Friday, February 27, 2015

Almendra - 1970 - Almendra 2

Almendra 2

01. Toma El Tren Hacia El Sur   
02. Jingle   
03. No Tengo Idea   
04. Camino Difícil   
05. Rutas Argentinas   
06. Vete De Mí, Cuervo Negro   
07. Aire De Amor   
08. Mestizo   
09. Agnus Dei   
10. Para Ir   
11. Parvas   
12. Cometa Azul   
13. Florecen Los Nardos   
14. Carmen   
15. Obertura   
16. Amor De Aire   
17. Verde Llano   
18. Leves Instrucciones   
19. Los Elefantes   
20. Un Pájaro Te Sostiene   
21. En Las Cúpulas

Bass, Vocals, Organ, Piano, Effects – Emilio del Guercio
Drums, Vocals, Percussion – Rodolfo García
Guitar, Vocals, Organ – Edelmiro Molinari
Guitar, Vocals, Piano – Luis Alberto Spinetta

The second album of this Buenos Aires rock band Almendra was an ambitious double vinyl, perhaps slightly less solid than the debut for some, more erratic and less concise, in style and inspiration, yet including a considerable amount of great tracks, and possibly its sound is more appealing for my taste.
Notwithstanding the best songs here are better than the best songs of the first LP, this one cannot capture that especial, fragile and almost golden mood the first album had, and due to its length, "Almendra 2" ends being a more diluted affair.
The irruption of Led Zeppelin and other 70s' bands is already clear in the sound that Luis Alberto Spinetta et al gave to this record, also influenced by some progressive rock acts of its time, and why not, by the blues rock of groups like Jethro Tull, with vocation for the jam and the psychedelia a la early Amon Duul 2, which is especially appreciated on the long and trippy "Agnus Dei".
There are many good songs, in quality and quantity to remark here, like "Toma el tren hacia el sur", "Camino difícil", "Rutas argentinas", "Leves instrucciones", "Mestizo", "Parvas", "Los elefantes", "Aire de amor", "Vete de mí, cuervo negro" or "Un pájaro te sostiene", among others, and despite the disc one it's slightly better than the second, these -almost- 80 minutes of music are interesting, beginning to end.
After this album Almendra would disband, and several outfits would born from its ashes: Pescado Rabioso, Color Humano, Aquelarre, but these bands belonged more clearly to the 70s' hard and progressive rock camp than Almendra itself.
"Almendra 2" is, in short, a genuine classic, in spite of certain technical 1970's imperfections

On December 19th, 1970, Almendra (a.k.a. Almendra Double Album) was released, along with a new single taken from it. The 2-LP set included only traces of the unfinished opera but was full of songs that previewed what the members of the group (noteworthy Emilio and Edelmiro) would do next. Although Luis Alberto Spinetta was the main composer of the first album and most of the singles, it was clear that his fellow musicians had their own ideas as well.

The brilliant double album is, thus, pretty heterogeneous. The music is more complex and has much organ and guitar playing. Side A begins with "Toma el tren hacia el sur" featuring a great Edelmiro guitar solo. Next to the short and simple "Jingle", a powerful Molinari guitar composition ("No tengo idea") follows. "Camino difícil", written by Emilio, would fit in any Aquelarre album. The steady rock of "Rutas argentinas" (a very popular song on live shows), the dark "Vete de mí, cuervo negro", and another two Molinari compositions: "Aire de amor" (advancing the Color Humano style) and the excellent "Mestizo" completes this side.

Side B features the chirping hard-psycho 14-minute-long "Agnus Dei" and the cute "Para ir".

Side C includes the powerful "Parvas", "Cometa azul", my favourite "Florecen los nardos", –all with great guitar work– and Del Güercio's rhythm ballad "Carmen".

Side D begins with "Obertura" (obviously the ill-fated opera's overture), followed by the country-folk "Amor de aire" and "Verde llano" (both written by Edelmiro). This last side continues with "Leves instrucciones", a nice tune sung by Emilio and Luis Alberto and the outstanding "Los elefantes". "Un pájaro te sostiene" –a rock number written by Del Güercio– and the great Spinetta's guitar-oriented "En las cúpulas" close this highly recommended album.

Almendra's split produced these wonderful outcomes: The famous groups Aquelarre, Color Humano, and Pescado Rabioso.

Years later, on December 7th and 8th, 1979, Almendra reunited to play live at the Obras Sanitarias Stadium in Buenos Aires. These highly successful shows led to a big tour including various cities of Argentina and Uruguay. A 2-set live album –Almendra en Obras (Almendra ML 712 & 713)–, and a studio album of new material –El valle interior (Almendra ML 135)– were also released, this time on their own independent label. My advice: forget these and stick to the old stuff!
 Some interesting compilations are 1972's Almendra (serie Rock Progresivo) (RCA Vik LZ-1227) and 1977's Muchacha, ojos de papel (RCA AVS-4765). Both include singles.

A rare 4-song EP with picture sleeve (RCA Vik 3ZE-3704) also exists.

Also, a now-impossible-to-get book (already guessed it's name? bet: Almendra!!!) featuring poems and drawings was published in 1970.



  2. Can you please re-up this file. It sounds intriguing!