domingo, 22 de janeiro de 2017

Remembering a great, great song

OTIS REDDING: "Complete and Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul" (Special edition in mono and stereo, with bonus)

Original released on LP Volt 415 (mono)
(US 1966, October 15)

Recorded and released in 1966, Otis Redding's fifth album, "Complete and Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul" found the rugged-voiced deep soul singer continuing to expand the boundaries of his style while staying true to his rough and passionate signature sound. Redding's ambitious interpretations of "Tennessee Waltz" and especially "Try a Little Tenderness" found him approaching material well outside the traditional boundaries of R&B and allowing his emotionally charged musical personality to take them to new and unexpected places, and while his cover of "Day Tripper" wasn't his first attempt to confront the British Invasion, his invigorating and idiosyncratic take on the Beatles' cynical pop tune proved Redding's view of the pop music universe was broader than anyone might have expected at the time. 
While Redding's experiments with covers on this set were successful and satisfying, it was on his own material that he sounded most at home, and "My Lover's Prayer" and "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)" are deep Southern soul at its finest, with Redding's forceful but lovelorn voice delivering an Academy Award-worthy performance. And once again, the Stax house band (centered around Booker T. & the MG's and the Memphis Horns) prove themselves both thoroughly distinctive and remarkably adaptable, fitting into the nooks and crannies of Redding's voice with their supple but muscular performances. With the exception of his duet album with Carla Thomas, "Complete and Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul" was the last studio album Redding would fully complete before his death, and it proves his desire for a broader musical statement didn't begin when he encountered "the love crowd" at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. (Mark Deming in AllMusic)

segunda-feira, 16 de janeiro de 2017

domingo, 15 de janeiro de 2017

THE SHADOWS: "Rhythm & Greens" (EP)


Original released on EP Columbia SEG 8362 (mono)
(UK, November 1964)

The Shadows play these tracks on a short film (32 minutes) directed by Christopher Miles, released September 1964: a pop group of musicians are getting to know four attractive girls on a sunny beach to the sound of their transistor, when the programme changes to a history of the English beaches. The Shadows and the girls enact the drama of mankind down to the present day and into the future, when over- crowding pushes them back into the primeval sea. The EP climbed to nº 8 (two weeks) in the UK charts (a total of 14 weeks)

DD,D,B,M&T - An Indigestion of Music and Love

Original released on LP Fontana STL 5388
(UK, November 1966)

Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich followed up their self-titled debut LP with the tongue-in-cheek "If Music Be the Food of Love... Prepare for Indigestion". The quintet of Dave "Dee" Harman (guitar/vocals), Trevor "Dozy" Davies (bass), John "Beaky" Diamond (rhythm guitar), Michael "Mick" Wilson (drums), and Ian "Tich" Amey (lead guitar) return with another batch of strong Brit-pop compositions, including a pair of their most prolific sides, "Bend It" and "Hideaway." While all but unknown stateside, the combo became hugely popular throughout Europe - which may well account for the distinctly conspicuous Mediterranean flavor on the former. Their left-of-center sense of humor surfaces on the Noel Coward-esque potty platter "Loos of England." Matching their obvious wit was an equally sharp musicality, effortlessly transcending concurrent pop music styles. Their range at once incorporated the full-throttled backbeat of "Bang" and the decidedly hip "Hideaway" and "Hands Off!". "Shame" is an edgier tune, with a mod progressive slant that would not be out of place from the likes of the Yardbirds. This is contrasted by the emotive "All I Want" or the cover of Robert "Bumps" Blackwell's "Hair on My Chinny-Chin-Chin," which is perhaps best known via the Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs version. While the prospect might sound odd, it seems no more out of place than the Who's reading of "Heat Wave," for instance. Interested parties should note that this 2003 reissue of "If Music Be the Food of Love..." contains 14 supplementary mono and stereo bonus track mixes, including "Touch Me, Touch Me," "Zabadak," the proto-punk "He's a Raver," and others. (Lindsay Planer in AllMusic)

sábado, 14 de janeiro de 2017

CLIFF RICHARD: "(No. 2)" (EP)


Original released on EP Columbia SEG 8168
(UK, June 1962)


This EP entered the UK charts (one week at nº 20) for the first time in June 23, 1962. The original versions were in mono, but in the file you can also find the stereo versions, as appeared in the album "21 Today" (1961)

MANFRED MANN: "So Long, Dad" (EP)



Original released on EP Fontana 465 400 TE
(PORTUGAL, 1967)


MANN'S INSTRUMENTALS

Original released on LP HMV Records CSD 3594 (mono)
(UK 1967, January 13)

Amidst their pop/rock, blues, and folk-rock, Manfred Mann peppered their early recordings with jazzy instrumentals that faintly suggested a jazz-rock direction. "Soul of Mann", never issued in the U.S., is a compilation of most of these early instrumental efforts, which originally appeared on various singles, EPs, and LPs between 1963 and 1966 (though one song, "L.S.D.," and is actually a blues-rocker with a Paul Jones vocal). Instrumentals were not the band's forte, but this collection is more interesting than you might think. No one would put Manfred Mann on the level of a jazz artist like Oscar Peterson, but these cuts are executed with a surprising amount of style and wit. And Mann and his men were nothing if not eclectic, producing downright strange instrumental takes on "Satisfaction," "I Got You Babe," and "My Generation." There are straighter (but still imaginative) versions of songs by the Yardbirds and Cannonball Adderley, as well as their own originals (the bluesy stomper "Mr. Anello" is a standout). Manfred Mann fans will find this worth picking up, especially given that several of the tracks never came out in the U.S., such as the aforementioned "Mr. Anello," and all of the pop covers they did for the 1966 EP Instrumental Asylum. (Richie Unterberger in AllMusic)

sexta-feira, 13 de janeiro de 2017

RUMER'S IN LOVE (WITH YOU)

Original released on CD EastWest 0825646482313
(2016, October 21)

After trying her hand at writing her own vintage-inspired material with 2014's "Into Colour", singer Rumer returns to her core inspiration of covering classic '60s and '70s pop with 2016's sophisticated "This Girl's in Love (A Bacharach & David Songbook)". Produced by her husband and longtime collaborator Rob Shirakbari at Capitol Studios, "This Girl's in Love" finds Rumer applying her supple vocals and soft-focus aesthetic to songs written by the legendary team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. While Rumer has most certainly sung many of these songs in live settings, it's surprising, given her association with the time period, that she's never actually recorded any of this material in the past. Here, we get renditions of such beloved songs as Dusty Springfield's "The Look of Love," the Carpenters' "(They Long to Be) Close to You," and Dionne Warwick's "Walk on By." We also get to hear a sweetly gruff-voiced Bacharach sing the intro to the album's title track, a rewording of the Herb Alpert hit "This Guy's in Love with You." Thankfully, Rumer and Shirakbari don't simply stick to the best-of hits and additionally pepper the album with some well-curated, lesser heard choices like the poetic "Balance of Nature," the heartbreaking "Are You There (With Another Girl)," and the harmonically nuanced "The Last One to Be Loved."


As with past Rumer albums, these are gorgeously rendered productions featuring orchestral-tinged arrangements from Shirakbari that capture the golden era of soft pop without falling into garish pastiche. While the album is technically one of Rumer's most faithfully old-school, it still sounds fresh, and the analog production aesthetic only works to magnify the purity, lyricism, and expressiveness of her voice. If Rumer has consistently drawn favorable comparisons to the late Karen Carpenter in the past, "This Girl's in Love (A Bacharach & David Songbook)" will do nothing to diminish them. Ultimately, it serves to reinforce the idea that Rumer stands as one of the brightest torchbearers for the easy listening AM pop that Carpenter, and more specifically, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, helped make such an indelible part of 21st century pop history. (Matt Collar in AllMusic)

GILBER BÉCAUD: "Dimanche à Orly"


Original released on EP La Voix de Son Maitre EGF633
(FRANCE, 1963)


Dedicado ao Hugo Santos, de quem se transcreve
o excelente texto seguinte:

Os aviões estavam guardados para os domingos de Verão, quando o futebol estava no chamado defeso e não havia jogos. A vida do meu avô, a minha também, regulava-se por haver, ou não, jogos no Estádio da Luz. Na Praça do Chile (Lisboa), apanhávamos aqueles autocarros verdes, de dois andares, para a Portela e ali ficávamos a ver os aviões. O aeroporto não era o que hoje é e, mais uns anos, pelo andar da carruagem, nada será, e o movimento de aviões era diminuto. No edifício havia uma esplanada, com grandes chapéus-de-sol, que se via cá de baixo, do gradeamento que limitava a pista. Adivinhavam-se mulheres com vestidos vaporosos às ramagens, homens de fato e gravata, a beberem o seu chá, o seu café, a sua limonada ou o seu “whisky”, pensa ele.

Cá em baixo, famílias em grupo passeavam-se à espera de ver os aviões subir ao céu ou dele descer e havia mulheres a vender, em cestos de palha trançada, com uma asa ao meio, em cartuchinhos de papel, tremoços, amendoins, também colares de pinhões, alfarroba, paladares. Por tudo isto – e não só – haveria um dia de passar a gostar, terna e nostalgicamente, de uma canção do Gilbert Bécaud: “Dimanche à Orly”. Ainda hoje, quando a ouve, é do avô e dos domingos da Portela que se lembra, e, não raro, uma lágrima atrevida, furtiva lágrima, intenta brotar. Pelos idos de 1969 viu um anúncio de jornal a pedir pilotos para a TAP. O anúncio dizia: “Há homens que não suportam estar colados ao chão, esses serão os nossos pilotos. Oferecemos-lhe dezenas de céus. E dezenas de terras. Oferecemos-lhe um viver cheio de à-vontade dentro da responsabilidade. Sem e com experiência de voo venha para piloto da TAP".

Aquele chamamento de quem não suporta estar colado ao chão, sem e com experiência, fez-lhe desejar ir para piloto da TAP. Os olhos azuis tinha, as habilitações académicas exigidas é que não. Passados anos conheceu quem tivesse ido para piloto da TAP por causa da feliz frase de “marketing” daquele anúncio. Era, então, a TAP um exemplo de companhia aérea. Hoje é a javardice que se sabe. Lembra-se também de uma velha canção de Milton Nascimento de saudação à Panair do Brasil, assim como se lembra de, na Portela, ver esses aviões da Panair. Agora chama-se Varig.

E aquela briga e aquela fome de bola
E aquele tango e aquela dama da noite
E aquela mancha e a fala oculta
Que no fundo do quintal morreu
Morri a cada dia dos dias que eu vivi
Cerveja que tomo hoje é apenas em memória
Dos tempos da Panair
A primeira Coca- Cola foi me lembro bem agora
Nas asas da Panair
A maior das maravilhas foi voando sobre o mundo
Nas asas da Panair


Não foi para piloto da TAP, mas mais tarde haveria de trabalhar numa agência de navegação e foram tempos felizes: barcos, escadas de portaló, marinheiros, gruas, cabos grossos esticados até aos cabeços da muralha, azáfama de estivadores, gruas, aquela dança serena do barco com as águas e, sempre, aquele ruído de motor que mantém o barco vivo e se transforma num qualquer apelo. Agora teve um problema: andou às voltas e às voltas à procura do EP do Gilbert Bécaud, a cantar “Dimanche a Orly”, e não encontrou. A memória traz-lhe a brisa longínqua que, provavelmente, um dos seus primeiros amores terá ficado com o disco. Fez bem. Nunca teve grande simpatia pela propriedade privada.


A l'escalier 6, bloc 21,
J'habite un très chouette appartement
Que mon père, si tout marche bien,
Aura payé en moins de vingt ans.
On a le confort au maximum,
Un ascenseur et un' sall' de bain.
On a la télé, le téléphone
Et la vue sur Paris, au lointain.
Le dimanche, ma mère fait du rangement
Pendant que mon père, à la télé,
Regarde les sports religieusement
Et moi j'en profit' pour m'en aller.

Je m'en vais l' dimanche à Orly.
Sur l'aéroport, on voit s'envoler
Des avions pour tous les pays.
Pour l'après-midi... J'ai de quoi rêver.
Je me sens des fourmis dans les idées
Quand je rentre chez moi la nuit tombée.

A sept heures vingt-cinq, tous les matins,
Nicole et moi, on prend le métro.
Comme on dort encore, on n'se dit rien
Et chacun s'en va vers ses travaux.
Quand le soir je retrouve mon lit,
J'entends les Bœings chanter là-haut.

Je les aime, mes oiseaux de nuit,
Et j'irai les retrouver bientôt.
Oui j'irai dimanche à Orly.
Sur l'aéroport, on voit s'envoler
Des avions pour tous les pays.
Pour toute une vie... Y a de quoi rêver.
Un jour, de là-haut, le bloc vingt et un
Ne sera qu'un tout petit point.

THE TEDDY BEARS SING!



Original released on LP Imperial 9067 (mono)
(US, January 1959)


The first experience Phil Spector had with recording an LP was, apparently, so disruptive that for many years he intended it to be his last. With the Teddy Bears having been lured over to the Imperial label by promises of artistic freedom, Spector was then mortified to learn that he'd been granted no more than a week in which to record the band's debut album. He managed to have that span increased to two weeks, but ultimately, he was peremptorily pulled off the project, only to see it handed over to staff producer Jimmie Haskell. The clash of the two titans is not to the album's benefit, although Spector was scarcely excelling himself even before he was deposed. Contractual clashes had already forced the omission of the Teddy Bears' biggest hit, "To Know Him Is To Love Him," and, frankly, few of the songs that replaced it didn't even come close to its heartbreaking majesty. Rather, "The Teddy Bears Sing" is dominated by none-too-special ballads, both Spector originals and covers. "Oh Why" and "If You Only Knew" have a certain warm charm, but Annette Kleinbard's vocals never touch the heights that the single suggested were within her reach, while versions of "Unchained Melody," "Little Things Mean A Lot," and "Tammy," are lacking even a vague sense of occasion.The end result, its maker's subsequent reputation notwithstanding, is very much a child of its time — an album cut to capitalize on a major hit single, and so loaded down with filler that the single's really all you need. Absent the single from that brew, and "The Teddy Bears Sing" isn't even that alluring. (Dave Thompson in AllMusic)

quinta-feira, 12 de janeiro de 2017

MOUSTAKI: LES DEUX PREMIERS LPs


LE MÉTÈQUE
Original released on LP Polydor 184851
(FRANCE, 1969)


Vinha do tempo em que os animais falavam, se quisermos perceber a doçura que há nesta expressão e na ideia quando olhamos a música popular. Significa que era um dos pilares, um dos últimos guardiões de uma época em que as palavras em francês ainda tinham – passe a redundância – uma palavra a dizer na definição das regras da canção antes da hegemonia esmagadora do império anglo-americano. Mais: o homem era um dos exemplos da disponibilidade gaulesa para aceitar gente de fora entre os seus maiores. Basta lembrar que Henri Salvador veio da Guiana, Jacques Brel e Adamo eram belgas, Serge Reggiani e Yves Montand nasceram em Itália, Charles Aznavour pertence a uma família da Arménia, Dalida nasceu no Egipto. Tal e qual como o homem que aqui nos traz, filho de gregos judeus [de língua italiana], mais um dos talentos descobertos por Edith Piaf, admirador incondicional de Georges Brassens ao ponto de lhe ter pedido emprestado para sempre o nome próprio, a que juntou depois uma adaptação do apelido. Símbolo do Maio de 68, vagabundo incorrigível das canções: é de Georges Moustaki [de seu verdadeiro nome Giuseppe Mustacchi] que aqui se fala, ao mesmo tempo que nos lembramos de "Le Métèque" ou de "Ma Liberté", de "Milord" ou de "Il Faudra Mourir un Jour"E voltamos a concluir que este parceiro de barba e cabelos soltos, tantas vezes fotografado com a viola que o seguia para toda a parte, personificou o lado bom da globalização ao assumir sem preconceitos, e com todas as vantagens para quem o ouvia, a sua miscigenação cultural.


IL Y AVAIT UN JARDIN
Original released on LP Polydor 2393.019
(FRANCE, 1971)


Gravou em, pelo menos, meia-dúzia de idiomas – francês, italiano, castelhano, português, grego e árabe – e teve oportunidade de completar os cinquenta anos de carreira, até que uma insuficiência respiratória ditou o irreversível e amargo adeus aos palcos e aos estúdios. Antes de oferecer "Milord", um clássico, a Edith Piaf [1958], já tinha mergulhado nas causas e nas boémias parisienses, tendo chegado à cidade em 1951. Tinha dezassete anos. Acabaria por ser cantado por muitos dos grandes: de Salvador a Herbert Pagani, sem esquecer Barbara, Montand, Reggiani, Françoise Hardy ou a eterna Juliette Gréco, a mesma que sobre a sua morte deixou justas sentenças: «Georges possuía uma doçura infinita e imenso talento. Era, como todos os poetas, alguém diferente, porque acaba sempre por ser essa diferença que conduz ao talento». Colaborou com alguns dos seus músicos de eleição, de Astor Piazzolla a António Carlos Jobim. Deixa cerca de trezentas canções como bandeiras de um património em que a simplicidade sempre andou de braço dado com a convicção, tendo igualmente assinado adaptações memoráveis como, por exemplo, a do "Fado Tropical", de Chico Buarque, a que chamou simplesmente "Portugal". Usou-a para festejar a Revolução Portuguesa. Despediu-se de nós na última digressão em 2008, quando lançou o espantoso disco "Vagabond". Com ele, morto aos 79 anos, desaparece provavelmente o último de um grupo, mais do que de uma geração, de geniais autores, daqueles que usamos como faróis de nevoeiro nos dias cinzentos como os de agora. Dele disse Leo Ferré: «Georges sussurra onde eu grito, mas é a mesma coisaFerré sabia o que dizia: depois de "Avec le Temps" não há canção maior sobre a erosão e o desgaste do amor do que 'La femme qui est dans mon lit / N'a plus vingt ans depuis longtemps' [canção "Sarah"]. É de Georges Moustaki, um daqueles que parte mas fica para sempre. (João Gobern, 2013).
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