Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Dark Ages: from the days of the burned records to the Day of Tango

This is the story of tango's darkest days, of the deluge of the New Wave, and of a 99 years old tango patrician, Ben Molar.

The tale begins at the times of the fall of Perón's rule in 1955. The military juntas replacing him didn't yet set the goals of governing the country in perpetuity, but they made it painfully clear that not just Peron himself, but all populism and leftism was out, replaced by the rule of the money and the elite. The tango, alas, has been co-opted by the Argentine populism as the soul of its national culture; tango has been hoisted as the banner of Peronism, and the old personal relation between the families of Enrique Santos Discépolo and Juan Perón has already costed tango's leading poet and organizer his dignity and, in the end, his life (Discépolo actively promoted Perón's 1951 reelection campaign in his radio program, and brought in other tango celebrities to root for Perón, which caused for Discépolo so much vitriol, hate mail and threats, spitting and heckling, empty theaters and denied handshakes, that the poet soon died at the age of 50 of what was essentially lack of will to live).

Listen to the video below. This is Francisco Canaro's orchestra, with Hugo del Carril singing the Peronist march ("Los muchachos Peronistas...").

Tango was falling out of favor with the ones in power, and with the media companies. It culminated in the loss of master copies of tango records. This is the main reason why so many tangos we aspire to dance to are of so-so record quality, digitized from used vinyl disks. It didn't affect all Golden Age records in the same way; in fact backup tapes of Troilo and D'Arienzo have been largely preserved, hence a better quality of recordings of their orchestras. The lore of the tango DJs says that one person, an Ecuadorean or perhaps a Colombian, ordered the master copies of tango records burned, maybe out of sheer ignorance or out of spite. Can we reconstruct what exactly happened?

"Frutillas", Ben Molar's
Castellano translation of
"Strawberry Fields Forever"
In 1959, RCA Victor Argentina, under its Ecuadorean General Manager Ricardo Mejia, a "sales expert", started La Nueva Ola, "The New Wave", billed as "movimiento musical" but essentially a commercial enterprise hiring younger musicians and vocalists to produce a domestic version of rock-n-roll (and to beat rival Odeón with its immensely popular Luis Aguilé). (It is the same year which planted the first seeds of the future tango rebirths when in October, Piazzolla, on  a Copes tour to Puerto Rico and New York, wrote "Adios Nonio") (Of all "daughter companies" of old grand Victor, today we probably remember the best its Japanese arm, JVC or Japan Victor Company ... and if Ricardo Mejia is ever remembered, it is as the barbaric RCA Victor manager who infamously burned the archived master records of tango)

English songs were kept away from the Argentine airways, so La Nueva Ola often used gringo themes translated into Castellano by Moses Smolarchik Brenner a.k.a. Ben Molar, ironically a lifelong tango aficionado, author, and organizer who at the time helped hasten the end of tango's greatest years, replacing tango with the transplanted foreign pop. 

The following year, in November 1960, Mejia hired his fiancee Jolly Land  ( Yolanda Juana Magdalena Delisio Puccio), a 27 year old jazz singer and TV star, to join RCA's nascent La Nueva Ola ensemble, Club de Clan. Blond and silly, Jolly Land has become famous as "The Clan Coquette" and "Argentine Brigitte Bardotte".  And, despite the movement's official goal of "cleansing pop music from the US influence", she soon won a permission to sing - occasionally - in English. All of it cemented the Clan's popularity. As reported in Billboard on Feb. 2nd, 1963, Mejia's commercial success was exemplary because the local talent in economically depressed Argentina has been so cheap, and because the record shops were forced to accept a reduced 20% profit margin - so Clan's LPs retailed for $1.99 apiece. Buoyed by these successes, Mejia broke with RCA to establish a rival, even cheaper brand - and then vanished from the industry altogether.

The magnetic tape technology has been introduced to broadcasting barely a decade earlier, by Bing Crosby who gave Ampex a $50000 grant, in 1947, to reverse-engineer a Nazi tape recording machine, the Magnetophon. Although prototype tape recorders were demoed by the Germans as early as 1931, the German engineers achieved massive improvements in the 1940s, and surpassed the quality of 78 rpm records. Late in the war, the Magnetophone was widely - and secretively - used to enhance the quality of the German broadcasts. It's not like the existence of some breakthrough sound recording technique wasn't known to the Allies ... of course they knew that even after all the studios and archives of Berlin broadcasters were destroyed in air raids, the quality of the broadcast remained stellar ... they just had no idea what technical means made it possible. After the Nazi capitulation, U.S. Army Signal Corps Major Jack Mullin brought a couple Magnetophons and some tape reels to the US in 1946, demoed it around Hollywood entretainers, and got Crosby hooked. Ampex (named after the initials of its Russian founder, A.M. Poniatoff, an engineering and aviation prodigy from a small, and now by abandoned, Russian village in Tatarstan) was up to the challenge, and the rest is history
A.M. Poniatoff with his prototype in 1948
But before the Club de Clan project brought RCA its first mega-profits, Mejia needed rehearsal and recording spaces for his young talents - and his sights turned to the rooms occupied by the RCA audio archive. Far from being a culture-hating Herostratus, Mejia was a pragmatic manager who wouldn't just throw away valuable property. He arranged for a transfer of the records to then-cutting technology of magnetic tapes, to free up the space. But the tape recording turned out to be haphazard and uncontrolled, and only a fraction of the master records (including, peculiarly, Troilo's) ended up transferred to tapes with an appropriate quality before the original master copies were destroyed!

In fact, Ricardo Mejia was the first media manager to put live tango orchestras on TV, starting in 1962 with "Yo te canto Buenos Aires" on Channel 11 (featuring "El Polaco" Roberto Goyeneche singing "Garúa" with the Aníbal Troilo's orchestra!). And in 1963, he commissioned "Tango de Exportacion", a Troilo LP for the foreign markets. So he must have had some faith in tango - the old tango perhaps only good to please the older audiences or the foreigners, but the new youthful tango of El Club de Clan possibly bridging the generation gap in a way which appealed both to Clan's youngest fans and to their parents (yes, in addition to pop and "localized" rock, the Clan talents also starred in the classic genres of tropical (Chico Navarro), tango (Raúl "Tanguito" Cobián), and especially the hinterland folk music  ("Palito" Ortega), the latter symbolizing the defeat of Porteno culture with its music of sadness and resignation in the post-Peronist Argentina). Clan's dancing on stage was orderly, the lyrics extolled youthfulness, contented happiness, and the status quo - the joyous youthful music quite fit for a paternalistic, conservative political regime. 
El Pichuco for export!
Ricardo Mejia and Anibal Troilo signing the deal. "Billboard", Aug 24, 1963
Mejia is said to have lead a personal vendetta against Osvaldo Pugliese, who enjoyed particularly strong cross-generational appeal and who eagerly drew young talents into his egalitarian music-coop team, too. Abel Cordoba recalls how the "Club de Clan people" pushed Club Estudiantes de la Plata to stop Pugliese's concerts, and how they heckled Pugliese at Club Provincial of Rosario.

The clip below shows tango "El Club de Clan way". Young Raúl "Tanguito" Cobián sings "Picaflor", "The womanizer", for TV:
The painting for Troilo
Ben Molar, as we said, did much more than to publish translations of foreign hits through Ediciones Internacionales Fermata, a musical score-publishing label he owned. Ben Molar loved tango music and poetry and he especially loved Julio De Caro, for who he wrote lyrics of Calla corazón calla, and he watched the deterioration of tango culture in the 1960s with dismay. Ben Molar's solution to this problem was to cleanse tango if its mass-culture, dance-hall past, and to develop new tango as a refined art form, a synthesis of painting, music, and poetry, directed at high-culture audiences both at home and abroad. That's how, in 1966, Ben Molar's ambitious tango project, "14 con el tango", came to life. Fourteen orchestras and fourteen singers, fourteen composers and fourteen poets created 14 very non-danceable tangos - paired, indeed, with 14 paintings, and featured around the world on an embassy tour. 

The painting for D'Arienzo
In the same 1966, at Julio De Caro's birthday celebration, Ben Molar came up with an even more ambitious idea of the National Day of Tango. It will take Ben Molar over a decade (which included several years of Peronist rule, even more violently terminated by the military this time around) to turn De Caro's birthday, December 11th, into a natonal celebration. And against all odds, the first ever Day of Tango, on December 11 1977, filled Luna Park with 14,500 spectators!

And so we celebrate it, for nearly 4 decades now, in Argentina and around the world - a day timed to the shared birth date of Julio de Caro and Carlos Gardel, exactly the two tango music great's to whose records we wouldn't dance, as a life's legacy of a poet and a translator who would have loved to banish dance from the world of tango, and who personally lent a helping hand to the profiteers eager to replace tango with rock and with the Anglo pop hits. But come to think of it, isn't it one of those logical incompatibilities tango is all about? Freedom and control, flight and grounding, rhythm and melody, love and mean-spiritedness, fire and ice - that's what makes tango a tango.

Dia del Tango milonga playlist

Rodolfo & Florencia's chacarera!
(David Herrera's image)
The Argentine National Day of Tango, December 11th, never ceases to be a cause of celebrations around the globe - and never ceases to impress on me the humbling point, how minor is the role of our beloved social tango dancing in the cultural phenomenon called Argentine Tango. A typical celebratory milonga is full of skits and lessons, lectures and awards, movies and recitations ... but it still rolls around the dance floor in between the chaotic interruptions, and still culminates in the sounds of the Cumparsita.
More on the grand story of the Day of Tango later. For this post, I'll focus on just a little story of my DJing stint in the tail end of Salt Lake's grand celebration milonga on Dec. 12th.
Guadalupe was spinning the tandas for most of the milonga's dancing time. The organizers suggested that the local tango DJs should take turns during the celebration, however chaotically it may work in practice. My turn has been hastened by Guadalupe's laptop malfunction, and I had to start from playing Rodolfo's chacarera's for the richly costumed demo & for Florencia's short but spirited chacarera lesson. Then it was time for tango, with many interruptions, additions, and special requests. 
01. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida  "Nada mas" 1938 3:00
02. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida  "Madreselva" 1938 2:49
03. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida  "Invierno" 1937 3:26
04. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
05. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "La Chacarera " 1940 2:24
06. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "Cielo!" 19392:31
07. Rodolfo Biagi - Jorge Ortiz "Humiliacion" 1941 2:42
08. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
the best of XXI c. milongas
09. Otros Aires II "Los Vino"  2:41
10. Otros Aires  "Rotos en el Raval" 2005 3:53
11. Otros Aires  "Un Baile De Beneficio" 2010 3:42
12. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
13. Edgardo Donato - Lita Morales - Romeo Gavio  "Mi Serenata" 1940 3:02
14. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos  "El adios" 1938 3:19
Cuarteto Tipico Los Aces
the only bold experiment in the music selection ... Fast and sparkling with energy, these valses have been recorded by a very short-lived quartet of piano, bando, and two violins, who boldly called themselves "The Aces". I really liked 2nd and 3rd valses here, but the first one wasn't as driving IMHO.
15. Cuarteto Tipico Los Ases (Director Juan Carlos Cambón )  "Noches de serenata (vals)" 1940 2:32
16. Cuarteto Tipico Los Ases (Director Juan Carlos Cambón )  "Tus ojos me embelesan (vals)" 1940 2:45
17. Cuarteto Tipico Los Ases (Director Juan Carlos Cambón )  "Invernal (vals)" 1941 2:42
18. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
19. Carlos di Sarli - Alberto Podestá  "Junto a tu corazon" 1942 3:00
20. Carlos di Sarli - Alberto Podestá  "Tu el cielo y tu" 1944 2:59
( break for speeches; milongas needed for Jose Luis... )
22. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fam  "Milonga del 900" 1933 2:55
23. Francisco Canaro Ernesto Fama y Angel Ramos "Milonga sentimental" 1933 3:12
24. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Mir  "Malena" 1942 2:57
25. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Mir  "Manana zarpa un barco" 1942 3:22
26. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Mir  "No te apures, Carablanca" 1942 3:29
27. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
28. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental "Felicia" 1969 2:48
29. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental "Mi dolor" 1957 2:51
30. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "Pavadita" 1958 2:55
31. Goran Bregovic  "Old Home Movie" 1993 0:25
32. Osvaldo Pugliese - Instrumental  "Recuerdo" 2:54
33. Osvaldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel "Corrientes Y Esmeralda" 1944 2:49
34. Osvaldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel "Rondando Tu Esquina" 1945 2:49
35. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental "La cumparsita (Matos Rodriguez)" 1961 3:33
(35 total)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A detour to the labyrinths of memory with Tango Elmira

For a recent long tango road trip, I got an mp3 disk full of Elmira's old "tangotales" podcasts, to listen to on the road. Surprisingly, one of the series, which she called a "detour from tango", brought me to my own childhood memories of Russia and inspired me to retake Elmira's detour through the mists of memory. Elmira traveled to Boston to listen to Yo-yo Ma's performance of Piazzolla's music, but the sound of cello evoked something else in her soul. A flashback. 
A scarlet sunset in St Petersburg, from Vladimir Kezling's travelogue
A beautiful memory of a late sunset in summer Leningrad, flooding the hallway of her childhood home with scarlet light just as she walked in to the sounds of wonderful music emanating from the family radio - the sounds which made her realize the inevitability and poignancy of death. She was 5 years and 10 month old, she says, which puts it to June or early July of 1970. She remembered that it was a weekly 9 pm show, named, she recalls, "A reunion with the lost song". This memorable cello piece was the musical intro for the program, so young Elmira got to listen to it again and again - until they were separated by emigration - but never learned what it was. Only years later, a chance reunited her with her childhood memory, when she recognized that the music was the opening bars of Heitor Villa-Lobos's aria from Brasileira Bachiana Number 5, with its pizzicato and a wordless female voice. The memory of Bachiana got forever sealed with the sound of cello in her mind.

As I listened, I was having flashbacks to another room in Russia of our childhood, where the last twilight of a late-summer evening still made discernible the contours of my late grandfather's "spoils-of-war" German tapestry above the bed, and where radio played in the dark - yes, one can translate the show's name as "A reunion with the song" - but, wait a second, there was no cello in my memory. No way. No Bach allusions. The musical intro of my memory was folksy, back street village folksy ... and I even thought that the instrument was Russia's folk garmon, a type of a button accordion (pictured here on the right)
And then another detail didn't add up either - the dusk glowing scarlet at 9 pm. We are fell in love with the famous St Petersburg White Nights before. These are the nights of Summer Solstice, when the Sun doesn't even go down until after 11 pm, and the sky is ablaze with colors literally all short night long. As Pushkin famously wrote in the Bronze Horseman, the night is reduced to a mere half an hour.

А.С. Пушкин. Медный Всадник.    

...И ясны спящие громады
Пустынных улиц, и светла
Адмиралтейская игла,
И, не пуская тьму ночную
На золотые небеса,
Одна заря сменить другую
Спешит, дав ночи полчаса.

John Dewey transl., 1998

...Deserted streets huge buildings clearly 
Loom up, asleep; and solar fire 
Plays on the Admiralty spire; 
And Dusk directly (as if plotting 
To keep the golden skies alight) 
Hands on the torch to Dawn, allotting 
A brief half-hour to cheated Night.

The map of St. Petersburg in literary quotes,
by Yury Gordon. The Bronze Horseman verse
(highlighted) marks the location of the Admiralty.
So I had to check what people recall of that radio show my grandma used to listen in bed. It was a show people wrote letters to, imploring its omniscient host Victor Tatarsky to reconnect them with the songs of their memories, to the songs which perhaps never even existed on vinyl, the songs about which they often remembered preciously little. But it was always leading to the happy end - from a poignant life story from a listener's letter, through a hard-to-crack riddle of memory - suddenly, to the solution: the song they missed. The show was called "Встреча с песней" in Russian, literally "Get-together with song". And the musical intro was indeed an accordion record of the classic 1947 "Lonely Garmon". (It's a lot better known in the West as Yves Montand's "Joli Mai"). The clip below has Sergey Lemeshev's rendition, the one used in the radio show. The verse actually predates the song by a couple of years, and it used to be longer and more sad, too.

Одинокая гармонь
Михаил Исаковский, 1945

Снова замерло все до рассвета,
Дверь не скрипнет, не вспыхнет огонь.  
Только слышно на улице где-то
Одинокая бродит гармонь

То пойдет на поля за ворота,
То вернется обратно опять,
Словно ищет в потемках кого-то
И не может никак отыскать.

Веет с поля ночная прохлада,
С яблонь цвет облетает густой.
Ты признайся, кого тебе надо,
Ты скажи, гармонист молодой.

Может, радость твоя недалеко,
Да не знает, ее ли ты ждешь...
Что ж ты бродишь всю ночь одиноко,
Что ж ты девушкам спать не даешь.

The Lonely Accordion
Mikhail Lisovich, (with my extensive replacements)

Once again all is still until morning
Doors won't creak, not a fire alight
Yet alone in its soulful intoning,
An accordion roams in the night

Now wanders afield, to the meadows,
Then once more to the village returns
As if searching in vain in the shadows
Still unable to find whom it yearns

Gentle breeze of the night cools the air
Petals flutter from orchards in bloom
Who is she that you call in despair
Who can cure accordion's gloom?

Speak to her, let your secret be known,
She is here, your joy, your heart ache!
Don't wander at night all alone,
Keeping girls in the village awake!

But where does Bachiana Brasileira fit into this? The connecting dots seem to go like this: 

Victor Tatarsky, the host of my granny's radio shows also ran a succession of national radio shows for the younger listeners. They tended to be short-lived, often nixed after someone would complain that the programs paid to much attention to the popular Western music. One of the best known Tatarsky's "young" programs, "Record this to your Magnetophon" ("Запишите на ваш магнитофон"), started in December 1970 and featured foreign records unavailable in the USSR - say the Beatles if you can believe it - and its musical signature tune was, unbelievably, a rock music clip! (from "Ten Years After", a British group). Eventually the "Magnetophon" was shut down, of course - only to reemerge under a different name, and to inspire regional copycats. 

this looks like a cable radio set
we had at our place, where
my little sister listened to
"edutainment" programs and
musical fairy tales, sometimes
irritating her book-loving
brother so much that once
I cut the cable with scissors
(and then I had to patch
it up myself, having quickly
discovered that girls tears
are even more distracting
than their fav radio shows :) ) 
It turns out that in Leningrad, the post-Tatarsky's Magnetophon radio program was called "Your Tape Recorder" ("Ваш магнитофон"). Hosted by the local radio celeb, Rostislav Shirokikh, it featured whole albums of foreign groups, in 45-50 minutes segments. The show was truly geared to being tape-recorded, complete with a countdown to the "Action!" command, and "Cut!" in the end. "Your Tape Recorder" aired at 11:10 or 11:15 pm on weekends, starting in 1976 - and it was also available on cable radio (yes, wireless radio was kind of discouraged in the old country, and banned outright during WWII, lest the listeners tune it to BBC or some such unapproved station, but starting from the 1920s, all Soviet homes were wired for the cable radio broadcast, and in most city flats, the radio was on all the time in the hallways. The oldtimers still remembered the times when it was considered an unpatriotic offense to switch off this stream of audio propaganda). And its signature musical intro of "Your Tape Recorder" was ...  Brasileira Bachiana #5!

Rostislav Shirokikh grave,
at a leafy St. Petersburg cemetery
So it all falls in place, the time of the night (right after 11 pm), the place (a city flat hallway), the light, the sound ... only the age of the narrator doesn't fit. Elmira must have been at least 11!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Milonga del Centro playlist, Dec. 7 2014

A great night of tango with about three dozen dancers squeezed into the beautiful loft of Squatters Brewery. The first guests started appearing even before the opening bars of Di Sarli's! It was especially nice to see many novice milonga-goers from DF Studio enjoying the night, and of course it also meant that the dance floor was at times more chaotic then usual, which prompted me to do something I rarely had to do with the music selection: to control excessive energy. You may notice a few tandas opening with brisk, dynamic music but transitioning to more subdued mood towards the end. The final milonga tanda is also conspicuously absent, and I think you can guess why :) And of course some tandas are built from very strange pieces - your comments are appreciated!

I think that one reason why the 1950s instrumental classics of Di Sarli are so often used in the beginner classes is that, beneath their powerful emotions and baroque flourishes, there is a strong triumphal marching quality of tango of its formative underworld years. Indeed, Di Sarli interprets old ... like, *really* old compositions. Take "Don Juan" - not the Don Juan of Seville, that XVII c. womanizer visited by the Stone Guest, no. This 1898 tango is dedicated to Don Juan Cabello from the barrio of San Cristóbal, a mobster who used to frequent Lo de Hansen, where the tango has become so popular, it even ended up being the very first tango ever to be recorded by an orchestra (of Vicente Greco who played at this legendary suburban park nightclub). And its composer, "El Pibe Ernesto" ("The kid Ernesto") Ponzio, then a 13 years old violinist at Concepción "Mamita" Amaya's dancing establishment for "well-to-do boys" (which I already introduced as the place where Joaquina danced), has seen the jail from the inside more then once too - including a 20-year term for murder in a brothel gunfight (El Pibe only served 4 years before being pardoned). 
And "Cara Sucia" ("Dirty Face") is even older, it's said to have been composed by the legendary "El Negro" Casimiro Alcorta in 1884. A son of a slave mother, "El Viejo Tanguero" Casimiro was not just the earliest tango musician, but also a famous dancer with his Italian partner Paulina. Most historians believe that his "Cara Sucia" wasn't really about an innocent unwashed mischievous face ... but more on that later. 
01. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Don Juan" 1955 2:48
02. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "El pollito" 1951 3:22
03. Carlos di Sarli - Instrumental  "Cara sucia" 1952 2:20
04. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
"Ataniche" is another composition of "El Pibe Ernesto" Ponzio. Supposedly it immortalizes another Bosque de Palermo restaurant and nightclub, El Tambito, and one of its popular visitors, the beautiful "Anita" who is said to ride in a carriage decorated with jingles (in an lunfardo's classic syllable-transposing way of word-coining, which turned tango into gotan, an irreverent greeting "Che, Anita!" turned into "Ataniche"). But others say Anita was the name of El Pibe's girlfriend when he composed it, at 15.
05. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Ataniche" 1936 2:31
06. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Jueves" 1937 2:33
07. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental  "Melodia porteña" 1937 2:48
08. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 1" 1980 0:21
Wonderful OTV valses - of course the one which starts this tanda is also meant to conjure up winter. We need some real snow here at last!
09. Orquesta Tipica Victor - Lita Morales "Noches de invierno" 1937 2:47
10. Orquesta Típica Víctor - Angel Bargas "Sin Rumbo Fijo (vals)" 1938 2:18
11. Orquesta Tipica Victor, M. Pomar  "Temo" 1940 2:55
12. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
13. Francisco Canaro - Francisco Amor "En esta tarde gris" 1941 2:56
14. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Fama "Te quiero todavia" 1939 2:54
15. Francisco Canaro - Francisco Amor "Cuartito azul" 1939 2:46
16. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
17. Enrique Rodriguez - Fernando Reyes "Alma en pena" 1946 3:05
18. Enrique Rodriguez - Roberto Flores  "Un copetin" 1939 2:56
19. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Mi piba linda" 1943 2:51
20. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 1" 1980 0:21
There is no arguing that milonga as the dance music genre we know emerged "only" in the 1930s ... yet many milongas we love are much, much older than that. Before these tunes morphed into milongas, they were rhythmic, canyenge-ish tangos of the Old Guard, and often, even before that, they were folk milongas with great many couplets from the XIX century. "El lloron", formally registered to Guardia Vieja's Juan Maglio "Pacho", has even been a subject of a lawsuit with the heirs of Afro-Argentine XIX c. composer Rosendo Mendisabal. In the end they only proved that a folk milonga tune which inspired this and other compositions must have existed as early as in 1890. Today's letras of "El lloron", "The Crybaby", are a boast of a womanizer who seduces by making women take pity of him, the one who literally earned his diploma in crying.
The 1901 "La cara de luna" is another archaic rhythmic tango morphed into a modern milonga, and its underworld roots literally yell out of its score jacket with its face of cigarette-smoking Moon. The title translates as "The face of the Moon", but note the curious dots after the letters C... and L.... The publishers just wouldn't put the original dirty slang c- and l-words in print! In fact tango historians often assume that whenever a primordial tango mentions "cara" (a face), it's almost always a self-censorship substitution of "concha" (a slang word for vagina). They must be right. Take for example the "unwashed face" of Cara Sucia tango from the opening tanda above. Formally registered to Canaro with a cleaned-up lyrics, it's known to be much older, and the apocryphal versions of Cara Sucia sing of the guy washing "it" with the fountain of his love and other such niceties.
21. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "El lloron" 1948 2:01
22. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "Milongon" 1952 2:29
23. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "La cara de la luna (milonga)" 1959 2:29
24. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 2" 1980 0:18
25. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "Manana zarpa un barco" 1942 3:22
26. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "Sorbos amargos" 1942 3:22
27. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "No te apures, Carablanca" 1942 3:29
28. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
29. Ricardo Tanturi - Alberto Castillo  "Recuerdo Malevo" 1941 2:33
30. Ricardo Tanturi - Alberto Castillo  "Moneda de cobre" 1942 2:50
31. Ricardo Tanturi - Alberto Castillo "Así Se Baila El Tango" 1942 2:34
32. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
Smiling valses - the first one is remixing a Mexican Zapotec folk song from Tehuantepec more commonly known there as "La Sandunga".
33. Francisco Canaro - Francisco Amor   "La Zandunga" 1939 3:10
34. Francisco Canaro - Francisco Amor  "Salud, Dinero y Amor (vals)" 1939 3:06
35. Francisco Canaro - Francisco Amor  "Cuando Estaba Enamorado (vals)" 1940 2:49
36. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 1" 1980 0:21
A very different Di Sarli, a quarter of a century earlier than the opening tanda...
37. Sexteto Carlos di Sarli - Ernesto Famá "La estancia" 1930 3:25
38. Sexteto Carlos di Sarli  "Añorandote-Instrumental" 1930 2:42
39. Sexteto Carlos di Sarli - Ernesto Famá  "Chau pinela" 1930 2:36
40. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 2" 1980 0:18
41. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray  "En la huella del dolor" 1934 2:48
42. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray "No quiero verte llorar" 1937 2:42
43. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray "Recuerdo de bohemia" 1935 2:36
44. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
45. Carlos Di Sarli Roberto Rufino "La Mulateada"  2:22
46. Carlos Di Sarli Roberto Rufino "Zorzal"  2:40
47. Carlos Di Sarli Roberto Rufino "Pena Mulata" 2:27
48. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
Tania & "Discepolin"
A great and almost never heard female voice here, the one of Tania. Simply Tania, the muse of the great tango poet and politician Enríque Discépolo whom she never married, and whom she outlived by half a century. A famous movie actress and a singer of many tangos - who nevertheless never worked with any major tango orchestras, and who has left virtually no danceable records. Tania was born Ana Luciano Divis in Spain; she borrowed the scene name from a Russian childhood friend. In the mid-1920s Tania toured South America with her then-husband, singing Spanish folk couplets. For whatever reason he returned to Spain and she stayed behind and fell in love with tango, at first, and Discépolo, soon after, trading a pampered life of an operetta star for the misery of the pre-Golden age tango years.
They traveled far and wide with Enríque Discépolo, and in the mid-1930s they were even accompanied by Discépolo own Orquesta Típica. The poet lacked good understanding of music and his traveling orchestra was directed by Eduardo "Lalo" Scalise, a pianist and a composer who also accompanied Tania in the movies and on the radio, apparently causing Discépolo some pangs of jealousy. So you may find it peculiar that this Orquesta Discepolo (directed by Lalo) recording with Tania is entitled ... "A reproach".
"Un reproche" is a pretty unique record, of course, defying regular tanda-building recipes, so here I paired it with the two gems of two other "rare" orchestras, Sassone's and Varela's.
49. Tania & Orquesta Típica de Enríque Santos Discépolo "Un Reproche" 1937 3:02
50. Florindo Sassone - Roberto Chanel "Corrientes Angosta" 1952 3:11
51. Héctor Varela - Rodolfo Lesica  "Que Sigan Charlando" 1952 3:07
52. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 2" 1980 0:18
53. Carlos di Sarli - Oscar Serpa  "Verdemar" 1955 3:01
54. Carlos di Sarli - Oscar Serpa  "Al compás del corazón" 1952 3:29
55. Carlos di Sarli - Mario Pomar  "Nido gaucho" 1955 3:52
56. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20

The first two valses of the tanda were used for farewell dances for Rudy & Emily. Best of luck to you two on the East Coast!
57. Rodolfo Biagi - Alberto Lagos  "Amor y vals" 1942 2:48
58. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "Dejame Amarte Aunque Sea un Dia (vals)" 1939 2:55
59. Rodolfo Biagi - Jorge Ortíz "Por Un Beso De Amor (vals)" 1940 2:44
60. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 1" 1980 0:21
And the beautiful voice of Lita Morales makes its second of 3 appearances for the night in the end of this rhythmic and just a touch bitter Donato tanda.
61. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos  "Lagrimas" 1939 2:50
62. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos  "A oscuras" 1941 2:48
63. Edgardo Donato - Lita Morales, Romeo Gavio "Yo Te Amo" 1940 2:50
64. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
The next tanda was built around its middle piece, recorded by Horacio Salgán's quintet of stars in 1960. "Ensueños" is irresistibly lyrical, and IMHO uniquely danceable among Quinteto Real's tangos which were pretty much intended for listening rather than for dancing in those dark years of Argentine tango. Here I sandwiched this unique piece between a great record of the short-lived orchestra of Fulvio Salamanca (for a long time the pianist of D'Arienzo's, who was repeatedly blacklisted and jailed for his leftist convictions), and a late, intensely dark and dramatic Caló.
65. Fulvio Salamanca - Instrumental "El Taita" 1958 3:00
66. Quinteto Real  "Ensueños" 1960 3:09
67. Miguel Caló - Lucho Gatica  "Percal" 1965 2:58
68. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 2" 1980 0:18
The greatest female voices of Uruguay:
69. Donato Racciatti  - Nina Miranda "Gloria " 1952 2:44
70. Donato Racciatti - Olga Delgrossi "Hasta siempre amor" 1958 2:57
71. Donato Racciatti  - Nina Miranda "Tu corazón" 2:32
72. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
milongas nixed, on to the crescendo:
73. Edgardo Donato - Lita Morales - Romeo Gavio  "Mi Serenata" 1940 3:02
74. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos, Lita Morales y Romeo Gavio "Sinfonia de Arrabal" 1940 3:07
75. Donato, Edgardo - Horacio Lagos "El Adios" 1938 3:09
76. The Blues Brothers  "Theme From Rawhide 3" 1980 0:20
77. Osvaldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel "La Abandone Y No Sabia" 1944 3:12
78. Osvaldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel "Corrientes Y Esmeralda" 1944 2:49
79. Osvaldo Pugliese  "Gallo Ciego" 1959 3:34
80. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental "La cumparsita" 1961 3:33
81. Keiko Matsui  "Bridge Over The Stars" 1996 4:20
(81 total)