April 14, 2017 A Man And A $1 Record

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Laurindo Almeida, A Man And A Woman, Capitol T-2701 1967

Oh what a time it was!  Before the British Invasion, there was another country that sent it’s music to North America.  A huge bossa nova from the south arrived from Brazil, and like the British Invaders, there was a mad scramble for talent by the major US record labels.  While the most prestigious names like Joao Gilberto were embraced by Jazz labels like Verve Records, others were singed by pop labels like Capitol.

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Unfortunately for the Art Department, middle aged Brazilian guitar virtuosos didn’t have the teen idol appeal of, say, Herman’s Hermits, so they had their hands full with Laurindo Almeida.  That’s why they went with a snappy mid century modern couple sitting on some groovy orange shag carpet for the cover, with just a small snapshot of the artist going over some sheet music in the studio on the back cover.

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Artwork aside, this is a very fun album.  “Standard” music was enjoying it’s last gasp of commercial success by the time this record was released, and no matter how great the musician is, major labels didn’t award contracts to virtuosos anymore.  Most of the tunes are recognizable, with film hits, Beatles tunes, and Brazilian classics included.  And even if you don’t recognize the name, virtually every has head the guitar playing of Laurindo Almeida.  He performed on the soundtracks of over 800 films including The Godfather, and many musicians credit his Jazz Samba style of playing as being a major influence on their career.  Not bad for a $1 record!

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $1, $222 Remaining

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November 19, 2016 A 50 Year Old Brazilian

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Sergio Mendes & Brazil ’66, Look Around, A&M SP-4137, 1968

I don’t know how I got 5 months into this project without featuring a record from Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66.  Their records sold in the millions and they’re really easy to find at really cheap prices.  The group hit the sweet spot between Bossa Nova and Pop with records carefully crafted by the finest LA studio musicians.  While their sound was passed in the 70s and 80s, today their records are the perfect vinyl background music to any hipster dinner party.  This record is one of their best, and I was thrilled to find this near mint copy yesterday.

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It came out at the peak of their fame, and owing to the looney rules that The Oscars had at the time, they got to perform Their version of The Look Of Love at the awards ceremony.  Dusty Springfield’s version, the original recording from the film Casino Royale, was crushed on the charts as a result.  There’s also the first charting version of The Beatles’ With A Little Help From My Friends, which was another huge hit for them.

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And then there are the whitewashed versions of period correct Brazilian pop music.  Not that that’s a bad thing, considering how influential the Bossa Nova sound was in the 60s. A Brazilian would be horrified by these remakes, they would probably sound like Pat Boone remaking Long Tall Sally, but I love them.  I wish I could tell you why these records are so easy to find, all I can say is that I will keep looking for the rest of them.

Today’s Summary:

Cost:$2, $640 Remaining