Another much sought-after Brazilian soul release from the late 70s has seen the light of day again, thanks to the beautiful people of Mad About Records in Portugal. A track from this gem was featured on the “Too Slow To Disco Brazil” compilation, put together by Ed Motta.
Don Beto, originally from Uruguay, was only 20 years old when his debut album “Nossa Imaginação” came out on the legendary Som Livre label in 1978. The album was produced by Guto Graça Mello, who was musical director for Som Livre for a number of years and who was responsible for finding new talent such as Cazuza and Barão Vermelho, and Yara Vidal. The album was arranged and conducted by none other than Lincoln Olivetti, the pioneering producer and engineer who put a big chunk of soul into each of his works, whether it was for a project by Gilberto Gil, Jorge Ben, or Zizi Possi.
There is not a single lame track on this 12-song album. Wonderful string and background vocal arrangements and the easily floating, highly enjoyable and sympathetic voice of Don make this the perfect soundtrack for the upcoming spring and outdoor season. In fact, while preparing our business for the season opening in late March, we’re playing this album all day. With tracks like the breezy “Brenda”, really mesmerizing “Não Quero Mais”, or the soulful groover “Renascendo Em Mim”, this is quality Brazilian Soul with a healthy dose of AOR at its very best. Actually, the opening track “Não Quero Mais”, with its electric keys and heavy brass, sounds like the perfect mix between the Doobie Brothers and Earth, Wind & Fire.
The title track is pure joy. Slower, midtempo numbers like the sweet and lovely “Menina Mulher” with its slick string arrangement and Don’s poignant guitar playing, add to the highly entertaining set. Above all, and holding it all together, is the piercing, thrilling voice of this young phenom, who unfortunately didn’t record another album.
Kudos once again to Joaquim Paulo and the people behind Mad About Records for putting this album back to life. We still enjoy the re-releases of albums by Renata Lu, Guilherme Coutinho E O Grupo Stalo, Ronie & Central Do Brasil, or Robson Jorge.