Tim Maia – Tim Maia em Inglês (1978)

TIM MAIA (1978)
aka “Tim Maia em inglês”

Original recording sessions 1976
Original LP release, Seroma 1978
CD reissue on Continental 1995
This reissue, Editora Abril 2011


1 With no one else around
(Tim Maia)
2 I love you, girl
(Reginaldo, Paulo, Tim Maia)
3 To fall in love
(Tim Maia)
4 Only a dream
(Tim Maia)
5 People
(Paulo, Tim Maia)
6 Let’s have a ball tonight
(Reginaldo, Tim Maia)
7 I
(Tim Maia)
8 Day by day
(Reginaldo, Paulo, Tim Maia)
9 Vitória régia
(Reginaldo, Carlos, Paulo, Tim Maia)

This had long been the Holy Grail of Tim Maia albums for me. Even with all the mystery surrounding the deleted Racional albums, they were long available as bootlegs and then the first finally saw an official reissue a few years back on Trama Records (the second saw a reissue this year). But this album, one of Tim’s strongest, never garnered the kind of critical attention and cult status of those albums. This is probably for several reasons — it is straight-up, top-notch quality SOUL with none of the bizarre lyrical rants of the Racional religious cult attached to it; it was Tim’s intention to record an album singing entirely in English, so in a way it would have alienated a great deal of his Brazilian public; and, most importantly, nobody ever really heard it. These factors were also aided and abetted by the fact the he ended up releasing the album in 1978, when he also had an album out on Warner Brothers that would become one of his biggest successes, “Tim Maia Disco Club”, which also happened to be “more in tune with the times,” as the cliché goes.

And by the time this album came out, Tim had truly alienated most of the record industry. Although an innovator and an entrepreneur in a million ways (he was one of the first Brazilian artists to found his own label), he had relatively no business acumen, and his penchant for not keeping to scheduled meetings and even his own concerts — showing up obscenely late, or not at all — had grown so famous as to make concert promoters and record labels reluctant to work with him. Warner Brothers took on a risk putting out ‘Disco Club’ in 1978. I forget the circumstances (time to reconsult the frivolous Nelson Motta biography), but it was also the *only* album he recorded for them.

The story goes that this album was actually recorded in 1976 when Tim had come to his senses and left behind the bizarre charismatic / religious / semi-apocalyptic cult when he found out its founder was growing rich on its members donations. The album was recorded and the album covers were printed up. Some say that Tim lost his nerve at the last minute about the risky move of releasing an album entirely in English; other versions say he simply didn’t have the money left to press the vinyl. Most likely both versions are true. The result was that he ended up releasing the 1976 album often known as “Rhodêsia” (for the hit it contained) on Polygram records, and then another album (sometimes called ‘Verão Carioca’) in 1977, before this album ever saw the light of day. Tim released it on his own imprint, SEROMA Records, and it fell on deaf ears. With no distributors willing to work with him or take up the album, Tim took it on himself to go personally to radio stations and journalists handing out copies (he joked that the album covers had begun to ‘yellow’ in the two years that they waited for the vinyl to be pressed). The results were utterly ineffectual. It seemed that nobody cared.

And it’s a damn shame. I have said before that if Tim’s records had been released in the US, he would have been a huge soul music star there. This is especially true of this album, as it really stands among the best of its peers in American soul music. And the most incredible part is that although Tim drank at the font of American soul, funk, and rhythm and blues (he also lived in New York and bummed around the US for about ten years before getting himself deported) – he only sounds like HIMSELF, Tim Maia. Unmistakeably Tim Maia.

The entire first half of the album is saturated with mellow chill-out soul ballads with gorgeous melodies and lush arrangements, that manage to keep a certain hard edge in the production, keeping the base arrangements (bass, guitar, drums, keyboards) anchored well while letting the horn arrangements add further depth. The first song, “With No One Else Around”, is just plain gorgeous. Another love song, with the nondescript title of “I Love You, Girl” makes up in musicality what it lacks in lyrical content, and ends with a swinging crescendo. The third track “To Fall In Love,” the favorite of the writer of the reissue’s liner notes, combines poignant by simple lyrics (To fall in love is like burning fire), with the bands ability to work the dynamics between tight and close, and swinging and large, as well as some tight full-stop breaks with very long pauses leaving you wondering where they are going next. They are really going anywhere but back into the main groove but it still works to charm you.

“Only A Dream” has Tim singing in falsetto in a way he rarely did, that oddly enough puts me in a mind of someone on another continent who would release his first album in 1978 – Prince Rogers Nelson. Of course, falsetto is a 70s soul trademark but something about the first bars of the chord progression remind me of something that could have been on ‘For You’… The lyrics are, once again, nothing complicated, but striking in their sincerity – “Let me live the life I dreamed once before, let me live the way I once wished to be.” Anyone who knows about Tim’s tumultuous personal life with substance abuse and women can’t help but be moved by the vulnerability expressed in this tune. The next track, “People,” is another ballad but changes the theme to social commentary of the ‘enough with all the hate, we are all the same’ variety. Kind of weak the weak cut of the bunch but still respectable. This is followed by “Let’s Have a Ball Tonight”, which is the first upbeat tune on the whole album. In fact, its a slowly undulating funk number but comes off as fast given all the ballads preceding it. Lyrics are again a foray in social commentary of anti-war, peace-on-earth sentiments but more effective this time – nothing overreaching or pretentious but just direct candor: “There are so many conversations / meeting parties and cocktails / to preserve peace on earth / They never find the way. / You know why? Because love is really the answer, this you’ll have to agree…” The band then whips into a muscular bridge that sounds very much like the groove of ‘Rational Culture’, especially a four-note vamp plucked out on the guitar. And it works joyously. Another ballad follows, “I,” in which Tim seems in a rush to sign the papers for a wedding. “Day By Day” follows the tried and true formula of some of the other ballads here – mid-tempo, and going out swinging. Its good, but its overshadowed by the closer “Vitória Régia”, which was also the name given to Tim’s band at this point. The tune is a festival of funk that ends up being a kind of call to arms for environmental preservation and a hymn to Mother Nature. Victória Régia is the name given to the HUGE lily pads found in parts of Brazil (fine examples of which exist in Rio’s Botanical Gardens). It’s also a bad-ass name for a band.

This reissue couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Not only was it hard to even find a crappy-sounding mp3 version of this on the interwebs, but I was also preparing to shell out several hundred dollars for the one and only CD pressing this album ever saw, issued on the Continental label in th
e mid 1990s. They only come around once in a blue moon and the sellers usually ask obscene amounts of cash, and buying a used CD through the mail for that kind of money is a risk I am reluctant to take.

The sound on this Editora Abril edition isn’t actually mind-blowing — I am curious what masters were used, and IF original masters even exist for this recording. These kinds of details that a Tim fanatic like myself is hungry for are annoying absent from the 50-page booklet. And you know something else — speaking as someone who scanned every page of that booklet: There is NO REASON for this booklet to be that long. A lot of it is filler – graphic design tricks that attempt to give a 1970s’s “period” look to the packaging with lots of pastels and free-floating bubble shapes interspersed. As well as completely superfluous information like the fact that The Police had a new album out in 1978. Who cares? Even stranger, a picture of Black Sabbath and a note about *their* album of the year, the largely-unliked ‘Never Say Die.’ I suppose this could have something to do with Editora Abril being more of a news publishing house than a record label. But let me level this criticism which I find to be more serious: It is sad that, even after all these years, a lot of Brazilian journalists and the music press still don’t seem to GET Tim Maia. A great of time is spent at the beginning of the booklet’s essay describing the climate of disco music that was becoming a popular fad in the later 70s in Brazil. That would be fine, except this album has NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT!! These facts are more relevant to 1977’s “Verão Carioca” and especially 1978’s “Tim Maia Disco Club”, which was – obviously – deeply influenced by disco. But “Tim Maia em inglês” is pure soul, there isn’t a single NOTE deserving of the label ‘disco’ on it, making all of this commentary in the notes beside the point. Also questionable is the inclusion of a well-known anecdote about the recording of “Verão Carioca” while noisy construction was going on in the building next door — Did they accidentally include this in the booklet for the wrong CD??

But enough with the complaining. The book has some cool photos,contains some informative anecdotes, its a nice package, and most importantly – this music is available again without my having to sell one of my kidneys on the black market (which, in Brazil, is easier than you might think).


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Toquinho e Vinicius – O Poeta e o Violão (1975)


RGE (303.0032)

1 Tristeza
(Haroldo Lobo, Niltinho)
2 Marcha da quarta-feira de cinzas
(Carlos Lyra, Vinicius de Moraes)
3 Morena flor
(Toquinho, Vinicius de Moraes)
4 Chega de saudade
(Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)
5 Dora
(Dorival Caymmi)
6 Canto de Ossanha
(Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
7 Rosa desfolhada
(Toquinho, Vinicius de Moraes)
8 Berimbau
(Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
Consolação (Baden Powell-Vinicius de Moraes)
9 Januária
(Chico Buarque)
10 Insensatez
(Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)
11 Apelo
(Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
12 Garota de Ipanema
(Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)
13 O velho e a flor
(Bacalov, Toquinho, Vinicius de Moraes)
14 Nature Boy
(Eden, Ahbez)

Toquinho (Antônio Pecci Filho) – guitar and vocal
Vinicius de Moraes – vocal

Luis Enríquez Bacalov – piano on “O velho e a flor”


Vinyl -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply) > Creek Audio OBH-15 -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard -> Adobe Audition 3.0 at 24-bits 96khz -> Click Repair light settings, additional clicks and pops removed in Audition -> dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced -> ID Tags done in foobar2000 v.1.0.1 and Tag & Rename. No EQ or compression.


It’s a simple enough idea, and it works beautifully. Take these two masters, these two entities incorporating the bohemian culmination of seventeen years of the bossa nova lifestyle known as Vinicius and Toquinho, and put them in a room with nothing but a guitar and some microphones and have them play for four hours. This album plays like we are listening in on a rehearsal or a casual backstage jam session with all the tunes spun off the cuff, but if you listen carefully the sheen of spontaneity dims a little as you realize there is no way that these two — especially the old lush, Vinicius – could have nailed all these tracks so angelically in one take. On their earliest collaborations, Toquinho and Vinicius didn’t always sound this confident in their vocals and often brought in one or another chanteuse to fill the spotlight (Maria Bethania, Maria Cruesa, Miucha). The tracklist is a leisurely stroll through the bossa nova songbook, and the in-between song banter makes it sound like they are deciding on the repetoire right there on the spot. But, again, I ain’t buying it. The song choices, sequence, and arrangments are just too damn perfect – but this is a compliment and not a complaint. The only slightly false step is `Chega de saudade`, to which they add a whole lot of nothing special. Among the other song interpretations that do NOT have the name of Vinicius in the credits, is a respectable version of Chico Buarque’s “Januária”, jazz standard, Nat King Cole hit and touchstone of the bossa nova crowd “Nature Boy,” and a tune from Caymmi, “Dora.” The latter is one of Dorival Caymmi’s rare compositions that is *not* about Bahia but instead is an homage to the city of Recife. The remainder of the tunes dip into all of Vinicius’ famous writing partnerships – Tom Jobim, Carlos Lyra, and especiallY Baden Powell. Toquinho’s guitar playing may not have had the mercurial energy and vision of Powell, but he has a great sense of dynamics and a lovely voice that blends excellently with Vinicius, giving an urgency and excitement to ‘Canto de Ossanha” and “Berimbau” that do justice to everyone involved, and in the case of “Apelo” make the song particularly suited to the style of this duo.

It pays to remember that in 1975, there were not yet thousands of coffee shops, restaurants, airports and the like with some poor sap paid to sit on a stool plunking away at “Garota de Ipanema.” I sometimes feel empathy for these poor souls, unless they have decided to accompany themselves with a drum machine or sequencer, in which case I silently curse them and all of their offspring for seven generations. But I digress. Even without the official designation of this song to background restaurant dinner music (which, in fact, most likely had already occurred by 1975), there is just not a lot of room to make this song terribly interesting beyond the first, initial burst of recordings by singers and jazz-bossa combos. But Toquinho and Vinicius manage to give it a bit of a nudge back into relevance and remind us that we are, after all, listening to masters of the genre. Last but not least, the songs that Toquinho and Vinicius actually composed together are likely to lose place to their more famous brethren on this record, and there are only three selections out of fourteen songs represented here. But those three demonstrate that not only could they hold their own in the company of ‘the classics’ but that their partnership was really onto something during the first half of the 1970s. “Morena flor” featuring heavily their interwoven vocal harmonies; “Rosa desfolhada” is more of a solo vehicle for Toquinho and had heavy overtones of Chico; the penultimate track on the album “O velho e a flor” is one of the most interesting, as it also features Argentinian composer and arranger Luis Bacalov on the piano. (The casual between song banter becomes rather tongue-in-cheek here as Bacalov just *happens* to be hanging around the studio, and with a piano, to help them out…)

This album was recorded in Milan, Italy. As per the back cover:
“This album was recorded in 4 hours of studio time in Milan with the special participation of mestres Bacalov and Bardotti, in a climate of total amusement.”

16-bit 44.1 khz



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Demônios de Garoa (1958) & Os Demônios de Garoa (1961)


Demônios da Garoa (1958) [Odeon – MOCB 3023]

1 Promessa do Jacob 2:51
2 Maloca dos Meus Amores 3:12
3 A Lei No Morro 2:30
4 Lenço Na Molera 2:29
5 O Parque Chegou 2:31
6 Malvina 2:50
7 Bem Feito 2:53
8 Deixa Que Vá 2:37
9 Cidade do Barulho 3:09
10 Um Samba Diferente 2:18
11 A Lei do Inquilinato 3:09
12 Joga A Chave 3:36


Os Demônios da Garoa (1961) [Odeon]

13 Um Copo… Uma Garrafa… Um Pente 2:47
14 Barracão 3:06
15 Olha o Gato 2:53
16 Não Emplaca 61 3:02
17 Saudosa Maloca 2:48
18 Ponto de Interrogação 2:31
19 A Voz do Morro 3:07
20 Tu Te Da Ma 2:49
21 Eu Quero Um Samba 2:19
22 Já Tem Dono 2:32
23 Iracema 5:20
24 Não Bobeia Kalamazu 2:23

EMI 2003 2-em-1 Reissue
Total time 67:09

Like most of the EMI 2 for 1 series of Brazilian reissues, this one does not feature consecutive releases from these masters of São Paulo-style samba, but there is nothing to complain about — both of these are stone classics. If you are only accustomed to hearing carioca samba (from Rio), then you are ears are in for a different listening experience.

I will confess – the Demônios da Garoa first came to my attention because of their association with Adoniran Barbosa, whose sambas they made famous. Although Adoniran was a well-known radio and film actor as well as a samba composer, he didn’t actually record his own sambas until the 1970s. Those are the versions I first heard, with his hoarse and slightly-flat cigarette-butt voice bringing his colorful characters to life. Needless to say, hearing the Demônios original recordings came something of a shock to me as they proceeded to perform them with perfect multi-part harmonies and tight instrumentation. Also, they are kind of wacky and sing in silly voices sometimes – Adoniran’s sambas are usually injected with a dose of humor, but once again I had become accustomed to his dour delivery which is in contrast to the Demônios campy, sometimes nearly ‘vaudevillian’ interpretations (to make a crude North American analogy). These two albums only have a handful of Barbosa’s tunes spread across them, but they are all MONSTERS OF SAMBA: Malvina, Joga a Chave, Saudosa Maloca and Iracema. There is also a surprisingly nice version of Zé Keti’s “A Voz do Morro” (surprising because of their very different styles), and a song that some João Gilberto fans might recognize from a version he recorded later, “Eu Quero Um Samba.” There are also plenty of other great respectable sambas from other composers here – “Promessa do Jacob,” “Barracão” and “Não Emplaca 61.” The CD reissue includes the liner notes from the first of the two albums. Although Demônios de Garoa have stayed tirelessly active (and earned a Guiness-book entry for longest-continually-running musical group in Brazil), their golden years were in the 50s and 60s, and you don’t have to look further than these two records to see why.

Full composer credits are in the ID TAGS as well as the Portuguese accents and diacriticals.

I just got back from a visit to São Paulo, where I actually saw “garoa” for the first time — its something between rain and snow, but *not* like hail. Also, São Paulo has donuts.

Nelson Cavaquinho – Nelson Cavaquinho (1972)


Nelson Cavaquinho (1972)

RCA Victor 103.0047
Reissue 2004 RCA/Victor Essential Classics

1 Quando eu me chamar saudade
(Guilherme de Brito, Nelson Cavaquinho)
2 Tatuagem
(Guilherme de Brito, Nelson Cavaquinho)
3 Eu e as flores
(Jair do Cavaquinho, Nelson Cavaquinho)
4 Palhaço
(Oswaldo Martins, Washington, Nelson Cavaquinho)
5 Sempre Mangueira
(Geraldo Queiroz, Nelson Cavaquinho)
6 Deus não me esqueceu
(Armando Bispo, Ananias Silva, Nelson Cavaquinho)
7 A flor e o espinho
(Alcides Caminha, Guilherme de Brito, Nelson Cavaquinho)
8 Degraus da vida
(César Brasil, Antônio Braga, Nelson Cavaquinho)
9 Notícia
(Alcides Caminha, Norival Bahia, Nelson Cavaquinho)
10 Lágrima sem júri
(Fernando Mauro, Nelson Cavaquinho)
11 Luto
(Sebastião Nunes, Guilherme de Brito, Nelson Cavaquinho)
12 Luz negra
(Amâncio Cardoso, Nelson Cavaquinho)

This just may be the most perfect samba album ever. Hard thing to say, though, and I am saying it mostly because anytime I listen to Nelson Cavaquinho sing, I feel like the guy just WAS samba. The original liner notes (lovingly and thankfully reproduced in this reissue) by Sergio Cabral call him an “unconventional” singer, with a voice “full of cachaça, suffering, and bohemia.” Cabral goes through great pains to insist that nothing could pull Nelson out of the botequins of Lapa and Praça Tiradentes, those charming corner bars where people could sit around a table talking, arguing, or playing samba until there were dozens of bottles under the table (to be counted by the astute bartender at the end of it all), until the first rays of the sun sent them home. Nelson carries this life in the timbre of his voice and his melodic phrasing, and while he might have lacked the ‘prettiness’ of a voice like Cartola’s, his sambas shared with that peer and master what is sort of a Mangueira trademark – the sweetly melancholic samba driven by minor chord progressions, augmented by augmented chords and blue notes, exultant without being strident as they point the way through suffering through their wisdom of poetry, song, conviviality and companionship.

Nelson Cavaquinho would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. Happy birthday, Mestre Nelson!

The album is full of classics but I have to mention some highlights. The first three tracks are a killer opening for any album: “Quando Eu Me Chamar Saudades,” “Tatuagem” and “Eu e As Flores.” The lyrics are parsimony exemplified, “O meu úlitmo fracasso, está na tatuagem do meu braço// My last weakness (or mistake) is tattooed there on my arm” from ‘Tatuagem,’ or “When I pass by the flowers, they almost speak out to me, ‘Go now, that tomorrow we will decorate your end,” from ‘Eu e As Flores,” evoking the image of a man in a casket with flowers left on him by friends and family.. This would seem maudlin if sung by anyone but a genius sambista, I think. And that tune has a marvelously ‘jazzista’, swinging samba-jazz arrangement. By which I mean — it is perfectly swinging for the tune but does not overdue it: Nelson would sound kind of ridiculous singing like Jair Rodriguez or Wilson Simonal. Somehow he sings over the band and it just *works*. It is principally the drumming that gets me on it — I have no proof, by I SWEAR it sounds like Wilson das Neves on the drum kit on this album. The guy played the skins on hundreds of records, so its very possible..

That first tune, “Quando Eu Me Chamar Saudades”, could have been Nelson’s epitaph. It does no justice to his poetics to summarize thus, but basically it is an eloquent articulation pointing out that it is easy to give homage to someone after they’ve passed away, say what an excellent guy they were, maybe cry a little, maybe even make him a guitar out of pure gold; But it’s another thing to be there when they are living flesh and bone, struggling to get by. There is a short documentary by Leon Hirzman made in 1969 showing Nelson languishing in relative poverty and following him around on his daily routine, as well as playing some tunes. I had that documentary on a bootleg DVD made by a community of samba enthusiasts in São Paulo, converted from VHS. It’s great, if you can find it — I swear I saw in a newspaper that it had made it onto DVD legitamately but I have not been able to track it down yet. In any event, when I hear “Quando Eu Me Chamar Saudades” I often think of some of those images.

It hurts me to levy a criticism against an album I like so much, but I can’t help it: the one weakness of this record is that the winning formula of this album — the arrangements, a clean, ‘live’ mix with prominent cavaquinho, occasional woodwinds, and a chorus of women responding soulfully to Nelson’s verses (occasionally carrying entire verses on their own without him) — is used throughout the album, to the point where some of the tunes start to come off… How do I say this? It’s not “repetitious”, because each tune is unique and distinguished by the writing of Nelson and his partners (principally Guilherme de Brito). Perhaps I can say that it is kind of like receiving different gifts in identical boxes with identical wrapping paper (embolagem). I hesitate to even mention this because it really only becomes an issue when you’ve listened to the record for the third time on the same day; something I have been doing a lot lately since I found this RCA/Victor reissue.

Okay, I have strayed from my narrative here: there are plenty of other classic sambas on this album: “A Flor e o espinho,” “Degrau da vida,” and “Luto” are particular favorites of mine lately. Again, the lyrics are indispensible, but even if you don’t understand them, Nelson’s voice has an ability to communicate the meaning across language barriers. No shit, I really believe this. It’s a talent that very few have, and he had it.

Enjoy this classic album and piece of the musical and cultural patrimony of Brazil!

Full artwork scanned at 600 dpi and downsized to 300 dpi included. Composer credits embedded in ID tags along with Portuguese accents and diacriticals.

in 320 kbs em pé trézentos e vinte


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Eduardo Araújo – A Onde É Boogaloo (1969) [Tim Maia]

Eduardo Araújo  (1969)
1969 Odeon (MOFB 3584)

1 Longe de você (The same old song)
(Robinson, Vrs. Tim Maia)
2 Tenho que ter todo seu amor (Got to have a hundred)
(Wilson Pickett, Vrs. Tim Maia)
3 Boogaloo na Broadway (Boogaloo down Broadway)
(J.James, Vrs. Tim Maia)
4 Rua maluca (Funky street)
(Simms, A.Conley, Vrs. Tim Maia)
5 Pressentimento
(Chil Deberto, Eduardo Araújo)
6 Dançando boogaloo (Gota a thing going)
(W.King, Vrs. Tim Maia)
7 Você
(Tim Maia)
8 Baby, baby sim baby (Since you’ve been gone) (Sweet sweet baby)
(Franklin, White, Vrs. Tim Maia)
9 Embrulhe esta marmita
(Chil Deberto, Eduardo Araújo)
10 Vamos recomeçar (Come back baby)
(Ray Charles, Vrs. Tim Maia)
11 Melhor que se dane
(Chil Deberto, Eduardo Araújo)
12 A mulher (Cold sweat)
(J. Brown, Ellis, Vrs. Tim Maia)

I sought out this album because it is a footnote — albeit an important one – in the career of Tim Maia. It marks a turning point in Tim’s story, and features some musicians that Tim would incorporate into his own band in the coming years. After years of struggling, having formed The Sputniks (where he famously fired Roberto Carlos), having moved to New York City, having been deported from the US, having returned to Brazil – everything started coming together for him in 1969. After quite some time trying to get his old friend-nemesis-former-bandmate Roberto Carlos to record one of his songs, O Rei finally aquiesced and recorded “Não vou ficar” on his 1969 soul-influenced album, and Tim found some work arranging and producing new material for another old friend of the “Clube do Rock”, Eduardo Araújo. This gave Maia some badly-needed cash and also name-recognition: Araújo would even score a hit with the song “Você”, leading Tim to return the favor by recording one of Araújo’s compositions in 1971. And indeed while Araújo also wrote songs (two of them are here, with a writing partner by the super-cool name of Chil Deberto, which sounds unintentionally cooler in English than in Portuguese..), the album is dominated by Tim Maia’s arrangments (which he shares with Walter Arouca Barros and José Ferreira Godinho Filho). And one really loud organ in the mix. Tim arranged and wrote new lyrics for a whole mess of North American soul classics, reflecting his time ‘at the source’, living the good old U.S.A. The results are actually better than I expected when I first heard about this album. Songs by Smokey Robinson, Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles are given new treatments. It’s not all gold but it makes for interesting listening. The most intriguing of these are the ones where Maia choses to slow the original tunes down, making them sound heavier — “99 and 1/2” from Wilson Picket, “(Baby Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” from Aretha Franklin, and James Brown’s “Cold Sweat” highlight both Tim’s ambition and his budding genius. It’s also worth pointing out the evolution of his recording technique – you can hear an inkling of the drum sound he was working towards in these tunes, but he hasn’t quite gotten it to his satisfaction yet. Of the backing band – Waldir on trumpet and Capacete on bass – would become parts of Tim’s early band.

It is a bit unjust that this album was reissued at a time when a huge chunk of Tim’s own catalog was still out of print – fact that has only been rectified within the last year. And, with all due respect, I’m not particularly interested in seeking out any of Araújo’s other albums, although if I come across more of the early titles I probably will out of curiosity. In a rather odd twist, he is now busy making BRAZILIAN COUNTRY ROCK and RAISING HORSES!


partial credits:

“Os Bons”
Waldir – trumpet and arrangments
Casé – alto sax
Garôto – vibraphone
Mauro – trumpet
Zezinho – piano and organ
Capacete – bass guitar

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Mulatu Astatke – Mulatu of Ethiopia (1972) 180-gram vinil


Mulatu Astatke
“Mulatu of Ethiopia”
1972 Worth Records (W-1020)
2003 Reissue on 180-gram vinyl

1 Mulatu 5:00
2 Mascaram Setaba 2:40
3 Dewel 4:00
4 Kulunmanqueleshi 2:05
5 Kasalefkut-Hulu 2:25
6 Munaye 3:15
7 Chifara 7:00


Vinyl -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply) > Creek Audio OBH-15 -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard -> Adobe Audition 3.0 at 24-bits 96khz -> Click Repair light settings -> dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000

from the back cover:

“Once again Mulatu Astatke has come to us from Ethiopia, with a new and different sound. He has interwoven into his fantastic arrangements the beautiful Ethiopian five-town scale and the Afro-American soul and jazz sounds.

The melodies and rhythms pulsate through your mind hours after hearing them. This is a record you cannot play just once. It is musically addictive, especially when the volume is turned up.

I have worked with Mulatu on three albums and find him to be a unique and creative individual, a composer, arranger, and fine instrumentalist. Here is a man from the New Africa, who will change the face of music, a man destined to make international musical history. All of Ethiopia can be proud of Mulatu Astatke.

Mulatu would like to thank the Ethiopian Airlines, Mr. Magos Legesse and Mr. Girpa Geba, for their kindness and cooperation.

— Gil Snapper
President of Worthy Records “


Although “Gil Snapper” may have been prone to hyperbole — and an unnecessary use of commas, which I took the liberty of removing — in the text above, he was right on about one thing: Mulatu Astatke was destined to make international musical history. At the time this album was released, however, he was not nearly as well-known in the US (where these sessions were recorded) than in Africa. Listening to it, it is pretty damn striking just how “ahead of his time” the guy was in 1972, and how much this single record must have influenced a lot of other influential musicians, arrangers, DJs, and so on.

This is some of the funkiest, most ‘out’, and most psychedelic stuff Mulatu ever committed to tape, and to my knowledge has never appeared on any of the voluminous Ethiopiques collections. Most likely due to somebody who has the rights to the obscure Worthy Records label catalog? Well, this was reissued on vinyl in 2003 and apparently on CD only in Japan. I would be interested in hearing the Japanese pressing to see if it lives up to that country’s usual audiophile standards.. Because this vinyl pressing really isn’t worthy (pun intended…) of a 180-gram pressing. That could easily be because of the source material of the master tapes, original mixes, etc, and Lord knows there has been far worse issued as 180-gram strictly to cash in.. Even so, I have heard both the ‘normal’ 2003 repressing and the 180-gram and can’t discern any audible difference between the two. This rip is not from a mint-condition copy and has a rather ‘dull’ fidelity to it, but any distortions you might hear are almost definitely from substandard vinyl-pressing and/or on the masters used for it. Also, although I took some high-resolution photos of the album, I can only find the shots I took of the label on the vinyl, and the album is now in a Galaxy Far Far Away, so you will have to settle for the low-res pics I found on Discogs. If I locate the better photos I will post them here.

The music? F’ing fantastic. Truly hypnotic grooves, fantastic sax and flute work, innovative soul-jazz-funk drumming and bass guitar lines.. Too bad none of the musicians are credited. Unfortunately the keyboard player, who seems to be playing the same two chords on a Farfisa through a wah-wah peddle throughout the entire album, is mixed WAY too loud in the right channel. But even that can’t spoil the sheer joy of this album. (p.s. A listener who grabbed this somewhere else I had posted it tells me he had good results just boosting the left channel about 2 db.)

passw3rd in comments

in rinky dinky 320 em pee treaty, very small

in FLAC LOSSL3SS AWDIO. still pretty small.

It’s a short album. Give FLAC a chance!