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Erasmo Carlos has no counterpart in the universe of Anglophone pop music that could begin to hint at his relevance, popularity and his complex relationship with the only Brazilian pop star more universally recognized than himself, Roberto Carlos. He may be a beloved pop star and household name in Brazil, but hardly because of the music found on the three albums reissued by Light In The Attic. While in retrospect they can be appreciated as some of his most creative, consistent and personal albums, they were also some of the least commercially successful and underappreciated of his long career, at least until recently. Embracing the artistic freedom of the global counterculture of the late sixties and early seventies, over the course of these three albums, Erasmo evolved from his bubblegum beginnings into a sophisticated seventies singer-songwriter. Erasmo Carlos E Os Tremendões (1970), Carlos, Erasmo . . . (1971) and Sonhos E Memórias 1941-1972 (1972) collectively find this maturing teeny-bopper delivering a mix of world class psychedelic Rock, traditional Rock ‘N’ Roll, Soul, Funk, Folk, Bossa Nova, and Samba-Rock to an unsuspecting Brazilian audience.
As a student and fan of Elvis, Little Richard, Bill Haley, and Chuck Berry, Erasmo indulged his primal rock urges on these albums, notably getting sufficiently psychedelic and fuzzy on Carlos, ERASMO . . . Arriving in 1971 while Caetano and Gil were still in exile, Rita Lee had recently quit Os Mutantes and Gal Costa was onto a new sound, Erasmo’s 1971 album was the closest thing to Tropicália around. Carlos, ERASMO . . . was co-produced by the Tropicália producer, Manoel Barenbein, including a new composition from Caetano, a few arrangements courtesy of Rogério Duprat and the musical talents of no fewer than three Mutants: lead guitarist Sergio Dias, drummer Dinho Leme and bassist Liminha, not to mention Brazil’s undisputed psychedelic axe-master, Alexander Gordin, aka “Lanny”, Carlos, ERASMO. . . is a virtual all-star team of Tropícalistas (not in exile). This album is considered a bedrock album within the Brazilian rock scene and a notable late entry in the Tropicália tradition, rocking harder than any album in his catalog, but also including wispy love songs, soul and funk moves, brassy pop tunes and a marimba-driven ode to marijuana.