TANGO: Discographical Bits & Pieces

Some questions about tango recordings or editions seem to be ever recurring. I have created this page to give these little pieces of information, each very limited in scope on their own, a home. Still on the thin side now, but I guess it will grow with time.



"If it is written it must be true" (24-05-2014)

You may consider - rightfully - that it is not that important who really recorded "Chafalonia" in 1923. Nevertheless, if you are the kind of person ready to bet your head (or worse: swear on the soul of your little children) once you have read something somewhere: read on...

According to the discography of Osvaldo Fresedo by Nicolas Lefcovich, "
Chafalonia" was recorded by the Fresedo orchestra and issued together with "La Llorona" by the Orquesta Típica Pereyra. But if we consult the Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings (EDVR, excellent initiative from the University of California, Santa Barbara) we find that for record nr. 77293 both Chafalonia and La Llorona were recorded by the Eduardo Pereyra orchestra.

Update 2014-11: the EDVR pages are now published by DAHR (Discography of American Historical Recordings) and in their latest edition, Chafalonia is attributed to Fresedo, not Pereyra. Nevertheless I have kept this article online as it illustrates the possible pitfalls of discographical research, even if you use original documents (the alternate assignment in Caras y Caretas still holds).

Fotos of record labels (that can be found on eBay) seem to indicate that Lefcovich is right. Nevertheless, I don't think that EDVR made an error, it looks like they faithfully represent the data that can be found on Victor internal documents (catalogs, so called blue history cards and others). Already in 1924, when the record was announced in Caras y Caretas (n° 1337, May 1924), the same data appear: both sides recorded by the Pereyra orchestra.

So, who is right ? Hard to tell (at least I can't): the style of the Chafalonia recording seems acceptable as a Fresedo in those years. On the other hand, from the few Pereyra recordings that are available to me (most are lost ?) I can not conclude that the style of the 2 orchestras is so strikingly different that you can discern them with 100% certainty by simply listening
(again: at least I can't). But the conclusion is inevitable: even the recording company's own data (on blue cards or on record labels) are not always as accurate and consistent as we expect them.

77293-A 77293-B Caras y Caretas C&C1337 1924-05

Errare humanum est... (and when drastic, you will make us smile)  (04-04-2013)

Two Roberto Firpo recordings, the tangos "Nunca te olvidaré, madre" and "Viejo Disco", edited as if they were recorded by Francisco Canaro...
The record number 8793 leaves little doubt about the error (at that time Canaro records had numbers in the 4000-range) - and they were correctly advertized by Disco Nacional in Caras y Caretas (n°1567, Oct. 1928).

"Intimas" and the Francisco Lomuto discography  (19-12-2010)

Most of the time we are looking for a hard to get recording that is mentioned in the discographies, but the reverse can happen (although less frequently): a recording may be rather easily available but cannot be found in the discographies. One example is Intimas by Francisco Lomuto - more precisely: the 1931 version with Fernando Diaz -  which remains absent in Lefcovich.
Alejandro J. Lomuto included it in his review (as n°572), based on the modern CD editions that are available (among them the Colección 78 rpm volume by Euro Records), but remained in the dark about the original edition :

"No tengo información sobre si fue publicada originalmente con un acople cuyos datos no se conocen –en ese caso estaría faltando un tema en esta discografía– o si se publicó junto a otro tema ya editado anteriormente."

"I do not know if it was edited together with another unknown recording - in which case one is missing in this discography - or if it was published with another theme that was already edited earlier."

It can now be demonstrated that the latter hypothesis is the correct one.

There seem to exist two different versions of the RCA Víctor record numbered 37122.
Both have Mar De Fondo as the B-side but with different A-sides: one is the well-documented Se Fue Sin Decor Adiós, the other Intimas.

The use of the same record number in spite of different content (not just another take) is unusual - and the reasons are unknown to me (intentional or production error ?) - but it may explain why Intimas disappeared under the radar of some discographers.

If you are interested in tango recording history, record and master numbers may be extremely useful, but as follows from this example: always be prepared for some suprises...

Coca-Tango or Tango-Cola ? : La Orquesta Típica Coca-Cola  (27-12-2006)

Although tango music or dance is sometimes used in advertisements, these ads are not specifically targeted at a tango audience. Like it or not (but you won't hear ME complain about that) we are just too small and too diffuse as a group, even nowadays in Buenos Aires. But times have been different. In the forties, complete radio programs were sponsored, not just the program : also the in-house orchestra which played live during the radio shows, as was common in those days. And therefore, the Orq. Típica Coca-Cola shows up in some discographies (among them those of Alberto Goméz, Azucena Maizani, Raúl Iriarte, Sabina Olmos, Roberto Quiroga, Carmen Duval ...).
The Orq. Típica Coca-Cola played in the "Ronda musical de las Américas" shows (mid 40s), hosted by Ivan Casadó. The names of the musicians of this orchestra didn't make it into tango history. But if you see some of the big names (like Pedro Maffia, Miguel Caló, Pedro Laurenz, Carlos Di Sarli...) associated with this orchestra, this should be understood as the maestros being invited as occasional guest musicians or directors, not real members of the orchestra.

A Coca-Cola radio ad introducing  "Me llamo Anselmo Contreras" as performed by the Orq. Típica Coca-Cola, directed by Miguel Caló, and interpreted by Raúl Iriarte.
(Ronda musical de las Américas, 1946)

Ricardo Tanturi / Enrique Campos - or not ? - The Magenta Label   (13-09-2006)
The Magenta label has edited two CDs entitled "Ricardo Tanturi / Enique Campos" (Vol.1 & 2). However, this  title is more than misleading. The combination of Ricardo Tanturi and Enrique Campos will certainly sound appealing to those who like "Epoca de Oro" music (Tanturi and Campos recorded together between 1943 and 1946 - Campos replaced Alberto Castillo who had left Tanturi to pursue a soloist carreer).
Alas: not a single of the 28 tracks (14 on each CD) is performed by Campos and Tanturi together. Most of them (24, neatly divided into 12 on each CD) are recordings of Enrique Campos with accompaniment of Miguel Nijensohn y su Cuarteto A Puro Tango (°), recordings made in 1969 for that same Magenta label.
To each CD two late Tanturi recordings were added (to justify the title on the cover ?) , very different in style when compared to the Campos recordings.
On Vol.1:
- Trasnochando (track 1)
- Un Amor (track 7)
On Vol.2:
- El Resero (track 1)
- Qué Noche (track 7)
According to the Ricardo Tanturi discography, all  4 titles were recorded in 1966 for the "HyR" label. Strangely enough, according to the discography, 2 of these recordings feature vocalists (Trasnochando, with Jorge Falcón and Un Amor, with Blanca Bassi  - and the existence of these recordings is confirmed)  but on this Magenta edition (the Vol.1) they appear as instrumentals (with an arrangement which is identical to the editions with Falcón and Bassi). 
Although it is difficult to find more information on the HyR (or H&R)  label, the link with Magenta (as a subsidiary or because Magenta obtained the rights) seems to be established: recordings made by Mercedes Simone for this HyR label  (with Emilio Brameri)  were also reedited by Magenta.
In the sixties, separate recording of instrumental and vocal parts was already common. Could it be that Magenta included only the instrumental part on their CD in order not to compromize the Tanturi/Campos ilusion they created on their cover ?

The Magenta label seems to hold a trademark on this kind of misleading announcements.
- "24 exitos de Angelito Vargas" does not imply that Angel Vargas sings them (in fact it is a sound-alike, Roberto De La Fuente - the suggestion was so strong that some thought that Roberto De La Fuente was the, previously unknown, director of the accompanying orchestra, and now the punch line: some of the titles were NEVER recorded by Angel Vargas)
- "Trio Don Rodolfo", with Hugo Duval, does not mean that Rodolfo Biagi is actually participating
- "Pugliese en el recuerdo" in association with 2 of his vocalists, Alberto Morán and Jorge Vidal, does not mean that Osvaldo Pugliese is involved, or that his musical style may be approached. But NOTHING on the cover indicates the contrary...

(°) There seems to be some uncertainty about the correct spelling of the name of this pianist, even within the same source
- Miguel Nijenson (Magenta CDs, Google: 135 votes)
- Miguel Nijenshon (books of R.G.Miglio and Reliquias CDs, Google: 37 votes)
- Miguel Nijhenson (books of R.G.Miglio, Google: 17 votes)
- Miguel Nijensohn (Google: 834 votes)
(Google votes at the time of writing - your mileage may vary)

Anibal Troilo and "La Bordona"   (09-07-2006)

Most discographies (if not all) will mention 3 recordings by Anibal Troilo of  "La Bordona" (composed by Emilio Balcarce).

- 1956, for the Odeon label
- 1962, for RCA Víctor
- 1963, also for RCA Víctor

And yet many people believe that there exists a fourth recording from 1952 (the T.K. years).
According to Jorge Finkielman this belief results from a serious error by the recording company who included a version of "La Bordona" on the Troilo records which was not recorded by Troilo at all but by another orchestra !!! Can you believe this? It is sad to say, but yes I do...

This non-Troilo version made it on to CDs like "Sus Mejores Momentos" (Orfeon-Mexico) and "Orquestas Con Historias" (Diapason).... also as performed by Troilo.

Effectively, the introduction of this recording has a certain twist (not bad at all) which, after knowing the facts, could be considered as "not very Troilo" but here we enter the dangerous area of the subjectivity and reliability of style definition.

Surprise: a 4th recording does exist, but it is not the chimerical 1952-T.K. In fact it is not a studio recording but seems to be recorded during a radio performance, possibly in 1964. The recording is in mono and the arrangment is the one from the 1963 studio recordings (violins accompanying the piano intro, still absent in the 1962 version).
It appears on the Melopea CD "Recordación al 20 Aniversario-Celebración de su cumpleaños" (1995), and also on another Melopea compilation CD "Tangos Clásicos [para bailar]".

All about Troilo :  Anibal Pichuco Troilo  (multilingual site: English - Español - Japanese)

Tita Merello and "La Cumparsita"   (09-07-2006)

Some people have been desperately seeking the recording of "La Cumparsita" by Tita Merello, without succes. It seems to be mentioned in some unofficial discographies that are circulating in spreadsheet format among collectionists.

In these discographies the following 4 hard-to-get recordings are always found (all with accompaniment by the Carlos Figari orchestra): 

- La Cumparsita-1969
- El Choclo-1969
- Don Juan-1969
- Mano a mano-1969.

Apart from El Choclo, which was recorded in 1954 with Francisco Canaro, none of the other titles can be found interpreted by Tita Merello.

But taken together they form the musical background of "Apologia del tango" (a poem by Enrique Pedro Maroni : Tango que me hiciste mal y que sin embargo quiero... and which is often recited on various musical backgrounds).
Tita Merello recorded "Apologia del tango", ... yes ... , in 1969, ... and yes ..., with accompaniment by Carlos Figari.

Therefore I strongly believe that these recordings do not exist independently but are the creation of an over zealous compiler who added lines for each of the musical parts in "Apologia del tango".

Liliana's page (can I say fan-site ? ;-))) ) :  Tita Merello  (Español )

 Bits & Pieces