After venturing from Brazil to England to attend the Isle of Wight Festival, Brazilian band the Bubbles—the toast of the underground Rio de Janeiro scene, who had backed Tropicalist singer Gal Costa’s residence at the Sucata night club in that epochal year of 1970—decided to experiment with a heavier sound than that of their Brazilian cohorts. Step one, they changed their name to A Bolha. Then, loaded with verve and swagger (and fueled by drugs), they recorded their first album, which has secured a permanent place as one of the best rock/psych albums to ever emerge from South America. That album, “Um Passo a frente” (A Step Forward), was released in 1973 by the Continental label, in a gatefold cover which was quite luxurious for the era. This masterpiece, now impossibly hard to find as an original, made a name for A Bolha in the pantheon of 1970’s Brazilian rock. But success in the early 1970’s was not like it had been in the Tropicalia days, when even weird bands like Os Mutantes had weekly TV gigs to help them become well-known nationwide—and eventually, worldwide.

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