Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sergio Mendes (1983)



I can't help it. I just love this cheesy album. I had a dubbed cassette of it back in the '80s then, in the late '90s, I went to eBay and paid more than I should have for a CD because it has long been out of print. Was it worth $30 for a used CD? Probably not for you, but I had to have it. Now you can download the entire album for $7.99. Thanks, technology, you're just a bit late. I recently checked on eBay where a copy of the CD is offered for $141.99 (no kidding). I love it, but maybe not that much. That makes my $30 purchase look like quite a bargain.

I'm guessing my CD copy is the earliest printed CD I own. Why? For one thing, the CD was made in Japan because CDs weren't being manufactured in the US in 1983. Secondly, this was printed before the industry adopted the designations for whether the original recording was recorded digitally, how it was mastered, etc (e.g. AAD, DDD). This designation was standard on CD releases later in the '80s, but appears nowhere on this CD or its booklet. Finally, the back of the jewel case is engraved with the words "Patent pending." The jewel case design wasn't even patented when this CD was released.

Now for the music. To say that anyone could have made this record may be overstating the case, but the fact is that there is no way of knowing that this is a Sergio Mendes record without looking at the jacket. Mendes produced the record and plays keyboards on all the tracks, but I think he was more of a coordinator for this album, putting together songs written by top-notch songwriters (Ivan Lins, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Michael Sembello) and the best session musicians available at that time (Nathan Watts, Ernie Watts, Jerry Hey). Sure it's not Mendes' '60s sound, it's over-produced, and it won't be on any "best of" lists, but it's a solid pop album in my opinion. It's easy to listen to and maybe that's just what I needed back in the summer of 1984.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #27
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #22
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #33

Track: Never Gonna Let You Go is a classic and I never get tired of it, but I think my favorite track may be My Summer Love, don't ask me why. Also good are Rainbow's End, Love Is Waiting, and Sí Señor. Track 7, the instrumental Dream Hunter, can also be found on David Sanborn's 1982 album, As We Speak, but there it is titled Port Of Call. The only track on this album I'm even tempted to skip is Carnaval, but its got a tuba solo and how often do you get a tuba solo on a pop record?

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: (Same as with David Sanborn's Voyeur) In the summer of 1984, I would go over to my band director's apartment to pick up mail, water the plants, etc. while he was visiting family out of state. I also took the opportunity to borrow his LPs and record them to cassette tapes. This was on one such tape.

When I was teaching a group of undergraduates during the spring semester of 2010, a cell phone rang in class one day. The student's ringtone? Never Gonna Let You Go. My reaction: Oh my God, is that a Sergio Mendes ringtone?!?!

Previously revisited for the blog:
Crystal Illusions (1969)

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