Thursday, August 21, 2008

All the way to California...

Well, we're taking a road trip to unwind a bit, we've got the Ambassador with us here in Portland and he needs to get back to San Francisco but we're going to make a few stops along the way. We'll be back, in force, in September. Until then here is the song that has been stuck in my head all month:

Keith Hudson - California Epic jam. You can be sure we'll be listening to this one while hurtling though the night. Off his amazing "Playing it Cool," which I honestly might trade my whole reggae collection for, if I didn't already own it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Marcos Valle: Outras Vozes

I've been meaning to do a Marcos Valle post for quite some time as he is still my reigning favorite Brazilian artist (sorry Tim, close second.) Allen has already blogged about some of his excellent later work here. Marcos and his brother lyricist Paulo Sergio worked with a laundry list of influential musicians in Brazil: Azymuth, Som Imaginario, O Terco, Deodato, basically just about everyone in this fertile scene. They worked a lot! Its well known that the Valle brothers also did a number of film and television sound tracks as well including of course the Brazilian Sesame Street, Vila Sesamo. They also did a few soap operas including this one here:

Marcos Valle - Os Ossos do Barao
Betinho - Chega de Enganar a Nega
I got this album off of Ebay for a great price. It was one of those deals where I happened to do a "Marcos Valle" search about ten minutes after someone clueless in Minnesota posted it as a buy it now. Lucky. Of course I impulse bought it unheard and though it certainly could have been funkier, I've enjoyed it quite a bit. This first song is Marco's only vocal contribution to the album but he and Paulo Sergio wrote all of it. As for the second track, I really don't know much at all about Betihno except he seemed to confine himself mostly to soundtrack material. A good score in any case.

Emilio Santiago - La Mulata
A groover from one of Brazil's most skilled interpreters Emilio Santiago. This album has it all: the Jorge Ben jam, the Joao Donato jam, and here, the Marcos Valle jam. Truly a must have!

Deodato - Adam's Hotel
Mellowing out now here's a Valle contribution to a US Deodato album. I happen to know this LP is an Ambassador fav, as he recommended it to me several times over the years. I had picked it up in like 2001 for fifty cents and slept on it forever until Allen hooked me up with a nice cd rip of it - its full of jams! (Also the Donato/Deodato album which for some reason I had assumed was cheese - its not.) Beauty.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Also Sprach . . . Rosko?

I can't believe it! Something I wrote actually got published in a book! Sure, it's the same thing that I wrote for a magazine, but now that it's in book form it feels a little bit more permanent, lasting, like something you might find in a public library. Magazines in public libraries usually have torn covers, missing pages and entire issues missing. My very first article for Wax Poetics, an interview with Eumir Deodato, originally appeared in issue 7 of the magazine and was recently anthologized in the magazine's second collection. You can buy it here, if you like.

In honor of this publication, I have a little post that rides on the coat-tails of Eumir Deodato's megasmash hit, "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (Theme to 2001).

Also Sprach Zarathustra - Deodato
Sure, proper credit should be given to Stanley Kubrick for his brilliant use of the original Richard Strauss composition in his movie, 2001. With the song already in the public's mind, it became all the easier for Deodato to reinterpret as a jazz-funk opus cum pop smash. However, the following two songs are explicitly indebted to Deodato's version with their funky arrangements.

Also Sprach Zarathustra - Meireles e Sua Orquestra
A great version of this tune with a real Brazilian feel by a legendary arranger and group leader. This is by far his funkiest album, with great versions of Helio Matheus' "Kriola" and Ary Barroso's "Na Baixa do Sapateiro" which I previously discussed here. Lornonix has it for download aqui.

Peacemaker - Rosko
And then there was Rosko . . . Who the hell is this guy? DJ Ezinho traded me this single so it just recently joined the collection. As soon as I heard it I knew it belonged but was unsure of where it would fit in terms of DJing or private listening. Then it occurred to me that it was meant to be blogged about. The single has another band on the flip and the picture sleeve is clearly advertising the Rosko side . . . seems like a one-off from a radio DJ from France, where the record was pressed. Anyone have any info on this? After listening to this the other evening, Ezinho and I agreed that while it's not the best piece of music ever, the band is tight and the lyrics are at least original, if not bizarre and hilarious. You decide for yourself. Comments welcome . . .

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Plumbing the Depths of Black Rio

It's been a month and a half since I've arrived in San Francisco and it's slow going getting all of my ducks in order. I've moved into a great apartment and even unpacked all of my vinyl (not that I can find anything as its mostly unsorted and disorganized), but AT&T is giving us the royal run-around so I'm still not connected to internet at home. This means if I am to post to SS I have to do this on the sly from work, which is what I am doing now. This might explain the infrequent posts. Hopefully, next week I'll be back up to speed.

I was hoping to do a Azymuth post in honor of their first show in over 20 years that they will be doing in LA this weekend (yes, I'm going). However, this post will likely only appear after the show.

What we do have today is a little grab-bag of lesser known Black Rio stuff. The photo up top is a rare piece I got courtesy of DJ Sean Marquand who got it from members of Banda Uniao Black. Before they renamed themselves, they gigged around Rio and other Black hot spots in Brazil as "Banda de Soul Music Africa Brazil."

The songs we have today are courtesy of DJ Ezinho, a SF friend of mine whom I met while trying to make some extra cash by selling records on eBay while I was down in Brazil. He's one of the few cats I know whose knowledge of and appetite for Brazilian music continues to amaze me. So, he came by the new place the other night with some new treats and I managed to rip these two singles from his collection over beers and beats.

Estrela d'Alva - Socrates
If I hadn't included the artist's name I doubt any of you would have thought this was by anyone other than the late, great Tim Maia (at least that was my first guess upon hearing this). Sure enough, Socrates looks like Tim, sounds like Tim and recorded in a nearly identical style as Tim. This is actually the b-side and while the a-side is a bit more up-tempo, the hook on this one and the female back-up vocals gave it a little extra sumfin' to get it posted here. Even though there is no date on this one, Ezinho and I agree it must have come out around 1973 as the sound is a dead ringer for a knock-off of Tim Maia's sound (lazy, acoustic samba soul) from his 4th solo album from the same year.

Súplica Cearense - Tony Bizarro
Disclaimer: the photo to the left is NOT the actual picture sleeve for this single, but I like having an image accompanying the songs and this is the best one I could find. Also, without a date, Ezinho pegs this one as late 70s and I'm gonna agree. Check out the killer rhythm track on this one and that great intro.

The following video is from an early Brazilian Hip-Hop hit that has a sort-of "back in the day" vibe about the Black Rio scene with a lot of references to DJs, artists and the scene back in the late 70s and early 80s. I found this while looking for info on Tony Bizarro who's referenced in the lyrics.

Thaide & DJ Hum - Que Tempo Bom

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One Tough Guy

Title Theme "Tough Guys" - Isaac Hayes
I'm not gonna pretend like I'm a huge Ike Hayes fan, but with his passing over the weekend it reminded me of one of my favorites of his that doesn't get too much attention. Hayes really does have a knack for soundtrack work . . . He might just be the best of the best when it comes to setting a cinematic scene with his bass-heavy, string-laden compositions. "Title Theme" from the film Tough Guys is just one example of this gift of his. Tarantino used the song in Kill Bill vol. 2 during Uma Thurman's training sequence as well as the closing credits. It was actually this movie that prompted me to give this single a second spin.

If you want a more thorough look at the career, covers, and capers of Isaac Hayes, O-Dub over at has got it goin' on.

On a final note, according to wikipedia Doug E. Fresh and Isaac Hayes made an album together a few years back extolling the values of Scientology. The album is called, "The Joy Of Creating - The Golden Era Musicians And Friends Play L. Ron Hubbard" and one of Doug E.'s lyrics goes as follows:

Let me tell you something.
Wax enthusiastic and you'll feel so.
A being causes his own feelings.
It's the Joy Of Creating. Uh!".

Monday, August 11, 2008

Quick slice of Mizell:

Ugh, not a lot of time to post today as I have to split to work momentarily. I will be back tomorrow or the next day with some disco monsters. In the meantime please enjoy this uber-classic Mizell produced Johnny Hammond jam off his incredible album "Gears."

Johnny Hammond - Can't We Smile?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Theme of the day: Brazilian Psych-Folk Flute Solos

Wow, its hot as F here in Portland today and the laptop is burning a bit of a hole in my lap so I'm going to make this brief... Due to the heatwave, Moroder is going to have to wait yet again as dance music does nothing for me in plus 90 degree temperatures. In fact, I'm sitting in my room with the shades drawn in front of a fan drinking ice water and listening to these quiet flute jams. Give it a try:

Secos & Molhados - Rosa De Hiroshima

Secos & Molhados - O Patrao Nosso Cada Jia
This whole album is really pretty incredible and well worth including in your collection. I know the vocalist sounds like a lady but its a dude. That was his thing. Although they only had two albums before singer Ney Matogrosso moved on to other projects, they remain influential. Also they knew how to use the FLUTE.

A Barca Do Sol - Hotel Colonial
Definitely one of my jams here. I was lucky enough to snag this album, Durante O Verao last winter. Its a deep, earthy, sophisticated affair. I love how the flute comes in over the strummed guitars and arrangements before it goes into the psych breakdown/freakout. Sweet.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Spooky Italian funk - Goblin

I was working on a Giorgio Moroder post this morning but was unfortunately interrupted by some slightly gnarly dental work I had scheduled in the early afternoon. When I got back, I woozily listened the material I intended to post but was kind of no longer feeling it... not in a dancing mood anymore I guess. When I'm at the dentist, I ALWAYS listen to music, loudly, to distract myself and while shuffling one of these songs came on today. Goblin is an Italian prog band, which makes them interesting enough already but they also devoted themselves almost entirely to film soundtracks. Their work and the work of horror director Dario Argento are intertwined and the best way to enjoy Goblin is while watching one of his excellent films. The image above is from the 1977 film Suspiria, but the two songs below happen to be from the 1975 film Profundo Rosso. I got these off a cd compilation called "The Fantastic Voyage of Goblin - The Sweet Sounds of Hell." There's plenty more amazing stuff on there, I could post half the CD!

Goblin - Profundo Rosso Yeah, this is the jam. It certainly was sweet relief when they were drilling on my teeth. The spookiness gets me... during the procedure I actually did a mini fist pump half unconsciously in the dentist chair when the organ comes in. A real orchestral headbanger.

Goblin - Death Dies This is definitely more soundtrack-y but kind of shows what they are capable of. I love a band that can get in your head a little bit... this group is certainly a mind trip.