Back to South America, here we are with this album. I bought it because it was cheap at a dollar. The cover makes this look like clown shoes (no pun intended.) So I held on to this since the end of 2015 without listening to it because it looked like a real hokey album. As a side note, the painting on the cover was done by John Morris (1920-1991), the premier painter of clowns of that period.
What a mistake. This album, released by Liberty Records in 1956, was just breath taking. Great instrumentation in a Brazilian style. I was taken aback by almost all the songs in this record. Again, it is a great piece of work. The conductor/ arranger on this record was Leo Arnaud. Born in Lyon, France in 1904. He immigrated to America and worked for MGM between 1931 and 1966, working on a slew of movies. He is probably most famous for “The Bugler’s Dream” which is used in the US during Olympic Games broadcasts. He passed in 1991 at age 86.
According to the back of the record, Arnaud served a term as the temporary conductor of the Rio de Janerio and San Paulo Symphony Orchestras. I imagine it is during thus tenure that Arnaud learned the songs on this record. There is a slew of Brazilian flavored tunes on this which are arranged in a style complementary to their home country. I liked about every song on this record and could easily post any song as a sample.
But I had to whittle down my list and compromised with three cuts. First the fast paced “Expressinho”. Second, my favorite song on the record, the aptly named “Russian Roulette” which borrows phrases from the old classic “The Volga Boatmen” while staying Brazilian in nature. Finally, I went with “Taco” because it is a bit silly.
Top Rated Album. Just goes to show you should not judge a record by its cover.