Friday, 4 March 2011

7. RITORNA - BBL-178

R I T O R N A  - BBL-178     release date:  April 1965 [Brazil]

1.  Viva la pappa col pomodoro [Lina Wertmüller-Nino Rota]  ar. Luis Enriquez
2.  San Francesco [San Francisco] [Lake-Green-Marmion; Migliacci] w the Rokes
3.  Lui  [Franco Migliacci-Luis Enriquez-Franco Zambrini]
4.  Lipstick on your collar [Edna Lewis-George Goehring] – ar.: Charles Calello
5.  L’amore mio [Remember me] [Shelly Coburn; v.: Migliacci]  ar. Luis Enriquez
6.  Wait for me [Sylvia Dee-Arthur Kent] – arrangement:  Martin Manning

1.  La forza di lasciarti [A.Bernabini]
2.  Splish splash [Bobby Darin-Jean Murray] – ar..:  Teacho Wiltshire
3.  Baby [When ya kiss me] [Jackie DeShannon-S.Sheeley] ar.: Sammy Lowe
4.  Pel di carota [Franco Migliacci-Ennio Morricone]
5.  Sei la mia mamma [Lina Wertmüller-Nino Rota]  ar.: Luis Enriquez
6.  Scrivi! [Lady Love] [Charlie Rich; Rossi] a.: Luis Enriquez; 4+4 di Nora Orlandi

When RCA Victor realized Rita Pavone was touring Brazil again in April 1965, they rushed to make up an album in time to coincide with her 'second coming'. They had a lot of unreleased material to choose from. The Argentine RCA subsidiary was in the same conundrum and I particularly think the Argentine made a better album - 'Volvió la Pecosita' than the Brazilians. 

VIVA LA PAPPA COL POMODORO’ [see ‘Gian Burrasca’] – Rita returns to São Paulo, Brazil to sing twice nightly at Teatro Record from 27 April to 1st of May 1965, going on to Rio de Janeiro too. 1964 had been Pavone’s big year in South America. This time though she lacked a hit-single to prop up her personal appearances. She tried hard to make ‘Viva la pappa’ a substitute for 1964’s ‘Datemi un martello’ but to no avail. ‘W la pappa’ is a tarantella-like song with a child-like refrain that was a let-down to Rita’s teenage fans. Besides being too repetitious it did not make any sense for Brazilian audiences who had not watched the Italian TV mini-series ‘Adventures of Gian Burrasca’from which it had been the opening song. 'Viva la papa' didn’t stand on its own, though. The audience at Teatro Record was sympathetic at Rita’s efforts to convince everyone to sing along with her. Most of them had come to listen to rock’n’roll not a tarantella. Teddy Reno, Rita’s manager made things even worse forcing himself as an MC meddling with Pavone's rendition of songs and trying to translate them to the audience when he himself lacked enough Portuguese, making an ass of himself. Rita’s return was a big letdown from the previous year’s victorious tour.

SAN FRACESCO’ [San Francisco de Asis] – This had already been released as a single in January 1965, being a moderate hit in Brazil at a time when everything Pavone touched turned to gold. Originally recorded by Trini Lopez in Spanish; here Rita sings it in Italian accompanied by English band The Rokes and their lovely guitars. It is a heart-felt prayer to the saint who lived in Italy in the Middle Ages but hardly something to cheer about. What Pavone fans wanted then a good rock’n’roll tune.

LUI’ – ‘He’ –  this could have been Pavone’s next big hit but it never left off the ground. It was never released as a single in Brazil so the radios didn’t play it. RCA, unfortunately, released ‘Viva la pappa’ instead. ‘Lui’ turned out to be a big hit in Italy in the summer of 1965, winning ‘Cantagiro’ a musical touring competion inspired by ‘Tour de France’ where singers and bands would drive from town to town having nightly shows on squares and piazzas. Fans voted in their favourite tunes until the big finale some time in August. Cantagiro started out in 1961 and reached its pinacle in 1965 when it went international having had concerts in Moscow, Belgium and Frankfurt. Italians were upbeat about their culture then. Maybe 1965 was Italy’s best year in music. Mina had been the Queen at Studio Uno 1965 [winter & spring] and Pavone was the Princess winning summer’s main musical competition. On the other hand, here in South America one could clearly see that the so-called Italian Invasion was past its prime. Competion was fierce from British bands - mainly Beatles - and Brazilian music was asserting itself in the shape of myriads song festivals plus Brazilian rock that was ascerting itself strongly by the end of 1965.

LIPSTICK ON YOUR COLLAR’ – see ‘Small Wonder’ for comments.

L’AMORE MIO’ [Remember me] – It was ‘San Francesco’ B-side. I particularly preferred Rita’s rendition of the original ‘Remember me’. I was so used to the ‘tightness’ of the original that I was displeased with the orchestral schmaltz Luis Enriquez concocted for the Italian cover. Besides it is a sort of ‘revenge song’, a bit too negative. Rita vaunts that her lover will never find someone like her.  He may have all he wants from life except ‘her love’... hum... it sounds a bit over-confident and too bitter at the same time.

WAIT FOR ME’ – see  ‘Small Wonder’ – For the Brazilian Rita Pavone Fan-Club it was heaven on earth to be able to listen to Rita's second US single. It’s such a good ballad if one lives in pre-feminist times. There’s a story about this particular song that surfaced in the Internet that is very interesting. A certain  American lady – that shall remain nameless - told someone in Italy that she was the writer of ‘Wait for me’. She said she'd written 'Wait for me’ in 1964 when she was 15 years old because she was in love with Paul McCartney. She wanted Paul to ‘wait for her’ until she ‘became a woman overnight’ and then they would get married. She liked her song so much that she sent it to the RCA in New York. RCA wrote a letter back to her saying that she had to copyright her song first. As she did not have money to do the ‘publishing’ she forgot about it. She forgot about it until a certain Sunday in 1965 when she tuned her TV on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ and had the shock of her life watching with baited breath an Italian teenager singing HER song.

Now, I'll leave it to you to believe such a story or not. I particularly don't believe it because there was not enough time to fall in love with Paul McCartney, then write a song about him, send it over to RCA, wait for an answer while the record company 'steals' her song and gives it to an Italian singer who happens to be waiting for new material; she records it in no time and sings it on national TV. All in less than 6 months. Besides, I researched Rita Pavone's appearances at 'The Ed Sullivan Show'; Rita has never sung 'Wait for me' at that Sunday programme. Check mate!

LA FORZA DI LASCIARTI’ – The strength to leave you – This is perhaps the best song in the album. It was released in Italy in April 1965 as B-side to 'Lui'. Some fans think it should have been the A-side though. It’s such a powerful ballad interwoven with a haunting saxphone lament. Rita really gives her all in mustering the strength to leave her lover.

SPLISH SPLASH’ – see ‘Small Wonder’ for comments.  For Brazilians it was a curious recording because Roberto Carlos, Brazil’s King of Rock, had already recorded his cover of ‘Splish splash’ in early 1964, which was a big hit. Rita stumbles all the way through the song... the lyrics getting in her way. It was too difficult for her to pronounce them correctly.  Wrong song, wrong place, wrong timing. The orchestration is excellent though. Teacho Wiltshire was perhaps the best arranger at the RCA studios in New York. His arrangements for the brass section are brilliant.

BABY’ [WHEN YA KISS ME] – see ‘Small Wonder’.  I particularly like this recording. Especially its ‘Latin flavour’. For some reason it reminds me of Carmen Miranda.

PEL DI CAROTA’ – Carrot-coloured hair – This is an anachronism. ‘Pel di carota' was left out of Pavone's 1st Brazilian album in 1963. Two years later when RCA needed a ‘filler’ they reached for it. It is not a bad song. It was especially written for her by Franco Migiliacci and Ennio Morricone in answer to people’s prejudices against Rita’s freckled face and red hair. It was a hit in her early TV shows in Italy but the Brazilian audience wouldn’t have a clue what the tune was about. Besides, Brazilians are mostly dark and brown. We don’t see how having freckles and being red-headed can be a ‘problem’, a handicap! The arrangement done by Ennio Morricone smacks of the Brazilian samba with its notorious whistling. Nobody here could relate to any of that. Maybe that’s why Brazilian RCA executives had expunged ‘Pel di carota’ from the 1st album in the first place.

SEI LA MIA MAMMA’ – You are my mother - This was ‘Viva la pappa’ B side. It’s a poignant ballad about Giannino’s love for his mother. Lovely, but didn’t mean much for South Americans who did not watch the mini-series. Rita tried to make the best of it when she offered it as a homage to all Brazilian mothers. Mother’s Day was just around the corner. Rita meant well but what the teens wanted was Rock, and Rita’s second Brazilian tour offered very little of that commodity. In her 1st Brazilian Tour, Rita had been famously supported by The Clevers, a brilliant local rock band that enhanced her rock’n’roll side. In her second tour she had a regular orchestra to back her up. That made a huge difference. In 1964 Rita rocked... in 1965 Rita bored. She must have been tired of touring by then.

SCRIVI’ – Write to me, please! – see ‘Volvió la Pecosita’ for comments. That’s one of my favourite Pavone recording. But ‘Scrivi’ had already been a hit here in 1964. It had been released as a single and in a compilation album called ‘Via Tiburtina km. 12’. It was like yesterday’s paper.

RITORNA’, as one can see, is a Frankestein-album made up with bits and pieces left over from all kinds of formats. It could have been better though. I much prefer the Argentine counter-part ‘Volvió la Pecosita’ mainly because it features ‘Tango della scuola’ [School’s tango] and two tracks sung in Spanish [‘Pido paz’ and ‘San Francisco de Asis’] which gives character to the album. Besides, the ‘Small Wonder’ tracks in the Argentine album are of better quality. There’s one thing I like about ‘Ritorna’ though... its cover sleeve is fantastic.

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