I haven’t been listening to music all that much recently. That’s not to say that I couldn’t, just that I usually find myself doing other things that are difficult to do at the same time. But anyway, here are some thoughts on a few albums I have heard in the recent past.
The Puppini Sisters Unlocked – This is a recording of the first streaming concert the group did last year. I didn’t watch that one live, although I did the second around Christmas. I have the CD of that one, too, but it hasn’t seemed appropriate to listen to it at this time of year. This has a good number of songs, and some entertaining banter. They discussed how the title of “Bacciami Piccini” means “kiss me, tiny mouth,” and how Emma Smith remembers part of it because the line with the word “deliziosa” is immediately followed by “cio che tin,” which sounds like “choccy tin.” (Never mind that she did the same bit in the Christmas show.) From what I’ve seen, the line actually means “What is it that you care so much about?”, with some extra syllables to fit the rhythm. The song was originally performed by Alberto Rabagliati in 1940, and popularized by Rosemary Clooney with a mix of Italian and English lyrics. Duncan Galloway does guest vocals on “Mack the Knife” and “Don’t Fence Me In.”
The Puppini Sisters, Love – This Valentine’s Day compilation (which I didn’t receive until after Valentine’s Day, but it DID have to be shipped from overseas) has a collection of love songs, some by the entire group and others by the members solo. Some of them were already released on other albums, but others are previously unreleased, or at least alternate versions. There were some interesting choices, like “Don’t Fence Me In,” which I guess is a love song to open spaces. When I saw Nellie McKay cover that one, she introduced it as a song about illegal immigration. I also remember Bugs Bunny signing it, although I can’t find a clip of that on YouTube. “I Put a Spell on You” uses the lyrics that Bette Midler sang in Hocus Pocus. Each Sister has a solo track on here as well. Kate Mullins performs a slow version of “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” which is interesting. Marcella sings and plays accordion on “Jitterbug Waltz.”
David Lowery, Leaving Key Member Clause – The follow-up to Lowery’s earlier autobiographical album In the Shadow of the Bull, this one mostly covers 1989 through 1996, when he was making the transition from Camper Van Beethoven to Cracker, including moving to Richmond, Virginia in “Let It Roll Down That Hill” and his first wife in “Pretty Girl from Oregon Hill.” I know nothing about their relationship, but I know he’s married to someone else now. This song treats the ex quite positively. “Everybody Get a F****** Day Job” is surprisingly upbeat musically, and there are plenty of other catchy tunes as well.
I still have the new Kim Boekbinder record to write about, and I hear St. Vincent has just released a new one as well, but those will have to wait.