An addictive and perfect track, which fuses several of my obsessions (vocal groups, Ennio Morricone-style chord sequences, Brazilian pop) with incredible power. The song is a Brazilian standard, written by Baden Powell, but this version is very different to any other I've heard. This recording opens feverishly with brass and strings, maintaining a doomy and very serious mood throughout. All the same, it manages to be extremely groovy, with rock drums and a twangy guitar accompanying the strings and harmonizing vocals. The arrangement is quite brilliant and never sounds crowded, with a stark feel produced by the different parts dropping in and out. The part of the track which to me is pure genius is the instrumental break in the middle, which sounds like it's excerpted from one of the coolest of Morricone's late 60s B-movie soundtracks - honey smooth strings, blended with some excellent drums and a cool trumpet part. The vocals are also rather gripping - always very serious sounding, and often wordlessly chanting the melody.
from Golden Boys (Odeon MOFB 3590) available on CD - Blue Brazil Vol 3 (EMI)
23 Feb 04 ·Galt: You should check out the 1971 Odeon album 'So Vou Criar Galinha': 'Chuva de verao' starts with the sound of rainfall (always a winner) and 'Com a lembranša apenas' has one of those amazing Brazilian melodies you just can't get out of your head.
To be honest, I have little idea of what this song is about, but it certainly sets an intoxicating mood - rather intense and dramatic, but very cool. It's a sprawling, majestic pop song, opening gently with a faint trumpet solo and a picked guitar, and then building up nicely with strings soon after the vocals come in. The chorus is simple and catchy, and the orchestration is lush and beautiful, and the vocals are tender. There is a nice cinematic instrumental section in the middle, with some nods to Burt Bacharach. I don't get the impression this is the most coherent song ever, but there are poignant moments lyrically, such as 'You know that when we met, there were fireworks in the sky...sparkling like dragonflies', set against the moody chorus. It feels kind of nice to be really enjoying a new, 2001 song for once. The new album is really quite good. There are some duff songs, but overall I'd say it deserved better reviews than it received.
Update, ok, I've now figured out this is about the Clinton/Lewinsky furore. I guess I'm just not primarily a lyrics person...
from Rings around the World, available on CD (Epic)
Although I'm very interested in the batch of cool Italian soundtracks from the 60s and 70s which have recently been reissued, I often feel pretty overwhelmed by the volume of stuff out there. So I was pleased to find a used copy of Piero Umiliani's 'Angeli Bianchi...Angeli Neri'. It really is an intoxicatingly brilliant record, and this track is one of the highlights. The musical setting moves around a lot over four minutes - the opening sounds almost like fairy tale music; this then fades out, and some spooky and very cool sounding wordless vocals come in, accompanied by a slick, hip easy listening-style sequence with strings, bass and drums. As this builds, the wordless vocals continue, backed by increasingly beautiful and unexpected chord changes. I'm not doing a great job of describing this record, but happily in this case you can hear the whole song (streamed, real audio) at the excellent 'atrecordings.com' site. Anyway, it's a wonderful track, up there with my absolute favorite soundtrack pieces.
from Angeli Bianchi...Angeli Neri, available on CD ()
05 Feb 02 ·bobbyspacetroup: Magical track. It's can also be found on Easy Tempo, Vol. 9. Too bad atrecordings has shut down. 01 Sep 06 ·leonthedog: Magical indeed! Morricone, Piccioni, Umiliani, and Trovaioli are like Sirens... I am sure there are others - God grant me the time and good fortune to find them!
A superb instrumental, featuring a nice organ sound and the sublime twangy guitar of Johnny Johnson. I believe Johnny has now left the Flaming Stars (who are led by Max Decharne, once of Gallon Drunk), which is a shame - he is a masterful guitarist. This is a rather dramatic, moody track, opening gently and building up nicely with fast strummed guitars. While I doubt this is deliberate, the overall effect is reminiscent of some of the tracks on Morrissey's guitar-heavy 1992 album 'Your Arsenal'. Anyway, like much of the band's other material, this is a nice hybrid of 50s and 90s styles.
from Hospital, Heaven or Hell EP, available on CD (Vinyl Japan)
I had forgotten quite how brilliant this track is until it strangely popped into my head yesterday. It was originally available on Al's superb 'Sounds for Spies and Private Eyes' album, as well as volume 2 of the 'Music to Read James Bond By' series on United Artists records. It's very obviously James Bond rip-off music, but it's so perfectly executed, with cool percussive brass and Al's reverb-laden guitar nicely complemented by a swinging organ, that you can't help but love it.
from Sounds for Spies and Private Eyes (United Artists UAS 6435) available on CD - Ultra Lounge - Cocktail Capers (Capitol)