Francisco Caso

Real name: Caso, Francisco
Nicknames: Basura
Bandoneonist and composer
(15 January 1896 - 19 February 1945)
Place of birth:
Buenos Aires Argentina
Oscar Zucchi

espite the joke about his nickname he was a man unanimously loved and respected. One of his early appearances was as second bandoneon player in the group led by Domingo Santa Cruz. The piano player was Juan Santa Cruz and the violinists were Juan Marcos Testa and José Boutureira. The group also had drums played by a guy named Muratore because the songbook not only included tangos but also pasodobles, shimmies and other dances.

Later he joined the aggregation headed by José Martínez to play the musical numbers of the Manuel Romero’s play El Gran Premio Nacional at the Teatro Avenida on July 28, 1922. Other fellow players were Enrique Pollet and Antonio Buglione. In that performance the tango “Polvorín” by Martínez with lyrics by Manuel Romero was premiered. The singer was the Uruguayan José Muñiz. When the company appeared in Montevideo it was sung by another Oriental, Juan Ferrari. The latter was the first one in singing “La cumparsita (Si supieras)”.

It was around 1926 at the Café Nacional when he joined again the sextet led by Ernesto de la Cruz which included Juan Carlos Ghío (piano), Verón Maidana and Enrique Cantore (violins), de la Cruz and Caso (bandoneons) and Alfredo Corleto (string bass). Finally, another record of his appearances was a stint with a trio at the Peluquería Basile (a barbershop) on Callao Avenue. It was customary at that time that certain locals of that kind had tango players performing live for several hours in the afternoon to entertain the customers.

As composer, three waltzs he wrote stand out: “¿Por qué no me besás?” —the lyric of this waltz would be the first one written by Homero Manzi—, recorded as an instrumental by Juan Maglio and Roberto Firpo in 1925, and also a vocal rendition by Ignacio Corsini. In 1929 it was recorded again by Firpo, now with a vocal refrain by Teófilo Ibáñez; “Risas y lágrimas”, recorded by Firpo as a Jazz Band in 1927 and “Una prueba de amor” that Maglio recorded that same year.

Among his tangos: “De corazón” (dedicated to Rafael Rossi), “Yo me quiero divertir [b]” (with lyrics by Manzi) recorded by Juan Maglio in 1926, “San Lorenzo de Almagro” (with words by Francisco Lío) and “Acabala” (with words by Ángel Wilder). Together with Ricardo Malerba he composed the milonga “Mariana”, with lyrics by Homero Manzi, recorded in 1942 by the orchestra fronted by Malerba with Orlando Medina on vocals.

He was a close friend of Homero Manzi’s and he introduced him to Aníbal Troilo.

As from 1930 his name was scarcely found in the specialized journals even though he had several appearances. However, some years later in a newspaper of Montevideo he and some of his peers were mentioned alluding the one which was probably his final public appearance. The passing of the years and the birth of new orchestras led him to decide to quit show business.

Source: Zucchi, Oscar: El tango, el bandoneón y sus intérpretes, Volume I, Editorial Corregidor, 2001.