Beth Carvalho – Primeiras Andanças 1965-75 (2010)

Photobucket

Beth Carvalho
“Primeiras Andanças – Os Primeiros Dez Anos”
Released 2010 Discobertas (DBOX-01)

Boxset produced by Marcelo Fróes
Remastering by Ricardo Carvalheira
Graphic design by Bady Cartier

Photobucket

Volume One: Canto Por Um Novo Dia (1973) Tapecar X.19

1. Hora De Chorar
2. Canto Por Um Novo Dia
3. Se E Pecado Sambar
4. Homenagem A Nelson Cavaquinho
5. Evocaçao No. 1
6. A Velhice Da Porta Bandeira
7. Folhas Secas
8. Salve A Preguiça, Meu Pai
9. Mariana Da Gente
10. Fim De Reinado
11. Clementina De Jesus
12. Memoria De Um Compositor
13. Medley – Flor Da Laranjeira /sereia /sao Jorge,

Photobucket

Volume Two: Pra Seu Governo (1974) Tapecar X.22

1. Miragem
2. 1800 Colinas (mil E Oitocentas Colinas)
3. Tesoura Cega
4. Maior E Deus
5. Fim Do Sofrimento
6. A Pedida E Essa
7. Pra Ninguem Chorar
8. Me Ganhou
9. Falencia
10. Vovo Chica
11. Agora E Portela 74
12. Pra Seu Governo

Photobucket

Volume 3: Pandeiro e Viola (1975) Tapecar X.33

1. So Queria Ser Feliz
2. O Pior E Saber
3. Pandeiro E Viola
4. Amor Sem Esperança
5. Onde Esta A Honestidade
6. Gota D’agua
7. Enamorada Do Sambao
8. O Dia De Amanha
9. Amor Fiel
10. De Novo Desamor
11. Sente O Peso Do Couro
12. Cansaço
13. Alegria
14. Pesquisa

Photobucket

Volume 4: Primeiras Andanças – vol.1 (1965-1970)

1. Namorinho
2. Por Quem Morreu De Amor
3. Ponteio
4. Sim Pelo Nao
5. Viola Enluarada
6. Contraste
7. Berenice
8. Domingo Antigo
9. Cavaleiro Andante
10. Rosa De Gente
11. Andança
12. Sentinela
13. Guerra De Um Poeta
14. Meu Tamborim
15. O Tempo E O Vento

Photobucket

Volume 5: Primeiras Andanças – vol.2 (1970-75)

1. Geraçao 70
2. A Velha Porta
3. Sem Rumo E Sem Destino
4. Minhas Tardes De Sol
5. So Quero Ver
6. Essa Passou
7. Rio Grande Do Sul Na Festa Do Preto Forro
8. A Mais Querida
9. Amor, Amor
10. Mangueira Em Tempo De Folclore
11. Volta, Meu Amor
12. Meu Perdao
13. Rosa De Ouro – Ao Vivo
14. Foi Um Rio Que Passou Em Minha Vida – Ao Vivo

This boxset is a labor of love from Discobertas, a relatively new reissue label who appear to have acquired the rights to the whole Tapecar Records back catalog. Although I have some gripes about some technical issues in the production, the love and attention to detail on this package make up for it. Of the three studio albums presented all but one (‘Pra Seu Governo’) contain a few bonus rarities tacked to the end, an extra treat that hardly seems necessary given the two full discs of rarities that are part of the package. For those uninitiated into the music of Beth Carvalho, these albums are where you want to start. The studio albums are the most gratifying in terms of straight-through listening experience – they highlight Beth Carvalho fully blossomed into her musical identity, fully in command and focused in her direction, and executing her genius at pulling together so much musicality in the choices of compositions and musicians. They each deserve their own individual write-ups, which is part of the problem with boxsets — they can be daunting to listen to, and even more daunting to write about. I may share these individual with audio from their original vinyl pressings, and share some more thoughts there. Likewise you can find these albums posted on some of the ‘usual suspects’ like Loronix or jthymekind. Just a brief mention here, however, that the album ‘Pandeiro e Viola’ is a bit of a disappointment compared to the other two and falls in the category of “contractual obligation album,” as she had already been lost by Tapecar to RCA Records but still owed them an album. It shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand, obviously, and contains some great interpretations of sambas old and new — I particularly like the juxtaposition of the classic Noel Rosa tune “Onde está a honestidade” with Chico Buarque’s “Gota d’Agua.” But overall the album lacks the passion Beth brings to those first two long players, and there are no tunes that give me goosebumps like “Tesoura cega” (from ‘Pra Seu Governo”), a song so perfect it deserves an entire blog post all to itself, or pretty much ALL of her phenomenal first “Canto Pra Um Novo Dia.”

Now on to the mother-load of rarities that will attract the majority of listeners who already know her album material, the two discs called “As Primerias Andanças,” one dedicated to the decade of the 1960s, the second covering 1970 – 75.

The first disc is stylistically all over the place and, honestly, a bit messy. As off-putting as this disc is on first listen, the material is brought into focus by the truly great liner notes by Marcelo Fróes, some of which is based on interviews Beth gave exclusively for this boxset. They trace her career beginning with her unassuming middle-class life as a young guitar instructor who was persuaded to appear performing on television, soon recorded a single (the flipside of which was a song given to her by Roberto Menescal and Ronôldo Boscoli, “Pra Quem Morreu de Amor”), and from there took off into a dozen different directions. In a time period when the clique-ish cohort of bossa nova was breaking up and fragmenting, Beth moved through a variety of musical circles and personalities, reflected in the impressive variety of names that appear in the songwriting credits on these two discs: the aforemention Menescal/Boscoli, the brothers Valle, Arthur Verocai, Danilo Caymmi, Nelson Motta, Paulinho Tapajós, Milton Nascimento, Antonio Adolfo & Tibério Gaspar, Carlos Lyra & Chico Buarque, and of course – as she transformed into a reigning queen of samba during the 1970s – composers like Paulinho da Viola and especially her mentor Nelson Cavaquinho and his partner Guillherme de Brito.

This first of the two discs sheds a lot of insight into Beth Carvalho’s trajectory as an artist and musician. They flesh out the lacunas in the formation of the deity known as Beth Carvalho providing evidence of what we already knew: Beth Carvalho was born to sing roots-driven samba of the bars and botequins, backed by acoustic instruments and percussion. However, the music industry, and Beth herself, took a while to figure that out. As Beth describes in the liner notes, she felt that she was living in two parallel universes during the 60s: one in which she was surrounded by older sambistas of the velha guarda like Cartola on her excursions into Mangueira’s activities, and another where she was surrounded by her peers of her own age. Which goes far in explaining why the first disc — comprised mostly of rare singles and contributions to albums released in conjuction with the Festivals of Song that dominated Brazilian television and middle-class youth culture at the time — have Beth singing bossa nova, samba canção, jovem guarda, jazz samba, maybe a bit of música engajada.. There is plenty of good music here but it is kind of a jolt for those who are familiar with Beth as she into prominence in the next decade, even more so than the first time I heard her album “Andança.”

A time-out here to talk about some technical issues. If Discobertas is going to continue catering to the relatively specialized, restricted market of collectors who want access to precious unreleased material, rarities, and songs from festivals and TV performances that have long seemed AWOL or missing-in-aciton — they *really* need to start putting more emphasis on AUDIO QUALITY. The first two tracks on ‘Primeiras Andanças – Vol. 1’ sound like low-quality mp3s .( In fact, if you put them in any number of software applications that analyze the full-spectrum of audio frequencies, you will be given a “false positive” saying that these ARE mp3’s…) Other tracks were obviously transferred from vinyl and sound rather dubiously processed; others may have come from second or third generations of master tapes. Why all the guesswork? Because Discobertas seems to have their sites to be the Anit-Charles Gavin of reissues: they give NO information on sources, their limitations or their strengths. Gavin usually provides details like the type of equipment and software used to remaster the releases he has done or supervised. It is almost as if Discobertas just doesn’t want us to, um, *discover* these facts. Why does the song “Contraste”, from the LP “Musicanossa: O Som e o Tempo” sound like it was definitely sourced from vinyl (there are some clips and pops that anyone with a basic waveform editor could have removed, by the way..), while the next two tracks from the SAME ALBUM sound sparkling and new, as if they came from, let’s just say, the master tapes. ”

Viola Enluarada”, from the Brothers Valle, is probably the most beautiful track on this first disc and personally one of my two personal treasured surprises in the box (the other being, “A Velha Porta” on the second disc). Other highlights include the oddity of a frevo written by Arthur Verocai and Arnoldo Medeiras (‘Domingo antigo’) and the even odder “Cavaleiro Andante” a duet with Taiguara which appears to be about extra-terrestrials and/or nuclear holocaust paranoia and critiques of capitalism. This is probably the only time you will hear Beth singing lyrics as strange as

“”Atenção! Atenção! Atenção! Comunicar!
Produção, produzir, consumir, comunicar,
Construir, destruir, dominar!
Computador eletro-nuclear
Computador eletro-nuclear”

Two more diamonds are the festival-album version of the gorgeous tune “Andança” which has a different mix but sounds like essentially the same studio take as what would appear on the album a the following year, as well her singing an early Milton Nascimento/Fernando Brandt tune, “Sentinela”, taken directly from the “Andança” album. The song features Milton on acoustic guitar, but unfortunately only The Golden Boys accompanying her on vocals. I would have paid extra to hear the two of the performing this as a duet.

The tracks on the next disc continues the pattern of using material culled from a variety of singles and album cuts that were recorded for telenovelas, music festivals, radio broadcasts (like the Project Minerva radio series, which has now also been reissued by Discobertas), and some of the carnaval-season releases like the ‘Samba de Enredo’ albums that would appear every year in the 70s. On this second rarities disc, we hear things slowly evolving stylistically. Opening with some narcissistic pop music of youth celebrating itself for having discovered, um, itself, and bringing in a new age of something or other, in Taiguara’s “Geração 70”. This rather fluffy piece is followed by a truly bad-ass tune “A Velha Porta” with the female backing ensemble ‘As Gatas’. It’s also a post-jovem guarda, Tropicálista-informed pop song and probably the only time you will ever hear Beth let loose with a “oooh-whoa-whoa, hey hey hey hey…” If your not enjoying this song by the 2-minute mark, then you couldn’t find a hook in a meat locker.

“Sem Rumo e Sem Destino” is a wonderfully dreamy, psychedelic song released as a single from a film, “Memôrias de Um Gigolô.” The sweeping, hazy majesty of the tune has a lot to do with the fact that it was arranged by one Antônio Adolfo, and written by him with Tibério Gaspar (who would one day introduce Tim Maia to the Cultura Racional movement). The following tune, “Minhas Tardes de Sol” sounds like it just may have been influenced by (Sir) Paul McCartney, and thus it is needless to say that it is horrible and unlistenable fluff. We then get treated to both sides of a single recorded with Som Três and Milton Miranda at the production helm. The second of these, “Só Quero Ver,” is the most straight-up samba we have heard yet in these rarities, but stylistically Beth is very much working in the style of Elza Soares here. This is followed by a tune where she is working very much in the style of Clara Nunes – ‘Rio Grande do Sul na Festa do Rei Fôrro”with its celebration of candomblé, is a great song. From a single in 1972 (what was on the flip-side??), it bears listening to and thinking about closely and I am apt to change my opinion every time I play it (and I reserve that right!). Vocally, Beth’s voice sounds very relaxed and is taking on the style of phrasing and dynamics that would characterize her work from this point on, but the instrumentation and something about the *attitude* of the song’s execution demonstrates that she is still moving somewhat freely between the extant strains of samba and not laying claim to any particular territory yet. “A Mais Querida” — sound quality, what the FUCK has happened here — another terribly vinyl transfer. Apparently Disbortas only aquired the *rights* to the songs from Tapecar, not the tapes, which apparently gives them the RIGHT to mangle the hell out of the audio. I could teach the twelve-year old who lives two doors down the street from me, a smart kid who is pretty quick with a computer, how to restore audio from scratchy vinyl better than Discobertas has done. I could give any reader of this blog a quick, 10-step tutorial on how to clean up a record with basic practices that nobody seems to be aware of over at that label. These two songs from 1973 are pivotal and important in Beth’s career, coming right around the time of her first LP in this style. Too bad they sound like total shit. The following songs, from Carnaval-season compilations, are all wonderful, and totally dominated by “Meu Perdão” written by her mentor and spiritual father, Nelson Cavaquinho. The last two tracks are interesting as anomalies, with Beth well into her “Queen of the Samba Revival” stage but choosing to cover two classics associated with Portela stalwart, Paulinho da Viola ‘Rosa de Ouro” and “Foi um rio que passou em minha vida”. Both taken at a quick tempo, they are from the Radio Minerva sessions, which up until this year of 2011 have only been available on their original vinyl releases. Let me tell you as a collector — these albums are not *that* difficult or impossible to find if you are willing to spend a modest amount of money: WHY THEN, do these two tracks sound like they taken from a beaten-up copy found in the engineer’s closet?? For fuck’s sake, if you are going to go through the trouble to undertake a project like this – take your time, and do it right.

In a musical marketplace where a lot of bullshit career-boxsets have been released on major labels in Brazil, ones that only present the main albums by an artist (most of them already available to some degree) with no rarities included, this simple, focused box by Discobertas is a breath of fresh air. By and large it is worth every penny on account of the rarities included, the liner notes, sharp graphic design and presentation. However (not to keep flogging a dead horse) its weak point is the audio quality, especially on the rarities but also on the main LPs. A newspaper review I read claimed this box is an improvement to the original vinyl which (according to his unnamed source) had the low frequencies tapered off. I think that reviewer either needs to buy a different turntable that produces low frequencies better, or perhaps pick up other copies of the original LPs. Tapecar’s problem was most definitely NOT one of mixing or mastering – all of the studio albums I have from them sound fine, even great — but perhaps of *consistency* and quality-control in the pressing of vinyl records. Petroleum shortfalls and the oil crises were making themselves felt as Tapecar got going, and if this critique about inconsistent quality applies to the huge labels that had dominated the Brazilian record industry for decades (Odeon, Philips) and were now putting out an inferior product than a decade earlier, then such a critique would be even more applicable to small label like Tapecar. I have multiple copies of some of Beth’s LPs on both Tapecar and RCA — and some of them just sound better than others. Buying Brazilian vinyl from the 1970s is a crapshoot – you may find a disc from 1974 that appears practically brand new, only to take it home and be greeted by all manner of awful noise, extreme warps in the vinyl, or other annoyances. Whereas you can pick up a visually scratched and played-to-death Wilson Simonal album from 1965 and it will play *perfectly*. So for people who don’t have the patience for vinyl, sure – this collection is a blessing. But it does not necessarily sound “better” than the original releases. And the dubious, frequency-shedding “restoration” applied to the two rarities discs, specifically the material obviously sourced from vinyl, is enough evidence for me to say that I will definitely NOT be shelling out the cash for Discobertas reissue of the Project Minverva radio albums. The price is too high, and (if the tracks included here and on the Elza Soares reissues are any example) the quality too poor, to warrant it. Which is sad, because that radio program is important to Brazil’s cultural patrimony and deserves to be heard. I haven’t yet heard anything from the Ed Lincoln box, and until I get an opinion from a source I trust about such things, I’ll stick with the vinyl for him as well. If all this commentary smacks of overwrought ambiguity, then I’d like to ask the reader how they might evaluate a release that is doing both a great service AND a great disservice to the music fan / researcher / historian / obsessive-compulsive or wherever category you might fit into. Because this box was released with these rarities, there is very little chance that these rarities will see a RE-release any time soon. Therefore, we will have to live with the sub-par “restoration” applied to these songs for probably the next decade at the very least. And then of course, if this box had NOT been released, then very very few people would hear this music at all, since I would probably have to sell a kidney to track down all of the material scattered across the two rarities albums. (I should mention that my kidney’s have seen a lot of abuse and aren’t actually worth all that much, so we’re not talking about tons of cash. Just more than I have access to at the moment).

in FLAC

MIRROR 1 (single fileset)

in MIRROR 2 — Part 1 /// Part 2

password: vibes

João do Vale – MPB Especial 1973

Photobucket

A MÚSICA BRASILEIRA DESTE SÉCULO POR SEUS AUTORES E INTÉRPRETES
João do Vale – MPB Especial 1973
Released 2000 SESC – SP (JCB-0709-023)

1 O canto da ema
(Alventino Cavalcante, Ayres Viana, João do Vale)
2 É de dois, dois
(Jesus Santana, João do Vale)
3 Algodão
(Luiz Gonzaga, Zé Dantas)
4 Minha história
(Raymundo Evangelista, João do Vale)
5 Cesário Pinto
(Zé Gonzaga)
6 Estrela miúda
(Luiz Vieira, João do Vale)
7 Maria Filó (o danado do trem)
(Luiz Vieira, João do Vale)
8 Sanharó-Tambo
(Luiz Guimarães, João do Vale)
9 Segredo do sertanejo (Uricuri)
(José Cândido, João do Vale)
10 Quatro fia feme
(Ary Monteiro, João do Vale)
11 Peba na pimenta
(Adelino Rivera, José Batista, João do Vale)
12 Pisa na fulô
(Silveira Júnior, Ernesto Pires, João do Vale)
13 Sina de caboclo
(J.B. de Aquino, João do Vale)
14 Filho de peixe, peixinho é
(Ernesto Pires, João do Vale)
15 A voz do povo
(Luiz Vieira, João do Vale)
16 Lavadeira e o lavrador
(João do Vale)
17 Orós II
(Oséas Lopes, João do Vale)
18 Carcará
(José Cândido, João do Vale)

This is for the FANS, man. Actually the disc is both priceless and also a disappointment: João do Vale, like many people featured on the MPB Especial and Ensaio programs, was more of a composer than a recording artist — aside from the album “Opinão” with Nara Leão and Zé Keti, I am only aware of one other album under his own name, recorded in the 1980s, which as I recall is only so-so. Thus, when seeing that this program existed it was one of those eye-popping moments of ‘Oh wow, I gotta hear this’… The review below in Portuguese pretty much says everything I would have said, so I just translated for you below. (By the way, I think it is really cool that Clique Music happens to have reviews of so many of the volumes in this collection…). The only thing I would add to it is that it’s “relaxed” quality is perhaps understated – the musical portions of it come across as totally imprompto and unrehearsed, as if João eschewed any notion of preparing beforehand and just came into the studio expecting the musicians to keep up. Eduardo Gudin was sort of a house musician for this program, and there are several cases where João begins singing a capella and Gudin and percussionist Carlinhos come in slowly as the song goes on, as if they are picking up the chord progression and rhythm just by listening and following along.

———review in Portuguese found at Clique Music —————-

Dorival Caymmi disse certa vez que a música de João do Vale tinha cheiro de barro, um traço selvagem e autêntico, qualidades só encontradas em compositores genuinamente populares como ele próprio. No Programa MPB Especial (Ensaio), reproduzido nesta coleção Sesc São Paulo, João do Vale nunca esteve tão relaxado e próximo da definição traçada pelo velho Caymmi. Normalmente tímido (tinha de tomar generosas doses de cachaça para se soltar nos shows), o compositor maranhense desfila com desenvoltura um repertório de clássicos, dos forrós erotizados O Canto da Ema e Pisa na Fulô a canções de protesto, caso de Sina de Caboclo, Segredo do Sertanejo (Uricuri) e Carcará, seu maior sucesso, eternizado na voz de Maria Bethânia. Faltaram grandes canções, como Na Asa do Vento e Pé do Lageiro, e um acordeão para acompanhar o violão de Eduardo Gudin e a percussão de Carlinhos. Afinal, forrós como Pisa na Fulô e O Canto da Ema sem sanfona é a mesma coisa que João Gilberto sem violão ou Jimi Hendrix sem guitarra. Mas isso não tira o brilho do disco. Só as histórias contadas por João já valem o programa. O compositor lembra que foi trabalhar como ajudante de pedreiro no Rio de Janeiro na mesma época em que Marlene estourou nas rádios com uma canção sua, Estrela Miúda. Enquanto colocava massa entre os tijolos, ouvia a música ser tocada nas rádios de toda a vizinhança. Um dia, não resistiu e resolveu contar aos companheiros de obra que o autor daquele sucesso era ninguém menos que ele mesmo. Recebeu um olhar torto da turma e ainda foi ridicularizado: “Conversa, neguinho, tu tá delirando. Coloca mais massa aí sô!” (Tom Cardoso)

—————-
translation:
Dorival Caymmi once said that the music of João do Vale had the scent of clay, a trace of the untamed and the authentic, qualities encountered only in genuinely “popular” composers like him. In the Programa MPB Especial (Ensaio) reproduced in this SESC São Paulo collection, João do Vale was never as relaxed or closer to the definition outlined by the old Caymmi. Normally shy (he had to drink generous shots of cachaça in order to get out on stage), the composer from Maranhão proudly displays a repertoire of classics, of sexy forró like “O Canto de Ema” and “Pisa na Fulô” to protest songs such as “Sina de Caboclo”, “Segredo do Sertanejo (Uricuri)” and “Carcará”, his biggest hit immortalized in the voice of Maria Bethânia. The program lacks some major songs, like “Na Asa do Vento” and “Pé do Lageiro”, as well as an accordion to accompany the acoustic guitar of Eduardo Gudin and the percussion of Carlinhos. In the end, hearing forrós like “Pisa na Fulô” and “O Canto da Ema” without sanfona / accordion is the same thing as João Gilberto or Jimi Hendrix without guitars. But this doesn’t detract from the allure of the disc. Just the stories alone told by João make the program worth it. The composer recalls going to work as an assistant bricklayer in Rio de Janeiro around the same time that Marlene exploded on the radios with his song “Estrela Miúda.” While spreading mortar between the bricks, he heard the song being played on radios all around the neighborhood. One day, he couldn’t resist any longer and decided to tell his work mates that the author of that hit song was none other than himself. He received disbelieving, sidelong glances from the bunch of them and was ridiculed: “Bullshit, neguinho, you’re delirious. Bring more cement over here, already!…” (Tom Cardoso, translated by Ameribucano, Flabbergast)

in 320 kbs em pé tré

in FLAC LOSSLESS

password in comments like always

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).

Photobucket
————

password in commentários

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

A ONDA É BOOGALOO
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!

Photobucket

partial credits:

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

mp3 icon

password: vibes

João Donato – Lugar Comum (1975) with Gilberto Gil

João Donato
“Lugar Comum”
Released 1975 on Philips
Reissued 2004 on Dúbas Música

1 Lugar comum
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
2 Tudo tem
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
3 A bruxa de mentira
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
4 Ê menina
(Guarabyra, João Donato)
5 Bananeira
(Gilberto Gi, João Donato)
6 Patumbalacundê
(Orlandivo, Durval Ferreira, Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
7 Xangô é de Baê
(Rubens Confeti, Sidney da Conceição, João Donato)
8 Pretty dolly
(Norman Gimbel, João Donato)
9 Emoriô
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
10 Naturalmente
(Caetano Veloso, João Donato)
11 Que besteira
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
12 Deixei recado
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)

Photobucket

Mellow and laid-back and yet also very funky. Classic album, impossible to find on vinyl without selling your organs, but it’s been around in the blogosphere for quite a while. Still, it is very nice that this remaster exists and I hope someone out there takes advantage of the FLAC availability. I have no idea why Donato changed the album cover — which was kind of bland and ugly to begin with — to something even more bland and ugly. Just my opinion. If you want a review that completely misses the point about nearly everything on this album and amazingly fails to mention the presence of Gilberto Gil or collaborations with Caetano Veloso, go look for Thom Jurek’s award-winning AMG prose/drivel about this album. He never disappoints in the mediocrity department.

Worth pointing out that the song ‘Bananeira’ was also a hit for Emilio Santiago on an album that Donato arranged for him in this same year.

The reissue has liner notes in both Portuguese and English that give some pretty detailed anecdotes about each song. Particularly interesting is the story behind the song “Xango é de Baê”. The keyboard tones are, naturally, gorgeous, and the production is impeccable and warm like the hug of an old friend. Indeed. If you don’t know this album, you ought to check it out; If you do already know it, but not this remaster, leave a message here, particularly if you have an opinion about the remastering. I am personally pretty happy with this one.

Paulinho da Viola – Nervos de Aço (1973)

NERVOS DE AÇO
Paulinho da Viola
1973 Odeon (SMOFB 3797)
1996 EMI Abbey Road Remasters (85206-2)

1 Sentimentos
(Mijinha)
2 Comprimido
(Paulinho da Viola)
3 Não leve a mal
(Paulinho da Viola)
4 Nervos de aço
(Lupicínio Rodrigues)
5 Roendo as unhas
(Paulinho da Viola)
6 Não quero mais amar a ninguém
(Zé da Zilda, Carlos Cachaça, Cartola)
7 Nega Luzia
(Jorge de Castro, Wilson Batista)
8 Cidade submersa
(Paulinho da Viola)
9 Sonho de um carnaval
(Chico Buarque)
10 Choro negro
(Fernando Costa, Paulinho da Viola)

 

Copinha – Flute and clarinet
Cristovão Bastos – Piano, harpsichord, electric piano
Nelsinho – trombone
Paulinho da Viola – acoustic guitar and cavaquinho
Dininho – electric bass
Drums – Juquinha, Eliseu (on ‘Não quero mais amar ninguém’)
Percussion – Elton Medeiros, Dininhos, Elizeu, Juquinha, DazinhoProduced by Milton Miranda
Musical director – Maestro Gaya
Orchestration and arrangements – Gaya, Nelsinho, Cristovão Bastos,
Paulinho da Viola, CopinhaTechnical director – Z.J. Merky
Recording technicians – Toninho and Dacy
Remix engineer – Nivaldo Duarte
Album artwork – Elifas AndreatoRemastered at Abbey Road, London, May 1996 by Peter Mew
Under supervision by Paulinho da Viola
Projecto Coordinator – Sonia Antunes

Photobucket

This is another classic of Paulinho da Viola’s illustrious discography and of samba more generally. As with most of his albums, when not featuring his own material Paulinho choses to reinterpret tunes by masters of the genre to whom he owes spiritual and musical debts. On this record we get Lupicínio Rodriguez (the title track), Cartola & Carlos Cachaça, Wilson Batista, and — a more contemporary master – Chico Buarque. Of the originals there is “Não leva o mal” which is an open critique of the flaws and crises in the directorship of his beloved Portela samba school. The song also features the harpsichord, NOT a traditional samba instrument, which at first sort of through me off as being unnecessarily ‘innovative.’ I am still not sure how I feel about it but I have made my peace with it being there. The song is a classic, plain and simply, but when I get my hands on the master tapes I am going straight back to Abbey Road and mixing out that damn harpsichord.

Another odd original on this is “Roendo as unhas” (Nail-biting, biting your nails, etc) which has a nervous tension and angular structure that sounds like it could have been found on a Tom Zé album (such as, for example, Estudando o Samba). “Comprimido”, appearing earlier on the album, also has a somewhat adventurous arrangement. “Cidade submersa” has some gorgeous electric piano work on it from Cristovão Bastos. The album ends with an elegant instrumental “Choro negro.” All in all, the original compositions on this album are not Paulinho’s best work (my opinion of course, divergence and arguments are welcome), but his reinterpretations/reinventions of the other composers here are top-notch. The album seems to have been received well by the public and the critics, nevertheless Paulinho took a break from recording for two years after this album.

Photobucket

mp3 icon  flac button