One of the giants of the "radio singer" era, Orlando Silva (1915-1978) was a real crooner, as befitted an artist whose heyday was in the late 1930s and '40s. He was one of the golden voices of Brazil's Radio Nacional, and one of the few rivals on par with the great Francisco Alves; however he fell prey to substance abuse in the early '40s, and lost much of his career momentum early on. Like many of the great, classic samba-cancao singers, Silva had a revival in the 1960s, and he made several fine records later in life as well. Here's a quick look at his work.
Orlando Silva "O Cantor Das Multoes -- Gravacoes Originais: 1935-1942" (Box Set) (RCA, 1997)
Awesome! This 3-CD box set covers his earliest work, and has the advantage of being mastered off the original tapes in the BMG vaults, so the sound quality is bright and compelling. Deliciously rich, romantic material, with the smooth vocal style that inspired Joao Gilberto, hero of the bossa nova generation. Lovely stuff... I could listen to it for months on end! Probably the single best collection of his work yet assembled.
Orlando Silva "Serie Bis - Cantores Do Radio" (EMI-Brasil, 2000)
This is a swinging collection which starts a little late in the game (1943) -- after Silva's fall from grace, and a change to a new label. The set continues on until the late 1960s, when production styles had changed greatly, and with them, much of the public taste. Even though these were not his glory years, this is still a great collection which dips only lightly into pop vocals corn. Mostly it's great stuff -- if you're only familiar with Silva's early work, this 2-CD set is also worth checking out. You might be surprised by how charming and effective his later recordings are.
Orlando Silva "Orlando Silva" (Revivendo)
Magestically schmaltzy, tango-tinged romantic ballads, with just a touch of samba to balance things out. Silva was one of Brazil's true greats, on a par with Cuban and South American bolero singers such as Carlos Gardel and Antonio Machin. This CD collects some of his best work from his peak years -- it only scratches the surface, but that's why we can be thankful that Revivendo has a bazillion other Silva albums to check out as well. Recommended!
Orlando Silva "Carinhoso" (BMG)
Orlando Silva "O Eterno Seresteiro" (RCA-Victor, 1969)
(Produced by Rildo Hora)
Old-fashioned crooner Orlando Silva gets sympathetic, sweet backing by bandolim master Jacob do Bandolim and his band Epoca Do Ouro. The music is impossibly drippy (as are all of Silva's "seresta"-style recordings), but it must be said that the high-power backing does take things up a notch. If you wanted to hear this style of romantic melodrama at its best. this album would be an ideal starting place. Beautiful flute, as well. A magnificent album; also magnificently corny.
Orlando Silva "Sempre Sucesso!" (BMG, 1962)
A straight reissue of an old album best-of set from 1962...
Orlando Silva "Cancao Do Amor Que Eu Lhe Dou" (Revivendo)
Orlando Silva "Quero Beijar Te Ainda" (?)
Orlando Silva/Odete Amaral "Jornal De Ontem" (Revivendo)
Orlando Silva "Preferencia Nacional" (EMI, 1999)
Orlando Silva "A Voz De Orlando Silva" (Discos Marcus Pereira)
Orlando Silva "Maxximum" (Sony-BMG, 2005)
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