This post is basically a complete props-giving to Flabbergasted Vibes. There’s like maybe ten music blogs I go out of my way to check frequently, and that’s one of them. Human, charming, and honest from a depth of knowledge that usually begets arrogance. -Ian!
A classic. An essential. A staple that your home should no more be without than rice, beans, or OxiClean products. And in fact in many Brazilian homes this album is just as common as arroz or feijão and is kept on the same shelf. (OxiClean, on the other hand, stays under the sink).
This album, the third long-player he recorded, was his first record for RCA, and features material ranging from 1958 up to its release in 77. The majority of tunes are written by him, some with cowriters like his old friend Carlos Cachaça. One exception to that is “Pranto de Poeta” written by Guilherme de Brito and Nelson Cavaquinho, with Nelson sitting in on the performance.
The record was produced by music writer Sergio Cabral. My first impression of this album, after hearing the first two released on Discos Marcus Pereira, was that it was too slick and overproduced. On subsequent listens I found it to be….. still too slick and overproduced. But I have to admit that it actually does not distract from the merits of the incredible songwriting and strong performances throughout. However, you can take a wonderful song like “Autonomia” and orchestrate it, open it with an intro on a (very well-recorded) grand piano, and it sounds beautiful. But you can also take it to its bare knuckles, like on the posthumous EP-length album “Documento Inédito.”
It’s up to the individual preference I suppose, but I prefer the latter. As much as the album might be over-produced, nothing is *ruined* here. There’s no synthesizers, or rocked-out drums, or any number of other things that could have been done to mangle it. Sergio Cabral’s intention, as insinuated in the liner notes, was to give Cartola the magisterial, kingly treatment and carinho that so many felt he deserved. And the record successfully does that. I hesitate to make such a broad generalization, especially as an ‘outsider’ to a culture, but if there was ever an artist and songwriter in Brazil who seems to have left virtually nobody untouched in a deeply meaningful, emotional way with his music, that would be Cartola.