINKS REMOVED BY CORPORATE SCUMBAGS who are going to sell you a shitty
compilation made for gringos in October.  Hey, where do you think most
of your buyers will have heard this music for the first time??  Blogs,
maybe?  Fuck you AmeriKKKa.

Luiz Paixão – Pimenta Com Pitú (2006)

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Luiz Paixão
“Pimenta Com Pitú”
Released 2006
Label: Independent
Produced by Renata Rosa and Hugo Lins
Recording engineers: Zé Guilherme, Marcilio
Mixing engineers: Zé Guilherme, Térence Briand, Mathieu Pion
Mastered by Térence Briando and Mathieu Pion
Graphic layout – João Lin
Photos – Michele Zollini

Recorded at the Universidadde Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE) studios in January and February of 2005. Mixed at UFPE stuios and Nyima (Saint Jean de la Ruelle, France)

1 Baião de cavalo marino (Domínio Público)
2 Ponta de pedra (Sidrak)
3 Forró de cambará (Seu Luiz Paixão)
4 São Gonçalo do Amarante (Domínio Público)
5 Forró bem temperado (Seu Luiz Paixão)
6 Toada do cavalo (Seu Luiz Paixão)
7 Pimenta com pitú (Seu Luiz Paixão)
8 Arrumadinho (Seu Luiz Paixão)
9 Parari (Biu Roque)
10 Forró de vó (Seu Luiz Paixão)
11 Pisa pilão (Domínio Público)
12 Toada solta (Domínio Público)
13 Machucado (Seu Luiz Paixão)
14 Viuvinha (Sidrak)
15 Amor, amor, amor (Domínio Público)

musicians:

Seu Luiz Paixão: rabeca
Sidrak: voz
Guga Santos: bombo, mineiro
Dó: pandeiro e vocais
Maica: vocais
Renata Rosa : vocais
Pepê: cavaco
Hugo Linns: contrabaixo
Ana Freire: triângulo
Carlos Amarelo: zabumba
Mina: pandeiro e voz
Biu Roque: baje e vocais
Guga Santos: mineiro e vocais

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I probably should have shared this record a few weeks ago, but I forgot I had this album sitting around…. And it’s a shame, because it is a LOT more listenable than “Pastoril”, the other album seasonal Pernambucan music I put up on the blog the other week. But it’s not too late — this music is still being performed right up until Three Kings Day (the 6th) where some of the biggest events take place that feature CAVALO MARINO music. And that’s what this disc primarily is, music you would hear at a presentation of Cavalo Marino. What is Cavalo Marino? well, it is NOT this:
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Cavalo Marino is a popular culture / folkloric art form that developed on the sugar plantations of Pernambuco and is a type of open-air theatrical performance that traditionally can have 63 different “acts” with up to 76 distinct characters (!!!). It is difficult to explain how it all links up to the ‘Christmas cycle’ with giving you a dissertation on the topic, but its a weird type of ‘magical realism’ that mixes characters from lives of the sugar plantation workers (ex-slaves or descendants of slaves, for the most part) with fantasy and religious homages to various saints and to God. Some of the principal characters are the roles of Matéus and Bastião, two ex-slaves (in blackface, even if they are actually, by ‘anglo’ standards, black..) looking for work and sharing the same woman (Catíta); the Capitão (‘coronel’, landowner, political big cheese of an area); the Soldier (policeman, overseer); the Caboclo (indigenous spirit, in this case, related to afro-indigenous religious cults), and an ever-present anthropomorphic bull / guy in a cow-costume. All of these characters have spoken and sung lines, and improvise to a degree while interacting with the audience in a spectacle that is satirical and critical of the harsh circumstances in which this ‘folkloric’ tradition was born, and also somehow religiously reverent. All of this is also said to be the Pernambucan variation of “Bumba-Meu-Boi”, a tradition which is found throughout the Brazilian northeast in states such as Maranhão and Ceará.

I would not necessarily call this “holiday music” but it is ‘seasonal’ in that it truly is rare to hear this music outside of the Christmas seasonor “Ciclo Natalino’ (although you will begin to see presentations popping up as early as August), except perhaps in the small town of Condado, Pernambuco, where the tradition started. Why is it called ‘cavalo marino’, literally “sea horse”?? Well, nobody knows for sure, although there are a variety of legends and tall tales about it. Mostly though, they involve a sea-captain on shore leave or ex-sea captain who was known to ride around on a horse a lot, earning the nickname ‘cavalo marino.’

It is much easier to describe this all with visual aids, here are a few You Tube clips

One, performed partly on a stage and with some academic-types talking about how necessary it is to “protect” this music although I will concede their point as much as they are dealing with the tricky area of ‘public domain’…

Here is another video filmed at the ‘terreiro’ (really in this case, a full-fledged performance space) built by the family the now-departed Mestre Salustiano in Tabajara, Olinda. The big gathering is on December 25 but there will is usually another one around January 6th on the ‘Festa dos Reis’ which actually lasts three days. I have been at some of these events but thankfully I am nowhere in the sidelines of this video, my apologies if YOU are

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The musicians on this record are a mixture of old veterans of this music and younger ‘roots’ musicians from the Recife area. It is one of those, MPB singer, actress, and faux-Pernambucana oddball Renata Rosa, who organized this album and produced it for Paixão, perhaps as a thank-you gift for having taught her how to play the rabeca and thus build a career off of pretending to be the daughter of exploited, sunbeaten cane cutters. I give her a lot of credit for keeping it free of any attempt at commercializing the sound — this is truly what it sounds like when you hear it ‘in the street’ (so to speak). During the theatrics, a bank of seated musicians play throughout the night, and these things usually go all night until dawn. Lead by one or several players of “rabeca”, sort of a country-fiddle but constructed a bit differently, and accompanied by pandeiro, the reco-reco (gourd or metal scraper), shaker, and an inflated goat-bladder used to beat out the rhythm. Several of the oldsters here learned under Mestre Batista, allegedly the first (or at least one of them) to develop this artform into the way we know it today. Biu Roche, who sings and contributes a few original contributions, passed away just shortly after Carnaval of 2010. Luiz Paixão also contributes original material alongside compositions from fellow mestre and friend Sidrak, as well as songs considered ‘dominio público’, and some of them have the style of baião or coco but mostly they end up sounding like variations on cavalo marino music anyway.

The CD booklet has some stunning photographs and a nice graphic layout (the scans don’t do it justice), and a well-written essay by Renata Rosa as well. This is already become something of a rarity, released independently but with various donated funds (from ‘patrocinadores’ who love to stamp their logos on album jackets, like Petrobras or Banco do Nordeste).

Tim Maia – Tim Maia (1972)

This is an old post disguised as a new post (as you surmise from the verb tense used related to the box set). It was written in May. I have not written anything new for it. Except that last sentence where I wrote that I wasn’t going to write anything new — and this one too. Otherwise this is the same post, with a difference in that it actually has a purpose now at the bottom of the page. By request.

I heard a rumor that there is a Tim Maia boxset in the works. That will be a welcome thing since most of his classic discography is stupidly out of print. However I will make you a bet (‘o que você quer apostar?’) about one thing: They will fuck up the sound. I know a lot of you don’t give a flying rats ass about mastering techniques and audio engineering but I will give you a little experiment to try at home with the kids. Put this album on, this original Polydor/Polygram pressing from the early 90s, and crank it up REALLY LOUD. Tim would have liked that. Notice anything? Notice how everything is still crisp and clear and doesn’t distort? Notice how the music has something called *dynamic range*, valleys and peaks? Take a good look and note the number or notch on your volume knob or fader and keep track of it. Now put in any CD mastered in the last ten years — new album, reissue of an old album, doesn’t matter so long as it was issued in the last 10 years or so. Put the volume to the same place as this Tim Maia album. Notice anything? Sounds like shit, doesn’t it? End of lesson.

This pressing sounds unfuckingbelievably good. It even sounds good on an iPod.

This isn’t just audio psychobabble either, because the PRODUCTION on this album is really amazing. If you had any doubt that the studios in São Paulo and Rio during the late 60s and early 70s were producing albums that sounded just as good or better than anything coming out of England or the United States, just listen to this early Tim Maia stuff. The whole LP is consistent production-wise but the track ‘Pelo amor de Deus’ has to be singled out here. They double-tracked the drums to make them sound even heavier on a album that has a pretty heavy drum sound to begin with. And in the last verse, Tim’s vocals is pulled down in the mix and drenched with plate reverb, making it seem like he is being carried away from us down a long dark hallway while the drums get LOUDER. (I don’t think they actually *do* get louder, rather it’s an aural illusionist’s trick by making Tim magically disappear… No mean feat, being a big guy and all that.)

As much cult-status as the Racional records have on account of being, a) mind-blowing and fantastic, b) extremely rare until finally reissued only a few years ago, circulating mostly as a bootleg, and c) freakishly weird and messed up (in a good way, like UFO cults and Scientology before it went all Hollywood) — those records really require an appreciation of his earlier work to get their full effect, in my unhumble opinion.

The opening cut “Idade” blisters with 60s soul tones and just enough Jovem Guarda swagger to make this still unappealing to many a navel-gazing Tropicalista fan of 1972. You can see him ripping through it in the video above. (Too bad there’s no shots of the band on this, as they actually are playing live and not faking it). The second track is even more wonderfully alienated, singing in ENGLISH and a lot more Motown than MPB. And damn perfect English too, demonstrating Tim’s long devotion to playing his anglophone soul and rock record collection until the grooves were so thin you could see through the vinyl. Wonderful flute solo by Isidoro Longano followed by a short sax solo from Antonio Arruda here. For the last minute or so the band just rocks the arrangement. Did I mention Tim produced this album himself? The arrangements are very well thought-out on every track, and since they are uncredited I will also assume Tim had a hand in those until I get around to reading Nelson Motta’s biography. The next track, “O que você quer apostar?” is as a gritty a funk soul number as anything Wilson Pickett could kick out up in the northern hemisphere, with nice lyrics for a mulher mentirosa. “Canário do reino” is another baião-flavored forró and I’m pretty sure Tim is trying to capitalize on the success of the hit he had by covering João do Vale’s “Coroné Antonio Bento” a year or so earlier. This track doesn’t work nearly as well as that one, and while it’s still good it’s also the weakest cut we’ve heard thus far. “Já era tempo de você” is the happiest swinging-big-band-with-a-small-band song of disenchantment I can think of, a friendly way to tell someone they already had their chance and you’ve moved on with your life.

Back to English again with “Where Is My Other Half” with Tim singing plaintively over gently strummed acoustic guitar (steel string and not nylon, I might add) and then the band kicks in with heavy drums for the end as Tim wonders over and over again why she left him. I think Tim is following a formula here he learned from his U.S. soul records – the first half is the uptempo dance party, the second half is for dimming the lights and making out with your lady (or man). “O que me importa” is Tim and company being as soulful as they can be, this time with vibraphone, again blowing me away with their ability to arrange all the instrumentation and capture it all so well in the mix. It also sets a template for basically every song Hyldon would write.. “Lamento” is quite honestly kind of tedious and sounds an awful lot like “Where Is My Other Half”. Unfortunately this cut is followed by an attempt at a blues number, “Sofre,” that reminds me why the blues is a quintessentially North American black art form. In fact I am suffering listening to it right now as I write this. It just kind of falls flat, but I’ll give Tim credit for asserting his blackness. Most other Brazilian acts attempting blues at this time were prog-rockers with wanky guitar solos that went on far too long. It is also interesting to note that Tim would later reuse the formula of the opening rap a decade later with the huge hit song “Me dê motivo”, including opening it up with “é engraçado” (it’s funny..), and oddly enough the vocal line from “Lamento” also reappears in that tune. A good way for Tim to recycle some of his good ideas that didn’t quite work the first time around, and “Me dê motivo” is a much better song than either of these. “Razão de sambar” is a minute and half of jazz-samba. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD the next song is amazing — “Pelo amor de deus”, well, I already ranted on about it but let me reiterate again how great it is. “These are the songs,” is a piece of Latin lounge, in English again, that is a nice way to end the album and assert his unique musical identity. Elis Regina would later record a lame version of this song with Tim guesting on vocals.

Even with the weak points on this record, it is still thoroughly essential listening. Valeu, Tim!

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LINKS REMOVED BY CORPORATE SCUMBAGS who are going to sell you a shitty
compilation made for gringos in October.  Hey, where do you think most
of your buyers will have heard this music for the first time??  Blogs,
maybe?  Fuck you AmeriKKKa.

Clara Nunes – Fantástico (2008)

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Clara Nunes

Os Musicais do Fantástico das décadas de 70 e 80
Released 2008 Globo – EMI
Approximately 65 minutes

This is an hour-long collection of ‘videoclipes’ from Clara Nunes as shown on the show Fantástico (still on the air) across the peak years of her career. None of these clips are actual live performances, but rather lip-sync’d and mimed for the cameras, so like a lot of analogous programs elsewhere (Beat Club, some of the Old Grey Whistle Test clips) these were like a precursor to today’s “music video.” In this case we get Clara’s resplendent aura and beauty, her afrobrazilian celebration of religiosity, and some pretty amazing clips shot outdoors celebrating the other natural wonders of Brazil aside from Clara herself. There are also a few ‘guest’ appears from the likes of Sivuca and a rather bewildered-looking Adironan Barbosa. Although I am still holding out for some live footage of the great Clara Nunes to surface, this is a fine collection and well worth watching (even if you only watch it once and then file it away for your next cocktail party).

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