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Max, “Quero E Não Quero” (1956)
from Portuguese Fados: Authentic Music of Today’s Portugal
Capitol T10013 

Capitol’s “Capitol of the World” series comprised some 250 titles from the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s. The Strangelovian series logo hints at the sort of global domination that was all the rage at the time, but really these albums are simply cheap and easy plunderings of the back catalogs of overseas labels passed off as exotica. Not there’s anything wrong with that. Charles Trenet cannot be repackaged too much, and Christmas in Sweden is too precious a cultural artifact in my family circle to ever make light of. Still, for every genuinely interesting release—Fats Waller in London; ragas by Ravi Shankar—there are dozens of recordings made in beer halls, at polka festivals, or pulled from the EMI vaults of those dark, pre–Mersey Beat days: Norrie Paramour’s Moods, International Vibrations! by Ray Martin and the Piccadilly Strings, Rockin’ Violins by Eric Jupp.

Based on the wacky FADOS! logo on the back cover, the designer seems to have thought fado was a dance craze like MAMBO! or CHA CHA CHA! rather than an indigenous Portuguese music that revolves around the emotion of saudade, which loosely translates as longing or melancholy. And the less said about the “Hello, Portuguese sailor!” cover, the better.

Of Max, all the album says is that he “got his start, at 15, at the Hotel Bela Vista in Funchal.” The title of this song means “And I Do Not Want,” and  it ends with a gorgeous Beatlesque chord.


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