2 X 1: PRA SEU GOVERNO (1974) / CANTO POR UM NOVO DIA (1973)
2003 EMI Music 583745 2
PRA SEU GOVERNO (1974) Tapecar LPX.22
1. Miragem (Nelson Cavaquinho / Guilherme de Brito)
2 1800 Colinas (Gracia do Salgueiro)
3 Tesoura Cega (Walter Queiroz / César Costa Filho)
4 Maior É Deus (Eduardo Gudin / Paulo César Pinheiro)
5 Fim de Sofrimento (Monarco)
6 A Pedida É Essa (Norival Reis / Vicente Matos)
7 Pra Ninguém Chorar (Paulo César Pinheiro / Edmundo Souto)
8 Me Ganhou (Gisa Nogueira)
9 Falência (Nelson Cavaquinho / Guilherme de Brito)
10 Vovó Chica (Jurandir da Mangueira)
11 Agora É Portela 74 (Paulo César Pinheiro / Maurício Tapajós)
12 Pra Seu Governo (Haroldo Lobo / Milton de Oliveira)
CANTO POR UM NOVO DIA (1973) Tapecar LPX.19
13 Hora de Chorar (Mano Décio da Viola / Jorginho Pessanha)
14 Canto Por Um Novo Dia (Garoto da Portela)
15 Se É Pecado Sambar (Manoel Santana)
16 Homenagem a Nelson Cavaquinho (Carlos Elias)
17 Evocação (Nelson Ferreira)
18 Velhice da Porta-bandeira (Eduardo Gudin / Paulo César Pinheiro)
19 Folhas Secas (Nelson Cavaquinho / Guilherme de Brito)
20 Salve a Preguiça Meu Pai (Mário Lago)
21 Mariana da Gente (João Nogueira)
22 Fim de Reinado (Martinho da Vila)
23 Clementina de Jesus (Gisa Nogueira)
24 Memória de Um Compositor (Darcy da Mangueira / Betinho)
25 Flor da Laranjeira (Humberto de Carvalho / Zé Pretinho / Bernardino Silva)
26 Sereia (Tradicional)
27 São Jorge Meu Protetor
If I had to invent a singer, she would (naturally) need to have a very beautiful voice. After this, I would train her enough to sing well, learning the secrets of phrasing, division, breathing, projection, naturalness, these things that you learn in school.
Later, I would say to her that all of this was not enough. A singer is not a musical instrument. She is a person, a human being, and it is fundamental that this is made clear when she sings. The emotions, sadness, joy, depression, anguish – all this that popular music suggests has to be transmitted when it’s time to sing. So much depends on her so that the music is not shorn of its sensations when it’s communicated.
Finally, I would tell her to sing things that come from the people. The songs made by the geniuses of the people, full of talent and unspoilt by commercial ambitions and the neurosis of novelty so common to composers of the middle class. I would suggest that she serve as a point of entry between popular culture and consumerism, not allowing the goal to jeopardize the origin. She would have to be, therefore, a singer of great talent.
Beth Carvalho saved me the trouble of this work. She already exists.
– Sérgio Cabral
This is a bit of a ‘stop gap’ post because the world should filled with music but I don’t have a lot of time to help with this Divine Mission today. Along with Clara Nunes, Beth was one of the people whose albums first got me into samba when I was just visiting there as a tourist. I think the first album I heard, at a friends house was Nos Botequins da Vida, one of her first efforts for RCA. Shortly after, I was lucky enough to find that album and one of these – Canto Por Um Novo Dia, I think – in my regular stop-and-frisk of the street vendor’s carts in every city I passed through. They are pretty common albums, nothing “rare groove” about ’em, but it’s your loss if you overlook them on that count. I still feel like Beth gets taken for granted by many Brazilian music fans, maybe because her management did not have the strategic foresight to arrange for her to die young. She is still around performing, making the occasional record, but has thus far shown zero interest in surrounding herself with young hipsters in the studio to ‘update’ or reinvent what she does, so has yet to become subjected to any awkward revivals.
On top of their strong repertoire drawing from the best of the many composers available to her, these early albums also have the presence of her mentor Nelson Cavaquinho playing guitar on many tracks. You can hear his distinctive plucking of the strings from behind the sounding board, as well as some occasional backup singing, alongside Dino 7 Cordas. There is also Abel Ferreira on clarinet, Copinha on flute, Wilson das Neves on drums, Paulo Mauro on a couple of arrangements. This last handful is all on on Pra Seu Governo, which is inverted chronologically on this 2-on-1 CD. I’m not sure why they did this, but it probably is the stronger of the two albums in terms of immediately just grabbing hold of you. It has also the best samba marimba ever, on Monarco’s O Fim do Sofrimento… The earlier album Canto Por Um Novo Dia is equally excellent, and features arrangements by César Carmargo Mariano, at the time in the middle of a string of classics for Elis Regina. It opens with the heart-wrenching Hora de chorar, which is a bit less upbeat of an ‘opening number’ than Miragem, perhaps. Beth delivers a great mix of tunes on both albums from composers old and new, and maintains the laid back, roda de samba vibe that I think is one of the things that endeared her so much to Nelson Cavaquinho.
So now, the sound … It is a big step up from the horrific Discobertas boxset (I’ll keep laying into that point until people stop buying them – I’ve never seen a label so worthy of going out of business). But this EMI reissue has still got “issues.” The EQ is relatively neutral, but the source for both albums appears to be vinyl copies. I suspect Tapecar didn’t keep their masters or else preserved them so poorly that they are useless now. So, surely EMI has access to fancier A/D conversion units than I have at my disposal, but unfortunately they also slapped some heavy CEDAR noise reduction on it that sucks all the transient frequencies out. There is audible compression too that you can really hear kicking in at some places, but it’s used judiciously for the most part, adjusted to sound pretty natural and doesn’t distract too much. However, listen to the whole disc with a pair of headphones and I all but guarantee you will have listening fatigue and a headache before you are a couple songs into Canto Por Um Novo Dia. Although my vinyl copies of these are probably less than pristine, they might still warrant a needledrop here sometime for the handful of us who still care about these things.