Artists Worth Checking Out: Sergio Mendes and The New Brasil ’77 brought instant harmony to many pop tunes

Image courtesy of trondeal.com

Image courtesy of trondeal.com

Nine years after Ye-Me-Le brought great credibility, the band dabbled to a rather meager #130 position on the Billboard pop charts in 1974.  But by the time that ABC’s Wide World of Sports featured Brazilian soccer scoring legend Pele suiting up for the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League (NASL), Marietta Waters took over for Lani Hall on the key vocals.

And with the 2014 FIFA World Cup finally taking a day off, I thought another soccer cover would get your eyes to buy this album.

As for what’s important on this album:

Most of the band members were of a newer breed, with only sax man Hank Redd and guitarist Michael Sembello chiming on some timeless classics.

Boz Scaggs’ version of “Love Me Tomorrow” leads off things rather nicely.  Even Peter Cetera of Chicago fame gets a slow bossa nova groove on Track 4 with “If You Leave Me Now”.  A short 2 minute, 14 second version of “Peninsula” grazes Track 5, while Stevie Wonder’s classic, “The Real Thing” slides into Track 7.

Talk about a rare gem, this is from the original 45 RPM days–nearly six minutes of groovy fun:

It would be over 35 years later before Bebel Gilberto put a romantic spin to that song.

But perhaps their most famous song was on Track 8.  Ed Osborne talked about P-Ka-Boo in his 2007 liner notes about the album as a, “bouncy” number.

But I thought the real kicker was seeing on the back of the liner notes:

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Pretending to be seriously injured, back of vinyl record cover courtesy of facerecords.com

Overall, it is a very cool album with very catchy melodies and rhythms.

Great set of songs to catch a breather from either your normal daily routine, or in the case of all of the manic and beyond crazed soccer/futbol fan, just to let the songs sink in and savor just a little while longer.

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Speaking of the Knockout Stage, ala what the NCAA’s refer to commonly as simply the

Sweet Sixteen

By this time in the World Cup tournament, the world is seeing the best 16 nations.

And just like in the NCAA’s that I talk about in the final weekend of March,

I have to bring up the world famous made quote said by the late, great North Carolina State

Head Coach Jim Valvano–whose Wolfpack survived cliffhanger after cliffhanger to win the 1983 national championship over “Phi Slamma Jamma” and the always powerful Houston Cougars:

“Survive and advance.”

Win and your country moves on, lose and you’re out.

At least, I am having a field day comparing some of the remaining nations and conjuring up images of past tournaments involving many former Cinderella darlings involving many mid-major schools looking to crash the party.  But in the end, it is always the tradition rich, big bad wolves that always get the brass ring in the end:

Brazil, that’s an easy one.  They are like Kentucky, staunch tradition with rabid fans.  They always travel well, but I don’t know if Brazil’s coach has ever emailed or texted John Calipari.  Coach Calipari compared his recruiting process similar to what NFL players prepare to reach the Super Bowl each February.

Argentina, they are like Duke.  Either they are pure fans or you hate them.  When Duke lost to tiny Mercer from Macon, Georgia this past March, I was screaming “Yes!” at the top of my lungs that the mighty Blue Devils lost in their first game of the second round.  On the other end, when most of America and 95 percent of the Lucas Oil Stadium crowd saw Gordon Hayward from Butler had his last second heave from 75 feet rim out as time expired in the 2010 championship game, my heart sank like it rarely sank before.  But a few seconds after then CBS Sports analyst Clark Kellogg said to the nation, “There should be no losers tonight”, it brought a sense of purpose that very few sports can match.

Germany, they are like either Louisville, Kansas, North Carolina, and UCLA.  Great tradition and always churning out excellent talent and very skilled players that adapt very well no matter what the circumstances that face them.

And as for Team USA and the other remaining countries, they will attempt to shatter this list of past Cinderellas:

1979, Pennsylvania Final Four

Indiana State, undefeated before losing to Michigan State in title game

1981, Alabama-Birmingham Sweet 16

1982, former Memphis State Sweet 16

Alabama-Birmingham Elite Eight

1983, Utah and St. John’s (New York), Sweet 16

1984, DePaul (Chicago) and Memphis State, Sweet 16

Dayton, Elite Eight

1985, Loyola (Chicago), Sweet 16

St. John’s (New York) and Memphis State, Final Four

1986, DePaul and Cleveland State, Sweet 16

1987, DePaul and Wyoming, Sweet 16

1988, Richmond and Rhode Island, Sweet 16

Temple, Elite Eight

1990, Xavier, Sweet 16

1991, Eastern Michigan, Sweet 16

Temple and St. John’s, Elite Eight

1992, New Mexico State and UTEP (Texas-El Paso), Sweet 16

Memphis State, Elite Eight

1993, Western Kentucky and George Washington, Sweet 16

Temple, Elite Eight

1994, Marquette and Tulsa, Sweet 16

1995, Tulsa and Memphis, Sweet 16

1996, Utah, Sweet 16

1997, Tennessee-Chattanooga and St. John’s, Sweet 16

Utah, Elite Eight

1998, Valparaiso, Sweet 16

Rhode Island, Elite Eight

Utah, championship game before losing to Kentucky

1999, Southwest Missouri State and Miami (Ohio), Sweet 16

Temple, St. John’s, and Gonzaga, Elite Eight

2000, Tulsa, Elite Eight

2001, Gonzaga, Sweet 16

Temple, Elite Eight

2002, Southern Illinois, Sweet 16

Kent State (Ohio), Elite Eight

2003, Butler, Sweet 16

2004, UAB and Nevada, Sweet 16

St. Joseph’s, Elite Eight

2005, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Sweet 16

2006, Bradley, Sweet 16

Memphis, Elite Eight

George Mason, Final Four

2007, Southern Illinois and Butler, Sweet 16

Memphis, Elite Eight

2008, Western Kentucky, Sweet 16

Davidson, Elite Eight

Memphis, championship game before losing to Kansas in overtime

2009, Memphis and Gonzaga, Sweet 16

2010, Northern Iowa, Cornell, and St. Mary’s (California), Sweet 16

Baylor, Elite Eight

Butler, lost in heartbreaking championship game to Duke

2011, Marquette, San Diego State, Richmond, and BYU, Sweet 16

Virginia Commonwealth, from First Four to Final Four

Butler, championship game before losing to UConn

2012, Marquette and Ohio, Sweet 16

Baylor, Elite Eight

2013, LaSalle, First Four to Sweet 16

“Dunk City” of Florida Gulf Coast, Sweet 16

Wichita State, Final Four

2014, San Diego State and Baylor, Sweet 16

Dayton, Elite Eight

Hope to be back after the Independence Day holiday weekend in the United States with my regular weekly blog schedule.  Enjoy the games.

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