Abel Palermo

e was born in the province of Buenos Aires, in Carmen de Areco, and his parents were named Juan Cuello and Sara Álvarez.

At age 20 he started in the aggregation led by the violinist Mario Azzerboni and later switched to several groups: the Juan Bongioni quartet, the orchestras of Héctor D'Esposito —with which he toured throughout the interior of the country along with the female singer Raquel Mayo—, the one of Aquiles Roggero, until September 1, 1964 when he debutted with the Alfredo De Angelis orchestra at the Club Ferrocarril Oeste of Trenque Lauquen. On this occasion the singer Carlos Aguirre had also joined it.

Two days later the orchestra and its new vocalists appeared on Radio El Mundo at the last season of the mythical program El Glostora Tango Club. It is important to emphasize that Cuello and Aguirre replaced two of the most outstanding voices that passed through the ranks of that orchestra: Juan Carlos Godoy and Roberto Mancini.

He succeeded in recording in October that same year. He cut the tango “Sombras... Nada más!” and the other side of the disc included the instrumental, “Fuegos artificiales”. Between 1964 and 1969 he recorded with El Colorado de Banfield fourteen numbers as soloist and three, teaming up in duo with Aguirre. Among them is a standout the milonga “No hay palenque en que rascarse”.

I have to single out a peculiarity, Cuello had to sing an eclectic songbook with numbers of quite different origins. And I say so because he recorded new tangos by young or not customary composers in the genre; also some fashionable song arranged as tango, like Sandro’s “Quiero llenarme de ti”. All this mixed up with other very old pieces but scarcely known.

Just to mention some examples, his repertoire included: “A usted señorita” by Osvaldo Rizzo and Félix Arena; “Juntitos vos y yo” by Wenceslao Cinosi and Carlos Antonio Russo; “Porque yo quiero” by Salvatore Adamo; “Siempre te recordaré” by Yaco Monti; “Antes que salga el sol” by Héctor Palacios and Primo Antonio; “Tan sólo cuatro besos” by Américo Pinella and Juan Bernardo Tiggi, and “Se alquila un corazón”, waltz by Isabel De Angelis, Nino Fassa and Leandro Primerano, and his last recording in March 1969, “Vals de verano” by Salvatore Adamo.

Evidently, those were difficult times for tango and De Angelis tried to do something different that appealed to young people. I don’t think that was a good idea.

After the carnival balls he split with the orchestra —he was replaced by Julián Rosales— and soon thereafter he started a tour of the interior of the country.

In the early days of the following decade he returned to the recording studios and cut a long-playing record for the Magenta label entitled Tango cantado. Furthermore, he was invited to appear on TV Channel 9 in the program Grandes Valores del Tango. Later he made a long tour of Chile, Peru, Colombia and Uruguay.

In 1976 due to the death of maestro Juan D’Arienzo, his last lead bandoneon player, Ernesto Franco, put together an orchestra that he named Los Reyes del Compás and hired Alberto Echagüe and Cuello as vocalists. The debut was at El Viejo Almacén and they appeared at several night venues of Buenos Aires city, among them: Caño 14 and La Viruta.

Again he recorded as soloist for CBS-Columbia a disc that also featured the singer Héctor Pacheco and was entitled La embajada del tango. In 1978 he appeared on Channel 11 in the well-remembered program emceed by the notable conductor Hugo Guerrero Marthineitz.

Unfortunately he died very young, just 43 years due to a heart attack.