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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Luiz Gonzaga - Daquele Jeito - 1974, Odeon / EMI

Luiz Gonzaga - Sangue De Nordestino from Daquele Jeito - 1974, Odeon / EMI

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Luiz Gonzaga - Retrato De Um Forró from Daquele Jeito - 1974, Odeon / EMI

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Luiz Gonzaga - E Sem Querer from Daquele Jeito - 1974, Odeon / EMI

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Luiz Gonzaga was 62 years old when he recorded the LP Daquele Jeito in 1974. Gonzaga sounded fiery, energetic, youthful, fun and vital.  How many rock acts with 62 year olds from North America or Europe can we say the same thing about? I can't think of one. Many forró artists recorded better albums in middle age than in their "prime." Although I am not versed in the cultural biases (or lack thereof) towards age in Brazil, I can say that the purpose and origins of forró music are distinctly different than rock, which is probably why older forró artists maintained vitality at ages when rock musicians were considered over-the-hill. There are other types of North American and European music with older, respected artists like jazz, blues, vocal pop, folk or country, but forró shares a certain wild spirit and melodic structure that seems most closely related to rock.

Forró is dance music, stemming from a long tradition of weekend barn dances and social gatherings that began before the turn of the 20th Century. Gonzaga was instrumental in bringing it to the masses in the 1940s. Although some f
orró can be lyrically provocative with double entendre, it is enjoyed by people of all ages in Brazil. The music isn't exclusionary. Although rock has a similar energy and is also loved by people of all ages, the music seems to be eternally tied to its forever young, rebellious roots from its earliest incarnation in the 1950s. Rock has gotten more age-ist, elitist, angry and exclusionary over the years. Most popular rock music these days isn't particularly fun. If a rock band is fun, it is usually scorned for it. The purpose of forró is to get people dancing, courting and having fun. The rock world has a Spartan habit of glorifying and encouraging early death, as if this is the rule for energetic and vital music. Forró is proof that artists who make lively music don't have to fade away gracefully. 

Daquele Jeito
may be Luiz Gonzaga's artistic peak. His brief vacation from RCA Records in 1973 & 1974, which had been his home since the 1940s, gave the artist a chance to work in different studios with new engineers, producers and songwriters. EMI/Odeon was an excellent match. Luiz Gonzaga 1973 (featured in my first forrolpgringo blog entry) and Daquele Jeito (1974) are fantastic records. Sadly, these were his only 2 for the label. RCA must have been comfortable label, because he headed back to them after 1974. Gonzaga made good records after 1974, but nothing that really matched the quality of his EMI / Odeon recordings.

I am a big fan of the EMI sound from the 60s and the 70s. Studios were standardized, so they same gear the Beatles were using in London was also used in EMI studios in Lagos, India or parts of Brazil. In short, anywhere that EMI's arm reached, which was virtually everywhere, you'd find EMI studios with the same recording equipment. The EMI sound added punch, but Gonzaga's performances and song selection were equally stellar.


Sangue De Nordestino, Retrato De Um
Forró and E Sem Querer are knockout, show-stoppers from Daquele Jeito, arguably the last truly great LP from Luiz Gonzaga.

Luiz Gonzaga and Jr. (from http://www.revistacontinente.com.br/blog/?p=1105)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Jackson do Pandeiro - Vem Cá Maria - from Canjica, Pamonha e Rojão - Chantecler - 1977

Jackson do Pandeiro - Vem Cá Maria - from Canjica, Pamonha e Rojão - Chantecler - 1977

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Vem Cá Maria, written by famed accordionist, songwriter and recording artist Dominguinhos with forró recording artist Durval Vieira is a standout track from 1977. After his last CBS LP, Tem Mulher, Tô Lá, from 1973, Jackson do Pandeiro recorded 3 LPs for Chantecler. The quality of the songs and recordings varied, but didn't quite equal his glory period on Philips or CBS. Vem Cá Maria, from the compilation / coletânea Canjica, Pamonha e Rojão, was an exceptional and surprising late period classic from Jackson do Pandeiro.

Jackson do Pandeiro Ao Vivo

Friday, March 1, 2013

Messias Holanda - Naquele Forró from Cearense Do Bom - Uirapuru 1978

Messias Holanda - Naquele Forró from Cearense Do Bom - Uirapuru 1978

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Messias Holanda was a well connected forró star. Elino Julião, Jacinto Silva and Messias must have been tight.  All of these fellows seemed to appear on nearly every forró Fontana compilation from the late 60s and early 70s and on every CBS forró compilation LP, led by artistic director Abdias, released in the 70s and early 80s. They released albums separately but also appeared as duos on LPs as well.  It gives the outsider the impression that there was a large family or clique of the forró elite wiseguys from the late 1960s through the early 1980s.

Naquele Forró is a particularly great song from Messias Holanda.  It's thick production and scratchy guitars are signs of the direct influence of American funk (or indirect influence via MPB), which was particularly good for forró from this period.  His gruff voice sits perfectly in the mix. This might be Messias Holanda's greatest solo record.

The great Messias Holanda with his magic wand.