Back in college, I spent some time studying in Mexico. During my first few days in Mexico City, I wandered into a record store (this was back in 1988, when they still sold LPs and cassettes) and found a cassette copy of the Scorpions' Blackout — with packaging written in Spanish, including the song titles. Rather naively, I now realize, I asked the young female clerk if the Scorps actually sang in Spanish on that tape. "Oh, sí," she replied. So, like a moron, I bought the damn thing — which turned out be the same audio version of Blackout that I already owned. I'd like to think the clerk and I just had a language-barrier-induced misunderstanding, but I believe I was had.
This solo record from Jose Andrea, the singer of Mago de Oz, one of Spain's leading progressive-metal bands, goes a long way toward making up for the disappointment I experienced 16 years ago when Klaus Meine didn't sing "China White" in Spanish. Donde el Corazón Te Lleve (Where the Heart Takes You, for unilingual readers) is a nifty disc that offers Spanish versions of slow-burn rock and metal ballads from an eclectic mix of such artists as the Scorpions - thank God - Hammerfall, Rainbow, Deep Purple, the McCauley Schenker Group, Twisted Sister and Damn Yankees. With the exception of Bryan Adams' "Engañando al Olvido" ("Heaven"), the track listing is solid. And the one song that could have come off sounding trite and fey, Mr Big's "La Belleza Está en tu Interior" ("To Be With You"), is actually full of surprises. Andrea changes some of the lyrics - at least I think he does, if my Spanish-speaking skills remain intact - and he embellishes with heavier power chords on the McCauley Schenker Group's "El Dios de la Guerra" ("When I'm Gone") and with flourishes of piano on Dokken's "El Mar de la Tranquilidad" ("Alone Again," or, conveniently translated literally, "Sea of Tranquility"). There are even two original ballads penned in Spanish.
Ably assisted by Mago de Oz's musicians, as well as fellow Locomotive Music labelmates, Andrea has released an album that on paper would seem an odd - and frankly, career-threatening - move. But he executes the idea with class and conviction.
1) Engañando al Olvido (Heaven, by Bryan Adams)
2) Lo Que Quiero Erea Tá (All I Want Is You, by Paul Rodgers)
3) Tus Lágrimas No Besan (High Enough, by Damn Yankees)
4) El Precio (The Price, by Twisted Sister)
5) El Peso del Ama (Glory to the Brave, by Hammerfall)
6) Siempre Estás Allí (Siempre Estás Allí, by Barón Rojo)
7) Aquí Estoy (Stone Cold, by Rainbow)
8) El Dios de la Guerra (When I'm Gone, by the McCauley Schenker Group)
9) En ta Estrella (Always Somewhere, by the Scorpions)
10) El Mar de la Tranquilidad (Alone Again, by Dokken)
11) En las Olas de tu Cintara (Love Conquers All, by Deep Purple)
12) La Belleza Está en tu Interior (To Be With You, by Mr. Big)
13) Pegúntale a Dios (Soldier of Fortune, by Deep Purple)
14) Donde el Corazón te Lleve (Donde el Corazón te Lleve, by Txas)