Go With God

‘Vaya con Dios (May God Be With You)’, which literally means “Go with God” and this was a popular song written by Larry Russell, Inez James, and Buddy Pepper, and first recorded by Anita O’Day in December 1952.  Les Paul and Mary Ford had a #1 hit with this song in 1953.  Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time and in 2005, the 1953 Les Paul and Mary Ford recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame.  Nat King Cole made a memorable version of this song with complete Spanish lyrics.  The title of this song can also be interpreted as “Godspeed”, which an expression of good wishes to a person that is starting out on a journey.  This is a way of saying goodbye to someone or adios in Spanish.  Gene Autry also recorded this song in 1953 and later Connie Francis, Slim Whitman, Chuck Berry, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Pat Boone, Freddie Fender, Jeff Beck, Julio Iglesias, Al Martino, Ray Conniff, Hank Snow, Ann Murray, Patti Page, Ray Price and many others also recorded versions of this song.

This phrase “Vaya con Dios” comes from Latin, and it stems from the phrase “dominus vobiscum” which basically says, “God be with you”, or “go with God”.  The saying dominus vobiscum is an ancient salutation and blessing traditionally used by the clergy in the Catholic Mass and it is often translated as, “The Lord be with you”.  This phrase can be used as a greeting to which the response would be “Et cum spiritu tuo” which means “And with your spirit”.  So basically, when the Priest says, “The Lord be with you” the congregation is responding, “Same to you, Father.”

This is a song about loss and longing and the lover is going on a long trip and trying to get an early start, so they are leaving while it is still dark.  Mission bells would normally ring throughout the day the, announcing that it was time to go to church, time for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, time to work, or time to rest.  The lover says, “Wherever you may be, I’ll be beside you.  Although you’re many million dreams away”, because he or she will still be thinking of them.  The lover will pray every night for the loved one to return home safely and they will be lonely every day until they get back, but they will never lose the memories that they made together.

Les Paul and Mary Ford were introduced to each other by Gene Autry in 1946 and they were married in 1949.  They had 16 top-ten hits and five of those top-ten hits came within nine months.  Mary grew disenchanted with the work and tour schedule of the music industry, while Les was happiest while working, so their relationship grew distant and they were divorced in 1963 and went their separate ways professionally.  Iris Colleen Summers became Mary Ford in the 1950s because this name was thought to be easy to pronounce.  ‘Vaya Con Dios’ was their best-selling recording, but their signature song was ‘How High the Moon’.  Mary arranged and sang all of the vocals on their recordings, while Les played the many layers of his guitar and added his recording wizardry.  During live performances, Mary would play her guitar along with Les as she sang.

In 1952, Gibson fulfilled Les’ 10-year dream by building a solid body electric guitar.  The bold sound of the guitar that bore Les’ name brought about Rock and Roll, however this sound was very different from what Les Paul and Mary Ford were recording.  By the 1960s, audiences had moved onto that new sound, which was fostered by Les’ recording and guitar inventions, but this left Les and Mary off the charts.   Mary Ford died on September 30, 1977 at the age of 53, from diabetes-related illness.  In 1978, Les Paul & Mary Ford were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.  Les Paul died of complications from pneumonia on August 12, 2009 at the age of 94.

Now the hacienda’s dark
The town is sleeping
Now the time has come to part
The time for weeping

Vaya con dios, my darling
Vaya con dios, my love

Now the village mission bells are softly ringing
If you listen with your heart
You’ll hear them singing

Vaya con dios, my darling
Vaya con dios, my love

Wherever you may be, I’ll be beside you
Although you’re many million dreams away
Each night I’ll say a pray’r
A pray’r to guide you
To hasten every lonely hour
Of every lonely day
Now the dawn is breaking through a gray tomorrow
But the memories we share are there to borrow

Vaya con dios, my darling
Vaya con dios, my love

Vaya con dios, my darling
Vaya con dios, my love

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music Challenge #176 ‘Gee’.

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