¡Que siga la fiesta!
So far, 11 versions of the tune "O Mar É Meu Chão/The Sea is my Soil" make for an interesting comparison. Here is a playlist of those I found. If there are any others, I can add them.
Mike, nearly every time that I play this CD in my car, I always back it up to hear this a second or even a third time.I haven't had time to listen to them all yet but so far, none I've heard have been better than Herb's version, for my money. As with a lot of these things, his was the first I heard but in this case I really think it's still the best version. I love the choir and the orchestration, which I don't usually like big orchestrations on Herb's records but this is an exception. This is one of the very few songs in my collection when as soon as it's over, I have the immediate desire to play it again.
My favorite bits are (of course) when the band first kicks it up to high gear, and in the second chorus, the part where Herb lets take the orchestra take over for a bit, and then when he comes back in... the unadulterated joy and beauty in that little sequence just gets me every time.
I've always wondered about the details of the recording of this song, but since it wasn't one of Herb's big hits we'll probably never know all the background.
I would give a second place award to the Astrud Gilberto version.