Of the pre-bossa nova singers, crooner Dick Farney (1920-1987) was certainly one of the most distinctive. Farney literally founded Brazil's first Frank Sinatra fan club, and while I personally have never been that big a fan of Ol' Blue Eyes, I think Farney is one of the most intriguing artists in Brazilian pop history. Stylistically he was very broad, ranging from shameless Sinatra emulations, to swinging samba and bossa-tinged material, as well as somewhat flatter readings of North American show tunes and pop standards. His career spans back as far as 1939(!), and his early stuff is understandably, lamentably, rather hard to track down. To be honest, I've only heard a few of Farney's recordings, but I'm posting this discography in hopes of filling in a few blanks, and also steering a few listeners in the right direction... A lot of his stuff is way too cheesy for my tastes, but since easy listening hipster aficianados have pretty much mined the Rat Pack, Martin Denny and Jim Nabors catalogs as far as they'll go, I think Farney's day as a loungecore icon is about to come...
Dick Farney "Copacabana" (Revivendo, 2000)
An absolute delight! Despite his immense pre-bossa popularity with the postwar generation, Farney's earliest recording have remained hard to track down... until now, that is! This is an outstanding glimpse at Farney during his golden years, from 1946-1952, and it goes a long way to explain Farney's enduring mystique. Although his connection with the Brazilian branch of the Frank Sinatra Fan Club is the stuff of affectionate myth, on this chronologically-arranged disc you can trace his transition from a Bing Crosby devotee into a Sinatra-esque stylist. Both modes are quite fun. This album is highly recommended - one of Revivendo's real gems!
Dick Farney "Eternally Stylish" (Cherry Red/El Records, 2007)
Dick Farney "Grandes Vozes" (Som Livre, 2007)
Dick Farney "Dick Farney & His Quintet: Recordings 1953-1954" (Black Round Records, 2009)
Dick Farney "Os Grandes Sucessos De Dick Farney" (RGE, 1968)
Dick Farney "As Duas Maneiras De Dick Farney: Dick Na Broadway/Dick Em Ipanema" (Fontana, 1972)
Dick Farney "O Cantor, O Pianista E O Diretor de Orquestra" (RGE, 1979)
Dick Farney "A Voz De..." (Fontana, 1981)
Dick Farney "O Prestigio De Dick Farney" (PolyGram, 1982)
Dick Farney "O Melhor De Dick Farney" (RGE, 1987)
Dick Farney "Dick Farney Especial" (Odeon, 1987)
Dick Farney "Mestres Da MPB" (Warner/Continental, 1992)
I have not heard this collection yet, but if it's anything like others in this intriguing series, it may be chock full of live tracks and oddities. Probably worth checking out if you see it.
Dick Farney "20 Preferidas" (RGE, 1995)
Dick Farney "Meus Momentos" (EMI, 1999)
This 2-CD set is probably the best introduction/overview out there for this sly Brazilian crooner. In the mid-'50s, Farney was Brazil's most ardent disciple of Frank Sinatra, and emulated Ol' Blues Eyes as best he could, given that everyone around him kept wanting to boogie to a samba beat. His work over the years shows surprising breadth; often it's incredibly cheesy, yet he kept pulling rabbits out of his hat, and would nail some standard or newer pop tune with an unexpected emotional resonance. Even a lot of the later, early '70s material on here is pretty good. Although I usually wind up cringing at some goopy arrangement or swelling string section or another, I still would have to recommend this record... particularly to "loungecore" hipsters who are still going in circles over the same old Martin Denny and Jackie Gleason albums. Here's something new to chew on.
Dick Farney "Meus Momentos" (EMI Odeon, 1994)
Also available as single-disc sets... this is Volume One. A solid collection of his work on EMI... later released as a 2-CD set (see above).
Dick Farney "Meus Momentos, v.2" (EMI, 1995)
Dick Farney/Lucio Alves "Enciclopedia Musical Brasileira" (WEA, 2000)
Hits packages frequently pair material by Farney up with songs by Lucio Alves, since the two were arch rivals at the height of the popularity. They also were pals, recording a few notable hits together (in particular, their historic duet on "," one of the first Antonio Carlos Jobim songs ever recorded). This might help give a better sense of the scene that Farney came out of... (You might also check out EMI's excellent Cantores Do Radio series...)
Dick Farney/Lucio Alves "Grandes Encontros v.1" (Eldorado)
Dick Farney "Especial" (EMI-Japan, 2000)
I came across this overpriced Japanese import pretty early in the game, and I sure wish I'd hit on the Meus Momentos set first, since it is far superior. This leans on later material from the early '70s and is pretty strictly on the goopy side. At the hefty import pricetag, I'd say you can pass on this one.
Dick Farney "Special Best" (Phantom)
Dick Farney "Serie Perolas" (Som Livre, 2000)
Dick Farney "Dick Farney E Seu Quinteto" (Continental, 1955)
Dick Farney "Dick On Broadway" (Polygram, 1955)
Mainly standards from North America.
Dick Farney "Meia Noite Em Copacabana" (Polygram, 1956)
With guitarist Luiz Bonfa.
Dick Farney "Jazz After Midnight" (Columbia, 1956)
More North American standards. (Reissued in as Presenca De Dick Farney, a two-fer combining his music with some Baden Powell tunes.)
Dick Farney "Dick Farney Trio" (Continental, 1958)
Dick Farney "Atendendo A Pedidos" (Odeon, 1959)
Dick Farney "Dick Farney No Waldorf" (Odeon, 1960)
Dick Farney "Cancoes Para A Noite Do Meu Bem" (Odeon, 1960)
Dick Farney & Booker Pittman "Dick Farney Show" (RGE, 1961)
Dick Farney "Jam Session" (RGE, 1961)
Dick Farney "Dick Farney Apresenta Sua Orquestra No Auditorio De O Globo" (RGE, 1962)
Dick Farney "Meia Noite Em Copacabana" (Elenco, 1965)
Dick Farney "Piano & Orquestra Gaya" (Elenco, 1967)
An unusual all-instrumental outing for this well-known pop vocalist. Here, Farney tinkles away on the piano with an insouciant, playful minimalism that mirrors both the deceptively simple style of Tom Jobim and the off-handed carelessness of the Rat Pack set that Farney so adored. Backing him on these tracks is an orquestra led by Ernesto Gaya... For the most part, this isn't that riveting, outside of mild easy listening kitsch value... however, the sleek arrangement on "Blue Walk" is one of the most swinging uses of a string section you're ever likely to hear. (Reissued in 1995 as part of PolyGram's "No Tempo Na Bossa Nova" series.)
Dick Farney "Penumbra Romance" (London, 1972)
Dick Farney "Dick Farney" (London, 1973)
Dick Farney "Concerto De Jazz Ao Vivo " (London, 1973)
Dick Farney "Dick Farney E Voce" (London, 1974)
Dick Farney "Um Piano Ao Cair Da Tarde" (Odeon, 1974)
Solo piano, covering the works of American masters such as Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Jimmy Van Heusen, Harry Warren, et. al...
Dick Farney "Um Piano Ao Cair Da Tarde v. 2" (Odeon, 1975)
Dick Farney "Dick Farney" (Odeon, 1976)
Dick Farney & Claudette Soares "Tudo Isto E Amor - Dick E Claudette" (Odeon, 1976)
(Produced by Milton Miranda)
(Arrangements: Julio Cesar De Figueiredo)
Y'know, even though the musical style itself is super-cheesy, this is a remarkable and compelling recording. Farney's rapport with duet partner Soares is palpable throughout, and the production is a solid, unironic celebration of this type of soft, romantic pop vocals. Recommended!
Dick Farney & Claudette Soares "Tudo Isto E Amor vol 2 - Dick E Claudette" (Odeon, 1977)
Dick Farney "Dick Farney Trio - 5 Anos De Jazz" (London, 1977)
Dick Farney "Dick Farney Plays Gershwin" (CBS, 1978)
A live recording from 1956.
Dick Farney "Noite" (Som Da Gente, 1981)
Dick Farney "Feliz De Amor" (Som Da Gente, 1983)
Dick Farney "Momentos" (Inverno Verao, 1985)
Recorded live in Sao Paulo, in commemoration of his 45th year in show business.
Dick Farney "Dick Farney Ao Vivo: A Arte Do Espetaculo" (RGE, 1986)
Recorded live in Sao Paulo in 1986.
Dick Farney "Dick Farney" (TDR, 1988)
Farney's last recording, made a few months before he passed away in August, 1987. This also includes some home demos made around the same time.
Dick Farney "Dick Farney - Solo" (Ritmo Productions, 1997)
Apparently a cassette-only release.
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