Stillness -- Critique & Discussion

Which selection best characterizes the group's music at this point (late '70)

  • Stillness

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Righteous Life

    Votes: 3 25.0%
  • Chelsea Morning

    Votes: 6 50.0%
  • Cancao Do Nosso Amor

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Viramundo

    Votes: 3 25.0%
  • Lost In Paradise

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • For What It's Worth

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Sometimes In Winter

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Celebration Of The Sunrise

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Stillness (reprise)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • (Am not familiar with this release)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    12
Status
Not open for further replies.

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Stillness – Critique and Discussion

By 1970 one would be hard pressed to find any mainstream “non-rock” pop performer whose career remained un-impacted by “electric guitar”-based music associated with 1960s US/UK youth. Even unique groups like Brasil ’66 had to acquiesce – owing to both perceived ethnic novelty vulnerability and a desire to sustain and foster a growing fan base.

Stillness is Sergio Mendes’ first 1970s studio LP. As such it’s also the first to wholly embrace top-40/contemporary US pop music. Though such music was certainly nothing new to Mendes (every Brasil ’66 LP has contemporary pop material), Stillness marks the first genuine attempt to select and arrange contemporary music in both a decidedly non-Brazilian and non-MOR/adult contemporary manner. To drive the point home, Sergio even enlists a US-pop rhythm section to handle some of the proceedings. While this may sound like a travesty to some, the results are actually not as heretical as one may assume. (Of course, it remains unknown if this was truly Sergio’s muse or if A&M’s two big guns were “strongly suggesting” such an agenda for Mendes and crew…To that end, Herb Alpert co-produced the LP – although with the exception of Crystal Illusions, he hadn’t co-produce a Mendes LP since 1967.)

Personnel changes occurred in 1970. Dom Um Romao was replaced by Claudio Slon – the collegiate-looking “kid” on the front cover. Brazilian singer Gracinha Leporace appears on at least one selection. Lastly, the LP group photos show a musician who remains unknown: a man of apparent slight build, he bares no obvious resemblance to any band member LP photos [as re-issued on CD] from the 1970-72 period.

Another major change was the absence of Dave Grusin’s arranging pen; many will welcome the return of Dick Hazard’s more restrained orchestrations. Along with the omission of Bergman-Bergman presence, Stillness moves decidedly away from the MOR/”adult contemporary” feel that has characterized all releases since Fool On The Hill. If Sergio was trying to capture the newly emerging soft-rock/singer-songwriter audience, this was a tidy move on his part as neither Grusin nor the Bergmans seemed aligned with the likes of Jim Croce or Laura Nyro music…and this was decidedly the direction that much of Stillness seemed to be headed.

And how does it all come off? Well, actually, pretty damn good! To date, no Brasil ’66 LP has offered an abundance of handedly authentic Brazilian music, along with solid attempts at US top-40/soft-rock. In fact, given this unique dichotomy, the LP, if recognized as an obscure artifact, would surely be regarded as a lost minor classic of the early singer-songwriter/“soft rock” era (albeit with a distinguished Brazilian presence).

Stillness, along with Look Around and Live At The Expo, is easily one of the finest LPs from the 1966-72 era. This is where the story of Brasil ’77 begins and it must have been with great anticipation that the LP was released into the uncharted waters of 1970 pop.

Stillness. Lani’s familiar voice opens the proceedings on a pensive note. The spartan feel may suggest to some the music was still in the rehearsal stage (and subsequently arranged; further romantic conjecture suggests its inclusion is a gesture of farewell…). It is pleasant, but serves more as an introduction broodingly transitioning into a most unexpected sound...

Righteous Life. Unlike no other performance released to date, Righteous Life finds the group at its most overtly US-mainstream/non-Brazilian. Indeed, the song has not one smidgeon of Brazil – including the band! According to the liner, instrumentally, Brasil ’66 is not present – it’s all session musicians. Devoid of direct Brazilian musical ties, the song’s drum-heavy mix gives it a distinct AM-radio quality. The song does well to showcase the then-emerging singer/songwriter vocal style. The pretty three-part harmonies are a nice surprise at the coda. Nothing is known of songwriter Paula Stone…perhaps she falls into that cache of female songwriters (e.g., Penny Nichols, Nancy Priddy) who wrote top-notch late ‘60s music, yet found a lucrative pop career elusive. In any event, clearly Sergio was captivated enough to name the LP after one of her songs – as well as including lyrics on the front cover. An excellent example of early ‘70s pop fully deserving of top-10 hit status, I’m confident all parties were hoping for a major re-commercial breakthrough with this 45. A+

Chelsea Morning. On the other hand, though not a household name in 1970, Joni Mitchell was assuredly racking up impressive songwriter credentials by this time. I’m not sure who had the hit with this song, but as with Righteous Life, the vocal stylings are the optimal fit in both timbre and phrasing. As I’m sure Nick Lowe would exclaim, pure pop for now people, baby! Another great coda. Wonderful. A+

Cancao Do Nosso Amor. Whew! Finally something Brazilian! Sounding more like an outtake from Look Around (particularly given that Mancini-esque, high, cup-muted trombone solo!), this is easily Sergio’s most pleasing vocal to date. Good job, too, as it’s not one of those near requiem-quality dirges that seem to plague Brasil ’66 LPs. The light orchestration complements the proceedings well (presumably by Hazard – though not directly credited; oddly enough, Hazard is credited with orchestrating Righteous Life – though no orchestral instruments are evident in that arrangement).

Viramundo. Wow! Here, we’re arguably treated to the most authentic Brazillian reading to date – Viramundo is like Ye-Me-Le up about 5 notches. It gets the A+ solely based on the beautifully spirited singing. Cool song, too – totally dig Sebastiao’s bass lines. Viramundo closes what may be the strongest single side to any Brasil ’66 LP. A+

Lost In Paradise. Sergio surprises us with his recording of a Brazilian tune written and arranged in a very “American” style (including a totally Beatle-esque B-section break – check it out!). Gracinha Leporace sings the A section and the break (close-miked so we get an intimate glimpse of her timbre…definitely a lower pitched, more robust voice relative to Lani). Gracinha and either Lani or Karen co-sing the B-sections…the two voices being dissimilar in both timbre and enunciation to make their unison singing highly attractive. Fascinating song all around. Anyway, how can one resist a Brazilian woman singing about her little grasshopper? A+

For What’s It’s Worth. Similar to the Dock Of The Bay performance, this Stephen Stills cover is not a good fit for the band. Both arrangement and the singing style are actually quite annoying. (The band is obviously trying too hard to be hip.)

Sometimes In Winter. A much better cover choice, this Steve Katz number debuted on BS&T’s second LP. As much as I like the original, this cover is quite inventive – owing both to Hazard’s excellent orchestration and the band’s impressive musicianship. Sergio and Lani duet this one. Another great coda, which includes an ominous cello, essentially closes the LP.

Celebration Of The Sunrise. Recalling Ye-Me-Le, but with more vigor and definition, this brief instrumental piece is very upbeat and positive…a nice afterthought cum resolution following the dark cellos from Sometimes In Winter. A+

Stillness. But wait, there’s more! As if to confirm a level of assurance, the spirit of Lani Hall emerges to confer a pleasant adieu: the last verse of Stillness is reprised to finish the LP.

Stillness is a very strong record. Unarguably the band’s best studio outing since Look Around, the record features the most overall-satisfying vocal contributions to date: the Brazilian tunes are unquestionably at their most authentic while exhibited soft-rock/singer-songwriter vocal chops are more than competent to handle this newly emerging pop sub-genre.

For all the attributed differences in its sound or feel, in principle, Stillness was no different than what Sergio had done with his debute A&M LP back in 1966. In that year, Sergio came on the scene wilding his special amalgam of US-influenced Brazilian pop…and all things considered, four years later, he’s staying the course. In 1975, Miles Davis (never a man short on words) was once candidly asked why his music wasn’t swinging anymore. The acerbic Davis, retorted: “It’s 1975! You don’t play 1955 music…” Sergio can lay similar claim with Stillness: he sure ain’t playing 1966 music in 1970. To that end, he’d soon re-name the band to drive the point home.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Well, now this thread is probably going to start some spirited arguments.

This was the first Sergio Mendes album I heard in entirety (on 8-track tape, which had both "Viramundo" and "Cancao Do Nosso Amor" repeated). "Chelsea Morning" was my early favorite -- it got radio airplay around here -- but eventually I loved every song, even the Sergio vocal which normally I don't enjoy too much.

I would venture to say that Karen only sings lead on "For What It's Worth," and Gracinha only sings lead on "Lost in Paradise." It sounds like Lani to me on "Chelsea Morning," and "Viramundo." I think Lani and Karen duet on "Righteous Life," and possibly Gracinha sings with Lani on "Viramundo." It's definitely Lani singing with Sergio on "Sometimes in Winter."

By the way, James, Gracinha's last name is Leporace, not "Leporael" as misspelled on the FOOL ON THE HILL credits.

Other than the above, I agree with many of James' sentiments here -- except "For What It's Worth," which I enjoy here more than the Buffalo Springfield original. To me there's not a bad track on this album - my least faves are probably "Cancao" and "Lost," but I still enjoy those too.

I think the biggest "accomplishment" of this album is the huge stylistic leap between YE-ME-LE and this one. No other Mendes album made that dramatic of a shift in sound. Even the album cover takes a giant step away from what had gone before. This is kind of an indicator of Sergio's future....you never know just what he's going to sound like with every release after this one.

Of course, it remains unknown if this was truly Sergio’s muse or if A&M’s two big guns were “strongly suggesting” such an agenda for Mendes and crew
In the liner notes of SERIE GRANDES NOMES, Sergio says that he was lucky to always have full creative control of all of his albums. However, I would not be surprised if it was Herb's suggestion that the Wrecking Crew be brought in to handle the backing on "Righteous Life." The Carpenters' "Close to You" was recorded around the same time, and we all know the Crew's contribution to that classic. Herb might have hoped lightning would strike twice.

Chelsea Morning. ...Joni Mitchell was assuredly racking up impressive songwriter credentials by this time. I’m not sure who had the hit with this song,
That would be Judy Collins, who titled an album after the song in '69. I think Mitchell's own version is the most famous today. (Although Sergio's deserves that honor!)
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
JO said:
Lastly, the LP group photos show a musician who remains unknown. A man of apparent slight build, he bares no obvious resemblance to any band member LP photos [as re-issued on CD] from the 1970-72 period.


It's probably Oscar Castro Neves, who joined Sergio's group around this time - and he's credited inside the gatefold along with an "Introducing Gracinha" line.

Harry
 

JMK

Well-Known Member
Contributor
I know JO means well in these threads, but the factual errors just astound me. Lani is fully present and singing lead on everything with the exception of FWIW (as noted above), except for Gracinha's lead on Paradise. The pic is actually not of Oscar--the inside photos are of Karen, Sebastiao, Rubens, Mystery Man, Claudio, Gracinha and Sergio. I know who the guy is but for the life of me I can't recall right now--I want to say his last name is something like Miltio.
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
JMK said:
...the factual errors just astound me. Lani is fully present and singing lead on everything with the exception of FWIW (as noted above), except for Gracinha's lead on Paradise...
JMK -- Given my factual errors, you then must be an authority privy to recording facts (confirming, among other things, the singers are as you indicate). I'm only using my two ears to make determinations; but if you're aware of factual session details, I'm confident many of us would jump at the opportunity to learn more about the music. Please elaborate. (There are a few sites where one can find session notes; for instance, the Jazz Discography Project site lists session details for labels such as Blue Note and impulse!; there is also a listing of select artists across labels -- quite the invaluable reference tool, I'll tell ya!)
 

JMK

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Well aside from what to me is the obvious aural proof, there's also documentary evidence (i.e., Lani singing many of these songs on t.v. shows of the period, notably "Chelsea Morning" which was a fairly substantial AC/MOR hit for Sergio), there are also Sergio's own comments, to me and many others. But above all, it's simply there for the listening--"Stillness" is Lani all the way, with the exceptions noted above. Once you move on to "Pais Tropical," which one must assume you plan to, you'll get a nice taste of Karen's vocal qualities on "So Many People" and the lovely "Gone Forever." She cannot be mistaken for Lani.
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
JMK said:
Well aside from what to me is the obvious aural proof, there's also documentary evidence (i.e., Lani singing many of these songs on t.v. shows of the period, notably "Chelsea Morning" which was a fairly substantial AC/MOR hit for Sergio)...But above all, it's simply there for the listening...
If there are Brasil '66 videos out there with Lani singing these arrangements, I'll gladly forfeit my e-pen henceforth and defer to your analyses. (I need to anyway, my hatemail box is overflowing these days!). Otherwise, it just seems too rooted in conjecture for me. Essentially, JMK, it's an aural case of what I hear vs. what you hear. And given what I hear is different than what you hear, there can be no factual errors as there is little to no genuine solid evidence around to support either view.

For me, following 7 LPs where Lani Hall dominates virtually every song, I'm definitely hearing different vocal textures here -- no doubt about it.

Anyway, in the end it matters not, Stillness is a heck of an LP and it was just a dirty shame it didn't get the pop attention it deserved -- given all the work and high hopes that surrounded the project.
 

JMK

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Lani sang "Chelsea Morning" on the Tim Conway Show in November 1970, when Tim and Sergio were still neighbors. She also sang both "Chelsea Morning" and "Gone Forever" (which Karen later recorded) on David Frost's show. Both of these are still extant. Both Mendes and Conway kids appeared on the Conway episode, which was very cute. You can conjecture all you want, and you're just simply incorrect, as you were thinking that the Bergmans were composers.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
If there are Brasil '66 videos out there with Lani singing these arrangements, I'll gladly forfeit my e-pen henceforth and defer to your analyses.
Well, videos from those days (and these days, for that matter) offer nothing in the way of "proof" as to who's playing or singing what on a recording. There's plenty of video of the Partridge Family performing, but it's still a fact that those kids aren't playing their own instruments -- and there are even a couple of clips showing David Cassidy "singing" songs that are clearly performed by some nameless vocal choir.

Phony TV bands aside, the woods are full of people who hear something differnt that most others. Looking at the discussions on the TJB forum, there are some people who think ALL of the drums on the TJB records are by Nick Ceroli, for example, when that's just not true. And a recording of a band on a TV show, especially if it's lipsynced, is no guarantee at all of who's really playing/singing.

Even if there was Brasil '66 video of live performances of these songs, it would sound completely different from the records. Listening to the existing live albums of the band is proof of that.

"Different vocal textures" is a kind of vague term. A good singer can sound different in different situations. Just check Lani's solo output contrasted with any of her Sergio recordings; the intensity, the vibrato, the total "feel" of the vocals are completely different. She even managed to slip back into "Sergio mode" on the post-Brasil records she made with him -- "No Place to Hide" (from BRASIL '86) and "Dreamer" (from ENCANTO).

I am just glad that James gave STILLNESS an overall good review. Given his love for the first 3 B'66 albums, I was expecting him to dump on this one, but I think he likes it as much as I do, along with a few others here. Welcome to the minority, James! :D
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Thanks, Mike -- well, all I can say, then, is that Lani's one amazing talent. Of course you're right when it comes to evaluating video clips -- recording/airing dates and who is really doing what is always open for discussion. If, as JMK states, she was indeed seen with the band NOV70, then she was most likely available for participation throughout the entire LP [released DEC70]...and didn't leave during its production as is widely assumed. I wonder if perhaps the production quality had an impact on the vocal sounds? For instance, Herb's Summertime ['71] LP clearly has a very different engineered sound relative to the '60s LPs (his horn seems clearer, with more intimate presence)... I'll just trust my ears and enjoy the music.

-----------

JMK said:
...You can conjecture all you want, and you're just simply incorrect, as you were thinking that the Bergmans were composers.
Thanks for the reminder, JMK. Hey, clearly I need all the help I can get! Anyway, screwin' up all the time has sure built up a thirst...hmmmm...think I'll go have an ice-cold Schlitz...but first, because you've been so nice today, I'm gonna sing a song! It's one of the good ol' good ones that we all love so well... (ana 1 ana 2...)

  • Boy, the way Glenn Miller played. Songs that made the Hit Parade.
    Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days.

    Didn't need no welfare state. Everybody pulled his weight.
    Gee, our old LaSalle ran great. Those were the days.

    And you know who you was then. Girls were girls and men were men.
    Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.

    People seemed to be content. Fifty dollars paid the rent.
    Freaks was in a circus tent. Those were the days.

    Hair was short and skirts were long. Kate Smith really sold a song.
    I don't know just what went wrong. Those Were The Days.
 

Dave

Well-Known Member
sp4284.jpg

It was a good-nearly-twenty-years ago in College that a Salvation Army Store located near Campus had a copy of this LP and back then all LP's were going for 10 Cents while a Nickel bought a '45'...

However, much long before around that time, I had been introduced to Sergio Mendes albums and probably had even seen this one in similar "sales situations" and somehow had to really break the ice and start buying 'em beginning here... Ah, yes, I was wondering how these folks handled "For What It's Worth" and "Sometimes In Winter", having been introduced to these songs by their native bands and I don't think I ever heard "Chelsea Morning" done by its original composer, Joni Mitchell, other than "Mooorrrning" borrowed from Joni Mitchell's version used as a soundbite for a Radio Station's advertisement about its "Sunday Morning Soft Rock" program...

It was a good-nearly-ten-years-after and still almost ten-years-ago that a stint working at a record store had landed me a better copy of this than what a Dime bought, even back then... I was easily rewarded with dibs on a lot of vinyl such as the Chuck Trois and the First National Bank album and a Canadian copy of Strabs member Dave Cousins Two Weeks Last Summer album...

There was also the obscure female singer whose album was arranged by Artie Butler (of A&M SP 3007 Have You Met Miss Jones? fame and who played piano on Joe Cocker's "Feelin' Alright?" among other musical arrangement stints on A&M non-LP '45's) and had a photo of the singer sitting right next to Artie (Man, his arms were as hairy as Ben Casey's!) to which my failing to pick that up easily caused me to have long-forgotten the artist and the title, neither of which are listed in Butler's sessions at his Website... (And eMail's to him regarding that singer/album and what wild guesses I could conjecture always resulted in him writing back: "Not It!"...)

My lengthy personal perspectives aside, it was good to have gotten at least one of the later Sergio Mendes rarities crossed off my list when I did decide to get into the Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66/'77/Solo material on wax and that there'd only be two more installments on A&M, Primal Roots and Pais Tropical (Looking forward to our future commentaries/reviews on those) which I promptly snatched up...

One listen to Stillness easily prompts the critic inside us to ask: "Is this REALLY the Sergio Mendes who fronted or backed Brasil '66?" and before you could answer with "I don't think so!" it is uncanny that most of the Brasilian musical elements which characterized the earlier releases had nearly been replaced by a more Pop-feel and clearly reflected in the photos on the albums' cover/back cover and in the gatefold... You were going to hear a nearly entire different group...

I really figured their version of "Chelsea Morning" (which I voted on being what characterizes this album) was going to leave a very distincive definitive mark in the Music World and somehow with the long-obscurity that Mendes' Brasilian Pop incarnations have been, no such luck... It was at first hard to appreciate this group's interpretation of "Sometimes In Winter" by Blood, Sweat & Tears having heard and had the original group, and a New York-based group being better to relate to Winter than a transplanted-to-Los Angeles, California Brasilian outfit such as this... Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth", too, gave me the same feeling and despite the turning an almost-Heavy Rock song into a Pop/Muzak staple giving off such an ill-effect, both songs by Brasil '77, it, along with "Sometimes...Winter" really grew on me and enough that I sprung for the '45' for the "different mix" of "For What It's Worth" and it was something I actually heard, contrary to the "LP version", justifying the purchase... (And a Muzak version has been covered by an EZ List'nin' Big Band leader I forgot the name of but had heard in a legnthy 8 LP Boxed Set of Easy Listening Favorites covered by Various Artists, in addition to versions by Cher, Oliver (of "Good Morning Sunshine"-fame, billed on his album, Prisms as William Oliver Swofford) and perhaps countless others...) "Righteous Life" seems to have had a lot expected of it with Joe Osborn added on bass and more keyboards than Sergio's piano/electric piano by Mike Lang and somehow failed to come across as the Single that everyone must have hoped for... "Stillness" is a very sombre opening piece and makes an excellent reprise for the closing of this album in its moving moodiness and tranquility... It's easy to see that a compilation of this album had nearly the entire tracks and a song like "Celbration Of The Sunrise" had been left-off but it is a spirited light jam and easily a forerunner of Primal Roots "After Sunrise" with a little bit of "Circle Game" and "Pompa Gira" thrown in... A few shades of the original Brasil '66 are revived with "Lost In Paradise" whose light psychedelia would feel at home on something like Ye-Me-Le or Crystal Illusions had either of those albums been more of this nature... "Cancao Do Nosso Amor" is also a revival of Sergio's original group sound and featuring a lead voal by Mr. Mendes... It gracefully adds or at least contributes to the new direction that Sergio's group had taken and the impact coming from the "Brasil '66-to-Brasil '77" name change onward...

Somehow whatever goals Sergio might have been working towards if it was a little off-course were really found here... Perhaps it was a matter of latching onto a new decade and having to let go of the elements that had characterized this group in just the past one and this was the opportunity to make that fresh start... Or was it the influence of the current Pop music environement that inspired Sergio to record an album that might have the same lasting impact? Whatever the reason, or whatever thought or speculation you may ponder in the motive for this eventful, but incidental change of pace, repeated listenings are endlessly rewarding... The new direction still came with confidence, dedication, conviction, self-assurance, honesty, commitment and certainty... And luckily this LP has gotten more common with the rest of Sergio Mendes titles in Used Record Store finds...



Dave
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
JMK said:
I know JO means well in these threads, but the factual errors just astound me. Lani is fully present and singing lead on everything with the exception of FWIW (as noted above), except for Gracinha's lead on Paradise. The pic is actually not of Oscar--the inside photos are of Karen, Sebastiao, Rubens, Mystery Man, Claudio, Gracinha and Sergio. I know who the guy is but for the life of me I can't recall right now--I want to say his last name is something like Miltio.

I offered that the photo might be Oscar Castro Neves, but I couldn't say for sure. His online biographies have him "joining" Sergio Mendes' bands around this time, and it seemed like a good possibility. I'll defer to JMK however that it isn't him in the picture. Whoever it was, he certainly got a place of "honor" in the center of the gatefold picture. He looks like a young Hector Elizondo!

As to the vocals, I think we've been down this road before, perhaps on the old board so it's not searchable here. I tend to agree with JMK that Lani is present on most of the album. I hear her in:

Stillness (and reprise)
Righteous Life
Chelsea Morning
Viramundo
Sometimes In Winter

"Celebration Of The Sunrise" I'm not so sure about. That could easily be Gracinha and Karen doing the scat vocals, but it could just as easily be Lani in there. Certain moments are rather Lani-like.

As for using videos or TV appearances as evidence of who's on a recording, well that's a dangerous road to take. We've all seen videos of Lani and Janis singing away on early songs that we know were only Lani Hall double-tracked. Still, if there are videos of Lani doing "Chelsea...", then it's a fair bet that she was still with the band at the time and she was likely on the recording.

A note about the Japanese CD packaging (UICY-3707) that I have. The insert perfectly replicates the original gatefold of the LP, right down to the tiny printing, which was at least a readable size on a 12" album cover. The back of the tray insert that becomes the back of the disc package is different in that the track listing is now below the picture, includes track numbers, and one misspelling of "Celebration", mixing up the "o" and "i".

I can't say whether any subsequent reissues might have fixed that typography error or not as I only own one digital version of this album.

As for my feelings about the album, I've always loved it. I'm usually not crazy about covers of songs I'm familiar with, and I always liked Blood, Sweat and Tears' version of "Sometimes In Winter", so I came into that track with a certain amount of trepidation. But this is a case where Sergio and the gang did a really nice take on the song, and I listen to this one far more often than I do the BS&T version.

As for Paula Stone, composer, if I'm not mistaken, she checked into our old board once upon a time. That would have been sometime between 1998 and early 2002 when we switched to this forum's software. I have a vague recollection of her talking about being backstage at a concert where Sergio was performing her two songs.

Oh, and one more thing. This album was indeed a changeover album. In at least Australia, from where the album pictured below originated, the group was labeled early as "Brasil '77"

still77.jpg


Harry
 

JMK

Well-Known Member
Contributor
I love this album, too, though it took me a while to appreciate (I was still a young kid when I first got it). I've sent an email out to some of the musicians I know who are connected with Sergio to see if they can jog my memory about Mystery Man. I'm just drawing a blank, though for some reason the name Omar or Osmar or something like that is sticking in my mind, but I'm not at all sure I'm remembering correctly. BTW, "Those Were the Days" was written by the great team of Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, best known for "Bye Bye Birdie," though Strouse's collaboration with Stephen Schwartz on "Rags" is my personal favorite of his.
 

JMK

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Oh I forgot--I have a good friend in Australia who's a major Lani and B66 fan and he somehow got Stillness with the B66 moniker attached, which he swears he got at his usual record store in Queensland. So I've wondered if maybe there were two releases.
 

JMK

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Follow-up:

It suddenly dawned on me that it might have been Claudio who told me the name of Mystery Man, so I went back through old emails with him (as some of you remember, Claudio came to the Board years ago before his untimely passing, and it turned we had gigged and recorded with a bunch of the same people so we struck up quite an e-quaintance. His daughter also lived in Portland at the time, IIRC). I still haven't found the ID of that guy (if indeed it was Claudio who gave me his name), but here are some salient quotes from Claudio spread out over many emails:

Stillness was always designed as a showcase for Lani, Sergio knew she was leaving and sent her off in style.

I think it was Lani who brought Chelsea Morning to Sergio. She and Joni were very close, at least in those days.

I'm pretty sure Lani sang with us at least through the end of 1970, I at least remember doing some tv shows and maybe even an L.A. gig around Christmastime that year. She may have even been there into the first part of 1971, I just can't remember right now.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
JMK said:
Oh I forgot--I have a good friend in Australia who's a major Lani and B66 fan and he somehow got Stillness with the B66 moniker attached, which he swears he got at his usual record store in Queensland. So I've wondered if maybe there were two releases.

Yep. I guess it's possible that that B'77 title could have been a re-issue later on in the '70s, much like the NIGHT AND DAY comp that used B'77 as the band name with all B'66 tracks. I saw it on eBay and saved the picture as a curiosity.

Harry
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
JMK said:
...It suddenly dawned on me that it might have been Claudio who told me the name of Mystery Man...I still haven't found the ID of that guy (if indeed it was Claudio who gave me his name), but here are some salient quotes from Claudio spread out over many emails:

Stillness was always designed as a showcase for Lani, Sergio knew she was leaving and sent her off in style.

I think it was Lani who brought Chelsea Morning to Sergio. She and Joni were very close, at least in those days.

I'm pretty sure Lani sang with us at least through the end of 1970, I at least remember doing some tv shows and maybe even an L.A. gig around Christmastime that year. She may have even been there into the first part of 1971, I just can't remember right now.

All right! Way to go – this is more like it. Let’s focus on valuable insights like this rather than unnecessary servings of deconstructive criticism (including salt-wound ala mode )

~Nothing like beating a dead horse to a pulp ~​
OK.

So, I dropped a little acid to try to figure out why I hear things differently relative to the rest of the world regarding Stillness…(just kidding about the acid part…actually, I wanted a Pillsbury Spacefood stick...chocolate) and I may have hit upon something: I only know Lani Hall from the Brasil ’66 recordings [1966-70]…that’s it. On the other hand, I’m confident most of our A&M Corner colleagues out there are familiar with much of the remainder of her post-1970 career. Therefore, in the context of her post-Brasil ’66 career and continuing artistic maturity, her contributions to Stillness may seem much more evident – relative to my limited pre-Stillness perspective.

Consider McCartney’s contributions to the Beatles’ Revolver [‘66] as an analogous example. Within the framework of his previous songs from Help! and Rubber Soul, his five Revolver contributions [Eleanor Rigby, Here There And Everywhere, For No One, Got to Get You into My Life, Good Day Sunshine] do not seem consistent with his tunesmithing ability at the time; however, take a retrospective assessment from say 1968 [Hey Jude, Lady Madonna, Blackbird, Let It Be, et al], and it undoubtedly makes logical sense – given his ascent into an astoundingly gifted pop songwriter for the balance of the Beatles’ career and his first 5 or so solo years.

Additionally, in my defense, a review of some of the past threads indicates that confusion among just who sings what is commonplace to Brasil ’66 discussions, anyway…

At any rate, I’ll make some sort of correction to the lead entry that launched this thread so as to not adversely confuse future readers. [Dag nabbit! I knew better than to tackle a 1970s LP!! The 1970s have never been a good period for me...I said as much during our TjB run which was why I never offered up a Summertime review.]


seashorepiano said:
Off topic, but who is that in your avatar, JO?
Seashore, That’s my gf; she’s my guiding light – I figured I could use all the help I could get so I swapped out the current guitar eye candy for real saccharine. She also tells me I spend wayy too much time out here in e-land and that the world would be better off if I got my &$# back to the piano stool where it belongs.... Of course she’s right, so perhaps a real authority like JMK can take up the slack and furnish the last three A&M/Brasil ’77 reviews. That’d be nice, actually. In addition to providing us with some top-flight educational entertainment, I might get a personal opportunity to demonstrate how cordial, constructive criticism works (Ha!).

Musically yours,

Alfred E. Newman & His All-Bugle Brigade
 

JMK

Well-Known Member
Contributor
JO, I specifically started off by saying I know you mean well by these threads, which I reaffirm. I only want factual errors to be corrected; your opinion is up to you. I've written professionally (including reviews, which I still do for national online sites) for longer than I've made music professionally, and when someone has pointed out a factual error on my part in my writing, I try to see it as a learning opportunity, not a personal attack. As others have chimed in on several previous threads, the "desconstructive criticism" seems to be your domain, not mine--most of us here love Sergio for better or worse (Lord knows I bought every album after CI as it came out, including the less than stellar ones).
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
last three A&M/Brasil ’77 reviews
I was about to be a smartass and say, 'Uh, that'd be two." But I was forgetting the live album - but wait, then that would be four, because there are two live albums. Or did we already cover the Expo 70 album? Back to bed for more rest...
 

JMK

Well-Known Member
Contributor
The final A&M releases are:

Pais Tropical
Primal Roots
Live at the Greek Carnival (not released in the US)

The other live B77 album came out on Columbia/Sony in Japan (at least that's the label mine is on).
 

JMK

Well-Known Member
Contributor
BTW, what I think might be a nice change of pace is to simply create "Discussion" threads for the last three albums and let anyone who cares to post thoughts.
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Edits in place, it's now time to follow the advice of my avatar.

###
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom