Abel Palermo

his excellent performer was at his peak when he was vocalist of Osvaldo Fresedo. He had a style of his own that was always in the orchestra’s service, respecting its timing and beat, the main features of that aggregation.

With a voice range different from the singers who preceded him and owner of a voice colour that was the means of expression of a phrasing of high technical quality, he ought to have had a wider acclaim than what he really had.

He was born in Ramallo, province of Buenos Aires. Due to his father’s job, in his childhood he moved to the city of Chascomús, first, and later to Dolores until he finally settled in the city of La Plata.

At age 12, when he finished grade school, his father enrolled him in the Singing School of the Teatro Argentino of La Plata. Its director, professor Oscar Zacarías, guided him towards operatic music.

Some time later he started to appear at different tango shows of that city. His brother was working with the singer Pedro Noda, a renowned figure in the 30s, who had teamed up with Agustín Magaldi and later with Carlos Dante.

Noda and Lachu Cobián, Juan Carlos Cobián’s brother, were acquainted with Víctor D'Amario, who very often used to play in La Plata. At one of those encounters he was introduced to the young García. After listening to him, the bandleader immediately made him join his orchestra. His tenure was for a season until another singer, Aldo Calderón, introduced him to Carlos Marcucci. The pianist in that aggregation was José Pascual who advised Marcucci to hire him.

In his debut he premiered his new sobriquet: Carlos Barrios. They appeared at the night club La Cigalle and on LR1 Radio El Mundo. He remained in that group until it dismembered.

On José Pascual’s recommendation, in the late 1946, he joined the outfit led by the bandoneonist Jorge Argentino Fernández. In the mid- 1947 he switched to the Ricardo Malerba’s orchestra in which the other vocalist was Carlos Bernal. They used to appear on Radio Belgrano and made a tour of the interior of the country and later of Brazil.

On his comeback, he joined the Argentine Post Office as employee while he continued his career as singer. By that time he was member of the orchestra headed by the violinist Juan Galante that played at the balls organized by the Automóvil Club Argentino in its saloon on Avenida del Libertador and Tagle. Furthermore, they were in the Radio Libertad’s cast.

In the early 1953 a frequenter of the balls of the Automóvil Club was impressed by his voice and his vocal technique and, as he was a friend of Osvaldo Fresedo’s, he recommended him to the leader. The bandleader invited him to his place to know him and because of that, after checking his abilities, he hired him as vocalist of his aggregation. The boy had then reached the summit, he was in one of the greatest orchestras of all times and he was one of the singers of the night club Rendez Vous sharing the bill with Héctor Pacheco. His debut was on September 17, 1953.

The first recording was the tango “Tiempos viejos”, later would come: “Trenza de ocho”, by Roberto Pansera and Homero Cárpena, “Cuando llegue el invierno”, the classics “Aromas” and “Sollozos” and, finally, my three choices: “Divina”, “Estás aquí” and “Vamos cariñito”. The latter two with music by Roberto Pérez Prechi and lyrics by Roberto Durán and Maria Bontempi, respectively.

In 1956 Pacheco split with the Fresedo Orchestra and, for some months, Barrios was the only vocalist in the orchestra while they appeared for a season on LR4 Radio Splendid. The following year they switched to Radio Belgrano for the program Las noches de Piccardo. Then the emblematic voice of the always fashionable Roberto Ray joined the orchestra for the third time.

In the winter of 1958 Barrios ended this stage in his career and he devoted entirely to his job in the Post Office.

In 1959 Fresedo renewed the personnel of his aggregation and, for recording in CBS-Columbia, he included the young Hugo Marcel and Blanca Mooney. On that occasion he cut his famous and well-remembered long-playing record entitled El sonido de Fresedo. Marcel’s tenure was short and, in 1960, Carlos Barrios returned to the orchestra with which he appeared in different television programs on Channel 7 and on Radio El Mundo. Furthermore they recorded for CBS-Columbia: “Tango mío” and “Migaja” by Eduardo Armani and Roberto Gil.

Later, the final ending, his farewell to stages, his return to a routine in the State Post Office where he reached an outstanding position.