Ricardo García Blaya

e was, no doubt, an interesting creator, who did not receive the recognition he deserved —either as lyricist or as composer—, maybe, because he spent more time accompanying male and female singers; but what he wrote was quite popular in his time. A portion of his oeuvre lasted for quite a time as part of the songbooks of our present artists.

His tango “Carmín” is among my preferences due to its beautiful melody —which belongs to Víctor Buchino—, but above all, because of the appealing proposal of its lyrics. It is an example of Robles’s poetic quality which, even though it deals with a subject approached in many tangos, contains nicely conceived metaphors like the one of its beginning: «De purreta soñabas con un cielo bordado en diez baldosas de rayuela» (As a young girl you dreamed of a sky embroidered in ten floor tiles of hopscotch). Or that heartbreaking image of its refrain: «Por eso te aturdís con música y champán, buscando destrozar tu vida loca» (Because of that you stun yourself with music and champagne striving for the ruin of your crazy life). It is really a wonder in the rendition of Alberto Marino with his orchestra led by Osvaldo Manzi in a recording for the Odeon label on April 21, 1953.

Throughout his long career he worked with nearly all the vocalists of the LR1 Radio El Mundo staff who, for many years, had him as accompanist together with other important guitarists of the radio station. Furthermore, he was the guitar player that was heard in the radio soap operas every afternoon.

From 1937 to 1939, he was, alongside Charlo on a long tour of the American continent, Spain and Portugal. In the groups he joined another outstanding guitarist was also member: Vicente Spina, the author of “Me quedé mirándola” and the beautiful waltz “Tu olvido”, with whom he teamed up as a duo for several years.

He was a friend of Aníbal Troilo’s and, on one occasion, he recommended him to include Orlando Verri, the vocalist of a trio fronted by another friend of his and peer: Alberto Mastra. But it did not come true, Pichuco finally hired Floreal Ruiz on suggestion by Alberto Marino, his star singer.

In 1964, after splitting with the Radio El Mundo staff, he joined Los 4 del Tango, with Julio Ahumada (bandoneon and leadership), Eugenio Pro (double bass) and Juan Mehaudy (electric guitar). That same year with that aggregation he cut for the Espacial label a record with eight instrumentals: “Al pie de tu reja”, “El bulín de la calle Ayacucho”, “Elegante papirusa”, his milonga “Frenética”, “La cumparsita”, “Los mareados”, “Ojos negros” and “Recuerdo”.

His tangos, we reiterate, had wide public acclaim and were in the repertoires of the orchestras; so we can mention:

Así es Ninón”, committed to disc in 1946 by Aníbal Troilo with Alberto Marino on vocals and by Alfredo De Angelis with Carlos Dante, also in 1976 by Roberto Goyeneche with the Orquesta Típica Porteña conducted by Raúl Garello, in 1977 by Nelly Omar and in 2006 by Ariel Ardit.

Carmín”, recorded by Edmundo Rivero and by Alberto Marino with his orchestra in 1953, and by Troilo with Jorge Casal in 1954.

Qué risa” (lyrics and music), a hit by Troilo with Ángel Cárdenas in 1956, also with recordings in those years by Rivero, Dante, Marino, and Luis Cardei in 1995.

“Ronda azul” (lyrics and music), recorded by Francini-Pontier with Luis Correa on vocals, in 1955.

“Hacete amigo de la vida”, with lyrics by Argentino Ledesma and recorded by the latter in 1980 with the accompaniment of the orchestra led by Ernesto Rossi (Tití); also “Terrenal” and “Laburante”, both with no recordings.

The waltz “Cantinera” (lyrics and music), a hit by Argentino Ledesma in 1957 and the song that Gregorio Barrios made popular: “Mi toledana” (lyrics and music).

Of course, we must not forget his splendid milongas, starting with “Frenética”, recorded by Los Cuatro del Tango in 1964; “Cimarrón de ausencia”, with the unforgettable recording by Troilo with the vocal duo by Floreal Ruiz and Marino, and the rendition by Miguel Caló with Roberto Arrieta, both in 1945, among several other renderings and “Certificao”, recorded by Francini-Pontier with Julio Sosa and by Alberto Marino with guitars, both in 1952.

In sum, Marsilio Robles was an outstanding composer, let us mention as example his tangos “Qué risa” and “Ronda azul” (which also bear his lyrics) but, also and above all, a refined and inspired poet, capable of writing lines of the quality of “Carmín”, a marvelous number that I still enjoy like the first time I heard it, or of “Cimarrón de ausencia” when it says: «Sos vertiente de agua mansa que va regando el potrero, tu calor es sol de enero y tu verde es esperanza» (You’re a spring of quiet water which is irrigating the paddock, your heat is a January sun and your green is hope).