Ricardo García Blaya

e was a wordsmith of widely popular numbers that, still today, are heard at dancehalls and aired on the few radio stations that play tango music. The examples of “Así se baila el tango”, “Frente al espejo” and “Así se canta” are eloquent.

His interest in writing tango lyrics began in the mid- thirties and continued for twenty years. Very early in his career he achieved pieces that were widely spread: in the twenties: “La vida me engañó” and “Se lustra señor”, and “Cómo nos cambia la vida” in the thirties.

The musicians that collaborated with him adding music to his lyrics were many and are very important: Atilio Bruni, Mario Demarco, Arturo Gallucci, Manuel Vidal, Oscar Herrero, Elías Randal, Manuel Sucher, Mariano Mores, José Dames, Antonio Rodio, among others. He also wrote the lyrics and music of the tango “Y sonó el despertador” which has polished and funny lines.

Two tangos, of the many ones that were committed to disc, deserve a special paragraph: “Así se baila el tango”, a hit by Alberto Castillo with his orchestra led by Enrique Alessio for the Victor label in 1942 and “Se lustra señor”, a unique rendition by Ángel Vargas and his orchestra led by Eduardo Del Piano in 1947. The latter had been recorded by Castillo the previous year and turned out a boom. So there were two outstanding renderings of the latter tango.

I think his achievements are not those of a remarkable literary poet but he is, indeed, a great tango wordsmith. He knew how to capture the epoch in wich he lived with humor and sensitivity, portraying the landscape of his youth with typical watercolors full of tenderness and with the imprint of the forties. The following two are examples of that: “Corbatita voladora” and “Buzón” to which we should have to add the other two numbers mentioned in the above paragraph.

Me lo dice el corazón,
si me quiere que me quiera
así mismo como soy...

My heart tells me/if she wants to love me/she has to love me just the way I am...
(“Corbatita voladora”)

siempre en la esquina
mirando si pasa
la misma de ayer.

Post box.../always on the corner of the street/watching in case/the girl of yesterday passes by again.

The waltz “En un rincón de Hungría” with music by César Ginzo is one of his early numbers. It was recorded by Francisco Canaro with Roberto Maida on vocals in 1937 for the Odeon label.

Furthermore, he is author of other waltzes that were committed to record: “Amar y soñar”, recorded in 1953 by Roberto Rufino who also composed its music; “La perinola”, with music by Ángel Condercuri, with a rendition by the Miguel Caló orchestra and the Roberto Mancini and Alfredo Dalton duo in 1956 and “Has llegado”, recorded by Edgardo Donato with Roberto Morel on vocals in 1955.

From the remainding numbers of his oeuvre he can highlight: “Abismo”, “Agravios”, “Alegría [b]”, “Amor amor”, “Astillas”, “Cabecita descocada”, “Carta para Renée”, “Cipriano”, “Color de rouge”, “Como pude hacerte mal”, “Corazón”, “Corazón cobarde”, “Descorazonado”, “Desconsuelo”, “Dilema”, “El mate amargo”, “Esta noche hay una fiesta”, “Gusto a vos”, “Heridas”, “Lluvia [b]”, “Me quema los labios”, “Mi linda chiquita”, “Muñeca mía”, “Oiga rubia”, “Porque no te tengo más”, “Soy un yo yo”, “Tan solo tú”, “Tengo que estar loco”, “Tu boca era un clavel”, “Un loco se escapó”, “Una flor de percal”.

There were many singers that interpreted his tangos. To the above mentioned Castillo and Vargas, we can add Oscar Larroca, Alberto Morán (and his beautiful rendition of “El mate amargo”), Roberto Rufino (that collaborated with the music of “Cómo nos cambia la vida”), Enrique Campos, Alberto Marino, Juan Carlos Godoy, Héctor Mauré, among other consecrated singers.

As it is customary in Todo Tango, we wanted to rescue this beloved poet of our urban music from oblivion, among other reasons, so that «los pitucos, lamidos y shushetas» will learn once and for all.