Joaquina Tango
Mi capitán Tango
Enrique Binda

Manifold labels

n aspect that may turn out confusing for those interested in acoustic recordings made in our country is the large number of records labels in that period. It is important to point out that the material released by many of them were not previously unpublished recordings but were mere re-issues of a determined “original” matrix.

This generalization is not applicable to the main international companies that operated here. For instance, the Victor company only published new recordings under its own label, either recorded in Buenos Aires or abroad. An isolated case would be the re-issue under the Victor label of the Gramophon matrices with criollo repertoire recorded in London and Paris in 1905. As for Odeon re-issues were found under the Jumbo Record label from matrices corresponding to the series Bg (faces A 85000) of 1910. As for Columbia we can mention re-issues in the series T as from 1910 of matrices sold originally as Marconi flexible discos during 1906/07.

A different case was with other labels, especially those grouped as ERA matrices (1910/1917) and those recordings released by Juan Bautista Tagini (José’s brother) in 1913/14.

In fact, the series 60.000 of the ERA repertoire recorded between 1910 (or maybe the late 1909) and 1911, was also released by the ERA Grand Record, Phono D’Art, Scala Record, Beka Record, Victoria Record and Parlophone labels. Furthermore, the series 60000, 61000 and 62000 of 1911 and 1914 are repeated with the Artigas and Chantecler labels, especially in Uruguay, like the recordings after 1916 and 1917. As an example we have the disc ERA Nº 1980, matrix 118, with the tango “El espamento” recorded by the Orquesta Típica Camarano in 1916, released also on Artigas disc Nº 4056.

A special case are the matrices of the series 60.000 recorded by the Police Band which, probable due to their low performance quality, caused that some numbers had to be recorded again in Germany. A confusion arose either in the new numbering of the matrices and the texts of the labels of the records that can indicate performances by the Band, when in fact were played by an aggregation called Beka Orchester.

Juan Bautista Tagini released a group of recordings series 28.000, between the late 1913 and 1914 which was interrupted like a great part of the recording activity in our country when World War I broke out in August 1914. This astute merchant, in order to artificially increase his catalogue, turned to the trick of publishing his only block of matrices in numerous “artificial” labels. So these recordings (in general with different B-sides), are found with Sonora, Tocasolo sin Rival, Relsie Record, Kronophon, Orophon, Apolo Record, Arena Record, Premier Record, Polydor and Polyphon labels. Even we can infer when batchs of discs were ordered by other dealers, as in the case of the Ferraris Record and El ruiseñor labels.

Furthermore and to mislead the potencial buyers the orchestra names and/or their leaders were altered. As an example we mention the matrix 28125 with the estilo “A San Martín” recorded by Eduardo Arolas, released by Relsie disc No. 694 and Orophon No. 1904. We must pay attention that the playing on the Relsie recording is attributed to the Orquesta Típica Criolla A. Gobbi which in fact made recordings for this series but in another block of matrices.

Another case of duplication in our country are the matrices 20.103 and 20.104 with the tangos “Mi capitán” de Manuel Campoamor and “Joaquina” de Juan Bergamino, recorded by the Orquesta Polyphon, released as Exposición label.

Finally, we can mention two other cases of sales in Uruguay with specific labels for that country: the Gayarre label corresponding to the original Polyphon series 20000 of 1910 and 1911 and the later Uruguayan label with Telephon and/or Electra matrices, dated between 1918 and 1924.

An example is the Polyphon disc Nº 13.528 that includes “La gringada” and “Carta a me novia” by Alfredo Eusebio Gobbi (matrices 20.072 and 20.073), also released as Gayarre Nº 26.

As for similar situations that happened in Brazil after 1915 due to the commercial activity of Saverio Leonetti, please read my own article entitled When did tango went abroad?, published in this same site.