Brazilian rock'n'roll first hit in the late '50s, at roughly the same time as the beginning of the bossa nova boom... For the most part, the early roqueiros were looked down on, and rock was seen as an inferior North American import that only "kids" could like. Naturally, the music persisted, and found a home in the long-lived television show, Jovem Guarda, which was hosted by the charismatic vocalist, Roberto Carlos. Numerous bands flocked under its banner, and thousands of viewers tuned into the show with the same intense loyalty as shows such as American Bandstand and Ready, Steady Go enjoyed in the USA and England.
Jovem Guarda pop (also known as ie-ie-ie, once the Beatles hit...) was justifiably seen as a cutesy, prefab creation of the international record industry, which was eager to capitalize on the potentially lucrative South American youth culture, as it had in the U.S. and Western Europe. Most of the bands weren't that good, and their best material came from cover versions of foreign pop songs. Still, it was out of this early, commercialized teen scene that the hippie-ish tropicalia movement arose, blending psychedelic rock with the previously-separate bossa nova and samba traditions, along with a subversive new brand of often-surrealistic cultural politics. Despite the greater celebrity (and cultural relevance) of the tropicalia innovators, many of the ie-ie-ie groups persisted well into the 1970s, although most gradually devolved into soft pop outfits, rather than take up the more radical rock stylings of the early-70s counterculture. Here's a quick look at some of the high points (and low) of the Jovem Guarda scene...
Wilson Das Neves "Juventude 2000" (Parlophone, 1968)
Jazz drummer Das Neves with a kitschy, faux-psychedelic toss-off album, aimed at cashing in on the "jovem guarda" teenpop scene, but perhaps a few years behind the times. These goofy instrumental tracks are the type of things that loungecore buffs go wild over -- Brazilianized versions of Burt Bacharach songs, neutered renditions of early tropicalia hits (such as Gilberto Gil's "Domingo No Parque"), and the like. Composer Geraldo Vespar seems to have been the driving force behind this schmaltzfest, although it must be said that drummer Neves and his crew did a pretty good job with the material. The second half of the album picks up a lot of steam, particularly on tracks such as "Tem Do" and "Joao Belo," which are actually rather vigorous and fun.
Sonia Delfino "Alo Broto #2" (Philips, 1961)
Demetrius "Demetrius Canta... Com Amor E Mocidade" (Continental, 1961)
Demetrius "Idolo Da Juventude" (Continental, 1962)
Demetrius "Demetrius" (Continental, 1963)
Demetrius "O Ritmo Da Chuva" (Continental, 1964)
Demetrius "O Idolo Que Volta" (Continental, 1967)
Demetrius "Viver Por Viver" (Continental, 1968)
Demetrius "Encontro" (RCA Victor, 1973)
Demetrius "Grandes Sucessos" (BMG, 2000)
Deny & Dino "Coruja" (Odeon, 1966/2005)
(Produced by Tony Campello)
Consistently fun; this teen-oriented pop-rock record is a minor gem from the jovem guarda era. JG veteran Tony Campello produced this album, and as is often the case, he proved much more savvy and sympathetic in presenting American-style rock than did the old-guard samba and radio singer-era producers who cranked out so many other jovem guarda releases. Although Deny & Dino cover "Girl" (translated by Ronnie Von as "Meu Bem"), the shadow of the Beatles is surprisingly light here... More striking is their version of "As Tears Go By," which hits just the right emotional tone, as do many of Deny & Dino's jangly original tunes. The Searchers, The Hollies, and Jan & Dean seem like their main models -- softer, harmony-oriented pop with much more subtlety and depth than the Big Bopper-meets-Mancini tossoffs that cluttered the JG scene. Seriously, this is one of the best jovem guarda albums I've heard yet... Worth checking out!
Deny & Dino "Deny & Dino" (Odeon, 1967/2005)
(Produced by Milton Miranda)
Considering the freshness and groovy feel of their pleasant debut, this disc was a big disappointment. Deny & Dino still look incredibly hip and happening, with their muttonchops and goatees, but the arrangements on this album are more staid and forced than before, a reversion to the out-of-touch pop sensibilities of Brazil's old-school studio heads... Tony Campello stepped aside and the electric guitars went with him -- greater prominence is given to chugging brass samba beats and string sections, pretty much the same old stuff that other JG records suffered with. Which isn't to say this record sucks... It's still pretty good, but it isn't fun the way the first one was, and it isn't as listenable from start to finish. Here you have to hunt and peck for the good songs, though while there is a newfound measure of tedium, the cool stuff is still pretty cool. The bonus tracks on the 2005 CD reissue add a lot, particularly the groovy, spacy "Coisas Que Acontecem Sempre," which now closes the album. Worth checking out, but in comparative terms, a bit of a downer.
Deny & Dino "Deny & Dino" (Odeon, 1969)
Deny & Dino "Serie Bis -- Jovem Guarda" (EMI, 2000)
Os Diagonais "Os Diagonais" (CBS, 1969)
Os Diagonais "Os Diagonais (Cada Um Na Sua)" (RCA, 1971)
This Rio-based band featured several key players in the burgeoning "Black Rio" soul scene, notably singer-guitarist Hyldon Souza (who later recorded under the name Hyldon...) In the late '60s, they backed Tim Maia, who was perhaps the most influential of the Brazilian soul singers. Several of the songs on this disc were written by Cassiano, whose own solo career stretched through the 1970s... The album opens with some overly-bright, perky sunshine-pop, straight out of the Southern California/LA playbook; Philly-style soul and a bit of harder funk come into play later. I can't say I actually liked this record that much -- most of the songs seem a bit shrill and hyperactive -- but serious students of Brazilian funk and soul will definitely want to check it out.
Diana - see artist discography
Paulo Diniz - see artist discography
Dori Edson "Dori Edson" (RGE, 1968) (LP)
A notable songwriter in the jovem guarda teen-pop scene, Antonio Dorival Angiolella (akaDori Edson) is most identified with his musical partnership with singer Marcos Roberto, and his association with TV host Roberto Carlos, whose musical program was the center of the Brazilian teenyboper rock scene. Edson flourished in the late '60s, placing songs with artists such as Eduardo Araujo, Os Caculas, Jerri Adrani and Erasmo Carlos, who recorded his song, "O Tremendao." Edson was most successful as a composer, and this appears to have been his only solo album, although he also recorded a few singles and EPs as well.
Elizabeth "Serie Bis: Jovem Guarda" (EMI, 2000)
The Fevers - see artist discography
Claudio Fontana "Serie Bis: Jovem Guarda" (EMI, 2000)
The Funky Funny Four "Let's Dance: 16 World Top Hits" (Young Records, 1971)
A cheapie-label bubblegum rock cover band, doing English-language versions of songs such as "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep," "Put Your Hand In The Hand" and "It Don't Come Easy." Improbably, the "band" featured some prog-psych heavyweights, including Liminha and Dinho, at the time the bassist and drummer for Os Mutantes, as well as guitarist Lanny Gordin. Who knew?
Ze Geraldo "Zege & The Silver Jets" (Rozenblit, 1972)
An early album by Ze Geraldo, working under the pseudonym "Zege." It's fairly clumsy jovem guarda-meets-psych/pop material, in the Roberto Carlos style, but not as well produced or performed. It's okay, though, mostly a curio. There are only a few tracks on here are ones I'd want to come back to and listen to just for fun, including a couple with a Ray Charles beat to 'em... A lot of sluggish, organ-heavy ballads, though, and those are less fun. (He also apparently put out several singles under this name as well, some of which are kinda fun...)
Giane "Esta E Giane - A Voz Docura" (Chantcler, 1964)
Giane "Giane" (Chantcler, 1965)
Giane "Suavemente" (Chantcler, 1965)
Giane "Vitrola Digital" (Warner, 2007)
A best-of set for this jovem guarda minor-leaguer...
Golden Boys - see artist discography
Os Incriveis - see artist discography
Joelma "Joelma" (Continental)
Joelma "Joelma Muito Mais" (Continental, 1968)
Joelma "Casatschok" (Continental, 1969)
Joelma "Vitrola Digital" (Continental, 2007)
The Jordans "Serie Bis: Jovem Guarda" (EMI, 2000)
The Jordans "25 Sucessos" (2002)
Odair Jose - see artist discography
Other Brazilian Styles
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