* * * * *In 1953, Frank Sinatra gave it the swing treatment, with no apparent dismay over the loss of his Mexican love. (“The mission bells told me--ding dong--that I must not stay--stay south of the border, down Mexico way.”) On the other hand, Patsy Cline’s 1961 recording imbues it with all the drama it deserves, though she does do away with the autobiographical perspective by giving it the third-person treatment (“The mission bells told him that he mustn’t stay…”) Marty Robbins chose to omit the second verse entirely in his 1995 recording, and perhaps accidentally changed “wander” to “wonder”, rendering it a disappointment considering how perfectly the song suits him. A year later, Chris Isaak released an excellent understated recording, diminished only by his substitution of “and love had its day” in place of the quaint “and we were so gay”. I particularly like his addition of “goodbye, goodbye” after the “ay-yi-yi-yi’s” at the end--an embellishment I've adopted in my video below.
* * * * *Lyricist Jimmy Kennedy (1902-1983) was an Irish songwriter whose lengthy career produced some 2000 songs, of which over 200 became worldwide hits and about 50 are all-time classics. Among those are “My Prayer”, “Harbor Lights” and “Red Sails in the Sunset”. Composer Michael Carr (1905?-1968?) did not have as prominent a career, though he did produce a great quantity of songs, many of which were written for stage, screen or television.
* * * * *This song is well-suited to the use of the fan stroke, which adds additional Mexican flavor to the instrumentation. I play it in the key of A.