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

Mediocampo (1984)

jr-mediocampo

As in most of Jaime’s albums, this one has several classics. It is one of his most beloved (and pop) albums and, like the best of wines, it gets better with age.

Liner notes by Guilherme de Alencar Pinto: “On late January 1983, Jaime sang ‘Aquello’ at Teatro de Verano [during a three-headed show with Rubén Rada and Leo Maslíah] and dedicated it to El Sabalero, then exiled. Days later he was called upon by the police’s Intelligence Department and informed that he was blacklisted and couldn’t perform. One of the agents told him, ‘If I were you … I’d leave.’ It was, perhaps, the dictatorship’s last prohibition to a well-known artist.

During the nine months of exile in the Netherlands, and while he was working at a restaurant’s kitchen, Jaime thought of some projects for a possible return to his country, which was experiencing a certain political openness. One of those projects was forming a danceable candombe group he would call Repique.

Mainly, he conceived the new album: the songs, the title, the cover, the team. Locally oriented songs like ‘Durazno y Convención’ and ‘Los futuros murguistas’ were written in Amsterdam. Only ‘Pirucho’ had started in Montevideo, as indicated in the ‘trailer’ teased on ‘Hermano te estoy hablando’ (from the previous record). “Pirucho” was Homero Diano, one of his friends from the Sur and Palermo neighborhoods that Jaime mentions in the song’s verses. The lyrics in the rest of the song were adapted by Jaime from a letter he received from Pirucho himself.

Back in Uruguay, in February 1984 Jaime focused on Mediocampo which, just like Siempre son las cuatro, would be released by the Orfeo label and produced by the same recording team (Ribeiro and Restuccia). The studio now would be La Batuta, first in Uruguay to obtain 16 channels, with a handcrafted console built by Francisco Grillo, one of the studio partners (the extra tracks explain the technical improvement in relation to the previous record). The musical team would be, once again, an all-star roster of Uruguayan musicians.

‘Durazno y Convención’ was the debut of Repique with its original lineup. The other tracks include some of the band members, except for ‘Los futuros murguistas’ and ‘Pirucho,’ which are more direct, raw incursions in murga and candombe, respectively. On ‘Pirucho’ and ‘Tal vez Cheché,’ Jaime had, for the first time, an authentic (and superb) cuerda de tambores. Taking to new heights the Beatle principle of turning each song into its own universe, Jaime included, also for the first time, non-fusion Anglo styles with local elements. Some of the arrangements are influenced by New Wave, especially The Police, Rupert Hine and The Fixx. The techno touches were possible thanks to the Roland Juno-6 synthesizer Jaime had brought from the Netherlands.

Hugo Fattoruso, who was then residing in Brazil, recorded his parts in one night using that instrument during a flash visit to Montevideo. It was his first participation on a Jaime record; from then on, he would be present in all of them. On ‘Pirucho’ he wanted to play while reading the lyrics, in order to intertwine musical commentaries onto the words; the only thing that was pre-established was the reference to ‘Hermano te estoy hablando,’ as a way to ‘return the greeting’ to that song. Because of the relevance of his extensive ending, Jaime shared songwriting credits with him. ‘Durazno y Convención’ also includes references (to four songs in Candombe del 31).

Mediocampo is Jaime’s fifth record, and the graphics contain several references to the number 5 [used by football/soccer center midfielder, especially in yesteryear]. The Fénix jersey reflects his closeness with the club (where, among other things, Falta y Resto rehearsed at), but it’s mainly an allusion to an Uruguay that, towards the end of the dictatorship, was experiencing a rebirth from its own ashes.

Just like Siempre son las cuatro, Mediocampo went Platinum in its cassette and vinyl editions. It’s one of Jaime’s best-known albums and several of its songs, even today, are a key part of his live shows.”

Next page: 1985’s Mujer de sal junto a un hombre vuelto carbón.

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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