Imagine you’re starting a record collection from scratch. In THE Record Collection – we’re asking some infamous diggers; people who eat, sleep and drink music – to build it for you – one piece and one week at a time.

#006 Arthur VerocaiArthur Verocai

Label: Continental

Year: 1972

Chosen by Mecca:83

Alright so let’s get the harsh truth out of the way: you can’t afford an original press of this record. Unless your parents are part in the Illuminati or you’ve been raiding petty cash at work for the last 5 years, an original copy is going to be way out of reach. The last one I saw on eBay sold for over £2,000 in reasonable condition!

The good news: it’s been reissued 3 times in the last decade, so picking up a heavyweight vinyl repress isn’t going to break the bank. Onto the music…

Arthur Verocai’s self titled LP was released on the tiny Brazilian label Continental in 1972. It was released to little fanfare locally (it was mostly unknown outside of Brazil) and remained a quintessential “lost” record for over 25 years. In fact until 2002 it was Arthur’s only release: he retreated from the life of a solo artist in 1973 to work on jingles and music for advertising.

Musically I consider this album to be as important as Shuggie Otis’ Inspiration Information or Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi: it’s a record that genuinely changed the way I look at music. Mr Verocai blends elements of Brazilian Music, Funk, Jazz and Pop into something that sounds both familiar and like nothing else you’ve ever heard at the same time. The entire record is backed up with a beautifully arranged 20-piece string ensemble and full horn section which only adds to the timelessness and impact of the songs. From the staccato horn blasts of “No Boca Do Sol, to the psychedelic guitar intro of “Dedicada a Ela”, there isn’t a skippable track on either side of wax. Every song is essential.

For the beat heads: if you aren’t aware of this record then add it to your wants list immediately. Every track is ripe for sampling – and some of your heroes have already delved into its depths. Here’s a few examples for reference:

MF Doom – Passion Flower (Seriado)
Ludacris – Do The Right Things (No Boca Do Sol)
Dibiase – Arthur (Velho Parente)
Brenk Sinatra – Perdido (Dedicada a Ela)
Dr Who Dat? – Brazilian Thought (Pela Sombras)
and so on….

Arthur Verocai’s self titled album is now considered a cult classic amongst music fans and crate diggers worldwide. He’s performed to sold out crowds in Los Angeles and Tokyo to name a few: testament to the quality and beauty of his music 30 years after its release. In case you haven’t guessed yet, it’s my all time favourite record!

Bonus Digging: “No Boca Do Sol” was also covered by Celia on her (also self titled) LP in 1972. It’s every bit as heavy hitting and funky as the original. Well worth digging out…”

Chosen by Mecca:83

Evan Jones