Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Introducing . . . Erasmo Carlos!

When talking about a musician from another country (excepting the U.K.) it is common to refer to them as the French/Japanese/Russian version of some famous anglo-american musician. Therefore, Caetano Veloso is the Brazilian Bob Dylan and Roberto Carlos is the Brazilian Elvis and so on. Using that recipe, I'm trying to think of how to describe Erasmo Carlos. He's of the same vintage as Roberto Carlos (unrelated), but his output has always been more daring, more creative and more consistently listenable, especially his golden era spanning the entire decade of the 1970s.

Erasmo was one of three pop idols that dominated the Jovem Guarda scene. Roberto was the King and Wanderlea, the queen, but where did that leave Erasmo? He didn't have the heartthrob looks of his songwriting partner Roberto, but he did have the rock credentials and when the poppy Jovem Guarda scene of the mid-to-late sixties gave way to the experimental styles of Tropicalia and roots-based MPB he was better suited than either of his pop-idols companions to whether the storm with his dignity and reputation intact. I think it was his position in the heart of the pop world, but slightly in the shadow of Roberto that allowed him the freedom to be a pioneer in Brazilian rock.

I'm not sure who I would compare Erasmo to from the available universe of Ango-American pop stars. He rocked as hard as the Stones, but had pop-chops as infectious as the Beatles. He was as Brazilian as the Kinks were British. He was as groovy as Sly Stone and with his song-writing partnership with his brother-from-another-mother, Roberto, he was as prolific and as oft-covered as Lennon & McCartney. Here it is: Erasmo Carlos is the Brazilian Erasmo Carlos.

The following song are by no means Erasmo's only songs or even his best ones. I actually didn't include some of my favorites of his as I wanted to save some goodies for later. I did try to diplay a wide ranging selection that gives you all a understanding of Erasmo's depth and breadth during his "golden era."

Download: Coqueiro Verde
His open ears took him a variety of directions beginning with his 1970 album, "Erasmo Carlos e Os Tremendoes" from 1970 where he pioneered the "Samba Rock" sound with the groundbreaking hit "Coquiero Verde". I believe it is the legendary Samba Rock group Trio Mocoto backing him up on this genre-defining tune. Anyone out there know if this is the first recording or if that honor belongs to Trio Mocoto?.

When I had the chance to interview Sergio Dias of Os Mutantes I asked him about Erasmo as I knew he had recorded with him on Erasmo's following record, "carlos, erasmo." This is what Sergio had to say:

"Erasmo is a hell of a guy. He is the rocker behind Roberto. He is the real spirit of rock and roll. He was the guy who always has been the rocker. He is a real icon. He had so many hits, and he was responsible for so many of Roberto’s hits also, because he shared the composition. And he is great. With Erasmo, what you see is what you get, which is just fantastic. A lovely guy, full of heart, like his music."

Download: Cica, Cecilia
The following song, "Cica, Cecilia" is from Erasmo's next album, "carlos, erasmo" from 1971. This along with his following album, "Sonhos e Memorias 1941-1972" are his truly great albums, both nearly flawless. This is the rockier of the two and features guests like Arthur Verocai, Sergio Dias, Lanny Gordin among others. I'm pretty sure the arrangement on this song is by Verocai.

Download: Mundo Cao
And here is the true masterpiece of Brazilian Rock, "Sonhos e Memorias 1941-1972" from 1972. This album rivals anything released anywhere else in the world during the 1970s, therefore of ALL TIME! I admit, I'm a bit biased, but for this kind of melodic pop music, Erasmo Carlos is untouchable. Get the album. You can find it here on J Thyme . . . . Kind
. Scroll down to find both classic Erasmo LPs as ripped by our dear friend Gregzinho.

Download: Dietar e Rolar
Next up we have my all-time favorite song of Erasmo's from his 1974 LP "1990 Projeto Salva Terra." The album is a step down from his previous two, but is still quite good and includes this beautiful song with some excellent jazzy chord changes and transitions: "Deitar e Rolar"

Download: Triângulo dos Biquinis
And finally we skip one album "Banda Dos Contentes" for his excellent 1978 album "Pelas Esquinas da Ipanema" with this jazzy-funk nugget: "Triângulo dos Biquinis" which I'm sure all of you can translate without any help. I just love the horn-driven outro.

I love the picture below of Erasmo and Roberto on a break from shooting a movie, chilling in Japan. If I'm not mistaken that looks like Shibuya.

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