En Espana/Grandes Exitos en Espanol

by: Matt Monro

This EMI Gold two-fer assembles a pair of unusual but effective 1970 LPs by the crooner Matt Monro. Monro sings in Spanish for En España, and what's most impressive is how seamlessly he translates his signature subtlety and expressiveness to a tongue other than his own. Monro's elemental interpretive genius achieves new heights here -- sure, he knows these songs, but he's approaching them from new and unfamiliar angles, and yet their meaning and spirit resonate with absolute clarity regardless of language. The material itself spans from contemporary pop hits ("No Me Pesa, Es Mi Hermano," aka "He's Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother") to Broadway favorites ("Sueño Imposible," aka "The Impossible Dream") to standards ("La Sombra de Tu Sonrisa," aka "The Shadow of Your Smile"), but Monro makes all the songs his own -- a commendable feat. Monro recorded Spanish-language renditions of his biggest hits and traditional favorites throughout the course of his career, and Grandes Exitos en Español assembles these stray singles, B-sides, and album cuts in one place. Despite its patchwork origins, the record proves a surprisingly cohesive and engaging listen. Monro's natural feel for the Spanish language is undeniably impressive -- he brings to material like "No Puedo Quitar Mis Ojos de Ti" ("Can't Take My Eyes Off You") and "Que Tiempo Tan Feliz" ("Those Were the Days") the same maturity and thoughtfulness that underscore his English-language sessions, singing with the painterly grace of one with complete understanding of a lyric's emotional impact, even if the words themselves originate from a foreign tongue. ~ Jason Ankeny

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.