Picked out a few of CDs to review today; I hope I get around to doing all of them…
Antonio Carlos Jobim: 'Jobim' (CD; Verve; 1972)
An interesting 1973 release, the sleeve of which features a gaudy painting, apparently by Jobim's son. All nicely packaged in the 'verve - by request' series.
This was the album in which Jobim first introduced his classic 'Aguas de Marco' (in both english and portuguese), although it is the version from 1974's 'Elis and Tom' which is more celebrated. This a very interesting and complex album, with highly orchestrated arrangements from my idol, Claus Ogerman. The sound is rather unsettling throughout. I can't say exactly why or how, but somehow the vocal tracks sound very unusual. On some songs they are double-tracked with what sounds like a touch of reverb. The overall impression is very dark and atmospheric, certainly a world away from the jaunty sound he had on albums like 'Terra Brasilis' or even 'Elis and Tom'. Great stuff anyway though. It's just not one of those albums I put on very often. One track is a ten minute collage of film music, which is great in places. So, a slightly inpenetrable release, but with some great stuff thrown in there.
These reviews I'm doing are terrible, eh... I always do them at the end of the day when I'm tired......... ah well....
Scott Walker: ''til the band comes in' (CD; BGO; 1970)
All in all, this is a very mixed record - there are some great moments, but it's lacking in focus. The overture at the beginning - a string variation of 'thanks for chicago' with sound fx (e.g. children's voices) thrown in - has the kind of dense arrangements that fans of the solo albums Scott 1-4 enjoy. The rest of the album is rather patchy to my ears, although nicely varied. Little things (that keep us together) is an anthemic, frantic song, but is followed by the relaxed crooning lounge jazz of 'Joe'. 'Thanks for chicago', although rather formulaic, is a stirring piece of classic Scott pop.
This album is often referred to as 'Scott 5', but it's not really of the same quality as Scott 1-4, in spite of similar arrangements from Wally Stott and Peter Knight. The songs were almost all cowritten with Ady Semel, Scott's then manager. I don't dislike any of the songs exactly (well, maybe 'jean the machine'), but they do sound slightly diluted, perhaps as a result of Semel's influence. Some of the cover versions are pretty good - it's corny, but I'm partial to the mournful 'the hills of yesterday' (another Henry Mancini composition, coming across here like a sequel to the excellent 'Wait until Dark' on Scott 2), and the early 70s easy-funk sound of 'Stormy' is very pleasant indeed. There are also some country-flavored songs, (e.g. 'Reuben James'), although not as many as on his later 70s albums. Oh, and the liner notes are dreadful - by the clunker Alan Clayson (who wrote that godawful Serge Gainsbourg biography).