Sunday, January 20, 2013

Elias Alves - Pode Mandar Começar - O Fino Da Roça vol.4 - Fontana 1972

Elias Alves - Pode Mandar Começar - O Fino Da Roça vol.4 - Fontana 1972

Click on the video above to play the song.
iOS? click here: http://youtu.be/2zNvDny0Tko

I love a gutsy arrasta-pé. Arrasta-pé (pronounced hasta pay, gringos) is a march style with a galloping triangle common to forró LPs.  Elias Alves’ Pode Mandar Começar (Zé Pequeno / Gerson Macedo) was a standout on O Fino Da Roça vol.4, the final volume in a series that featured excellent northeastern Brazilian artists on Fontana Records.  Elias Alves’ small catalog of recorded works, both solo albums and compilations, appeared on major label subsidiaries like Tropicana and Fontana Records. Limited biographical information is available online, but Elias Alves’ career as a recording artist seemed to be bookended between the late 60s and mid 70s. forroemvinil noted that Alves also wrote songs for lots of forró greats, including Genival Lacerda, Trio Juazeiro, Trio Sabiá, Trio Nortista, Trio Luar do Nordeste e Negrão dos Oito Baixos.  

Alves had one of those awesome, gooey, rough, distinctive forró voices that nearly sounded out of tune and wasn’t. It’s captivating character that acted like the glue for all of his songs.  

A notable feature of the O Fino Da Roça coletânea (compilation / collection) series was the psychedelic artwork reminiscent of Yellow Submarine and the sleeves by those Tropicalia movement troublemakers.  Perhaps Fontana was trying to update the image of forró for a younger generation? Did they really think that they could super psychedelicize us?

Image of Elias Alves from his 1973 solo LP

Monday, January 14, 2013

Jackson do Pandeiro - Aquilo Bom acústico (1977) & Um A Um ao vivo com Dominguinhos (1975)

I swiped 2 bonus treats lodged in a short Jackson do Pandeiro documentary on YouTube (thank you Arquivo N).  Most of the documentary featured common footage of Jackson from his 1972 MPB Special. 2 short color performances were stunning and seemed to capture Jackson at his magical best.

 Click on the video above to hear the song.
iOS? Click here: http://youtu.be/XBfffSo762c

This 1977 clip is probably my all-time favorite Jackson video.  It’s only 30 seconds, but showcased Jackson’s skill on the acoustic guitar. The song, Aquilo Bom, was from Jackson’s 1961 album Ritmo, Melodia e a Personalidade de. This video incorrectly credits Luiz Gonzaga's & Severino Ramos' Aquilo Bom. This Aquilo Bom was written by Jackson with José Batista. The original version was fully produced and sounded very different from the version that you hear in the video. I had never seen Jackson play guitar before. Sadly, it’s doubtful that he was extensively filmed performing acoustic versions of his songs like he was in this clip, which is a shame, because you see how masterful the king of rhythm really was.

 Click on the video above to hear the song.
iOS? click here: http://youtu.be/vnnmGzUWDRU

The second clip, Um a Um, is from a glitzy 1975 variety show. This song was originally a hit for Jackson do Pandeiro in 1951. Most film clips that I’ve seen from Jackson fail to match the power of his records, but this one had the energy. Dominguinhos, a brilliant songwriter, accordionist and star in his own right, seemed to be having a ball in the background. Notice that Jackson was holding his pandeiro instead of playing it.  I believe that he was unable to play since his car accident in the late 60s. Since then, pandeiro duty was covered by Cícero from Jackson’s band, Borborema.  I believe that you can see Cícero lurking in the shadows.

Jackson do Pandeiro with acoustic guitar playing Aquilo Bom

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Trio Nortista - Eu Danço São João & Transbordando De Amor - from Rapaz Pobre - Premier 1976

Trio Nortista - Transbordando De Amor - from Rapaz Pobre - Premier 1976

 Click on the video above to play the song.

Trio Nortista - Eu Danço São João - from Rapaz Pobre - Premier 1976

 Click on the video above to play the song.

Led by a soulful, powerhouse vocalist and songwriter named Jonas De Andrade, Rapaz Pobre captures Trio Nortista at their peak in 1976. Although the Trio were on a small label called Premier, the production is every bit as good as CBS LPs from the same period. Available biographical information about Trio Nortista is limited. 

The earliest posted LP from the group on forroemvinil was estimated to be from the mid-1960s. However, it’s possible that there were 2 Trio Nortistas and the 60s version was an entirely different, unrelated group. The version with Jonas on lead vocals was definitely active by 1972. It's also notable that Trio Nortista LPs varied in style.  Although the group mainly recorded forró, some of their LPs were much more MPB (Brazilian pop) flavored.

Besides Jonas’ distinctive vocals, the group was also notable for it’s unhealthy infatuation with polyester floral shirts. Trio Nortista, a group from one of the hottest regions of Brazil, bravely wore un-breathable fabric. You have to give them credit for sticking by their show-biz principles with fancy outfits.

Thanks to Brian “DJ Oblivion” Taylor for donating this rare LP to me and Mitch Easter for keeping the descriptor “show-biz” alive.

Trio Nortista: The kings of polyester. (images from forroemvinil)
Trio Nortista 1976

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Abdias dos Oito Baixos - Falsa Baiana - from Revivendo Sucessos - CBS 1973

Abdias dos Oito Baixos - Falsa Baiana– from Revivendo Sucessos - CBS 1973

Click on the video above to play the song.

Grab a glass of wine and have a seat on the lounge. Abdias (José Abdias de Farias) has been name dropped a lot in my blog.  He was the husband and bandmate of successful singer Marinês, the director of A&R for northeastern Brazilian stars at CBS from the late 60s until the mid 70s and billed himself as Abdias dos Oito Baixos, meaning Abdias of the 8 Button Accordion.  Abdias connected some of the best talent of the day with the best recording studios in Brazil.  

A benefit of being the artistic director must have been the ability to record and release albums for CBS, because Abdias released 20 albums between 1966 and 1981... along with singles. Abdias released more records than any other northeastern artist at the time.  

Initially, his LPs were mainly instrumental but he gradually began to sing and added guest vocalists from the CBS stable, which made for a much more interesting listening experience. Generally, Abdias’ albums were mellow.  You’d rarely hear a frantic forró or wild coco song from Abdias until the belated, exceptional barn busting 1975 LP Botão Variado, which I will feature later this year on forró LP gringo.  Most of the time, if you wanted something nice to have on in the background while you enjoyed dinner, Abdias was your man.  So, sit back and prepare to say “terrific” a lot. It’s Abdias.
Falsa Baiana
(Geraldo Pereira) is a lovely little number that mixed soft samba and choro with the northeastern Brazilian flavor.  It reminds me of some of the more mellow tunes from Jackson do Pandeiro’s O Dono Do Forró. 

Abdias dos Oito Baixos & CBS direção artística