Fresedo’s music, especially in the 1930s and early 1940s, is characterised by soft rhythms supporting elegant melodies to evoke a totally romantic atmosphere. Many DJs, myself included, like to play his music towards the end of a milonga when dancers, possibly a little weary after dancing for a good few hours, are looking for something a little softer and less demanding.
Fresedo’s most representative pieces come from between 1933 and 1941, with many of them featuring the singing of either Roberto Ray or Ricardo Ruiz.
Ray started working with Fresedo in 1933. Ray’s way of singing – soft and delicate, almost feminine – became a benchmark Fresedo’s later lyrical tunes. “Tangos De Salon” in the Reliquias series collects the most popular pieces of Fresedo with Ray, among them such classics as “Vida Mia”, “Yo No Se Llorar”, “Canto De Amor” and “El Mareo” One rarity is “Isla De Capri”, a tangoable foxtrot rarely featured on other albums that is also noteworthy for featuring a harp to ornament the melody.
Osvaldo Fresedo con Cantores” in the Solo Tango series has many of the same tunes as “Tangos De Salon”, but it also features some songs with Ruiz. Ruiz, who had a similar tenor range as Ray, was chosen by Fresedo to replace Ray after the latter left Fresedo in 1939. Ruiz’s voice is even softer and more feminine than Ray’s – quite easily mistakable for a woman’s. The highlights of this CDs include “Mas Alla”, “Niebla Del Riachuelo”, “Rosarina Linda” and “Vida Querida”; my favourite is Ruiz singing “Despues Del Carnaval” – a piece also adored by many other Hong Kong milongeros after they watched Javier and Geraldine perform to it in Taiwan.
Since the album collects recordings made from 1933 to 1948, it also offers a taste of Fresedo’s pieces from the late 1940s when he experimented with a more grandiose and dramatic sound than in his earlier days. Adding drums and other percussion, however, is not to everyone’s taste; certainly it makes for less tranquil, more abrupt sounding style of tango. For those looking to try a disk from this period, “Y La Perdí” is recommend.
For those looking to sample Fresedo through a single CD, “Años ’33 Al ’48” in the Buenos Aires Tango Club series features something in just about all of his different styles. The album collects instrumentals and lyrical pieces with a number of different singers. Its stand-out tunes – for me at least – are “Tigre Viejo”, “Cuartito Azul” and “Buscandote”.
Editted by Simon Cartledge © 2006 Hong Kong Tango Lab