Music from the 20s is little heard at milongas, now. There certainly isn’t any lack of repertoire; but most of the recordings are simply no longer available. Unfortunately, what we do have is too frequently offered in poor quality sound. It isn’t that the original recordings were all bad, but the record companies have not always been good custodians of their own historical recordings. It would be great to hear high quality transfers, newly made from the original shellacs. I think we’d be surprised at how good the sound could be, once we accept the inevitable limitations of the technology of the time.
The other reason we hear this music so little is that fashions have changed. The growling bass lines of the Fresedo Sextet, or the ‘wailing’ violin tone of De Caro can make a limited appeal when compared with more ‘modern’ recordings. But if we listen to this music regularly, and seek out the best repertoire and the best sound (however compromised), we find much danceable music that deserves to be played more regularly.
Canaro (Charlo) 1928
In February 1928, Francisco Canaro began recording with singer, Charlo (whose real name was Carlos José Pérez). In 1928, alone, Canaro was to record over 250 songs, and nearly 200 of them were with Charlo. They maintained a prolific partnership until 1932, and no other singer has a comparable discography. Charlo found time to record dozens of songs with Lomuto, too.
- Tango lindo (7-Mar-1928)
- Pero yo sé (28-Nov-1928)
- Viejo callejón (10-Oct-1928)
- Triste paica (18-Apr-1928)
De Caro (Instrumental) 1928
Unlike Canaro, most of Julio De Caro’s output was instrumental. Providing music for dancers was not his main focus, but he was very important as an innovator, responsible for developing a more complex and sophisticated style of musical arrangement. However, his early electrical recordings are very danceable.
- Adiós pueblo (14-Aug-1928)
- Colombina (28-Jun-1928)
- El monito (19-Jul-1928)
- Aromas (18-Jun-1928)
Orquesta Típica Victor (Instrumental) 1928
OTV, the house orchestra of the Victor record company, steered a middle path between the style opposites that were Canaro and De Caro. Unusually, the orchestra never played live: the musicians only came together to record. They were very popular and recorded from 1925 to 1944 with a variety of leaders and personnel.
- Niño bien (09-Apr-1928)
- La muchacha del circo (4-May-1928)
- Fanfarrón (13-Sep-1928)
- Esta noche me emborracho (9-Apr-1928)
Click here for ‘Tango in 1927’.
Click here for ‘Tango in 1929’.
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.