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Torn Light Records
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Cincinnati, OH 45220

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Milton Nascimento – Ultimo Trem

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RSD 2020 release. Following the release of Milton Nascimento‘s Maria Maria (FARO 215LP), Far Out Recordings present Nascimento’s 1980 follow-up. With the success of Maria Maria in 1976 behind them, Nascimento reunited with his writing partner Fernando Brant in 1980 to produce another ballet, Ultimo Trem (Last Train). This time, they chose to tackle a more contemporarily relevant subject, the impact of the closure of a train line that connected certain towns and cities in the North East of Minas Gerais to the coast. “The military government shut down the route and the whole region began to fade away,” explains Milton. “I love train rides” adds the composer, “But today there are almost no trains to Brazil…” Featuring much of the same all-star line-up as Maria Maria — including legendary Brazilian musicians Naná Vasconcelos, João Donato, Paulinho Jobim, and members of Som Imaginário, amongst many others, like Maria Maria, the album holds what Milton himself considers to be the definitive versions of some of his most beloved tracks, including “Saídas E Bandeiras” and “Ponte de Areia”. The title track, “Ultimo Trem” — performed exquisitely by Zezé Mota with a choir and piano — is a mournful lament about the human consequences of the axed line. “A Viagem (The Trip)”, launched with a train’s steam whistle, sees Milton’s guitar moving to a train’s rhythm. “Bicho Homen (Beastly Man)” and “Decreto (Degree)” are atypically upbeat and funky, their vocals a mesh of wordless male voices resembling the then fashionable Swingles Singers‘ renderings of Bach. “E Daí? (And So What?)”, and “Olho d’Agua (Water’s Eye)” were both drawn from Clube Da Esquina (1972). The unusual “O Velho (The Old Man)” conjures up an image of an old shaman singing alone into the wind against the cries of nature. Perhaps the most affecting songs are Nascimento’s “Itamarandiba” and “Oração (Prayer)”. The latter is a cry for a change in the situation whilst “Itamarandiba” ends with an upbeat, whirling Hammond organ and guitar timepiece. The closing track “Ponta de Areia (Sand Edge)”, was based on one of Fernando’s newspaper stories and became one of Milton’s most famous pieces, covered by musicians such as Wayne Shorter and Earth, Wind and Fire. After 27 years of being locked inside contracts and record company legalities, these sublime songs were finally released in 2003 as a double-CD package, along with Maria Maria. This is the first ever vinyl release, on limited edition red vinyl, for Ultimo Trem.


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