For instrumental Argentine Tango music, I highly recommend anything by Color Tango. You can easily download their music from iTunes. Their album Tango a Pugliese Con Estillo para Bailar, Vol. 3, is only $9.99 and quite good.
What style of tango dance are you wanting music for?
Recommendations are moot w/o knowing what type of tango Claws dances. For AT, Me's post is a good one. For Amer/It'l, DanceVision is a good place to start. Go there, and have a listen. MPO, AT music is more interesting.
There is a dance CD called 'Tango Tango Tango', I forget which label, but it has 20 tangos on it, all different kinds. If you like tangos at all, you'll enjoy this CD. I would check danceplus store or any ballroom stores online that carry CDs :google:
If you really love the violins and the piano, it sounds like "The Tango Project" is a good listening group for you. Their CDs are easy to find on Amazon, and also they are on iTunes. Changes are you have already heard their version of "Por Una Cabeza," as it has been played often in popular films. If you remember "True Lies" it is the tango song Tia Carrere and Arnold tango to.
If you really love the violins and the piano, it sounds like "The Tango Project" is a good listening group for you. Their CDs are easy to find on Amazon, and also they are on iTunes. Chances are you have already heard their version of "Por Una Cabeza," as it has been played often in popular films. If you remember "True Lies" it is the tango song Tia Carrere and Arnold tango to.
I have posted this somewhere before, so apologies to those who have already seen it:
Top of the list is Cabarute by the New York Tango Trio (LYRCD 7428). If you only get one tango CD get this one. Every track is a gem, throbbing with sweaty sexuality. Particularly outstanding are 9 de Julio (sexiest tune ever written about a date) and a very jazzy and raunchy version of El Enterreano.
Next: 20 Best of Classical Tango Argentino by Hugo Diaz. (EUCD 1480). The numbers range from the suave and foxtrotty Organito de la Tarde to the orgasmic Canaro en Paris.
You may have seen a reference to Hugo Diaz en Buenos Aires as being among the best tango LPs ever issued. The 3 LPs have just been reissued on CD by HMV Japan (VICP-60902-3). The 2 CD set includes the tear-jerking El Adios, the gaucho favourite Adios Pampa Mia, and a sex-sodden version of La Cumparsita. All played on the mouth organ. There are extensive sleeve notes in Japanese. Unfortunately the set is eye-wateringly expensive. After Japanese prices, customs duty, and VAT, I ended up paying over £50. Incidentally, this Hugo Diaz is not the same man as the Hugo Diaz on the previous record.
But you may not want to have your ears ravished by randy Uruguayans. You might want a bit of foreplay first. Fear not: with Tangos de la Guarde Vieja by El Cuarteto de la Ochava (ANS 13105) that is what you will get. The delicate sounds of flute, violin and two guitars (no bandoneon) will tickle and tease your aural erogenous zones. Particularly titillating is A Tripoli Se Van with its feline daintiness.
If you like your tangos mournful, get Conversando con el Fueye by Ciriaco Ortiz (EB-CD-57) and a box of Kleenex and you will soon be sobbing into your absinthe. Noteworthy are La Cumparsita, Mi Noche Triste, and Tiempos Viejos.
Classical Tango Argentino - Divina by Hugo Diaz (EUCD 1390). More bandoneon mastery for Diaz fans. A nice sexy slinky version of A Media Luz, three classic milongas by Villoldo, and other favourites such as El Marne and La Punalada. Desde el Alma is a bandoneon solo, without accompaniment of piano or anything else. It reflects all the joy and anguish of a doomed love affair.
Classical Tango Argentino (EUCD 1443) is a 2 CD set by Hugo Diaz. It might be a bit avant garde for some, with a fair sprinkling of Piazzolla and others, but there is something for us sensualists as well, notably Gran Hotel Victoria, a raunchy number with a bass accompaniment that runs its tongue down your back from the nape of your neck to the cleft in your buttocks. Then there is nothing but a sweet tinkly piano, reminiscent of the Palm Court of said hotel; or perhaps a quiet post-coital ciggie in the privacy of your suite upstairs. But soon the breathy pulse of the bandoneon indicates a returning urge and we are in for another session, ending in a climax of wailing reeds and sweat-soaked sheets. And all in 2 minutes 35 seconds. This is followed by La Trapera and Parrillera, two wild and abandoned milongas scattering discarded inhibitions and underwear in their wake. At the other end of the scale, there are versions of La Cachila and Chique so arty and intellectual that I didn’t recognise them.
There is something about the mouth organ. The words mouth and organ are sexually suggestive, and to get the beautiful music the player has to find exactly the right spot with his tongue. I wonder why there are so few female mouth organists?
La Armonica del Tango by Luis Saltos (Diapason AV 175792) provides an interesting contrast with Hugo Diaz en Buenos Aires. It was produced in Argentina, though the only source I know of is HMV Japan. The titles and very brief sleeve notes are in Spanish. The music is suave and restrained, unlike the wild and passionate Diaz, and which some people may prefer (I myself like wild and passionate). An odd number is Quejas de Bandoneon, which was written to show off the versatility of the bandoneon. The mouth organ doesn’t really do it justice. There is a stately version of Canaro en Paris, very different from the versions by the New York Tango Trio and Hugo Diaz. Las Mareados, although a tango, has 8 bars in ¾ time. It has a startling chord right at the end which would be a challenge to the interpretative skills of any leader. The best track is La Cumparsita, different from every other version I have heard of this classic number. The question is, is the CD worth buying, particularly as there are only 10 tracks on it? I would say yes - if you can find it cheap on a market stall in Buenos Aires. It isn’t worth paying Japanese prices.
Are you tired of sex? Are you bored with sweaty grapplings and fevered couplings in seedy Uruguayan dives reeking of smoke and pheromones? Wouldn’t you rather go for a healthy walk in the fresh air with some virtuous pure-minded young companions? Me neither. Which is a pity, as there is a lot to enjoy in La Cumparsita, by Miguel Villasboas (ANS 13029-2). The music is old-fashioned, reminiscent of D’Arienzo, but the sound quality is clear and bright, not a bit like recycled 78s. Sleeve notes are non-existent, but according to a man in the know, Villasboas is from Uruguay, and was active in the 50s and 60s. Bands became smaller in those years for economy reasons, hence the retro sound.
The rhythm is constant, clearly defined and fairly brisk. El 16 is a typical example. You must press on: no chance to cuddle your partner and do a lazy lapiz while you wait for the tempo to pick up. La Pulpera de Santa Lucia is a nice lively vals. La Loca de Amor is also in ¾ time but sounds more like a mazurka to me. El Amancer has the usual dawn chorus, but it is done on the violin rather than the bird whistle. El Torito and La Clavada also have delightful ornaments. There are no vocals. This is the only Villasboas CD available from Amazon, but he seems to be popular on the other side of the world, as HMV Japan has 8 of them. So how about it? A bit of clean living, just for a change? It’s only for 55 minutes 30 seconds. Come on, it’ll do us good.
If I enjoyed the Villasboas, why didn’t I couldn’t I get so enthusiastic about the genuine pre-war (1938) Arrabalera, by Quinteto Pirincho (MLN 55033)? Well, the muddy sound quality doesn’t help. But I found it worth persisting with, and it grew on me. The title track is a jolly milonga with vocal comments. A la Gran Muneca and Pampa are good robust tangos, the latter with a little help from Franz Liszt. Recuerdos I suppose is intended to be a milonga, but it sounds more like a polka.
Back in our Uruguayan dive, Tango Argentino (EUCD 1327) is another in the similarly titled series by Hugo Diaz, and just as brilliant. What can I say about Diaz that hasn’t been said before? El Choclo swings from slinky to raunchy and back again to jazzy. La Cachila is very different from the version on Classical Tango Argentino: it wraps itself sensuously round you and ends in a wild climax. Desde el Alma is more suave and less anguished than the version on Classical Tango Argentino Divina. Recuerdo (not the same tune as Recuerdos on the Pirincho record) and El dia que me quieras are soulful unaccompanied bandoneon.
Best ballroom tango record is the EP Brilliant Tangos by Alfred Hause (Polydor 21 570 EPH), with its marvellous sultry sexy picture on the front. I bought it in 1963 when I was 15 and the ballroom tango was the most exotic thing imaginable. It still works its magic after all these years: the swirling strings and the pounding pulse (just faster than the human heartbeat) driving you onwards to something the inner teenager can barely imagine. Look out for it on ebay. I saw it there once for 49p. There is a Japanese reissue of classic Hause tracks, called Twin Best (VICP 41031-32). Unfortunately, it doesn't contain any of the tracks on the EP, and the version of La Cumparsita which is included isn't as good. It is also, as you might expect of a Japanese record, expensive.
I strongly agree with Jwlinson about Danny Malando. Try to get his DVD "Tanz mit mir". A jolly tango party in a German concert hall with plenty of audience participation. Danny Malando is the grandson of Arie Maasland, the original Malando, whose records are all worth seeking out. His ambition was to introduce Argentine style tango to Europe. He also issued an LP "Malando plays Toivo Kärki" (Philips 6432 010), introducing Finnish tango to a wider audience. This record is difficult to get even in Finland.
I could write at great length about Finnish tango (in fact I have, in other places) but if you don't like vocals it isn't for you. The only Finnish instrumental CD I know of is "Guitar and Tango" by Antero Jakoila (BECD 4034). The lineup includes Jose Libertella, leader of Sexteto Mayor, and Kimmo Pohjonen, who went on to record very avant-garde Finnish music. 11 excellent tracks of various Argentine and Finnish tangos, including the best version of El Choclo I have ever heard. According to M.A. Numminen in "Tango is my Passion" this record is so avant-garde that even Argentines can't dance to it.