This great ethereal brasilian pop number is from the portuguese language version of Chico Buarque's 'lost' 1970 album, recorded in Rome with Ennio Morricone, while he was in exile from Brasil. While Buarque's vocals are excellent, it's Morricone who really shines here, providing exquisite sweeping arrangements, and some great backing vocals from his protege Edda Dell'Orso.
from Per un pugno di samba available on CD - Sonho de um carnaval (Universal France)
It's fantastic that this track has come to light. I believe its story is this: Nico auditioned for the film 'Strip-Tease' in 1962, and recorded this song, but eventually Juliette Greco was chosen instead, and so this recording was lost. To me it's a remarkable document - although I knew Nico had made a brief appearance in 'La Dolce Vita', I never knew she had recorded with Gainsbourg. The track itself is a delicate slow number with prominent latin percussion and bongo sounds, similar Serge's other early 60s film work, such as 'L'eau a la bouche'. Nico's voice is just as distinctive as it is on her famous records with Velvet Underground, but in this context it sounds different. I like it when things like this come to light, bringing together two people I admire - like Astrud Gilberto singing Morricone, Scott Walker singing Schifrin, or Julie London singing Margo Guryan.
available on CD - le cinéma de Serge Gainsbourg (Universal France)
From an excellent early hi-fi album, this is a hilarious slow blues number in which Alvino makes his steel guitar talk. In fact, he has a conversation with it. In spite of what you might think, this actually stands up to repeated listening, unlike the 'Talking Guitar' records made later in the sixties by Pete Drake, which I find harder to handle. Incidentally, I've never heard an Alvino Rey record I wasn't astounded by.
An atmospheric soundtrack instrumental, with a superb blend of strings harpsichord, brass and woodwind. Everything is underpinned by a gently funky beat that delights me, and is typical of early 70s mood instrumentals.
from Blacula, available on CD ()
31 Jan 02 ·Mike: Nice dense arrangement with the harpsichord penetrating attractively (try to remember that penetration can be unattractive at times). I enjoyed the excerpt very much. 31 Jan 02 ·delicado: Yeah, the clarinet/sax you hear at the end of the sample nearly ruins it for me, but not quite. Those chords at the beginning recall that great song 'Life is Mono' by Mono, don't you think?
This exquisite instrumental really takes me to another place. The exotic instrumentation, with vibes and great percussion, gives it an incredible atmosphere. To quote the CD's liner notes, 'it's as if you've walked into a grandiose movie setting'. Perhaps this dates me, but in fact when I hear this I find myself picturing some of the desert scenes in the movie Star Wars. I highly recommend the album.