Sometimes you have to judge a record by its cover: »Marcos Valle« by Marcos Valle sets up the juice bar, his footballer haircut sits perfectly. Valle, the curly-haired Brazilian from Rio, grins merrily at the camera: a drink in his hand, which shines so brightly turquoise, that the waves of the Copacabana could have washed right up into the cocktail glass.
Marcos Valle is a Brazilian national hero. The man who, at 79, still looks like Björn Borg has switched from the tennis court to the rock stage in the 80s, has released over 100 albums over the course of 60 years. Whether samba or bossa nova, boogie or funk, muzak heaven or hit song gaiety – Valle has made just about every disco ball spin in his career. To commit to a single record in his discography would be tantamount to taking an all-inclusive holiday without a free buffet. That »Marcos Valle« from 1983, of all things, enjoys cult status nevertheless has its reasons.
The record celebrates life between jet set and jacuzzi, sashaying in linen trousers beneath palm groves, smooching on the beach at sunset and waving adiós to the pool party – all captured on VHS. Which is why you ask yourself the whole time: how close can samba and saudade really get? Marcos Valle’s album, released 40 years ago on the Brasilo label Som Livre and most recently reissued by Mr. Bongo, has bagged summer, sun, beach and swirl, stuffed it in a blender and dumped it onto two sheets of vinyl.
Forever a place in the sun
»Marcos Valle« is a vibe that cannot be described, but has to be felt. Sounds patético, but: what’s the point of writing about the bass line on »Estrelar« without gyrating your pelvis at the same time? Why expound on the billowing Hawaiian shirts on miles of sandy beaches without sipping away at your second caipirinha while listening to »Samba de Verão«? And are you even capable of love if you don’t find yourself lost in togetherness under the Sugarloaf Mountain listening to »Mais Que Amor«?
»If you don’t rise up, you’ll have no place in the sun.« That’s how Valle’s brother Paulo Sérgio poetised it on the glitter-glamour-and-good-mood hit »Estrelar«. Also good: »Bodybuilding, breathing, air in the lungs.« This Pulitzer Prize-worthy poetry is capable of making your Speedos slip into your bum crack. With a little imagination in your holiday paradise, you can even click your tongue to »It has to stretch, it has to bend, it has to fit«. No wonder the TikTok kids are at it today.
»Bodybuilding, breathing, air in the lungs.« This Pulitzer Prize-worthy poetry is capable of making your Speedos slip into your bum crack.
And before your loins overheat, the next tutti-frutti mixture is dumped into your system. »Para Os Filhos de Abraão«, the secret masterpiece on the record, crushes ice cubes in four-four time, shakes the bass until it falters and mixes liquid diabetes into a melody that makes you mime the statue of Christ to a falsetto bridge. And because some things should never change, the sound still spins on the turntable with its banana and cherry flavour like it did 40 years ago!
By the way: the fact that Marcos Valle almost beat Marlon Brando up a few years before the release of »Marcos Valle«, because the actor had tried to seduce his girlfriend, is sure to go down well during the next round of speed-dating small talk. Which leaves us enough time in future to gaze out of the window, lost in thought, while thinking about Marcos Valle standing on the balcony of his 4,000-square-metre penthouse, arranging his fruit juices by summer month.