“A Misteriosa Luta Do Reino de Parasempre Contra O Império de Nuncamais”
Original release Polydor (Brasil) LPNG 44.037, 1969
This reissue 2006 Discos Mariposa, Argentina
1- De como meu herói Flash Gordon irá levar-me de volta a Alfa do Centauro, meu verdadeiro lar
3- Pare de sonhar com estrelas distantes
4- Onde foi “Morning Girl”
5- My cherie amour
6- Atlântida “Atlantis”
7- Por quem sonha Ana Maria?
8- Mares de areia
9- Regina e o mar
10- Foi bom
11- Rose Ann
12- Comecei uma brincadeira “I started a joke”
13. Meu Bem
14. O Pequeno Príncipe
15. Meu Mundo Parou
Here’s some more pós-jovem guarda psychedelia (or is it psychejovem guardelia-iê-iê?) from former teen-idol and past and present TV star and show host Ronnie
Von! Pretty heady stuff for such a heart-throb: the title translates as “The Mysterious Struggle of the Kingdom of Forever Against the Empire of Nevermore.” And this record was made before that North American whats-her-name made absurdly long and silly album titles trendy! Of his three psych albums from the late 60s-early-70s, this only narrowly loses out to the third one as my favorite. Mostly because it has one too many ‘cover songs’ of contemporary hits on it. In particular, the rather odd choice of My Cherie Amor just doesn’t fit. A Brazilian-Portuguese version of Donovan’s “Atantlis” is a campy highlight though, and his version of Jobim’s “Dindi” is just plain great. I like his version of The Bee
Gee’s “I Started A Joke” even if I prefer the original. It’s got a very fuzzy guitar and everyone is accenting the down stroke (even the piano player!), giving the tune an unexpected headiness (or is it heaviness?) and it makes a good closer for the album. (Everything after that track consists of bonus cuts).
This record is best when it’s at its most psychedelic, which also happens to include most of the tunes co-written by Ronnie. The opening cut is great, so is “Pare de
sonhar com as estrelas distantes”, features a sound collage bridge very much inspired by the Fab Four. Von first got his start in music by way of a friendship with a group called The Brazilian Beatles and appeared on their TV show in 1965 singing “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” so it is only natural that his sound followed the instincts of their idols. Although this kind of stuff was vociforously attacted by the reactionaries of the day as being an agent of imperialism and a “mass culture” threat, Von’s music isn’t nearly as derivative as all that. He doesn’t attempt to ape Beatle-esque harmonies, and the approach to arrangements has its fair share of blue-eyed soul (or is it green-eyed soul?) and is just as inspired by contemporaneous Roberto Carlos. In other words, he might have been heavily inspired by The Beatles – along with, um, pretty much everyone else recording pop music in 1969 – but there was far more derivative stuff being produced by pop and psych-pop contemporaries in the anglophone world. There is quite a bit of originality here, and if I were to complain it would be that the record doesn’t have enough of Von’s own compositions. He fixes that on his next record, however.
The track “Rose Ann” manages to squeeze English, Portuguese, and French into the same tune, briefly breaking down into an accordion-driven bit of chanson. There’s some very nice vibraphone on this too. Ronnie was really gifted at doing spoken parts in between his sung vocals. I would like to hear him read an entire audio-book. What great works of literature should we suggest to his agent? Please leave your suggests in the comment suggestion. Meanwhile, “You’re love will be, like summer to me.”
One of favorite tunes on the album is “Regina e o Mar,” which has a perfect blend of a groovy bass line and rhythm guitar, loose drums, creative string arrangements, Ronnie’s soulful vocal, and just the right amount of tape delay. This tune is followed by an unexpected and equally groovy tune penned by Benedito da Paula, which adds horns to the previous winning combination. No tape delay, though. Oh well, it’s good to be sparing with it anyway.
Tagged at the end are some bonus tracks, including yet another cover (The Beatles’ “Girl”), which if the liner notes here are correct he managed to record without crediting them, and Ronnie’s signature hit tune, “O Pequeno Principe”. “Girl” / “Meu Bem” has a pretty wicked tremolo-surf guitar part.
This release on Mariposa Records (Argentina) is a needle-drop, and not a particularly good one, but it gets the job done. Since my birthday is coming up soon, feel free to send me original vinyl copies as a gift. Thanks!