This album is the best of Vaya Con Dios, it's definitely an essential CD to have and I'm yet to meet anyone who doesn't like it. Many of the songs are taken from the album Night Owls but there are a couple extra tracks that make this compilation worthwhile.
It's hard to fit Vaya Con Dios into a genre, it's not really pop and it's not quite jazz. It's essentially chanson sang by Belgian, Dani Klein with a slight husky French accent singing in English to latin and occasionally gypsy themed music. One of the most succesful bandthroughout Europe in the late 80s and 90s and it's not hard to see why.
This album has hit after hit and is undoubtedly one of my favourite albums. The stand out voice of the singer is a reminder that people could actually sing in tune before today's pop idol trash were given recording contracts.
The first 3 -
Starting off with their 1988 hit "Don't Cry For Louie" before moving back in time to their 1st single from 1986 "Just a Friend of Mine", the two songs have love themes but different stories and despite being different both give an air of a night out in a port city with smokey bars and the echoed voices of just a friend of mine on the latter is great.
The 3rd song on the album is "Puerto Rico", which was in fact their 2nd single in 1987, this track has some beautiful flamenco guitar played on it and is possibly one of the best on the album, the track is about a girl Angelita, whose young husband (Manolito), a bit of a mischievous sort is leaving her to go to the USA. 9/10
4 - Johnny is a cover of Edith Piafs song which in turn was a French cover of the Romanian chanson song Sanie cu zurgalai by Maria Lataretu, the song is sung in French and is a jolly little ditty if ever there was one. 9/10
5 - Something's Got a Hold on Me has an upbeat funkyness to it and Dani has a more playful voice on this one, there's also a backing group doing a whole host of "woh" noises that give it a gospel feel to it. 7/10
6 - Nah neh Nah - My favourite track on the album, Django Reinhardt style played guitar matched with undoubtedly the most catchy chorus, I was introduced to this song by an old sailor who used to have quite a hysterical little dance to it. Some months later, I decided to ask just about everyone I know to find out who it was and that's how I discovered this album.
7 - I don't Want to Know - Has a very French sound to the music, could easily be an advert for a Renault Clio! Dani's voice is at her huskiest on this one and it comes off particularly well. In this song she plays the bitter wife/girlfriend of a man whose up to no good with another woman, the story-telling is pretty great.
8 - What's a Woman - back to the gospelness of Something's Got a Hold on Me, quite simple lyrically but a sublime combination of vocals, keyboard and brass band ensure this could easily match a top 60's hit by the likes of Dusty Springfield.
9 - Time flies - This song is perhaps the best proof of the way in which the band manages to create a super sound through excellent timing. Guitar is played in a Dire Straits sound this time, the keyboard player is fantastic again but lyrically it's not that interesting for me.
10 - Farewell Song - A short jazzy track with overpowering vocals, the lyrics are a bit twee though for me, see what you think:
You can call me a liar
Try to put me to shame
No, I have no desire
To live my life in the shade
You strut like a lion
But you're a bird in a cage
You set the rivers on fire
But you got burned by the flames
The song still sounds good but I think it's a case of Belgian waffle coming in to play!
11 - Heading for a fall - Back to their best with this song, again it has some superb backing singers which give it that 60's feel again. 8/10
12 - At the Parallel - Considerably slower than the other songs, sleazy sort of jazz that makes you feel like you are in a smokey piano bar
He stands by the doors of the Rex all night
His eyes trouble more than one woman
His voice is heavy and deep
There's dirt on the sidewalk
And the newsboy yell
Nothing ever changes at the Parallel
Nothing ever changes at the Parallel
13 - Don't Break My Heart - A slow and gentle love song with a country-style of a guitar and funeral organ keyboard type, a very decent ballad.
14 - Stay With Me - Funky disco pulling out all the stops of cheesy lyrics and even an additional singer with a Barry White style to him thrown in! Pretty entertaining.
15 - Upbeat funky jazz that could also be another disco hit like the one before, not really my kind of thing though and not enough going on lyrically to keep me entertained.
16 - Evening of love, another ballad with a touch of country about it. A bit of a let down in comparison to earlier hits.
This album starts off superbly but you could afford to lose the last 3 tracks. Night Owls has most of the early hits like "Puerto Rico", "Nah Neh Nah", "Don't Cry For Louie" and "Johnny", which despite just being rather simple stories told through a song are some of the best songs ever in my opinion!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Don't Cry For Louie
2 Just A Friend Of Mine
3 Puerto Rico
5 Something's Got A Hold On Me
6 Nah Neh Nah
7 I Don't Want To Know
8 What's A Woman
9 Time Flies
10 Farewell Song
11 Heading For A Fall
12 At The Parallel
13 Don't Break My Heart
14 Stay With Me
15 Lonely Feeling
16 Evening Of Love