When my man Eilon over at Dust & Grooves put up a video interview of Luaka Bop co-owner Yale Evelev this morning, he spoke about a Tim Maia compilation record that was being released in October of this year that had taken 10 years to finally put out. It got me thinking: I have a Tim Maia limited edition 12″ that I bought off of a dealer about 5 years ago. I listened to it, recorded it, and then put it on the shelf. When I heard the track “Que Beleza” again, I knew I had to put it up on FMF. So here is the great Brazilian Psych-Soul singer Tim Maia with “Que Beleza” from 1976 but reissued on a limited edition 12″ by Luaka Bop Records in 2007. This track will also be included on the upcoming Luaka Bop release Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Soul of Tim Maia.
Born Sebastião Rodrigues Maia in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1942, the musically talented Maia showed promise early as a musician, songwriting and playing drums as a teenager. In 1959 he found his way to the United States and immersed himself into the American Soul culture. This, however, lasted only about 5 years. Maia got his music education quickly though. Jailed for drugs and stealing a car, he was eventually deported back to Brazil. Upon his return, he was not well received by his peers (which included former band mates Jorge Ben and Roberto Carlos), who had started to gain popularity by playing and living the lifestyle of Jovem Guarda aka The Young Guard. Maia, unaccepted, went his own way. This way would lead him to release his own music, and in 1969 things would change. His “These Are the Songs” record made him an overnight sensation. The next years for Maia would be a whirlwind. He was the man, the father, the guru of this Psychedelic Soul movement in Brazil. Everyone was influenced by his work. What music movements groups like Os Mutantes and singers like Tom Ze started, Maia finished. His involvement with the Cultural Racional, a religious sect (cult) that had Maia stop drinking, doing drugs, and having sex. The burly 250 lb. plus 5 foot 7 inch (6 foot with his afro) Maia lost weight and was at the prime of his career. He released two important records Racional Vol. 1 and 2. These would be classics that not many would hear. The radio stations wouldn’t play his music while he was involved with a so called “UFO cult” and his performances were advertised as Racional events without his name mentioned, so no one saw him perform much. He was the first independent record label in Brazil (Seroma), so he could give Cultura Racional all the profits. That would come back to bite him in the ass monetarily years later when he realized what he was involved in. By then, it was too late. He had lost everything he made and denounced the recordings (and destroyed the master tapes of Racional!), which are classic and much sought after records today. Continuing to make records during the 1980’s and 1990’s up until his death in 1998, Maia’s career will be remembered from the years 1970-176 respectively. These were his most creative years, the most influential that not only changed his life and music, but Brazilian music as well. Tim Maia was a man who did what he wanted, when he wanted, and was known not only for his musical genius, but a larger than life character too.
“Que Beleza” is nothing short of perfection. A Psychedelic-Soul scorcher that has so many good components, where do I start? Obviously influenced by the Amercian Soul players he was surrounded by and the ever present Brazilian Psychedelic sound, it’s hard to believe that Maia wanted to keep this tune under wraps. This particular version of the tune, which first appeared on Racional Vol. 1, was actually taken from Vol. 2. The original Imunização Racional (Que Beleza) is a little more mellow and has a different intro. It’s still good, but this version really captures the raw sound. That guitar solo really puts it over the top. All in all, you’re not going to go wrong with Tim Maia my friends, he was a one of a kind artist, human being, and a huge contributer to Brazilian music. Check out the other version below and you will hear the sound differences. We are looking forward to the reissue of this important record in October.
Vol. 1 Version
Go to Luaka Bop and read more about the upcoming Tim Maia release.