Abel Palermo

e was born in the Dock Sud, a bordering line on the Riachuelo of the city of Avellaneda with the Capital Federal. His father Alfredo, guitarist and amateur singer, was a fan of Carlos Gardel’s. He transmitted to Alfredito, not only his knowledge on guitar playing but also his Gardelian phrasing. Furthermore when his song was fifteen he sent him to study singing with maestro Eduardo Bonessi.

There he came to know the young Vicente Marinaro who was his same age and was then already appearing professionally with several tango groups. We can compare the beginning of both boys: in April 1943, under his sobriquet Alberto Marino, he recorded his first number “Tango y copas (Otro tango)” with the Aníbal Troilo Orchestra; the same year “Mocito” —still with his real name— made his debut on LR2 Radio Argentina as vocalist of the orchestra fronted by the bandoneonist Miguel Padula. Two acetate recordings exist that attest this stage, containing the tangos: “No la dejo” and “Cuando tallan los recuerdos”.

The Marino’s relationship with Cordó was, in fact, a close friendship and a mutual admiration. Marino showed his great affection for him, not only encouraging his career as singer but also by remaining by his side when Osvaldo’s health was declining.

In the late 1947 the singer Oscar Serpa split with the Osvaldo Fresedo Orchestra because he switched to the Carlos Di Sarli Orchestra. To substitute for him a young promising name was summoned, now with his sobriquet: Osvaldo Cordó. He made his debut at the mythical Rendez-Vous, a dancehall owned by Fresedo which was located on 854 Maipú Street. He appeared alongside the emblematic singer of the aggregation, Roberto Ray, who had rejoined the orchestra after a ten-year break.

He succeeded in recording in July 1948 the tangos: “Por calles muertas”, with music by Sebastián Lombardo and lyrics by José María Contursi and “Cafetín de Buenos Aires”. He ended his series of recordings with the tango “Volverás” and the waltz “Motivo de vals”.

We must highlight that these four recordings are among the last Fresedo’s recordings for RCA-Victor after an eighteen-year tenure with this major label.

In the mid- 1949 Cordó began with health problems and quit the orchestra. He re-appeared in 1951 as soloist, but soon later he was ill again and to recover he had to be out of show business for a longer time.

In 1957 he again needed Eduardo Bonessi in order to be ready to return to the show business scene. The one who writes this also attended classes with the unforgettable teacher and, under those circumstances, I began a friendly relationship with Mocito Cordó with whom, on more than one occasion, had vocalization exercises together.

In the early 1959 he was hired by LS6 Radio del Pueblo that was directed by his colleague and friend Antonio Maida. He also appeared at the tearoom La Armonía, one of the cathedrals of tango on 1437 Corrientes Street and at the legendary cabaret Maipú Pigall.

The Mocito’s performances at the La Armonía were followed by large audiences and by the frequent presence of great tango stars that liked his work. It was customary in his appearances to see musicians of the level of: Aníbal Troilo, Enrique Francini, José Basso, Horacio Salgán; and peers like: Edmundo Rivero, Horacio Deval, Ángel Díaz, Jorge Casal, Jorge Vidal, Armando Laborde, Raúl Berón, Ricardo Ruiz and, of course, Alberto Marino.

In his live performances he was accompanied by the Castro brothers on guitars and in the recordings for the TK label in 1959, by the guitars led by Roberto Grela (Ernesto Baéz, Héctor Ayala and Roberto Laine). They were three single discs, two were released in this order: “Cafetín de Buenos Aires” and “Alma de Loca”; “Sueño querido” and “Pobre gallo bataraz”, and lastly, “Milonguera” and “Callejón” which were not commercially issued.

After this stage, that confirmed his interpretive quality and his Gardelian phrasing, his appearances gradually began to be more sporadic. This was not only because of his poor health but also because the tango boom was gone and at that time young people preferred other music beats.

As from 1970 his health worsened and I, together with the record collector Eduardo Fiore —now also gone—, used to visit him at his home. The last time we were with him he was so well that even he sang accompanying himself on guitar.

He was undoubtedly a delicate singer, with a beautiful timbre and a notable mezza voce, a feature of the Fresedo’s vocalists.

He died at age 62 and he left us with a bittersweet feeling for having been unable to taste him for a longer time. He was a shooting star and for those who know and feel tango he would become a cult singer.