Tango in 1954-55

The advent of tape mastering (and the gradual substitution of vinyl for shellac) produced a major leap forward in sound quality in the mid-50s. D’Arienzo and Di Sarli were both very active in the recording studio and this period saw the beginning of Di Sarli’s ‘late’ recordings (having returned to Victor) –  a wonderful Indian summer, tragically cut short by illness.

Cupo (Morán) 1955 (Vals)

Armando Cupo
Armando Cupo

Armando Cupo, a pianist, had played with Rodriguez and Sassonne before forming an orchestra in 1952 to record a dozen sides with Roberto Rufino. In 1954, the orchestra was revived as a backing group for Alberto Morán, who had left Pugliese to go solo, and this partnership produced 46 sides over five years before being revived in 1968 and 1970 for two final LPs.

I can’t find versions of these valses on Spotify, so have provided links to versions on YouTube, instead.

D’Arienzo (Instrumental) 1954

Juan D'Arienzo
Juan D’Arienzo

D’Arienzo produced a series of sparking recordings in the mid-50s. The rhythms are a little hard-driven, but the sound quality is very good. The vocals are mostly forgettable but the instrumentals are great for dancing. I only found one of these songs on Spotify, so have again provided listening links from YouTube, instead.

Di Sarli (Instrumental) 1954

Carlos Di Sarli
Carlos Di Sarli

Di Sarli’s return to Victor (with their improved recording technology) after three years with Music Hall marked the beginning of his final period of recordings. Really, his career splits into four distinct phases: the early years (1929-31) with a sextet; his early orchestra recordings (1939-48); the years of transition (1951-53) and then the late orchestra recordings (1954-58). The pace of these later recordings is mostly slower than before and the sound more expansive. Of the ‘big four’ leading orchestras, only Di Sarli didn’t live into the stereo era, but the mono sound produced by Victor from the mid-50s still sounds very fresh, even today.

  • A la gran muñeca (30-Jun-1954)
  • El choclo (30-Jun-1954)
  • Don José María (8-Sep-1954)
  • Tinta verde (14-Sep-1954)

The only transfer of Tinta verde I can find on Spotify is derived from a noisy LP rather than the master tapes, but here is an extract from a version with rather better sound:

Di Sarli (Instrumental) 1954-56

  • Comme il faut (15-Jul-1955)
  • El once (16-Nov-1954)
  • Rodríguez Peña (23-Feb-1956)
  • Don Juan (31-Jan-1955)

Di Sarli (Serpa) 1955

There is a wonderful tenderness in the quality of Serpa’s singing, here. Each song is very fine but this version of Noche de locura is special. Di Sarli recorded it, again, in 1956 with Rodolfo Galé, but while Galé’s delivers the lyric with an almost magisterial tone, he doesn’t fathom the emotional depth of Serpa’s interpretation.

  • Verdemar (16-Sep-1955)
  • Sin ella (2-Feb-1955)
  • Noche de locura (21-Jan-1955)
  • Pato alegre (28-Jul-1955)

The 1955 recording of Verdemar was Di Sarli’s third. The first was in 1943 with Roberto Rufino. Ten years later, he recorded it with Oscar Serpa, and while the sound quality isn’t as good as the later 1955 version (Serpa, again), the 1953 performance is probably the best of the three. Here’s a short excerpt from the singer’s entry:

Donato (Instrumental) 1952-54

Edgardo Donato
Edgardo Donato

Edgardo Donato had been missing from the recording studio for five years when he began recording, again, in 1950 – this time for Pampa. El huracán was the first side to appear (a vocal version with Carlos Almada), and he recorded it again, but as an instrumental, in 1952. I haven’t found a version of that recording online, so here’s a decent-length excerpt from the TangoTunes LP transfer, which sounds very well:

  • El huracán (4-Nov-1952)
  • Sábado inglés (25-Jul-1953)
  • El pollito (10-Jun-1954)
  • Fuegos artificiales (17-Dec-1954)


Click here for ‘Tango in 1952-53’.

Click here for ‘Tango in 1956-57’.


DJ Clive Harrison
DJ Clive Harrison

Barrio de tango is the tango blog and online home of tango DJ, Clive Harrison, based in the English Midlands. Now retired from teaching and hosting dance events, Clive remains available to DJ, playing exclusively traditional tango music from the great tango orchestras.