domingo, 19 de fevereiro de 2017

BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD: THE 2ND ALBUM

Original released on LP ATCO SD 33-226
(US 1967, October 30)

Due in part to personnel problems which saw Bruce Palmer and Neil Young in and out of the group, Buffalo Springfield's second album did not have as unified an approach as their debut. Yet it doesn't suffer for that in the least - indeed, the group continued to make major strides in both their songwriting and arranging, and this record stands as their greatest triumph. Stephen Stills' "Bluebird" and "Rock & Roll Woman" were masterful folk-rockers that should have been big hits (although they did manage to become small ones); his lesser-known contributions "Hung Upside Down" and the jazz-flavored "Everydays" were also first-rate. Young contributed the Rolling Stones-derived "Mr. Soul," as well as the brilliant "Expecting to Fly" and "Broken Arrow," both of which employed lush psychedelic textures and brooding, surrealistic lyrics that stretched rock conventions to their breaking point. Richie Furay (who had not written any of the songs on the debut) takes tentative songwriting steps with three compositions, although only "A Child's Claim to Fame," with its memorable dobro hooks by James Burton, meets the standards of the material by Stills and Young; the cut also anticipates the country-rock direction of Furay's post-Springfield band, Poco. Although a slightly uneven record that did not feature the entire band on several cuts, the high points were so high and plentiful that its classic status cannot be denied. (Richie Unterberger in AllMusic)

sábado, 18 de fevereiro de 2017

"One From The Heart" - OST (Special Edition)

Original released on LP CBS 70215
(Europe, February 1982)


This is a special edition of the soundtrack from Francis Coppola's mythical movie. I've always adored "One From the Heart" and that's the reason I've extended in July 1999 the original album into this one, adding dialogues from the movie and also 2 bonus tracks by Tom Waits. So, if you are a fan of the movie you must profit this occasion to get something unique, which you won't find anywhere else.

"One From the Heart" is the score to the most misunderstood of Francis Ford Coppola's films. Far ahead of its time in terms of technology, use of color, montage, and set design, its soundtrack is the only thing that grounds it to earth. Coppola's movie is a metaphorical retelling of the exploits of Zeus and Hera set in Las Vegas. Coppola claims to have been taken with the male-female narrative implications of the track "I Don't Talk to Strangers," off Tom Waits' "Foreign Affairs" album. That cut was a duet with Bette Midler. Midler wasn't available for "One From the Heart", however, so Waits chose Crystal Gayle as his vocal foil. The result is one of the most beautifully wrought soundtrack collaborations in history. Along with producer Bones Howe, Waits and Gayle cut their duets largely from the studio floor, live with the small combo-style studio band that included the saxophonist Teddy Edwards, drummer Shelly Manne, trumpeter Jack Sheldon, pianist Pete Jolly, and bassist Greg Cohen, among others. 


The opening cut, a Waits piano intro that flows into the duet "Once Upon a Town," is a study in contrasts: first there are the stark ivories and the tinkle of a coin falling upon a bar before Waits' then-still-smoky baritone (now ravaged indescribably) entwines with Gayle's clear, ringing, emotionally rich vocal, and then joined by Bob Alcivar's string orchestrations before giving way to a jazzed-out down-tempo blues, where the pair sing in call-and-response counterpoint about the disappointments in life and love.


These are echoed a couple of tracks later in another duet, "Picking Up After You," which is the ultimate starstruck breakup tune. And while there are only four duets on the entire set, they are startling in their ragged intimacy, contrasted with a stark yet elegant atmosphere and cool noir-esque irony. Gayle's solo performances on the set, which include the mournfully gorgeous "Is There Any Way out of This Dream," with beautiful accompaniment in a tenor solo by Edwards, and the shimmering melancholy of "Old Boyfriends," are among the finest in her long career. 


For his part, Waits' "I Beg Your Pardon" and "You Can't Unring a Bell" fit deftly into his post-beat hipster canon, though they are offered with less droll irony and more emotionally honest flair here than they would have if they were on his own solo recordings. Likewise, the piano and vocal duet of "Take Me Home" offers Waits' piano as a canny and intuitive counterpart to the deep sensuality of Gayle's vocal. "One From the Heart" is a welcome addition to any soundtrack library to be sure, but also an essential one to the shelf of any Waits or Gayle fan. (Thom Jurek in AllMusic)




sábado, 11 de fevereiro de 2017

50 ÊXITOS DOS ÚLTIMOS ANOS DO LICEU

Quando a agremiação ZECAJOJO anunciou a sua missão de reunir o maior número possível de colegas do 6º e 7º anos do Liceu Salazar de Lourenço Marques em futuras confraternizações gastronómicas, Rato Records, a famosa editora independente do espaço digital, resolveu dar um pequeno contributo à nobre causa daquela agremiação. Tal contributo é agora divulgado e posto à disposição dos internautas: um duplo CD, com 25 temas cada um, intitulado "50 Êxitos dos Últimos Anos do Liceu". Tratou-se de reunir, por ordem cronológica, de Setembro de 1968 a Agosto de 1969 (6º ano) e de Setembro de 1969 a Agosto de 1970 (7º ano), alguns dos temas mais populares daqueles tempos.


Não é um Best Of nem sequer uma listagem de favoritos pessoais. Antes um conjunto de canções que naqueles dois anos lectivos andavam, sem qualquer dúvida, nos ouvidos de todos nós e aí se mantiveram até aos dias de hoje. No próximo Verão serão passados 47 anos que virámos uma página muito importante do nosso livro pessoal. Tínhamos todos 17 anos, e, sem disso nos apercebermos, acabávamos de viver alguns dos melhores anos das nossas vidas. Esta coletânea irá por certo trazer recordações a muita gente, e é dedicada à geração moçambicana de 1953.

sexta-feira, 10 de fevereiro de 2017

"It's been a long time comin'..."


Original released as LP Atlantic 
SD8229 (US); 588189 (UK)
1969, May 29


CREDITS:
David Crosby - rhythm guitar, vocals
Graham Nash - vocals
Stephen Stills - lead guitar, organ, bass, vocals
Dallas Taylor - drums
Bill Halverson - engineer
Gary Burden - art direction/design
Henry Diltz - cover photo
David Geffen - direction
Ahmet Ertegun - spiritual guidance
Produced by Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Graham Nash
Recorded at Wally Heider's Studio III, Los Angeles


Through the 1960s, power in the music industry gradually moved from managers, promoters, producers, and songwriters, to the performers themselves. Many followed The Beatles’ example and wrote their own material, and by 1968 a small number of musicians were venerated as rock equivalents of the virtuosos of classical music. If one rock superstar made a band great, the logic ran, surely four superstars would make a group four times greater. Stephen Stills had an early taste of the supergroup when he played on “Super Session”, a project arranged by keyboard player Al Kooper, where Stills shared guitar duties with Mike Bloomfield of The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. In 1969, David Crosby (ex-Byrds) and Graham Nash (ex-Hollies) sang together with Stills at a party in Los Angeles. Genuinely surprised by how well their voices blended, they got together and recorded this album, which made the US Top 30 and UK Top Ten.


As well as the hit single “Marrakesh Express”, the album includes the multisectioned “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”, written for Judy Collins, and Crosby’s “Long Time Gone”, inspired by the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and used by Michael Wadleigh as one of the tracks which introduced his Woodstock movie. “Lady of The Island” was about Joni Mitchell, and “Guinevere” was written for Crosby’s girlfriend Christine. The album’s textured production perfectly suits the simmering vocal harmonies, and is to this day one of the more convincing arguments for old-fashioned vinyl and the analog mixing desk. It would all go downhill from here, unfortunately. Despite their often-inspired work with Neil Young in the following decade, they would never quite shake off the “disillusioned hippies with too much money and drug problems” aura. But this first, excellent three-quarters of an hour of wistful exuberance remains a landmark. (Joel McIver in “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die”)


quarta-feira, 8 de fevereiro de 2017

The First 2 Albums From The SHADOWS

Original released on LP Columbia (EMI) 
33SX 1374 (mono) / SCX 3414 (stereo)
(UK, September 1961)

Having already scored three major U.K. smashes, the Shadows confirmed their independence from singer Cliff Richard with an eponymous album which rates among the most accomplished British LPs of the pre-Beatles era, and one of the most influential rock instrumental sets ever. An entire generation of would-be guitar heroes learned their licks from Hank Marvin and the Shadows, an accolade which a star-studded, mid-1990s tribute album certainly affirms. But the bespectacled guitarist was not the band's sole star. Drummer Tony Meehan's "See You in My Drums," like bassist Jet Harris' "Jet Black" single of two years previous, is a gripping showcase for his own remarkable talents, while "Baby My Heart" unveils vocal talents which, again, the group's earliest singles alone had illustrated. Modern listeners, schooled in the axeman excesses of more recent years, will doubtlessly find the Shadows impossibly well-mannered and implausibly sedentary. Low-key instrumentals like "Blue Star," "Sleepwalk," and "Nivram" (the inspiration behind Peter Frampton's "Theme From Nivram") scarcely begin to speak of the frenetic abuses which the likes of Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton would one day wring from their instruments. What they did do, however, was illustrate the untapped possibilities of the guitar, a lesson which Marvin might have taken his time in teaching, but which was vivid all the same. (Dave Thompson in AllMusic)

Original released on LP Columbia (EMI)
33SX 1458 (mono) / SCX 3449 (stereo)
(UK, October 1962)

The Shadows' second album is one of the group's better efforts, though not a very hard-rocking one. By this time, the Shadows were moving in a direction similar to that of Cliff Richard, aiming for a wider, more mature audience that was attuned to more than rock & roll. Much of what's here, including "Perfidia," "Spring Is Nearly Here," and "Some Are Lonely," could pass for adult pop music more easily than rock & roll, though there is some of that, what with numbers like "The Rumble," "Tails of a Raggy Tramline" (a "Telstar"-like instrumental), the Hank Marvin-Bruce Welch "Kinda Cool," and Brian Bennett's "Little 'B'" (a great drum showcase that doesn't wear out its welcome at all). That material is augmented by the presence of several country & western-style (!) numbers, by way of the Kennedy-Carr songwriting team ("The Bandit," "South of the Border") and the group's own composition efforts, most notably "1861," which would have been a great theme for a Western television series of the era - the latter showcases lead guitarist Marvin's precise and elegant picking. This repertory seems to have been the group's and producer Norrie Paramor's attempt to tap into the folk music boom of the period, and "The Bandit" is a moment of genius, with the group harmonizing almost like the Kingston Trio. Regardless of the idiom in which they're working, the playing is lean, tight, and melodic, displaying the same qualities that the group brought to Cliff Richard's recordings during the first half-decade of his career. Marvin and Welch play their guitars like they're the same person, and Bennett proves himself perhaps the best full-time band drummer in England at the time, providing tasteful fills and little percussion embellishments that were beyond the ability of most rock & roll drummers at the time, and outdoing himself on "Little 'B'." The one grotesquely weak moment here is the cover of "Bo Diddley" - the band should have known better than to attempt it, and Paramor, if he understood rock & roll at all, should have declined to release it, instead giving the world what has to be the wimpiest version one is ever likely to hear. There are, indeed, a few too many soft instrumental numbers breaking up the rock & roll that does work, but the album holds up. (Bruce Eder in AllMusic)


terça-feira, 7 de fevereiro de 2017

SÉRGIO GODINHO: "De Pequenino..."

Edição original em LP Sassetti DP 064
(PORTUGAL 1976, Abril 14)

Este quarto album de Sérgio Godinho solidificava, em 1976, a sua presença nos cenários da música popular portuguesa. Disco de transição e procura, “De Pequenino Se Torce O Destino” completa com “À Queima Roupa” o que poderíamos hoje, à distância, recordar como o “díptico” político na sua discografia. Mas retoma já o prazer das liberdades poéticas e indica experiências que se materializariam no album seguinte, dois anos depois. A participação de Fausto nos arranjos e direcção musical confere a este disco um notável esforço de aperfeiçoamento: «Trocávamos então experiências musicais e achei que era boa ideia partilharmos a responsabilidade dos arranjos que, de qualquer maneira, não são muito sofisticados. São arranjos onde geralmente a guitarra tem uma presença central.» Além de Fausto, que assina inclusivé a música de “O Namoro” sobre um poema do poeta angolano Viriato da Cruz (único tema que em todo o disco não é da autoria de Sérgio Godinho), há músicos cujos nomes surgem pela primeira vez associados à obra do Sérgio. É o caso de Carlos Zíngaro, que terá uma presença muito mais determinante no album posterior, "Pano-Cru". No album estão ainda incluídas duas das canções compostas por Sérgio Godinho para o filme “Os Demónios de Alcácer Quibir” de José Fonseca e Costa, onde também participou como actor: a canção-título e “Cantiga do Camolas”.


Como revés do recente 25 de Novembro de 1975 (as gravações realizaram-se logo no início de 1976), o disco conheceu um processo de boicote nas rádios: «Houve um efectivo controlo das rádios por gente mais conotada com a direita. Havia uma pressão muito grande no sentido de não se passar um determinado número de coisas. As canções deste disco passaram muito pouco na rádio na altura. Até porque houve uma espécie de autocensura, aliás pouco assumida, da parte de muita gente que então fazia rádio. Era quase como se concluísse: eles passaram tanto nos últimos dois anos, que a gente agora vai deixar o éter respirar. Como se alguém estivesse em perigo de “intoxicação”...» (extractos de “Retrovisor – Uma biografia musical de Sérgio Godinho, de Nuno Galopim, edição Assírio & Alvim, Maio 2006)

domingo, 5 de fevereiro de 2017

CARLOS DO CARMO & BERNARDO SASSETTI

Edição original em CD Mercury Universal Music
(PORTUGAL, 2010)

Este é um álbum sem segredos, pelo menos no que respeita à voz [que surge pura, sem trapézios, com um processamento quase nulo] de Carlos Do Carmo. Mas que comportava um desafio, pois enfrentava o perigo de alguma monotonia. E se esse desafio é superado com distinção e classe, deve-se à prestação soberba e pujante de Bernardo Sassetti: o pianista nunca se coloca acima da voz, sabe dar-lhe espaço e respiração dinâmica e depois nos momentos em que assume maior força harmónica é brilhante, exemplar. Depois ambos os músicos dão-se ao vizinho acolhendo-o em troca. Sassetti acolhe um sentido popular, sem deixar de ser exuberante e Carlos Do Carmo recebe do pianista uma nova aventura, que abraça como um jovem, mantendo toda a sua sofisticação. É um diálogo, que chega a ser comovente, de admiração mútua este disco, e também de admiração aos grandes autores da música portuguesa – essas versões parecem-me mais apaixonadas, as de Jacques Brel, “Quand On N’a Que L’Amour”, Léo Ferré, “Avec Le Temps”, e Violeta Parra, “Gracias La Vida”, são emotivamente mais distantes, mas talvez isso seja uma resposta também de amante da música portuguesa. Um trabalho que evoca um renascimento da música portuguesa num sentido erudito, mantendo a sensibilidade mais importante de todas: a proximidade com o público. (in ArteSonora)

The ELVIS PRESLEY Movie Collection - 1

Original released on LP RCA Victor LPM 1515
(US 1957, July 1)


sábado, 4 de fevereiro de 2017

One More Cohen

 Original released on CD Columbia 88875014292
(US 2014, September 22)

Leonard Cohen's "Popular Problems" is an uncharacteristically quick follow-up to 2012's "Old Ideas". That record, cut in the aftermath of a multi-year tour, revitalized him as a recording artist. Producer Patrick Leonard (Madonna, Bryan Ferry) serves as co-writer on all but one tune on "Popular Problems". While Cohen's sound has revolved around keyboards since 1988's "I'm Your Man", Leonard gets that the real power in the songwriter's lyrics are best relayed through his own own simple melodies. Everything here - keys, female backing chorus, acoustic instrumentation, etc. - is in their service. As always, Cohen's songs - delivered in his deepest earth rasp - offer protagonists who are ambivalent spiritual seekers, lusty, commitment-phobic lovers, and jaded, untrusting / untrustworthy world citizens. He is them, they are him: strangers hiding in plain sight. Opener "Slow" is paced by a blues vamp from an electric piano and kick drum. "...You want to get there soon  / I want to get there last..." is delivered in a streetwise croak. It's a fine career metaphor, but the hilarious double entendre is self evident, too: "...All your turns are tight / Let me catch my breath / I thought we had all night." "Almost Like the Blues" employs a 12-bar variant exoticized by hand percussion. Cohen juxtaposes visions of global horror with worry over bad reviews; he's culpable because of his vanity. Gospel provides illustration on some of the better songs - there are no weak ones. It's used with razored effect on "Samson in New Orleans" to address the devastation - physical, emotional, spiritual - left by Hurricane Katrina.


Cohen really attempts to sing "Did I Ever Love You." Though it comes out a measured growl, its impact is searing. It shifts from gospel to country jaunt only to circle back, underscoring the bitter, vulnerable truth in the lyric. He observes: "The lemon trees blossom / The almond trees wither," before asking: "Was I ever someone / Who could love you forever?"; he knows the answer. The keyboards and tablas in "Nevermind," a narrative of treachery and global hypocrisy, create skeletal, tense funk. They're appended by Donna De Lory's Arabic chant for peace and safety in contrast to the lyric's scathing accusations. Gospel returns on "Born in Chains," a gentle but gripping first-person account of spiritual seeking with references to Judaism, Christianity, and Cohen's adopted Zen: "...I've heard the soul unfolds / In the chambers of its longing... But all the Ladders of the Night have fallen / Only darkness now / To lift the longing up." On set closer "You Got Me Singing," Cohen, accompanied only by acoustic guitar and violin, lays out hope: "You got me singing even though the world is gone / You got me thinking I'd like to carry on." It's an open-ended, affirmative sendoff. "Popular Problems" reveals that at 80, Cohen not only has plenty left in the tank, but is at his most confident and committed. This is his finest recording since 1995's "The Future". (Thom Jurek in AllMusic)

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