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Silvio Cesar  portrait Silvio Cesar established himself as a romantic/bossa crooner in the early 1960s, but is also remembered as an early star of the "samba rock" sound of the '70s. Ove the years, the schmaltzy songs outweigh the funky stuff, but there are certainly gems to be found in both styles. Here's a quick look at his work...


Silvio Cesar "Amor Demais" (Musidisc, 1961)

Silvio Cesar "Sem Carinho, Nao" (Musidisc, 1963)

Silvio Cesar "So Tinha De Ser" (Odeon, 1965)

Silvio Cesar "Silvio Cesar" (EMI-Odeon, 1968)
(Arranged by Lyrio Panicali & J.T. Meirelles)

A mixed bag. Mostly stuffed with big, gooey ballads, this also has some appealing uptempo and mid-tempo tunes; mostly I'd say this is one of those pop-vocal outings where the lavish orchestrations overshadow the singer, although you gotta admit Cesar seems to be enjoying himself, in a Vegas-y, lounge-lizard way, particularly on the brash, brassy closer, "Nascimento Vida E Morte De Um Samba," a song co-written with bossa biggie Roberto Menescal. Notably, all of the songs on here were written or co-written by Silvio Cesar, most of them with someone named Sylvan Paezzo. I'd recommend the first track, "O Gato," though not much else; the kiddie chorus on "Ze Doidinho" is kinda cute, but mostly this is a pretty schmaltzy set.

Silvio Cesar "A Minha Prece De Amor" (Odeon, 1970) (LP)
Oh, god, this is so horrible. Cesar may have had bossa props, and he may have gone on to make a name for himself in the samba-rock scene of the 1970s, but this mega-schmaltzy pop-soul set is just sheer torture. I dunno. If you dig Timmy Thomas or Mac Davis, maybe this disc will rock your world, but I found it torturous. Tons of cheesy, lethargic string arrangements and gooey crooning, and very little backbeat. I've seen reissue editions where this was branded as a "samba rock" album, but don't believe the hype. This is '70s soul of the wrong variety: funky it ain't.

Silvio Cesar "Silvio Cesar" (EMI-Odeon, 1971) (LP)
(Produced by Milton Miranda & Lindolfo Gaya)

Amid the horrible lounge-lizard bombast, there are some tracks with challenging (though not always listenable) arrangements, a slight avant vibe had crept over from the tropicalistas, I guess. There are also a couple of songs that are genuinely fun, the meagre foundations of his reputation as a "samba rock" icon. But for every "Beco Sem Saida" (fun) there are three tracks like "O Nosso Adeus" (triple not-fun). Short version: Silvio Cesar remains, basically, a cheeseball, but manages to swing on some songs, and these are worth tracking down, although you're life won't be greatly diminished without them.

Silvio Cesar "Silvio Cesar" (Odeon, 1972)

Silvio Cesar "Silvio Cesar" (Odeon, 1974)

Silvio Cesar "Vamos Dar As Maos" (Odeon, 1974)

Silvio Cesar "O Melhor De Silvio Cesar" (RCA, 1975)

Silvio Cesar "Som E Palavras" (RCA, 1977) (LP)

Silvio Cesar "Silvio Cesar" (SOS Musica, 1983) (LP)
(Produced by Silvio Cesar)

A dreadful album, for the most part. Opens with a horribly cutesy light pop tune, sort of along the lines of Lionel Richie, a song that just made my skin crawl. After that comes a nice light samba (with Joao Nogueira as a guest performer) and then a bunch of gooey ballads. Of note is a mellow, jazzy duet with Jane Duboc (on "Loucura E Razao"); other performers include Wilson das Neves, Orlandivo, Hermeto Pascoal and Rafael Rabello. This is okay, I suppose, but too prefab and cheesy for my tastes.

Silvio Cesar "Uma Viagem Ao Corpo Humano" (Ariola, 1984)

Silvio Cesar "Amor" (CID, 1985) (LP)

Silvio Cesar "Despedida De Solteiro" (Som Livre, 1991)

Silvio Cesar "Aos Mestres, Com Carinho" (CID, 1992)

Silvio Cesar "Aos Mestres, Com Carinho, v.2" (CID, 1995)

Silvio Cesar "Amigos Da Bossa" (Albatroz, 1997)

Silvio Cesar "Pra Voce" (CID, 1998)

Silvio Cesar "Musica E Letra" (Independente, 2007)


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