Sambas do Partido Alto
1970 Beverley BLP 80382
Originally released on Copacabana Records
“Partido alto e o samba de roda, improvisado e levado em tempo médio.
Com o reqeubrar das cabrochas vai até o sol raiar.
É acompanhado de pandeiro, agogô, reco-reco, prato de louça etc
Neste LP atuam os maiores partidieros das escolas de samba tais como:
Da Mangueira: Xangô e Preto Rico
Do Salgueiro – Geraldo Babão e Roberto Ribeiro
Do Império Serrano – Silas de Oliveira, Edgard e Jorginho
Da Portela – Cabana e Casquinha”
1. A Paz do Coreção (vocal – Cabana)
2. Barracão Número Seis (vocal – Cabana)
3. Iaiá Sambou (vocal – Casquinha)
4. Na Água do Rio (vocal – Silas)
5. Que Samba É Esse (vocal – Jorginho)
6. Canela Fina (vocal – Edgard)
7. Lola Crioula (vocal – Geraldo Babão)
8. Te Dou Pancada (vocal – Os Partideiros)
9. Velhos Tempos (vocal – Roberto Ribeiro)
10. Eu Vi Quem Foi (vocal – Preto Rico)
11. Recordação De Um Batuqueiro (vocal – Xangô da Mangueira)
12. Partido da Remandiola (vocal – Xangô da Mangueira)
Coordinated by Moacyr Silva
Production assistant: Waldomiro João de Oliveira
Recording technician: Norival Reis
Recorded at Continental Rio studio
Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; Click Repair; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 – dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.
“Todo batuqueiro gosta de um bom
Seja ele lá no morro ou na
cidade, no asfalto.”
– Cascinha, Iaiá sambou
“Quem não é de samba / é melhor se despedir…”
– Roberto Ribeiro, Velhos tempos
A solid and ceaselessly propulsive album of partido-alto from singers and composers of four of Rio’s prestigious samba schools: Portela, Império
Serrano, Salgueiro, and Mangueira. Of particular note is that the album features several singers here who would have successful recording careers during the 70s but had yet to record LPs under their own name – Xangô da Mangueira, Jorginho do Império, and especially Roberto Ribeiro would all grow in stature as the decade went on. Also some excellent contributions from Cascinha, Geraldo Babão, and Silas de Oliveira. A fun trivia fact about Silas – he had been in the Brazilian army and was on the passenger ship Itagiba traveling from Rio en route to Olinda (where he was stationed) when it was torpedoed by a German submarine, an incident which directly led to Brazil’s entry into WWII. Lot’s of people died; obviously Silas de Oliveira survived, and I for one am glad.
With each of the samba schools only offering up three choice compositions, you can imagine that they don’t disappoint. The mighty Portela starts things off with “A Paz de Coração,” sung by Cabana in what could serve as a didactic lesson on how to conduct a perfect partido alto. Casquinha’s “Iaiá Sambou” is a classic, with it’s story of broken high-heel shoes and dancing, as well as a shout-out to Clementina de Jesus, who “in spite of her age, still seems like a young woman.” The lyrics also give a snapshot narrative of partido alto coming down from the hills, o morro (today simply referred to as favelas, after Rio’s historic Morro da Favela), to the center of the city, reflecting samba’s historical trajectory from “marginal” to ubiquity and acceptance by the elite. It has two beautiful verses in sequence, the first one quoted above saying that every musician (drummer, specifically) loves a good partido alto and it doesn’t matter where it is (seja no morro ou asfalto); He follows this by singing that partido alto in the morro is a thing totally natural, but to have one in the city is almost radical. To my ears this communicates something that, while perhaps seeming superficially a contradiction, is an intentionally two-headed, ambiguous message. That for the musicians, it didn’t matter where they played, as long as the music was good; but for the city’s elite who lived downtown, samba was still a novelty with overtones of excitement and even danger, and not something natural. The idea confirms something Donga once famously said, but also adds a different shading to it. Donga had said (and I’m paraphrasing, because I am essentially lazy) that the notion that samba was something solely created or originating in the hills was a myth: wherever there was a party with a group of people playing samba music, they were there, no matter if it was on the morro or in the business district. Not to belabor the point, but these expressions were kind of challenging the way samba was sometimes portrayed as inhabiting a world apart, ‘a black thing’ of the slums, that was slowly allowed to proliferate through the city perhaps by the benevolence of a newly-enlightened elite.
For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, I am particularly fond of the tunes from Império Serrano. They start out with Águas Do Rio which features Silas on vocal, who is better known as a composer of famous samba-enredos, in particular in partnership with Mano Décio da Viola – who was, incidentally, the father of Jorginho who takes over the vocals on the next tune. “Que Samba É Esse” is wonderful and in fact beats the version recorded by Xangô da Mangueira on his album “O Rei de Partido Alto” a few years later. Note the name-checking that goes on, including João da Baiana and Martinho da Vila. I love the way he drags out certain words in phrases, inserts pauses and emphasizes the accented syllable of certain words to give the effect of falling slightly behind the beat. Listening to him sing is like watching a Slinky undulate down a flight of stairs:
Tendo viola afinada
Um surdo na mar…cação
Aí a mulata levanta poeira do chão
Fica bom, fica bom!
Serrano Império continues to kick up dust and agitate the dance floor, levantando poeira into their final tune “Canela Fina,” cooking up a slower-paced partido alto written and sung by Edgard Cardoso Barbosa, about whom I know nothing.
The sweet-voiced Geraldo Babão starts out Salgueiro’s selections with “Lola Crioula.” Like Silas de Oliveira, Babão also composed some famous samba-enredos like “Chico Rei” and “A História do Carnaval Carioca” in the 1960s. Like many partido altos the lyrics are a variation on a single verse, this time once again echoing the theme of “from the morro to the city,” this time for carnival: Lola crioula na passarela (Vem ver, vem ver) ; Sacudindo com tudo que é dela (Vem ver, vem ver!) / Todo ano ela desfila / Representando a favela / A moçada compra ingresso / Pra ver o gingado dela “tem dendê, tem dendê as cadeiras na nega tem dendê”.
The song “Te Dou Pancada” is a catchy bit of reprehensible misogyny that is better left uncommented upon, if truth be told. I find it kind of ironic that it is the one track here that does not credit any individual for the vocal (leaving it only as “Os Partideiros”) almost as if nobody wanted their name on it. Salgueiro redeem themselves, however, with the lovely Velhos Tempos, written by Aurinho da Ilha and interpreted by Roberto Ribeiro who manages to swagger with saudade while remembering the old days of Praça Onze, a location that was kind of ground zero for carioca samba.
Mangueira’s songs are all excellent but that kind of goes without saying. The first is from Preto Rico, one-time Diretor de Harmonia and composer of the sambas like “Velha baiana” and “Mangueira em tempos de folclore.” This is followed by two songs from Xangô da Mangueira who followed Preto Rico as Diretor in Mangueira. I sang Xangô’s praises on another post but I will reiterate what a badass he was here. “Recordação de um Batuqueiro” is one of his famous sambas, played here a little faster than it would be on his first LP. “Partido de Remandiola” doesn’t appear on any of Xangô’s albums that I have and this might be it’s only appearance on record. Both tracks are excellent although Xangô’s vocal is a bit muffled, either a technical issue with the recording or maybe he just wasn’t as comfortable in a studio yet as he would be in a few years.
Speaking of studios and lapsing into technobabble for a moment, my copy of this is a Beverly reissue of the Copacabana release. Almost certainly it was a 1970s reissue, and I believe Beverly was owned by Copacabana and was sort of their budget-line reissue imprint. You might notice some tape wow-and-flutter on the first few tracks, which is a bit disheartening – to think that only a few years down the road, the master tapes were already borked. Or, perhaps, the tapes were damaged before even the first pressing, I don’t know ‘cus I haven’t heard an original. Also, although this is a mono recording, this Beverly is not a true mono pressing: when I attempted a ‘fold down’ for this digitalization, it resulted in some ugly phase cancellation and the lost of just about all the upper-frequency transients. So, better to leave it in ‘false stereo’.