Juan Carlos Cobos

Real name: Pires, Lorenzo Joaquín
Singer, lyricist and composer
(5 June 1928 - 10 November 1999)
Place of birth:
Punta Alta (Buenos Aires) Argentina
Abel Palermo

e was born in Punta Alta, quite near the city of Bahía Blanca, province of Buenos Aires. He was a kid when his parents moved to La Plata. He studied at an industrial school and graduated as a technician. But music was what he liked most. He studied guitar playing and singing at a conservatory of that locality.

At age seventeen he made his debut with the Cuarteto Lucini of La Plata, later switching to the orchestra led by the pianist Ernesto Darío Saborido. Thereafter he was summoned to join the aggregation fronted by Alberto Forti (pianist) and Jorge Parodi (violinist). In that orchestra he shared the vocals with Jorge Miranda. By that time Lorenzo had taken a sobriquet: Alberto Ortiz. With the passing of time both singers would become important figures in tango but under the names Jorge Sobral and Juan Carlos Cobos, respectively.

In 1951 the vocalist Jorge Vidal split with the Osvaldo Pugliese Orchestra and Alberto Morán had remained as the only vocalist. In the early 1953 the bandleader decided to include another singer and so he organized an audition. Lorenzo, encouraged by his friends, applied to it. After several auditions, he turned out the chosen one.

Surely, the reason for that choice was due to his interpretive quality, plus his baritone range —with a very good colour—, his expressive phrasing and his capability to fit into the orchestra rhythm.

He began in March that year, with his new sobriquet: Juan Carlos Cobos. In his appearances, either on radio or at dancehalls, he achieved a warm acclaim by the audiences that admired Pugliese.

He made his debut on record in May, in a duo with Alberto Morán singing “Caminito soleado”. In June he cut “Olvidao” and, the following month, the tango that would consecrate him: “Milonguera”; and by the end of the year he recorded “Es preciso que te vayas”. In 1954 he continued recording some more numbers. And his last, and I think his best, recording was his rendering of “Te aconsejo que me olvides”.

I think that Cobos was part of the best time of the Pugliese Orchestra. This writer fully enjoyed it. It was the time of Morán’s greatest hits: “Pasional” and “La última copa” that paralysed the dancers and when Cobos performed with a commitment of personality and talent. It is also worthwhile to mention the irreplaceable violinist Enrique Camerano, who together with Oscar Herrero, Julio Carrasco and Emilio Balcarce were members of the excellent string section. We do not have to omit Francisco Sanmartino on viola and, of course, the bandoneon section with the beloved Osvaldo Ruggiero, Jorge Caldara, Esteban Gilardi and Roberto Peppe, plus don Aniceto Rossi with his double bass and his unforgettable solo in “Canaro en París”.

It’s hard to forget this period so brilliant. For that reason when remembering Cobos, we cannot omit these memories and also remember Mario Soto, the announcer of the orchestra.

Later he had a short tenure with Miguel Caló and a long tour of Europe with the Celia Queiro-Jorge Lanza company in the mid- 1955. Due to that successful tour he decided to settle in Spain, and there to form his own company comprised by dancers and musicians. He staged his show in France, Italy, Bulgaria, Portugal, Yugoslavia and in the Scandinavian countries to much acclaim. He also appeared in countries with languages and idiosyncracies quite different to ours like Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, India and Senegal.

In the late sixties he returned to our country and made some tours but now definitively based in Argentina.

In Buenos Aires we can highlight his appearances at the Caño 14, in Michelangelo, on television at the programs Grandes valores del tango, El tango del millón, among others.

In 1978 he cut his last recording, a long-playing record for the BGM-Magenta label. He wrote some lyrics as “Me vi sin fe (En el remate)” with music by Carlos Olmedo.

In a few words, this is my homage to this great singer and great gentleman who could not be absent in Todo Tango.