Monday, 2 July 2018

Milton Nascimento/Lô Borges - Clube Da Esquina (1972)

Back to Brazil, with possibly the most stunning high water mark in MPB (música popular brasileira).  Clube Da Esquina (corner club) was a collective of musicians from the Minas Gerais state, led by Milton Nascimento and Lô Borges, the latter just 20 when this double-album was recorded.  With 21 songs in 64 minutes, Clube Da Esquina is like a fat-free White Album or stripped-down Manassas.  Over the succinct running time, it manages to take in regional folk influences, hazy, languid psychedelic pop and a huge dash of Beatlesque styling in a journey that feels more perfect with every listen.  Even the album cover has a great story behind it.

A track-by-track is pointless on an album like this; picking out highlights near-impossible for one with literally no duds - even the two tracks that don't break the minute mark are necessary, rather than jokey filler.  So here's a handful of favourites.  From Lô Borges' seven compositions, I'll go for the sun-dappled goodbyes of O Trem Azul with its gorgeous harmonies, and Trem De Doido, a poignant ode to mistreated psychiatric patients, with Beto Guedes' stinging lead guitar.

Out of Milton Nascimento's phenomenal songwriting and legendary voice... what to choose as favourites?  I'm going to plump for his more impressionistic side that comes out in the Side 3-4 split, on Um Gusto De Sol's woozy, sleepy personification of a pear in a fruit bowl, and the swirling production effects of Pelo Amor De Deus.  But then he's just as good as an interpreter, of Spanish songwriter Carmelo Larrea's bolero standard Dos Cruces, or duetting with Alaíde Costa on Me Deixa Em Paz.  Or indeed with no lyrics at all, on the near-title track or on the ode to his adoptive mother Lilia, soon to be re-recorded with Wayne Shorter (Wagner Tiso from Native Dancer is also all over Clube with his great organ style). Stay tuned for more of the near-instrumental side of Milton later this week, but for now make sure to download this perfect album.



  1. Absolutely brilliant album - thank you for the reminder that it was the right time to put it on again, and thanks also for that link to the story about the cover.

    If I may offer it here, Lô Borges' s/t album (1972) is the perfect complement to this:

  2. I remember trying to track this down some years ago following a recommendation on a blog. Impossible to find! Just shows: if you're patient, all things will - eventually - arrive! Thanks very much.