Thursday, March 06, 2008

Three Versions of Pais Tropical

I first came across Jorge Ben's "Pais Tropical" on Sergio Mendes and Brazil 77's album "Pais Tropical". It's pretty amazing to me to think that Jorge Ben wrote both "Pais Tropical" and "Mas Que Nada", probably the two most recorded Brazilian songs ever. Mendes also covered "Mas Que Nada". In fact, he covered it a second time along with of Black Eyed Peas. I believe it was used in a Nike commercial. Enough said about that.

So, the other day, while going through my records, I realized that I had multiple versions of this song, and thought it would be neat to post them all together. I try to only post original vinyl pressings so I won't be sharing the original Jorge Ben version or the amazing Gal Costa version which are easily available on CD or MP3 and I suggest you pick up. The OG vinyl is just too pricey for me.

Today I will be sharing with you the original Sergio Mendes version I mentioned earlier. Like most of Mendes' work it's quite smoothed out, but I think it actually works well here. I especially like the little guitar licks. I'm also sharing an interesting version that was apparently recorded in Israel and released by Varig Brazilian Airlines on CBS records in Tel Aviv. From what I can figure out from the English liner notes, the album is full of songs from a television broadcast called "Pais Tropical - Songs from Brazil." Those of you with a good ear should be able to tell the accent isn't quite Brazilian Portuguese.
Finally, I'm sharing a third version I found on an album by a vocal group called Los Castro. I picked this one up in Mexico City right across the street from the Bellas Artes. Out of the three, this one is probably the most smoothed out due to the strings, but I dig all of the little changes and the jazz influence. So, if you in any way enjoy these songs, you should go pick up some Jorge Ben

Pais Tropical by Sergio Mendes and Brasil '77 from Pais Tropical
Pais Tropical by The Group from Pais Tropical - Songs From Brazil
Pais Tropical by Los Castro from y Despues del Amor le prometi...otra vez volver...


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

RIP Buddy Miles

Buddy Miles got me into collecting records. I think I first became aware of Buddy Miles when I picked up a copy of "Expressway to Your Skull" at the Ashby flea market in Berkeley. I got the record based on Jimi Hendrix's liner notes, and was pretty blown away when I first dropped the needle on the wax. My next Buddy Miles record had to be his live album with Santana. At that time, Jimi Hendrix's drummer and Carlos Santana live in a Hawaiian volcano was my shit. To me, that was the power of vinyl. That wasn't a record you'd come across when browsing CDs. Back in 1994 I didn't even know if Buddy Miles was alive. Meanwhile, I scooped up every Buddy Miles record I came across. Eventually, while going to SFSU, I taught myself HTML by putting together a Buddy Miles website complete with a flame boarder and lots of blinking text. I even contacted his manager and tried to make it official.

I got a chance to see Buddy around '98 at the Maritime Hall here in San Francisco. I think the show was during the week and there weren't too many people, but everyone in attendance was a fan. I was a little surprised to see how big he was and how hard it seemed for him to walk. At one point, I remember some guy handing Buddy a big nug of bud. Buddy picked it out of his hand, put it in his shirt pocket, and said, "Thank You."

In remembrance of Buddy, I'm sharing two tracks that I picked up solely because of him. First is John Mclaughlin's "Marbles" and "Sirens" from the only John Mclaughlin album I own. Carlos and Buddy covered those tracks in that Hawaiian volcano. Secondly, I'm sharing a track from Funkadelic's album "Hardcore Jollies". Buddy plays drums on "Coming Round The Mountain." This is the only track I'm aware of that Buddy did with George Clinton and crew. I could only imagine what that recording session was like.

Marbles/Sirens by John Mclaughlin from Devotion
Coming Round the Mountain by Funkadelic from Hardcore Jollies