Selections & words by Balearic Mike.
It’s SCORCHIO! More like Sao Paolo than Sussex, so here’s some Brazilian beauties to help you cool off …
Marcos Valle – Previsao Do Tempo – Odeon 1973
Phil Mison put us all on to this LP, playing one of the tracks from it – I forget which one now, they’re all so good – at some party in Manchester which we were all playing at – it might have been at Aficionado. I’m pretty sure he said he’d been put onto it by Jose Padilla years before. I think I’d bought this nice original pressing – with rare lyric insert! – from a Brazilian based record dealer on eBay the same night – along with a few others, to save on shipping you understand! Back then it wasn’t astronomically expensive to ship records from places like Brazil, Japan or the USA, so eBay and the now sadly defunct GEMM.COM were being hammered as the thrill of being able to find every record you’d ever wanted, immediately took hold of vinyl addicts all over the world.
The LP is a complete masterpiece – a cool, slinky mix of jazz, bossa nova, soul, funk, folk, pop, mpb, etc. There isn’t a duff note to be found on here, but my favourites are the sequence of tracks on side one – Nem Paleto Nem Gravata, Tira A Mao, Mentira, into the instrumental title track, and side two’s Nao Tem Nada Nao – co-written with Eumir Deodato.
This wasn’t expensive when I bought it, but that was quite a long time ago, and I see that prices for original pressings seem to have gone completely bonkers, but not to worry pop-pickers, those lovely people at Light In The Attic Records seem to reissue it every few years, so it shouldn’t be hard to get your hands on a copy.
Marcos Valle played at Glastonbury a few years back and his set was broadcast on the BBC. It was completely mesmeric. I’m sure it’s on YouTube or somewhere to watch.
Marcos has the right idea – we should all jump in the water and cool off!
Novos Baianos – Acabou Chorare – Som Livre 1972
This is one of my favourite Brazilian LPs and it`s considered the greatest Brazilian LP of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. I bought it for the track Tinindo Trincando, which I first heard on the stunning Brazil 70 – After Tropicalia compilation LP that Soul Jazz Records released. Little did I know just what an exceptional record I had bought. Novos Baianos` sound is a brilliant fusion of all the contemporary music styles being performed in Brazil in the aftermath of the Tropicalia movement, with psychedelic rock and traditional Bahian folk sounds melding with bossa nova, soul and MPB. This was their second LP, and as well as the track I bought it for it includes the classics Brasil Pandeiro, Mistério do Planeta, A Menina Dança, and Besta é tu, but for me – and most people from Brazil it seems – the standout track is Preta Pretinha, of which the LP includes 2 versions. It’s quite hard to describe just how wonderful a track this is, and I’m a bit too hot to think of suitable words. Suffice to say we tried to license it twice, for both volumes of Down To The Sea And Back, but didn’t manage to either time. It’s very Balearic, and it seems like every time I play it at a gig an overjoyed Brazilian person comes up to the decks to thank me with a huge smile on their face. It’s a beautiful LP in terms of look as well, with a gatefold sleeve containing a photo / lyric booklet, and the Som Livre label design has got to be one of the greatest ever.
Rubinho E Mauro Assumpção - Perfeitamente, Justamente Quando Cheguei – Tapecar / Tony Records -American Music 1972 / 2021
A recent purchase, this holy grail 1972 Brazilian psych-folk LP has thankfully, just been reissued. It’s a Brazilian import, and limited to 1000 copies, so it’s not exactly cheap, but as the last original copy to sell on Discogs went for £350 in only VG+ condition, and that was back in May 2018, I think we can all agree that it’s greatly appreciated.
It`s a stunning set of songs, in a not dissimilar vein to the Novos Baiano LP, but with a little less of the psyche-rock influence, and more of a Californian West Coast, psychedelic folk meets singer-songwriter vibe to it. This is another utterly beautiful album. The track, Ta Tudo Ai, featured on one of the Strut`s Black Rio compilations – which is how I came to hear it – but it would seem churlish to say it’s a standout, as it’s just one of many wonderful tracks here. Buy a copy quick, before it’s gone again. It’s even got an OBI! I love an OBI so I do!
Happy birthday to George Clinton! 80 years old today!
Funkadelic – One Nation Under A Groove – Warner Bros. Records 1978
I’m a bit of a fan of old George if truth be told. I guess I was primed to love him by Prince in the first instance, but my real obsession began in the late `80s / early `90s when hip-hop artists started plundering the rich seam of his musical delights. From buying my first Parliament compilation and Hoovering up the early Funkadelic reissues, it wasn’t long before I was obsessively collecting anything P-FUNK! As well as all the Funkadelic and Parliament LPs, I also have LPs by Parlet, The Brides Of Funkenstein, Fred Wesley & The Horny Horns, Fuzzy Haskins, Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins & Bootsy’s Rubber band, Zapp, .…I’m not sure if this is my favourite Funkadelic album. I think I actually prefer a couple of their earlier LPs, but it would be hard to pick a favourite if I’m honest. What I can say is that this is a masterpiece, with the title track just being one of the most uplifting, optimistic dance records ever made. The rest of the record is as weird, wonderful and funky as you would expect, with Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad (The Doo Doo Chasers) and In To You being other personal favourites, simply because they’re so weird and funky. Moreover, the sleeves by Pedro Bell – just genius!
Of all the Parliament / Funkadelic or George C solo LPs that I could have posted I think I picked this UK copy – with the extra More Of What You’re Funkin’ For 12” single, rather than my US copy with the 7” – because it’s the only one that George signed. I didn’t get to meet him sadly. He was doing a record signing for the Dope Dogs album at HMV in Manchester and a friend took it for me as I had to work.
Coincidentally I was actually asked to remix the Parliament / Funkadelic single Follow The Leader taken from that LP back in ’95. The offer came via a promo list I was on, but I have to admit I thought that it was a wind up at first. After picking myself up off the floor I agreed to do it, so Andrew Barton – Brummy mate, LuvDup regular and sometime driver – and I did 2 remixes with Simon Crompton in his little studio in Ducie House. I can’t remember how I came to be working with Crommy, but it was a perfect match, as he was as much of a P-Funk fan as I was, and we became firm friends.
The remixes. One was an electro / acid thing – inspired by some recent Dutch and Detroit releases – the other a Dust / Chemical Brothers rip-off, with big beats and a sampled guitar riff. Si borrowed Sub Sub’s – pre-Doves – Vocoder for the electro mix, and we fed bits of George’s rap through it. They used both of them on the release. Inspired by the excellent comic book / Star Wars themed decoration on Si’s studio, we chose the name Spydermen – deliberately misspelled – to release the mixes under. I just listened to a clip and they sound a bit rubbish now. They seemed good at the time. Oh well, I still have the DAT of George Clinton rapping the full lyrics somewhere.
I couldn’t mark an occasion like George Clintons 80th birthday with just one record, so here’s another. Happy Birthday George.
Parliament – Funkentelechy vs The Placebo Syndrome – Casablanca Records 1977
As with the last Funkadelic record, I couldn’t say that this is definitely my favourite Parliament LP. It’s a pretty hard decision to make if I’m honest, as they don’t really put a foot wrong between Chocolate City and GloryHallaStoopid. And what the hell – everyone knows The Mothership Connection – so let’s make a less obvious choice. What I would say is that Bop Gun (Endangered Species) and Sir Nose D’Voidofunk (Pay Attention – B3M) are two of the greatest openers, with Sir Nose … a massively underrated Parliament track – as sampled by Carl Craig on the 69 track Sub Seducer. However, the real next level shit is saved for last, with the timeless classic, Flashlight. With Bernie Worrell’s Moog / synth bass sound, this 44-year-old cut still sounds like funk from the future, or at least from outer space. It certainly laid down a blueprint that was used by Prince, then the early electro pioneers, as well as the house and techno producers of Chicago and Detroit who would be so inspired by it. All that, and it was hugely sampled in hip hop, from its earliest appearance on the second Jungle Brothers LP, to basically defining the entire G-Funk style of rap music – from Dr Dre’s The Chronic, Snoop Dog, etc. through the 90s and beyond. It also comes with an ace Star Wars mimicking comic book and poster. Happy birthday George, and thanks again for all the music.
The Olympics are finally upon us. The BBC has been showing an amazing documentary series about the story of Great Britain’s progress from the disaster of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics to the success of London 2012, and right near the beginning was footage of Linford Christie defending his 100 meters title, which brought back this most excellent memory …
Blue Boy – Remember Me (Scattered Emotions EP) – Guidance Recordings 1996
Saturday 27th July 1996. It’s a beautiful hot, sunny – for Manchester – summer`s day. I don’t have a gig that night, and I’m working in Vinyl Exchange. Richard Moonboots comes over early that morning. Apparently, there’s a very special record in and I should pop over to Eastern Bloc at lunch time.
I did pop over. It was very special. I took it back to Vinyl Exchange and it got more than a few spins on the shop turntable. By the end of play I think Kath, Ade, Steve, and Rob – if he was working that Saturday – had all popped over the road to E-Bloc and bought a copy. We were already fans of Blue Boy, as his Undisputed Truth sampling track, Sandman, was a bit of a Boggy & Rob favourite, but this was something else. That evening I`d been invited to a party in Chorlton, where my girlfriend and I had recently bought a house. Our friend Hester was living with us, and at the time she was going out with Kelvin Andrews. Very weirdly, Kelvin also didn’t have a gig that night – what the fuck was going on? Was Golden on a break? – so he was up at our place for the evening. Pre going out I played him some records. I played him this record. Then played it again, and again. Then the 3 of us went to the party.
The party was at a mate of Adrian Brookes – ‘Mad’ or “Ginger’ or ‘techno’ Ade to give him his full title – place in Chorlton, a big, rambling old Victoria house, full of lovely, cool people. Everyone was really high, but in that super mellow way that’s lovely at a house party. People were dancing, talking, chilling, just having a lovely time. Ade seemed to DJ for most of the night, playing a great mix of funk, hip hop, disco, house, techno, drum & bass … and Blue Boy`s Remember Me. He did a bit of a Larry – it got played multiple times.
Midway through the night we turned up the telly box and everyone gathered round to watch Linford Christie defend his Olympic 100 metres title at the Atlanta games. It was astonishing and shocking – a disqualification after 3 consecutive false starts!
We turned the TV down and went back to the serious business of the party. Blue Boy was played another couple of times. It was seriously the tune of the weekend. Kelvin sashayed over to me during one such spin. “This track is incredible; I’m going to license it for our new label”. And so he did. The deal was done by Tuesday morning, I think. A month down the line and Pete Tong and everyone else in the UK dance music world were trying to license it, but the deal was signed. Kelvin very kindly asked me to do a remix of it with him and his brother Danny down at the farm – hence Pharm Records. We called ourselves Cavern 3 – both a Beatles and Liquid Liquid tribute – and although it was only on the CD single or promo double pack, I was pretty chuffed with it at the time. I had the idea to sample Patti Jo`s Make Me Believe In You, so that the mix was a little more up tempo and disco than the original. We probably threw too many ideas at it, but at the time we were pretty pleased with it. When the track got its UK release on Kelvin and Danny’s Pharm label it did quite well. It was released the same week as the new U2 single and entered the charts higher than U2 did. It`s mad to think that was 25 years ago, almost to the day. It was a really nice party.
For more from Balearic Mike you can find him on both Facebook and Instagram – @balearicmike. Mike also has a Mixcloud page packed with magnificent, magical, music.