#95 / The Jaime Roos ‘Complete Works’: A Must-Have for (Serious) Alt Latin Music Lovers

Siempre son las cuatro (1982)

jr-siempre

With this album, Jaime went all out. It is Aquello on steroids.

Liner notes by Guilherme de Alencar Pinto: “On April 1981, Jaime visited Montevideo for the first time since 1977. Having released three albums, he realized his music had acquired a certain notoriety and that he enjoyed the respect of several of his colleagues. His old friend Jorge Galemire introduced him to [drummer] Gustavo Etchenique and sound technician Darío Ribeiro.

On July of the same year, he returned to Europe. In early 1982, already separated from Franca Aerts, he decided to return to Uruguay for good. He had to play standards at a cabaret (the Dallas, in Brussels) seven days straight for three months in order to pay for his plane ticket.

Once in Montevideo, and with songs written in Amsterdam, Brussels and Montevideo in 1981-82, he started negotiations to record an ambitious album, the first he would totally produce in Uruguay. Ribeiro helped to come to an agreement with the Gente de Jingles studio: Working late at night or early in the morning he could, for a flat fee, use the necessary amount of hours. Thus, with the disinterested complicity of Ribeiro and the studio partners (especially Leslie Muniz), the production costs would barely be slightly higher than those of a common record.

Finally, Jaime could fulfill his desire of recording with a select roster of Uruguayan musicians. He already had Galemire and Etchenique. The latter introduced him to [bassist Andrés] Recagno, who in turn introduced him to his cousin Estela Magnone, a member of the Travesía trio. Several of the guests had shared projects with Jaime before he moved to Europe (in Patria Libre, Epílogo de Sueños, Aguaragua, Canciones para no dormir la siesta). Others were part of the new Canto Popular scene (Rumbo, Los que iban cantando). Jaime specifically sought other musicians after listening to them (Boca Ferreira in Gula Matari, [Raúl] Medina in Almango, [Luis] Firpo en Zafhfaroni). Wilson Negreyra is his cousin. In total, Jaime called 50 names, 51 if we count the voice of Carlos Solé narrating the winning goal of Nacional in the final of the 1971 Libertadores Cup.

These human resources, worthy of a ‘superproduction,’ contrasted with the limitations of a studio that wasn’t built to make records. The recorder had eight half-inch channels. The [rhythmic] bases were recorded in the eight channels, mixed in stereo and copied back onto two of the eight tracks. There would be six tracks left for everything else (think of the hard work needed for the pre-mixes of the 17 chorus overdubs in ‘Quince abriles’).

[Ribeiro] skillfully dodged obstacles without opposing Jaime’s trippy, impressionistic instructions (‘I want the drums to sound like from inside a bathroom,’ in ‘Hermano te estoy hablando;’ ‘We’re walking on a long and narrow alley and there’s a candombe-punk band at the end,’ in ‘La sirena’). The result was Jaime’s most psychedelic album, and its spirit was reflected in the poster (inspired by the one in the Beatles’ ‘White Album’). Originally 60 x 60 cm, that poster was put together by [Jorge] Nasser (then a graphic designer) with images provided by Jaime.

The album title [‘It’s always 4 pm’] comes from a phrase by his friend ‘Botánico’ and was the first in a series of [possible] titles with numerical references. In the cover photo, Jaime is wearing the black tie he used to work at the Belgian cabaret.

Siempre son las cuatro was going to be released by Ayuí, but the label couldn’t pay the studio due to financial problems. Alfonso Carbone, who had just become artistic director of the Orfeo label, knew and admired Jaime’s records and agreed to buy the master. This was the beginning of a long relationship between Jaime and the label.

‘Adiós Juventud’ was the first murga-song that used a complete murga. It was an immediate and massive hit. Its use in the ‘Through the streets of Montevideo’ segment of the TV show Telecataplúm multiplied its impact. In its original vinyl and cassette editions, the album reached Platinum (more than 6,000 copies sold).”

Next page: Mediocampo (1984).

11 thoughts on “#95 / The Jaime Roos ‘Complete Works’: A Must-Have for (Serious) Alt Latin Music Lovers

  1. Enrique – saludos desde Irlanda. Thank you for these blogs about Jaime Roos’ music. I am a great admirer of this soulful, honest and important music from a beautiful and soulful country. I didn’t know if the 4 CDs in the new batch are the same quality as the first sets, your blogs have corrected that for me.

    I did buy some in Montevideo but have also been able to find them also on Amazon (muy, muy caro) or ebay (mejor precio).

    Do you know why “Brindis Por Pierrot” has not been released as a standalone disc or am I missing something?

    Gracias por su trabajo, Simon Leng

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    • OK, Guilherme explains this clearly in his commentary to Selladas Uno, but here’s a quick summary: The ‘Brindis por Pierrot’ album only included three new songs: “Brindis por Pierrot,” “Murga de la Pica” and the new version of “Cometa de la Farola.” The other six songs had already been released on other albums. ‘Selladas Uno’ includes these three songs.

      The ‘Brindis por Pierrot’ album is not included in this collection because the idea is not to repeat songs, except in the case of different versions of one song, but not the same version.

      These 13 albums only include three “repeat” songs: the Estela Magnone duets included in both the ‘Mujer de sal junto a un hombre vuelto carbón’ and ‘El Puente’ albums.

      I hope this clarifies things. Thanks for reading and listening!

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  2. Thanks, that is great information. Here’s a thought for you…..is “Fuera de Ambiente” Jaime Roos’ masterpiece? To my ears it could be

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    • I love ‘Fuera de Ambiente,’ but I’m not sure if it’s his masterpiece. Definitely one of his best, and unfairly underrated. It’s his only album of originals with no solos. Everything is written down. Beautiful songs. When I saw him live for the last time in 2007, my mother was on her deathbed and he kindly dedicated “Catalina” to her. I think his first masterpiece is ‘Aquello’, but I also love ‘Siempre son las cuatro’, ‘Mediocampo’ and ‘Estamos rodeados’. And ‘La Margarita’ too. But I love them all. I’m a diehard fan.

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      • I look forward to hearing the next set of 4 which I ordered for a reasonable price on amazon, so they are available globally. I especially like “Vida Numero Dos” which I think is a profound piece and captures many different musical elements…some of which I have written about:

        https://www.amazon.com/Simon-Leng/e/B001K8QRDK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1490012790&sr=1-2-ent

        I am pro-Uruguay so probably biased but as well as great soccer players and teams the country has produced some really world class music with Opa, Ruben Rada and Jaime Roos leading the pack. Outstanding musicians.

        Best wishes…

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