Mates’ Crates, a series headed up by our friend Andrei Sandu, dives into the tales behind records and digs deeper into our connections to music. A double bill from Brazil this time, headed up by Don Beto's "Não Quero Mais".
Label: Mr. Bongo (originally Som Livre) | Year: 2017 (originally 1978) | Discogs: Marcos Valle / Don Beto – A Paraiba Não É Chicago / Não Quero Mais
I’ve written before about Mr. Bongo’s Brazil 45 series, my very happy wallet and my very slight unease. Nonetheless, I picked up another this week, with Don Beto’s “Não Quero Mais” (I Don’t Want Any More) on one side and the legendary Marcos Valle’s “A Paraiba Não É Chicago” (Paraiba Is Not Chicago) on the other.
Born in Uruguay, Don Beto became a pivotal force in Brazilian soul music, with his only album earning a Golden Globe in 1979. Of all the characters in today’s story, I know the least about Beto, but I wanted to lead with his track because it’s spectacular. Fans of the Doobie Brothers (or any of the thirty seven covers versions- most famously Bananarama and Richie Havens) will notice definite “Long Train Runnin’” vibes to the intro.
Like so many of Brazil’s funkiest, this one was produced by the iconic Lincoln Olivetti. After dropping out of both music and electronic engineering courses at college, he became a synth pioneer. One of his earliest productions was “Black Coco” by Brazilian Connection - strong George McCrae “Rock You Baby” vibes.
Marcos Valle deserves - and will get - a dedicated column, as there’s much more to say than I have space for here. This time though, I want to lean in to his US collaborations. At the bleakest point of Brazil’s military dictatorship, Valle travelled to the US and settled in Los Angeles, where he worked with the likes of Chicago (the band, of “Street Player” fame) and Leon Ware.
Indeed, “A Paraiba Não É Chicago” is a cover of (Detroit-born) Ware’s “Baby Don’t Stop Me” just as Valle’s “Bicho No Cio” (Bug in Heat) is a cover of Ware’s brilliant “Got To Be Loved”. The funk, soul and boogie influences from these projects laid the foundations for Valle’s seminal “Estrellar”.
Given I’ve already done him such a disservice by condensing his sixty year(!) career into a few sentences, this feels like the right place to mention that Valle also provided the music for Brazil’s version of Sesame Street in the early seventies. I’ll write something proper soon, Marcos, I promise. With his first composition released in 1963, Valle is still going strong because he’s playing at We Out Here festival next week.
So am I (what a ridiculous sentence) with Melt My Heart on the Love Dancin’ stage on Saturday morning. And it goes without saying we’ll be dropping in to Melodic Distraction’s on-site broadcast too, so do swing by if you’re there and tune in if you’re at home.
This hasn’t been my best work. You’re probably thinking “I don’t want any more”. Stick on Don Beto’s “Não Quero Mais”, enjoy, and I’ll see you next time.
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