Abel Palermo

e was born in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of San Cristóbal, son of Jacinto Patti and Antonia Camargo.

In 1923, he made his debut in the show business as actor, at the Teatro Smart, with the theater company led by Pisano whose lead actress was Antonia Volpe.

He was developing his skill as actor and singer simultaneously until 1937, when he was summoned by the bandoneonist and orchestra leader Enrique Rodríguez. He made his debut at the carnival balls that were held at the River Plate club.

The team Rodríquez-Flores, during the four years that they stayed together, succeeded in becoming a great boom, either because of the following they drew at their appearances or as well for the commercial success of their recordings.

Not only tango played this orchestra, but also performed a repertoire that included other fashionable rhythms like fox-trot, rhumba, and pasodoble.

They made their debut on record for the Odeon label with the numbers “Anita Lizana” (foxtrot) and “Ilusión” (waltz) —both by Víctor Acosta— to a great acclaim and it was a smash cash-box hit in Chile. Later, they recorded “La calesita se destrozó” ("The merry go round broke down" —by Cliff Friend and Dave Franklin—), “Ritmo de juventud” (by Enrique Rodríguez e Ivo Pelay), “Mi muñequita”, the only piece with a tango beat included, written by Rodríguez and Alfredo Bigeschi, and “Clavelito en flor” (by Enrique Rodríguez and José Casais).

In 1939, the year of his consecration, El Chato recorded the number that would accompany him throughout his career: “Tengo mil novias” that was also recorded by Francisco Canaro with his singer Francisco Amor and by Francisco Lomuto with Jorge Omar on vocals. But the one who achieved a success with this recording was Flores who immediately imposed two other numbers: the fox-trot “Amor en Budapest” and the waltz “Salud dinero y amor”. These three recordings launched him definitively to popular acclaim. But not be unfair, I want to recover a jewel of his songbook: the tango “Son cosas del bandoneón”.

During his tenure in the aggregation, between 1937 and 1939, El Chato recorded thirty-five numbers of the thirty-six that the orchestra recorded. This demonstrates the importance reached by the singer, to such an extent that he drew the interest of the Victor's officials who did their best to convince him about becoming a soloist. In 1940, when he had already split with Rodríguez, he joined that record company as a star. He was then replaced by Armando Moreno.

He made his debut in his new role as soloist on Radio Belgrano. For the Victor company he recorded four pieces: “Sonia”, “Puerto de Santa María” (pasodoble by Florián Rey and Juan Mostazo), “El vals de las gorditas” (by Oscar Rubens) and the tango “Nunca es tarde”. Thereafter he embarked on an extensive tour throughout the interior of the country, visiting Uruguay and Chile.

On his comeback he joined the Radio Argentina's cast, sharing the billboard with two important singers, Oscar Alonso and Héctor Palacios and with two consecrated female figures, Azucena Maizani and Dorita Davis.

In 1942, he appeared in the movie Gran Pensión La Alegría and, the following year, he recorded his last record for Victor with two of his own pieces: “Porque te supe querer” and “Tristeza marina”. This latter number had a great repercussion and was recorded by other vocalists such as: Roberto Rufino with Carlos Di Sarli, Libertad Lamarque, Eduardo Adrián with Canaro, Alfredo Rojas with José García y sus Zorros Grises.

Around the late forties, he kept his popularity with performances on different radio stations and at the tearooms Marzotto and El Nacional.

In 1951, he made a tour throughout the country but his long tenure on Radio LT2 of the city of Rosario stood out.

In August 1955, he traveled to the provinces of Cuyo —San Luis, San Juan and Mendoza—, with his friend Francisco Fiorentino. Their last performance was on September 10 in a Mendoza town, Tres Árboles. After it both singers had to return to the city of Mendoza but they took a mistaken route. The episode finished in tragedy, on an unpaved road and in the middle of the night, they fell into a canal and Fiore, who was ejected from the automobile, fainted and fell face down in a puddle of water. When he was taken to the hospital of the area they realized that he had drowned. This misfortune was a hard blow for El Chato.

The following year, encouraged by his beloved friend the singer Antonio Maida, he appeared on Radio Belgrano along with the female singer Rosita Lavalle in the program Los Ases.

In 1958, he returned to that same broadcasting and was accompanied by the staff orchestra of the radio station conducted by Leopoldo Federico.

His last performances were carried out on Radio del Pueblo, accompanied by a sextet led by the pianist Miguel Nijensohn who also backed him in the recording of a LP for the Magenta label. At age sixty he decided to quit this activity. However, our friend from Colombia Roberto Uribe, told us El Chato in early 70's, settled in Medellín, where he married a lady called Madrid, who stills live, and sunged for a while in a night club called El Alcázar, in Belén neighborhodd.