Caros Rapidos y Mujeras (sic) was the title the Native American artist Frank Howell bestowed on a piece of music I wrote and recorded for the album Marita: Shadows and Storms.
As I sit in my apartment in Lisbon, I recall the story that went along with that title. I alluded to it in this post from 2005. But first I should mention that there are not one but two typos in the title. Caro means expensive. That would translate as Expensive Fast and Women. I think the title was meant to be Carros Rápidos y Mujeres – Fast Cars and Women. This title makes more sense when viewed in light of the story Frank told me. There was a terrible rush to get the CDs manufactured in time for the Indian Market in August of 1989 and I know that Frank Howell was painting nonstop and had lots of deadlines. Somehow the title wasn’t spell-checked before it went to print. I think a better title would have been Carro Rápido y una Mujer – Fast Car and a Woman – as you will see. That woman was the amazing Amalia Rodrigues, the Queen of Fado. And the car in question was a Porsche Frank had bought or rented for a Summer. When the following story occurred isn’t clear to me. Late 60s or sometime in the early 70s perhaps? In the year 1970 Amalia would have been 50 years old and Frank would have been 33.
Frank told me at one time he was a Honda Motocross works rider, years before motocross became immensely popular, and had been racing on the European motocross circuit. One summer Frank decided to drive around Europe in a Porsche. Somehow he arrived in Portugal, somehow he went to an Amalia Rodrigues concert. He fell in love with the music and the woman. For the next few weeks he followed her and went to every single show. After a few concerts he made contact, or she noticed him. He told her she should drive with him rather than ride in the van with the other musicians. It would be more comfortable and much faster. Eventually she gave in and rode in the Porsche. According to Frank they spent much of that summer together.
In my imagination the Porsche was a convertible, and Rodrigues was wearing a scarf, as Frank drove along narrow country streets… fast. Perhaps they had to stop at the edge of a copse to allow sheep to cross the road. It was morning and the slanted sunlight filtered through the leaves and made everything shimmer.
Or perhaps Frank just made up a story to go with the title and none of this happened.