Tangoed Up In Blue

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Luis Albert Spinetta likes a crowd

Luis Albert Spinetta likes a crowd

Here’s another artist from left field catching me completely off guard. I was working on a 3 cd set of obscure prog rock, and I needed one more album or artist to make it complete. I checked out  Sakalli, a veritable gold mine of high quality music, specializing in 60’s and 70’s rock (with an emphasis on prog), looking for something I’d previously missed, when I stumbled upon Almendra. I’m not sure why I’d passed them up before, perhaps because they were from Argentina, and their albums were from 1969 and ’70, which is a little early for prime prog rock.

Spinetta Y sus amigos Almendra

Spinetta Y sus amigos Almendra

I downloaded Almendra II, listened to half of “Toma El Tren Hacia El Sur”, thought it had promise and burned a cd to play in the car (one of my favorite listening rooms). Later that day I returned to Sakalli, and similarly, Pescado Rabioso caught my eye.

70% of what I download without first hearing isn’t worth the effort, time, or hard drive space, but this was something else again.

The first song from Artaud also sounded worthy of a burn. I listened to the whole thing while assembling my annual Christmas cd’s. It wasn’t until I went back to reread Almendra, or check out another Pescado Rabioso album that I realized the same artist was responsible for all this music.

I ordered a ham, not a glam, sandwich

I ordered a ham, not a glam, sandwich

He is Luis Alberto Spinetta, and the founder, singer, songwriter, and guitarist in Almendra, Pescado Rabioso, and Invisible, all considered legendary in the history of Argentine rock.
Last week I downloaded eight albums, two are doubles. This covers The years from 1969-1976. He is still active.
It was really difficult picking out seven representative tunes, as the albums are all worth listening to in their entirety.
There are many songs over 6 minutes long which are really little suites.
The sound is uncluttered with the musicians playing the majority of the music live in the studio together.
It’s some of the most original and exciting rock music from anywhere I’ve ever heard.

Not square, but the record was round.

Not square, but the record was round.

His album Artaud, essentially a solo album released as Pescado Rabioso, was initially package in an oversized cover, awkwardly shaped, which would not fit comfortably into a standard record rack.

wiki

Anything but

Anything but

Luis Alberto Spinetta is an Argentine musician, one of the most influential of South America, and together with Charly García and Fito Páez is considered the father of Argentine rock. He was born January 23, 1950, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the residential neighbourhood of Belgrano. As a kid he listened to all kinds of music: folklore and tango, and a little bit later, rock. As with almost every other rocker of his generation, The Beatles would change his life. In 1967, in the midst of a repressive political climate, he formed a band called Almendra with school mates.
It was 1969 and his band, Almendra, recorded their first album. The band started recording and playing intensely and it became successful almost overnight. Almendra composed its own songs and the lyrics were in Spanish (something radically new). The subtlety and beauty of their sound would be one of the milestones (maybe the first) of Argentine rock. After two albums that enjoyed radio diffusion and deserved fame, the band split. Spinetta composed and recorded a new solo album, but an inadequate environment (he would later say that the mood of Argentine rock and rockers of those times were too “heavy” and negative for him) and the vast changes that success effected on his life made him leave the country.
After a lengthy stay in Europe, he returned to Argentina and formed a new band: Pescado Rabioso. It was destined to be as mythical as Almendra. With a far more powerful sound and expressing the tension in the streets of an increasingly violent Argentina, Pescado recorded its first album in 1972. It was both a continuation of the creative stream of Spinetta and a drastic change in the style of his music and lyrics. The band recorded a second album; although a third one carried its name, Pescado was by then dissolved; Artaud, recorded in 1973 and mostly a solo album by Spinetta, was a major breakthrough. Partly based on the writings of Antonin Artaud, Spinetta exorcised many of the demons of his past in this album. This process would open the door to a new era in his music.
In 1974 he formed a new band, Invisible. With his new band he recorded three albums; Invisible, Durazno Sangrando (together with Artaud, hailed as his best album ever), and El Jardín De Los Presentes. With Invisible, he left the powerful and rough sound of Pescado; the new tunes were more harmonic, soft and mellow, yet his work remained essential and revolutionary. Following this line, he embarked on a solo project, A 18´ del Sol, after dissolving Invisible in 1976–77. By then, ten years later after starting his career, his style had become a delicate amalgam of old and new; the old pop and (proto) heavy rock had merged with various elements of jazz and bossa nova. That unique flavour would become his style during the next half decade.
After recording and editing a failed album in the United States in 1979 (the only album that Spinetta lamented ever doing), with lyrics in English and destined to the US market, Spinetta returns to Argentina and starts a prolific era: he would record two albums with a short-lived Almendra Revival (one with original songs and the other live), and embark on a new project: Spinetta Jade.

More recently

More recently

Ana No Duerme
Toma El Tren Hacia El Sur
Algo Flota En La Laguna
Viajero Naciendo
Las Habladurias Del Mundo
En Una Lejana Playa Del Animus
Nino Condenado

9 thoughts on “Tangoed Up In Blue

  1. *To read this comment in South American Spanish, press 1.* BEEP!
    ¡Asombrar! ¡Este gato de Spinetta parece ser el Rey latino de Progresivo! Quiero todas las partes pequeñas regadas juntas que tejen estas clases de melodías. Algún de este material me recuerda de Peter Gabriel Génesis temprano. Escuchar también me hace quiero sacar todo mi tramoyista viejo y cansado de fase, pedales de reborde y eco. ¡Los días viejos buenos! ¡Gracias para una clase realmente diferente de anunciar! ¡Trabajo bueno! ¡Devuelva la dignidad de Sudamérica que ha sido ensuciada y ha sido capitalizado por idiota cabezas parlantes! ¡Aclamaciones!
    *For English press 2.* (Yawn!) BURP!
    Amazing! This Spinetta cat seems to be the Latin Progressive King! I like all of the little parts strewn together that weave these kinds of tunes. Some of this stuff reminds me of early Peter Gabriel Genesis. Listening also makes me want to pull out all of my old and tired phase shifter, flange and echo pedals. The good old days! Thanks for a really different kind of posting! Good job! Bring back the dignity of South America that’s been soiled and capitalized by idiot talking heads!
    Cheers!
    Oh yeah, and Happy Holidays to only Prog Fans!

  2. Luis Alberto Spinetta es un artista muy bueno. El también ha dibujado ilustraciones para algunos de sus portadas de disco. ¿Mi español apesta, sí? ¿Sueno quiero un imbécil, corrige?

  3. You’ve inspired me once again. I wondered if there is a father of rock in every country. Turns out there is, so let’s begin with Poland:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJmg5_ROsJE

    Hard to say what this song is about. The only lyric I can make out is “have you been cheeky?” at about the one minute mark.I believe it has something to do with taking six wives with you to another planet and starting over. A few warnings: 1) This clip contains little video eating bugs which are programmed to cause you to have a acid flashback, either that, or join the communist party. 2) At about two and a half minutes in, the singer hits a note so high that his brain implodes, but by hanging on to his mutton chops, he somehow survives to finish the song. Next stop, Kazakhstan!

  4. Holy Shit! That straight up Rocks! I’m going to have to make a year-end post mentioning that the only good thing about the last ten years is the web, and the fact that “we the people” can post stuff. That I can find Luis Alberto Spinetta, and you can find this Polish dude, and that there is probably a wikipedia page about him is the bright spot in an otherwise pretty dismal decades end.

  5. Polish:
    Holy Shit! To prosto Rocks! Będę musiał dokonać roku po koniec wspomnieć, że jedyną dobrą rzeczą w ciągu ostatnich dziesięciu lat jest w internecie, oraz fakt, że “ludzie” mogą wysyłać rzeczy. To mogę znaleźć Luis Alberto Spinetta, a ten można znaleźć polskiego dude, i że prawdopodobnie jest strona Wikipedii o nim jest plama w inny sposób dość ponury koniec dekady.

    Spanish:
    Holy Shit! Esta recta hasta Rocks! Voy a tener que hacer un año de post final mencionar que la única cosa buena acerca de los últimos diez años es la web, y el hecho de que “el pueblo” de enviar material. Que se puede encontrar de Luis Alberto Spinetta, y usted puede encontrar esta dude polaco, y que probablemente hay una página de Wikipedia sobre él es el punto brillante en un extremo de otro modo bastante deprimente décadas.

  6. I’m going cry… I’m from Argentina and i’m so happy that another countrys people listen our rock. Especially Spinetta, the best argentine rock artist in my opinion. You must listen Charly Garcia(Best pianist) and Pappo(Best guitarist). I recomend you “La maquina de hacer pajaros” (Charly Garcia) and “Aquelarre” (Ex Almendra’s musicians). Well, we have a lot of good bands, search them. Greetings to the distance

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