In June, members of Vinyl Me, Please Essentials will receive an exclusive reissue of Jorge Ben’s África Brasil, a legendary album that is beloved by crate-diggers and lovers of Brazilian music, which has never been issued on vinyl in the U.S. Vinyl Me, Please’s reissue comes on yellow 180-gram vinyl to match the album’s font color, and comes with a 12-page liner notes booklet. You can read an excerpt from the liner notes here, and read below for the details of our reissue. You can sign up to receive it here.
Andrew Winistorfer: This record has been on the radar at VMP for a pretty long time; I remember us talking about this more than two years ago and, originally, we sort of had this pegged as a really rad VMP Classics release. But then we had the realization that this deserved to be an Essentials record.
Cameron Schaefer: It feels like a “staple” record, one that is a good toe-dip into a genre or region that gives you a gateway into a type of music you might not — and our members might not — be super familiar with. You could start building out a Brazilian music collection with this record, which is why it felt like the right pick for Essentials.
You’ve been stumping for it these two years; do you remember how it first came up as a title we could do?
It was after meeting David, who runs Mr. Bongo, a label we’ve done a bunch of work with since. I met him at a festival in the U.K. called the Great Escape, and I went to Mr. Bongo’s record store, and it’s a store and label that specializes in rare and classic African and South American music. We started talking about what Brazilian titles we could do together, or what Brazilian and African music I should check out, and afterwards, I came across Jorge Ben, and came across this album. It was one of those where looking at the album cover I knew I was going to love it.
This is a good record for you if you’re only vaguely aware of Brazilian music. It’s really a funk record with heavy Brazilian overtones. The liner notes really cover that this was a radical record; this was a guy making acoustic samba music who went electric and made this raucous samba-funk record. It’s also a really great summer record; like this month’s Classics record, the Willie Bobo record, it’s a record that we sat on for a while to make sure we’d run during a summer month where it can soundtrack your life when the weather’s hot.
For sure, I have a tropicalia playlist I found on Spotify that has a bunch of tracks from this album, and I’ll turn that playlist on on Saturday morning, and it’ll just play at our house all day long. This album fits into that; it feels like an album you can play from the time you wake up till the time you go to bed.
The tapes of this are in Brazil, so we had to make due with high-quality digital masters, because getting them here wasn’t an option. It’s on 180-gram vinyl, and comes in a single pocket tip-on jacket with a 12x12 liner notes booklet.
And the color on this one was done to match the font on the cover.
Yeah, it’s yellow like the cover. This is a record that you know is going to be amazing just based on the cover, so we had the vinyl match that in some way.
And the biggest takeaway for everyone should be that this is the first-ever U.S. release of this on vinyl. It’s way overdue, but we’re glad we can have a part in making that happen.
Andrew Winistorfer is Senior Director of Music and Editorial at Vinyl Me, Please, and a writer and editor of their books, 100 Albums You Need in Your Collection and The Best Record Stores in the United States. He’s written Listening Notes for more than 30 VMP releases, co-produced multiple VMP Anthologies, and executive produced the VMP Anthologies The Story of Vanguard, The Story of Willie Nelson, Miles Davis: The Electric Years and The Story of Waylon Jennings. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.