Various: Brazil Classics 1: Beleza Tropical LP

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Compiled by former Talking Head David Byrne and released in 1989, with liner notes and translations by Arto Lindsay, Beleza Tropical documents a New York hipster's first infatuation with the rich, deep, and varied spectrum of Brazilian popular music from the rebellious '70s. There are better Brazilian anthologies, but none so clearly assembled in order to counter the received opinion of Brazilian music as lightweight bachelor-pad fluff (although Milton Nascimento, with his beautiful high tenor, sometimes comes close). Caetano Veloso (whose magnificent "Terra" is itself worth the price of admission) and Gilberto Gil are remarkable lyricists whose music is influenced as much by the Afro-Brazilian rhythms of northern Brazil as by the Beatles. Jorge Ben contributes a pair of highfalutin yet funky soccer songs, Chico Buarque is at his most uncompromisingly poetic, and Nazare Pereira taps deep into Brazilian folklore. --Richard Gehr

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