Santa Esmeralda – House Of The Rising Sun (1977) – Lp
Santa Esmeralda is a U.S./French Disco group formed in the 1970s; perhaps best known for their hit disco remakes of the 1960s hits Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood and House of the Rising Sun. The group featured original lead singer Leroy Gómez in 1977 & 1978 and singer Jimmy Goings from 1979 until 1983.
Artist: Santa Esmeralda
Title: House Of The Rising Sun
Label: Philips Records
After the band’s first album, singer Jimmy Goings was brought in to replace Leroy Gomez. In 1977 Santa Esmeralda scored a top 20 disco hit with a dance version of another song made famous by The Animals, “The House of the Rising Sun“.
Having already assumed the onerous task of revamping the Animals’ classic “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” for the disco market — and making a success of it — Santa Esmeralda once again tackled the classics within this novel set. “The House of the Rising Sun,” the same band’s first international smash, certainly reinvented the classic sound. Keeping the crunch of the guitar and adding a disco beat and a horn section that crosses the border, the performance is anything but another tired old cover. And, although the strains of the aforementioned “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” do percolate up from the depths at times, “Rising Sun” ultimately comes off like a spaghetti Western crossed with Saturday Night Fever. Odd, but oddly compelling at the same time. That song segues into the accompanying “Quasimodo Suite,” making up a luxurious first side that completely overshadows the three tracks on the flip. “Dance You Down Tonight” is pure disco, but pulls out a few funk stops on the way, while the ballad “Nothing Else Matters” takes the preceding frenzy down a notch. The closing “Hey! Gip,” covering one of Donovan’s most hallowed oldies, is probably best forgotten. Santa Esmeralda may be remembered as nothing more than a novelty band — a product of its generation at a time when outrageousness ruled — but at least the band took a stab at creating something different. And while not necessarily successful, the group’s reinvention of the ’60s music scene certainly gave people something different to talk about.
1. The House Of The Rising Sun + Quasimodo Suite (16:30)
1. Dance You Down Tonight (7:00)
2. Nothing Else Matters (6:30)
3. Hey! Gyp! (3:30)