This unusual collection has a somewhat convoluted history, growing out of ABBA's distinctly international appeal. Originally released at ten songs and then expanded to 15, ABBA Oro was a repackaging of Gracias Por La Musica, a ten-song LP that, in turn, grew out of the group's long-delayed cracking of the South American market in 1979, with a Spanish-language version of "Chiquitita." The latter song was recut in Spanish two months after the January 1979 release of the English-language version, and became a huge hit throughout South America, topping most of the national charts there and leading to a television special in Madrid and the release of a Spanish version of "I Have a Dream" ("Estoy Sonando") that also sold extremely well. In January 1980, the latter's success resulted in the preparation of the Gracias Por La Musica LP (released on Atlantic in America), a collection of the group's biggest hits with re-recorded vocals, done with pronunciation help from journalist Ana Martinez. Although Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus had little interest in the project beyond its commercial aspects, to judge from the results here, Agnetha Faltskog and Frida Lyngstad both evidently enjoyed singing in Spanish, as well as getting a second crack at several older songs from their repertory, and Michael Tretow did an excellent remixing job, both at the time and on the 1999 digital remix, in 24-bit sound. As opposed to the 1992 CD version, the 1999 remastering features a rich, wide sound profile that brings out the elegance of the group's sound and arrangements, not just for the voices but the instruments as well. For the 1999 remastering, the ten songs off of Gracias Por La Musica and the original ABBA Oro have been augmented by five more tracks: "Felicidad" (aka "Happy New Year") and "Andante Andante" from the next official album, Super Trouper, and "Se Me Esta Escapando" (aka "Slipping Through My Fingers") and "No Hay A Quien Culpar" (aka "When All Is Said and Done") from The Visitors, plus "Ring Ring." As for the music, Spanish-speaking listeners obviously will have a special appreciation of the material, but Lyngstad and Faltskog sing so stunningly, and perhaps with more emotion here than on some of the original lyrics, that these variant takes will also prove attractive to non-Spanish speakers.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder