Tango Masters: Francisco Canaro

Francisco Canaro (1888-1964) was one of tango’s true pioneers. A man from the generation prior to tango’s “Big Four”, he actually lived the wild early days about which tango is so nostalgic. Born into grinding poverty, he fought his way to the very pinnacle of success with an unequalled work ethic and an unerring sense of what would be popular. Ambition then brought him close to ruin.

Tango Masters: Francisco Canaro takes the reader on a journey through Canaro’s life and the vast body of work he left behind (a remarkable 3,800 recorded tracks), paying special attention to his pivotal relationship with Ada Falcón which coincided with his best decade as a musician.

Michael Lavocah is the author of Tango Stories: Musical Secrets, the guide to tango dance music. This is the fifth volume of the series Tango Masters, which explores the music of the great orchestras of tango’s Golden Age in depth.

The writing of this book was supported by the Argentine Tango Society.

ISBN 978-1-9997551-4-0
328pp
£17 + postage
Launching: 8th November 2021

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Recommended albums

This album is a real “Greatest Hits” of Canaro’s 1930s output. At the time of writing, it is still available on CD as well as in digital formats. El pescante, Lorenzo, the milongas Silueta porteña, Milonga de mis amores and Milonga sentimental, and the valses Ronda del querer and Adiós juventud. Take care with Las margaritas, though: that’s not a vals, but a ranchera!
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Recommended mp3 albums

This is ORQ 286, which is actually CTA-1051 Todo milonga | Serie para baile Vol.1 – one of the best Canaro albums ever!
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Some of the best instrumentals from 1929-1930: Mimosa, No pretendas disculparte and Adiós juventud.
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Volume 2 carries on where the first left of, in September 1930. Even if it’s not quite as good as the first, there are still some great tracks such as Criollazo and Cimarrón
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An excellent selection of tracks from 1928-1930 featuring Charlo. Includes wonderful early versions of Farolito de papel and La brisa, as well as the tangos Príncipe loco, the foxtrot Cantando bajo la lluvia (Singin’ in the Rain) and the spooky vals Amor pagano (Pagan love song).
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This was a fantastic double LP (“XX Aniversario”), never reprinted on CD. Volume 1 has the killer vals Siempre te amaré.
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Volume 2 has Invierno. Simple.
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This was an excellent CD of Canaro’s hits with Roberto Maida in the years 1935-1938. Whilst it’s appeared on Spotify, it hasn’t appeared on Amazon or Apple Music.
Listing on milonga.co.uk.
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If you want to buy the above album, there is this version with 40 tracks instead of 20. It’s economically priced, and the additional 20 tracks are good, but they belong to different periods, meaning that the album is less coherent than its predecessor.
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albums on RGS from CTA – mostly Spotify only


Copy of CTA-704. The vocalists are Charlo (1931) and Félix Gutiérrez (1932). Contains the vals Florcita criolla
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Copy of CTA-705. 1933 with Famá: not Canaro’s best year.
The vals Ronda del querer, S.O.S. and many others.
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Copy of CTA-707. This is the year before Maida joined: the vocalists are Famá and Galán.
The vals Ronda del querer, S.O.S. and many others.
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Copy of CTA-708. No hay que hacerse mala sangre, Noches de Buenos Aires, Ojos negros que fascinan, Solo una novia and many others.
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Copy of CTA-709. Yo también soñé, Será una noche and many others.
This album is also available unfiltered on BATC as ORQ 296 – Yo También Soñé (1936).
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Copy of CTA-710. These are the Maida years. Contains Milagro, Que nadie se entere, Resentimiento, Recuerdos de París, the little-known No me preguntes nada, the cute instrumental Don Álvaro and many others.
Also available unfiltered as ORQ-299 Pura milonga (1937).
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Copy of CTA-771.
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Copy of CTA-772. Maida is gone, Famá is back, and Canaro turns to a more extrovert expression.
Contains Por vos… yo me rompo todo and the vals La zandunga (with Francisco Amor), but overall the quality is going down.
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Copy of CTA-773.
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Copy of CTA-706.
Perhaps not really a first choice album, but I’m glad to have it. It has the 1927 version of La cumparsita. Also contains an early version of Gloria.
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other albums on RGS


Copy of EU-17049.
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Copy of AMP CD-1135 (Sentimiento gaucho | Serie romantica Vol.14).
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albums on BATC


This is BATC ORQ-226, a copy of AMP CD-1207 (Tango clasico). A really nice album of tangos mostly from 1927, except the final two (which are serie sinfónica tracks from 1929).
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This is also a copy of CTA-709, but unfiltered. (Non-geeks will prefer the sound of the RGS release above).
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This is ORQ-299, itself also a copy of CTA-710, but unfiltered. (Non-geeks will prefer the sound of the RGS release above).
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other albums


This is the Reliquias album Canta Ernesto Famá Vol.2 (EMI 235394 – you can see the full list of Canaro CDs at milonga.co.uk).
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This is the Reliquias album Instrumentales de colección. Reliquias porteñas is not the famous milonga, but a potpourri (mix) of tangos.
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This is the Reliquias album Canta Eduardo Adrian – 20 Grandes éxitos, tracks mostly from 1942-1943.
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