ORCHESTER JUAN BELGADO, Vaya Con Dios, 1960Posted: September 7, 2012
Since I´ve bought this record some years ago, it has puzzled me. I always wished Juan Belgado´s upbeat rock´n´roll version of Les Paul and Mary Ford´s hit song Vaya Con Dios, was a unique product of the Favorit budget label, but it seemed very unlikely. It´s just too good. Most German budget labels just didn´t come up with original stuff, let alone rock´n´roll instrumental versions of Vaya Con Dios. Their objective was not to be creative, but to supply consumers with cheaper hit records than those of the bigger labels – 2.85 instead of the average 4 Deutschmark. That´s why the label´s catalog is largely comprised of schlager stuff like the A-Side of this record, a boring version of Vico Torriani´s Café Oriental. More likely Juan Belgado´s version of Vaya Con Dios was also copied from another already existing instrumental version.
ORCHESTER JUAN BELGADO, Vaya Con Dios, 1960
Today, after yet another Internet search, I finally found the answer. A fan of instrumental rock´n´roll could have probably told me right away. This German budget version is a pretty faithful copy of Vaya Con Dios by The Virtues from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania! Their only hit record, a rock´n´roll reworking of Arthur Smith´s Guitar Boogie hit #5 in the Billboard 100 in 1959.
Now that I´ve solved this mystery, it´s still pretty cool that a tiny German budget label chose to copy an obscure version of a hit song by The Virtues.
The question of Juan Belgado and his band´s true identities still remains. The name “Juan Belgado” was obviously chosen to sound like Roberto Delgado, an alias of successful bandleader Horst Wende. His band featured Ladi Geisler, at that time one of Germany´s best rock´n´roll guitarists. Their Polydor EP Heiße Gitarren is early German instrumental rock´n´roll similar to Johnny & The Hurricanes. But who played that throbbing tremolo guitar in Juan Belgado´s band?
The history of pop music is full of false identities and endless copying. The beauty is that some of those mysteries will never be solved.