Sergio Sampaio (1947-1993) initially emerged as a protege of one of the great bad-boys of Brazilian pop, rocker Raul Seixas, who championed Sampaio as a songwriter and gave him work performing on the various albums Seixas produced as an engineer at CBS records. In 1971 he took part in the infamous recording session of Seixas' first solo album (an unsanctioned album that cost Seixas his job) and followed Seixas over to the Philips label. In 1973, after the huge success of his single, "Eu Quero E Botar Meu Bloco Na Rua," Sampaio recorded his first full album, but the commercial success of his early work eluded him later in life, and within a decade Sampaio moved to recording for independent labels. Here's a quick look at his work...
Raul Seixas "Sociedade Da Gra-Ordem Kavernista Apresenta Sessao Das Dez" (CBS, 1971) (LP)
(Produced by Raul Seixas)
This was the album that apparently got Seixas fired from his day job as an arranger and studio musician at CBS. Legend has it that Seixas waited until a time when the company president was out of town, then "OK-ed" the production of his own solo album, which was predictably a nutty, psychedelic mess, made with Sampaio and several bad-boy rockers and theater folks such as glamster Edy Star and Miriam Batucada. The CBS exec got back later, but too late to stop the album from coming out, and dutifully booted Seixas out on his butt. I actually haven't heard the album yet, but I sure like the story.
Sergio Sampaio "Eu Quero E Botar Meu Bloco Na Rua" (Philips, 1973)
(Produced by Raul Seixas)
Wow. Supercool. Sampaio made this album after following Raul Seixas over to the Philips label, and after he had his first big hit record, which was used as the album's title track. It's a doozy of an album. If you originally got onto the Brazil bandwagon through psychedelic rock bands such as Os Mutantes, and have been looking for something that lived up to that kind of promise, then you have got to check this album out!! A weird but alluring, trippy, semi-orchestral, semi-acoustic space rock delicacy, laced with idiosyncratic acoustic guitar noodlings... This combines the searching, impassioned drama of Gilberto Gil's best stuff with the expansive, assured eclecticism of Caetano Veloso. Yeah, I know, that's pretty big talk, but really, this is an album that will live up to your expectations. A real gem, well worth looking for.
Sergio Sampaio "Tem Que Acontecer" (Continental, 1976)
(Produced by Roberto Moura)
Definitely an interesting turn to his career! Although Sampaio started out as a rocker, he was soon drawn to older acoustic music such as choro and the samba, as well as regional styles, all of which played with an exceptionally soulful flair. The musicians accompanying him were all top-flight choro players, including luminaries such as flautist Altamiro Carrilho, mandolinist Joel De Nascimento, saxophonist Abel Ferreira, and Joao De Aquino, who also worked on most of the arrangements... It's really quite nice! There are some rock-pop tunes as well, but they pale in comparison; Sampaio didn't have a great voice, but he sure was able to impart a lot of feeling into these recordings! Recommended.
Sergio Sampaio "Sinceramente" (Gravina, 1983)
(Produced by Sergio Sampaio)
Sampiao's third and final album, recorded and released independently. This one's kind of bland, to be honest, a workmanlike, solid, slick, unchallenging MPB set, not unlike similar stuff by Caetano Veloso in the late '70s, or other mainstream Brazilian songsmiths. It's very professional and well-crafted, but the vibrancy of his early work seems muted or absent. It's okay, but it didn't really hook me. Still, I may be being a bit too harsh: if you enjoy the more staid, mainstream MPB of this era, you'll like this album, particularly the work of pros such as Caetano Veloso and Chico Buarque -- this is very much in that tradition.
Sergio Sampaio "Warner: 25 Anos" (Warner-Brasil, 2001)
This is a straight reissue of Sampaio's 1976 album Tem Que Acontecer, reviewed above.
Sergio Sampaio "Cruel" (Sarava, 2006)
Sergio Sampaio/Various Artists "BALAIAO DO SAMPAIO" (Polygram-MZA, 1998)
Juliano Gauche & Duo Zebedeu "Hoje Nao!" (2009)
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