01. Muchacha (ojos de papel) - 3'08"
02. Color humano (Edelmiro Molinari) - 9'12"
03. Figuración - 3'33"
04. Ana no duerme - 2'47"
05. Fermín - 3'20"
06. Plegaria para un niño dormido - 4'03"
07. A estos hombres tristes - 6'01"
08. Que el viento borró tus manos (Emilio del Guercio) - 2'38"
09. Laura va - 2'53"
All songs wrutten by Luis Alberto Spinetta except where noted otherwise
Emilio del Guercio: Bass, Flute, Vocals
Rodolfo García: Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Edelmiro Molinari: Guitars, keyboards, vocals
Luis Alberto Spinetta: Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Rodolfo Mederos: Bandoneón
Recorded at studios T.N.T., Buenos Aires between April and September 1969
Released the 29th of November 1969
Almendra was formed in 1968 after the break up of three teenage school groups, Los Sbirros, Los Mods and Los Larkins. The initial rehearsals were held at Spinetta´s house in Belgrano (an upper-middle class neighbourhood of Buenos Aires). By mid-1968, they met producer Ricardo Kleiman, who signed them for a single. Kleiman was the owner of an important clothing shop -Modart- and ran a radio show -Modart en la Noche/Modart at Night- that aired the latest editions of beat and rock music of the world.
On September 20, 1968, "Tema de Pototo" (a.k.a. "Para saber cómo es la soledad") b/w "El mundo entre las manos" was released. "Tema de Pototo" is a beautiful beat ballad about a friend they thought was dead. Both sides feature orchestral arrangements by Rodolfo Alchourrón, a request by the producer. By the end of the year, "Hoy todo el hielo en la ciudad" with a great fuzz guitar work by Edelmiro, hit the stores. The b-side features "Campos verdes" from which a promotional film was made.
Almendra played during the summer at the beginning of 1969 in Mar del Plata a beach city 400 km south of Buenos Aires. Their debut in Buenos Aires was on March 24, at the DiTella Institute, the avant-garde cultural centre of the 60s. Almendra spent the rest of the year performing at different venues, until September 21, first day of Spring and Student’s Day in Argentina, when they played at the Pinap Festival. Pinap was the name of a beat magazine, and this Festival was the first major event of Argentine rock.
Meanwhile, the group was recording their debut album. An odd event marked the completion of it. Spinetta had drawn an original enigmatic face character for the cover. Days afterward, the record company told the boys that the drawing had been lost, so they were planning to use a photo of the group instead. Obviously upset, the musicians looked for the lost drawing and eventually found it discarded in the garbage. Spinetta had stayed up all night reproducing his original artwork and took it to the record company the following day. The company offered no excuses the second time. The extraordinary debut album was finally released on November 29, 1969. Along with the infamous drawing, it included an insert with lyrics and technical information. The black & white back cover pictured the group live at the Pinap Festival.
By the end of 1969 the record company released a new single featuring "Tema de Pototo" and "Final". The latter was originally scheduled to end their debut album, but could not make it due to time length limitations. The group wanted "Gabinetes espaciales" to be the a-side of this single but RCA wished to promote "Pototo" instead. "Gabinetes..." was eventually included on the compilation LP Mis conjuntos preferidos (RCA Vik 3836).
In early 1970 another single was released with two songs from the album. Meanwhile, Spinetta was working on a highly ambitious -though not original at that time- project: a rock opera about mankind’s inner search. But while they were working on this new album the group split.
Along with Manal, Vox Dei and Los Gatos, Almendra is one of the pioneer groups of the Argentine rock in Spanish and with a proper concept and personality.
Their first eponymous album (1969) is an exercise that mixes the psychedelic pop with some acoustic, peculiar element, and a pretty personal style in general.
The influences from The Beatles, and the general English psychedelia of the 60s are there, as a base to develop something different, which seen minutely, does defer considerably from those British bands, in mood and in spirit.
In the Buenos Aires of 1969, all these young rock groups (in those times the usual term was "pop music"), were seen like a bunch of aliens: some strange hippies commonly labeled as revolting and junkies. The normal people didn’t listen to this, the normal people listened to the correct starettes who appeared on TV, singing mellow love songs, with cute hairdos, and correctly shaved.
This Almendra, that for these times is utterly innocent, and full of candor, for the Buenos Aires of 1969 was something considerably strange, too irregular, and closer to the marginal than to the musical.
The production of this album is as low budget as it can be imagined, the sound is technically deficient, not bad: old; though all the bands of the time and the place sounded this way or even worse.
BMG Argentina released it on CD, including early singles, some of them being even better than the album songs itselves, and enhanced up to 20 tracks.
"Que el viento borró tus manos", "Fermín", the beautiful "Ana no duerme", "Figuración", "Color humano" and the ballad "Muchacha ojos de papel" are among the standouts, in an album whose music is pretty creative, not brilliant, but yes pretty melancholic, with fine poetry, guitar and vocals by Luis Alberto Spinetta, well supplemented by Rodolfo García on drums, Edelmiro Molinari on guitar and Emilio Del Güercio on bass.
Listened today, 40 years later, Almendra leaves a sour-sweet taste in the listener, talking about a Buenos Aires in distant past tense, too distant.