What makes a song worthy of covering, or in other words, why are some songs covered ad infinitum while other great songs have just one version? I was thinking about this the other day when my favorite DJ, DJ Shuffles of the iPod fame, played yet another version of "Na Baixa do Sapateiro." At first I thought, 'not another version of this song!' but as I listened I realized what a great version this new one was and how it really made me appreciate the composition even more. So a simple search in my iTunes uncovered several more versions of the song. Then a trip over to Loronix revealed several more that I didn't already have. I downloaded the essential ones and now I think I'm ready to divulge no less than seven versions of the song. Actually, there is one more version I'd like to share, but I can't seem to find the record it's on, so we'll have to wait.
Rather than repeat the excellent history of the song written by Daniella Thompson, you can check it out here. Daniella has also compiled an exhaustive list of versions of the song, as either "Na Baixa do Sapateiro" or "Baia"/"Bahia".
And for an insight into the life and times of composer, Ary Barroso, please read on from Daniella's site. Barroso was a giant of Brazilian song up there with Dorival Caymmi and Antonio Carlos Jobim in the Brazilian pantheon of composers.
Now for the versions of this song, starting off with what I believe to be the first recorded version from none other than Carmen Miranda:
Carmen Miranda - Na Baixa do Sapateiro
Now we're gonna mix it up with a funky version by Wando from 1975.
Wando - Na Baixa do Sapateiro
Here we have a soul-jazz version from by Jorge Autuori Trio from 1969:
Jorge Autuori Trio - Na Baixa do Sapateiro
And one of my alltime favorite versions from the Pope of Bossa Nova, Joao Gilberto, from 1973:
Joao Gilberto - Na Baixa do Sapateiro
Evinha, a pop-soul singer, takes a stab at the song from her 1974 album:
Evinha - Na Baixa do Sapateiro
Now the song gets a samba-space-funk treatment from Meireles' 1974 album:
Meireles e Sua Orquestra - Na Baixa do Sapateiro
And here is another early version from 1953 with some great reverb/echo on the beat:
Trio Surdina & Leo Peracchi - Na Baixa do Sapateiro
And finally, we have Banda Black Rio's brazilian-jazz-funk take on the classic:
Banda Black Rio - Na Baixa do Sapateiro