Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jackson do Pandeiro - Maria da Pá Virada & Quebra Galho - from Aqui Tô Eu - Philips 1970

Jackson do Pandeiro - Maria da Pá Virada - from Aqui Tô Eu - Philips 1970

Click on the video above to play the song.

Jackson do Pandeiro - Quebra Galho - from Aqui Tô Eu - Philips 1970

Click on the video above to play the song.

Aqui Tô Eu from 1970, an album credited simply to Jackson, was serendipitously timed.  Gilberto Gil covered 2 Jackson do Pandeiro’s hits, Chiclete Com Banana and O Canto Da Ema, on his album Expresso 2222, exposing young fans to the genius of Jackson do Pandeiro.*  Aqui Tô Eu featured re-recordings of the aforementioned songs (originally from a 1956 & 1959 78rpm single), along with 10 new songs and 2 other re-recordings.  It is likely that Gil knew the songs from his youth, but it’s probable that these fresh versions, recorded in 1970, inspired Gil’s Expresso 2222 covers, recorded in 1972, since both songs appeared on Aqui Tô Eu and he was a labelmate of Jackson do Pandeiro’s on Philips at the time.  

The end of the 1960’s seemed particularly bad for Jackson personally.  He and his wife Almira, who were also performing and songwriting partners, divorced in 1967.  He suffered serious health problems, including 2 broken arms after a car accident in January of 1968.  His old dear friend Rosil Cavalcanti, who co-wrote the famous Sebastiana and many other early songs with Jackson, died the same year.  Jackson was in financial trouble and his career was on the skids.

You’d never know that he suffered so much, judging by his joyful LPs.  Aqui Tô Eu was his last album for Philips, which had been his primary label since 1960.  Although this record featured 4 re-recordings of his classics from the 50s, Jackson do Pandeiro wasn’t resting on his laurels.  Jackson knew how to pick and interpret a tune.  Stellar songs like Xodó de Motorista (co-written by the great Elino Julião) and Aqui Tô Eu kept the album cooking.  Flourishes of mariachi trumpets added something new to Jackson’s sound, for better or for worse.  With Aqui Tô Eu, Jackson was steps away from reaching the summit of his power with his next LP, the 1971 CBS masterpiece, O Dono do Forró.  

Maria da Pá Virada (by Betinho / Jackson do Pandeiro) was one of many standout tracks from Aqui Tô Eu.  Maria da Pá Virada was another example of how Jackson do Pandeiro refused to be a slave to conventional forró instrumentation established by Gonzaga.  

My whiz bang Brazilian friend Tiago pondered the complexities of the title:

The literal meaning of Maria da Pá Virada in English is Maria with the Flipped Shovel, but there are multiple references that Jackson can be citing in the song.  It may be a reference to a Bahia proverb: "Da Bahia Pra cima a coisa muda..." meaning that things are different in the north (food, the people, the culture).  Da Pa Virada can also indicate that Maria is a person who is moody like a child, irritable, a fighter, a go-getter, slutty, determined or stubborn in a good way.

Criminally, like much of Jackson’s catalog,
Maria da Pá Virada** and Quebra Galho were never reissued and only appear on the 1970 LP.  Quebra Galho (English: Breaking Twig) by Calazans Viveiros / Audemir Silva is a great example of how Jackson could infuse energy into mid-tempo numbers that very few artists mastered in the forró world.

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* Technically, Gal Costa was the first of the Tropicalia crowd to record a Jackson do Pandeiro song, Sebastiana, on her 1969 self titled LP.  

**If you listen closely, you’ll hear the bass player lose the plot at the end of the song.  

1 comment:

  1. BRILLIANT! I'm so glad you posted this link on FB!