So anyone who's seen The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou or City of God will recognize Seu Jorge as the handsome, dark-skinned actor with the gravelly voice. In Life Aquatic he plays Pele, the Brazilian safety officer on board Zissou's boat and the bard that plays Portuguese language covers of David Bowie songs. Although this is changing, even in Brazil he's better known as an actor than a musician. His second solo album (he used to be in a band called Farofa Carioca), Cru, was released last fall in France and was impossibly hard to find until recently. Tive Razao was the first release from this album and is fairly representative and is the shining peak as well. Based around an acoustic guitar riff and Seu Jorge's multi-tracked vocals, the song just floats in this melancholy haze like some of the best Chico Buarqu de Hollanda ballads. The production on this song (and the album) is much more sparse than the previous album, but much more original as well. Jorge even uses what I think is a theremin to add a slight spookiness to the preceedings. The lyrics mean something like, "I had an excuse" or "I had a reason."
from Cru, available on CD
16 Aug 06 ·ambassador: I since found out that the title means "You were right." makes a bit more sense that way.
This one fits well with with my previous reccomendation in the melancholy/eerie vein. I read somewhere that the song was in the African JuJu style, but discofied of course given its 1976 production. It was this song that proved to be the Dr. Buzzard . . . was not your average disco band. Cory Daye's vocals are beautiful and harken back to an earlier era of classic jazz vocals, like Ella and Billie. The children's backup vocals are what gives it the spooky quality, probably because the intrumentation is dark, like seeing those cute (but scary) kids come out of the corn fields in Children of the Corn. The last chorus just sends chills down my spine as Cory digs into the lyrics and dances around them as the everything sort or brightens up, like the sun coming out after a summer rain. This makes the title all make such perfect sense.
from Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, available on CD
28 Apr 06 ·Festy: You know what makes the last chorus for me (or choruses from after the kids singing only accompanied by percussion)... as simple as it may sound... it's the handclaps. They add so much and I always look forward to them coming along. I became obsessed with this song about 6 months ago and bought the CD, which, as I expected, doesn't contain so many fantastic songs on it, but, still an enjoyable CD. I really enjoy your recommendations!
I didn't entirely get Ed Motta until I listened to this album. For me this is his perfect mix of sacred and profane styles, his soul and his jazz. Only his third album and his first two employ retro styled instrumentation, it sounds like a 1970s session from Luther Vandross without the glitzy disco production. Ed's voice sounds so great paired with the Fender Rhodes which dominates this album. The arrangements are complicated, unpredicatble but entirely accessible. Entre e Ouca, which means "Enter and Listen," has a mid-tempo disco feel with a bouncing bass line, sharp guitar lines and that rhodes. I like his newer, more challenging albums as well, but this sound immediatly speaks to me like the best crafted pop songs.
from Entre e Ouca (WEA) available on CD - not that I know of
One of the most nonsensical song title ever, yes, I know and much derided for that reason, but to quote Otis Redding when told his lyrics didn't make any sense, "I'm gonna worry about settin' the groove. I get that groove going, they don't care what I say." Boogie Oogie2 has got groove to spare, with a jazzy intro (similar to Boogie Nights by Heatwave) before that bass line drops in shakes the floorboards. Just like all the dance craze songs of the 60s, the disco era about vocals were mostly used as a counterpoint to the rhythm section. The Mizell brothers add a touch of sophistication to this female-led band (Hazel Payne and Janice Marie Johnson on bass and guitar - they're the ones on the awesome album cover) which is a step further in the commercial direction after their work with Jazz Funk kings like Donald Byrd, Gary Bartz and Johnny Hammond. This song is up there with G.Q.'s "Disco Nights (Rock Freak)" and anything by Chic in the sophisticated disco category.
Heatwave's first two albums can almost be seen as prototypes for Michael Jackson's breakthrough album "Off the Wall." With Rod Temperton, future Quincy Jones and MJ collaborator, driving this album the sound is both funky and catchy, sophisticated and accessible. "Lay It On Me" is an overlooked album track that bubbles and gurgles under the surface of the groove until the chorus arrives with strings soaring for the ectasy of Johnnie Wilder's sweet vocals, "lay it on me, lay your sweet love on me!" Beautifully arranged and excellently executed and just one of many classics of their debut album.