Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Gilberto Gil
Brazilian Collection from A to Z

Released 1998 on PolyGram do Brasil/Mercury
Reviewed by Le Samourai, 09/10/2000ce

I picked this up after hearing some of Mr. Gil’s tunes featured in the equally brill 1989 Fly/Sire Records compilation Brazil Classics 1 - Beleza Tropical (compiled by Talking Head/Brazilian music nut David Byrne.) Only one of the tunes, “Eu So Quero Um Xodo”, from that comp. appears here. Yet that tune doesn’t really
express what the wild pop songwriter that is Gilberto Gil is all about. Here his tunesmithing is turned up full blast and the results on this “Brazilian Collection” (compared to the Jorge Ben collection I wrote about earlier) is like a very Brazilian Revolver or Sgt. Pepper’s.

The first tune knocks you right out. “Aquele Abraco” drops right in the middle of Carnival time strutting down a street in Rio. Obviously John, Paul, George and Ringo (not to mention the production style of George Martin) were big influences on mid to late 1960’s Brazil. “Louvacao” borrows some of the stately
Pepper’s brass section. Equally the last 2 songs here “Domingo No Parque” and “Ele Falava Nisso Todo Dia” have a slightly disoriented psychedelic Beatles-esque reel in their sunny Brasilero sway.

The key to Gil’s music here is syncopation. All of his wonderful jaunty pop tunes feature dazzling Brazilian rhythm and percussion. All the lyrics are of course Brazilian and again, Mercury’s deplorable absence of production or liner notes (or lyric translations like Brazil Classics 1 offered) again tempers the enjoyment of this disc down a bit. Yet the magic of the music is strong and swirling that you can’t help but get caught in it regardless.

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