Thursday, March 26, 2009
Tim Maia Mania - Raridades, Part 1
I'm in full Tim Maia Mania. I'm finishing up Nelson Motta's excellent biography of the man, the myth, the legend aka Tiao Marmiteiro, Tiao Maconheiro, Jimmy the Brazilian, O Rei do Samba Soul - Tim Maia. I decided to take this mania public and I'll be posting some classics and some obscurities for as long as I can stand it, which could be awhile.
Also, I IMPLORE you to check out this clip I posted over at Soul Spectrum Videos that features some ridiculously rare Tim Maia footage from his Racional phase as well as from his excellent post-Racional 1976 album. Jaw-dropping stuff here.
In researching Tim's life its interesting to note that his success was almost single-handedly attributable to his own charisma and single-minded vision of becoming a rock n' roll star. Unlike today where an iota of talent and millions in marketing dollars can make a star, Tim was about as pure a star as you can imagine. He fought every known stereotype and triumphed to become one of Brazil's biggest pop stars of all time. He was fat, black, irresponsible, a stoner, a coke-head, a philanderer, was momentarily a cult-member, he was imprisoned in the US and Brazil multiple times and yet he still managed to stay in the limelight for over two decades.
This success did not come easy. He was deported from the US back to Brazil in 1964 after being caught in a stolen car with weed in his possession. Back in Brazil, he hit the ground running and immediately tried to get in contact with his old friends from Barra de Tijuca who had miraculously become huge teen idols: Roberto and Erasmo Carlos (no relation). Leveraging their fame and access to benefit Tim was easier said than done as these two "safe", white pop stars were hesitant about promoting an unkempt, mostly homeless, fat, black soul singer on their shows, even if he had taught them both how to play guitar. First off, nobody in Brazil knew what soul music was . . . at least at that time.
Tim managed to put out two singles in 1968 and 1969 and neither did very well and both are extremely rare. Part of their failure had to do with the incongruence of Tim's vision for Brazilian soul music and the record label's inability to properly reproduce that beat-heavy, funky sound. Tim's initial success was going to have come through writing for and producing other artists, those less black and fat than he.
Roberto Carlos - Não Vou Ficar
Tim managed to sneak into Roberto Carlos' swanky apartment building and waited for the "King" of Jovem Guarda to come home. He demanded Roberto put him on his show. Roberto compromised and agreed to record a song of Tim's, but not the one that Tim was pitching that day. He wanted something a little rougher, something with some teeth and that contagious funky soul sound that Tim knew better than anyone in Brazil. Tim came up with this song and it became a huge hit for Roberto. When you compare it with Tim's version, from his second solo album from two years later, Roberto's version sounds like muzak, but for the time, and for Roberto, this was cutting edge. Roberto's soul shouts kinda sound more like soul whimpers.
Eduardo Araujo - Você
Around the same time Tim connected with another Jovem Guarda star, Eduardo Araujo, who was taken by the soul sounds emanating from the US and together with Tim Maia's album put together one of the very first Brazilian soul albums. Tim arranged all the songs, translated all the lyrics from English to Portuguese, sang back-up and even contributed one of his songs, "Voce". The song would be a hit when Tim recorded it, again for his second solo album from 1971. This version also pales in comparison, but I think it's worth a listen.
Eduardo Araujo - A Mulher
This is Eduardo and Tim's version of one of my all time favorite soul songs, James Brown's "Cold Sweat". Enough said.
Elis Regina with Tim Maia - These Are the Songs
This is the one that put Tim on the map, because it was the first BIG record that actually had his voice on it. This duet with Elis Regina also introduced him to his future record label, Polydor and his future producer, good friend and ultimate biographer, Nelson Motta. Unlike the other songs here, THIS is the best version. Tim redid this song solo on his third album, but the later version lacks the chemistry of this recording.
Trio Esperança - Primavera
This cover version of one of Tim's big hits from his first album must have been recorded right after his version came out, because this one is also from 1970. The song was recorded by one of the best known family groups from the Jovem Guada and later, the Brazilian soul scene, Trio Esperanca. The song was written by Tim's friend and soul parter Cassiano.