I don’t know what The Gentlemen were on when they recorded ‘Sorriso Selbagem’ but whatever it was, we all need some more of this Psychedelic Pernambuco from Recife in the north east of Brazil.
Out on the resurgent Mr. Bongo label, so soon after the Hollie Cook album, this 20 track exploration of the weird and tropical Brazil of the swinging 60s/70s heavily features the likes of Lula Côrtes, Zé Ramalho and Geraldo Azevedo, names that we’ve come across before on FLY.
These guys were at the forefront of psychedelic tropicália folkiness back in the day. As they were outside of the hot spots of Sao Paolo and Rio, they had some freedom to set their own agenda but even so, it’s incredible that this music has taken so long to come to light, an issue not helped by the oppression of the military government of the time.
No doubt, out of the oppression came their artistic need for freedom like the avant garde Indo delta blues of ‘Antropologica’ and ‘Fidelidade’ by Marconi Notaro that’s Bahia badness; a Brazilian Donovan perhaps? And he gets really drippy later on as ‘Ah Vida Avida’ as if Grateful Dead did things in a smoked filled mountain caves that they really shouldn’t do (but probably did). The closing track ‘Beira Mar’ is more of the same but sadly very short.
And not far behind is Geraldo Azevedo and Alçeu Valença with ‘Mister Misterio’and ‘Novena’ but their best track is the ‘out there’ cinematic ‘Virgem Virginia’ that’s tropicalia Bernard Hermann Psycho-delic.
The 60s Mod equivalent of ‘Ah Vida Avidas’ would make even the Small Faces envious of a Brazilian lazy Sunday afternoon, Itchycoo Park baby!
Lula Côrtes’ ‘Nordesto Oriental’ is more folky than oriental but he hits Bollywood with ‘Noite Prêta; if you can imagine cross between Asha Bhosle, Donovan and the Tom Zé?
Lula Côrtes is definitely a star turn and ‘Bahjan – Oracao para Shiva’ has Santana meets Seu Jorge written all over it. And when Côrtes and Zé Ramalho are paired up, each track is fantastic like ‘Baliado Das Musicarias’ that’s a big flute/guitar lead dreamscape and the power ‘rock’ of ‘Maracas De Fogo’.
This compilation is proof that Recife was definitely the place to be for all things psychedelic in Brazil from folk to rock, Latin to Jazz and back again. It’s taken a while to get my head around this but it’s very high up on Compilation of the Year to date; I even saw one of the Horse Meat Disco DJ’s looking at it at Phonica the other week! I’ll definitely be playing one or two tracks out live tonight (see below), if not for the rest of the year – this is a very FLY album.
Reviewed: V/A – Psychedelic Pernambuco (Mr Bongo) Cat. No: MRBCD074 Release date: 20th June 2011
1 The Gentlemen – Sorriso Selvagem (6:11)
2 Flaviola E O Bando Do Sol – O Tempo (1:38)
3 Geraldo Azevedo & Alçeu Valença – 8 Rotacoes (1:47)
4 Marconi Notaro – Antropologica (2:44)
5 Geraldo Azevedo & Alçeu Valença – Mister Misterio (2:48)
6 Lula Côrtes – Nordeste Oriental (2:54)
7 Geraldo Azevedo & Alçeu Valença – Novena (2:18)
8 Lula Côrtes – Bahjan – Oração Para Shiva (3:20)
9 Marconi Notaro – Maracatu (0:51)
10 Lula Côrtes & Zé Ramalho – Bailado Das Muscarias (4:31)
11 Flaviola E O Bando Do Sol – Desespêro (2:42)
12 Lula Côrtes – Noite Prêta (3:05)
13 Marconi Notaro – Fidelidade (3:21)
14 Geraldo Azevedo & Alçeu Valença – Planetario (2:53)
15 Marconi Notaro – Ah Vida Avida (3:49)
16 Lula Côrtes & Zé Ramalho – Marácas De Fogo (2:32)
17 Geraldo Azevedo & Alçeu Valença – Virgem Virginia (3:28)
18 Lula Côrtes – Alegro Piradíssimo (2:58)
19 Lula Côrtes & Zé Ramalho – Beira Mar (1:38)
www.smokin-aces.co.uk 17th July 2011: Simon S, Martin Gordon (Brownswood) & Gerry Hectic (FLYGlobalMusic) 7pm to 1am Smokin’ Aces – Cocktail Bar & Whiskey Lounge, 103 Commercial Road, Bournemouth, Dorset