Tag Archives: 1970s

Weekly Digs: Milton Nascimento/Clube Da Esquina

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If the cold weather is starting to bring you down, it’s time to listen to the sunny music of Milton Nascimento. A Brazilian legend, Nascimento isn’t very well known outside his home country, despite having a heavenly voice and prodigious songwriting ability. Take the first track from his 1975 album Minas:

The tune opens with a youth choir singing a lyricless melody, then merges into Milton’s wonderfully charged falsetto voice over a softly finger picked guitar progression. A third voice enters the mix and soon the choir rises back up to meet the two melodies, creating an epic and expertly arranged conglomerate of singing. It’s this precision and confidence that makes Nascimento’s music so magical and enjoyable to listen to.

In the 1960s Milton formed the Brazilian music collective Clube da Esquina (Corner Club) along with lyricist Márcio Borges and songwriter Lô Borges. The group recorded and released their first LP Clube Da Esquina in 1972, which has become regarded as a classic of Brazilian music. Inspired by the likes of The Beatles, Clube Da Esquina blends rock and roll with the Brazilian sounds of bossa nova and jazz, and is accessible for fans of all kinds of music.

The production alone warrants a listen, layering crystal clear instrumentation and blending textures of all kinds, resulting in a sound that is broad, intricate, definite, and pure. As the record plays it feels like you are right there in the studio, listening in on the group play over 40 years ago. Clube Da Esquina is an album that takes multiple listens to even begin to digest, but it’s apparent during the first spin that Nascimento and Co. were onto something special.

Nascimento would go on to put out over 40 albums in a career that is still going on today. The depth of his work is incredible and full of wonderful songs as well as collaborations with artists like Cat Stevens, Paul Simon, and Quincy Jones. Below is Clube Da Esquina in it’s entirety. 

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Jamie Coughlin

Weekly Digs: Ted Lucas: The Om Album

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Ted Lucas got his start as a studio musician and member of various folk/rock bands around the Midwest. A classically trained guitar player, Lucas also studied blues, country, jazz, and contemporary music and drew inspiration from the likes of Ravi Shankar to develop a beautiful sound of his own. In 1974 he released his only album, a self titled effort recorded largely in his attic studio that has come to be known as “The Om Album”.

The two sides of the album are quite distinct from each other. Side A consists of a gorgeous medley of six folk songs, while Side B contains three longer, more instrumental jams. In the first six tracks, Lucas develops beautiful and familiar melodies with his perfectly soft guitar playing and warm, open voice. In a way that makes you think Bon Iver must be a fan, Lucas crafts intricate harmonies with himself that settle themselves in your head all day but never wear on you; his music is comfortable.

Get a taste of the music by listening to a track from Lucas’ self-titled album:

The lyrics of his songs are simple and direct, smiling out of the songs at you. In the album’s opener he sings “It’s a plain and sane and simple melody/brings a song to you, brings some joy to me”, setting the tone for the album as a whole. The next three tracks, “It’s So Easy”, “Now That I Know”, and “I’ll Find A Way” are all intricate and touching in their own way and as you’re listening you keep expecting a let down, like how can it stay this good??

Then Lucas comes at you with “Baby Where You Are” and “It’s So Nice To Get Stoned”, tracks that are irresistibly excellent. Side B showcases Lucas’ guitar talent, especially on “Sonny Boy Blues”, a seven minute long rail against over drinking, and the closer “Love & Peace Raga”. The raga is played in a traditional Indian style; intricately picking it’s way along for nearly eight minutes, weaving together melodies, and creating a gorgeous tapestry of sound.

This album is an absolute gem from start to finish, and while it sadly never got the attention it deserved, I get the sense that Ted Lucas was not a man concerned with material gains. So take a few minutes and give it a listen, you won’t be disappointed. Yoga Records put out a reissue in 2010 which can be found on iTunes or Amazon.

Here’s another track from the reissue to keep you company:

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Jamie Coughlin