Friday, 4 March 2011

9. STASERA RITA

STASERA RITA  -  BBL 190      released in Brazil: December 1966.

1.  Supercalifragilistic-espiralidoso  [R.M. & R.B.Sherman; Ital.wds.: Antonio Amurri & Pertitas] w/ Ennio Morricone and orchestra
2.  Stasera con te  [Wertmüller-Leo Chiosso-Pisano] E. Morricone 

3.  Plip [Franco Migliacci-Gianni Meccia-Mantovani] w/ Ennio Morricone
4.  My baby left me [Arthur Crudup] w/ the Talismen
5.  Right now [Wilbur-Masher-Teddy Randazzo] ar.: Teddy Randazzo [USA]
6.  Hip hip hurrà [Johannes Strauss; Italian wds.: Carlo Rossi] w/ the Talismen

1.  Solo tu [Lina Wertmüller-Luis Enriquez] L. Enriquez & Alessandroni singers
2.  Occhi miei [Carlo Rossi-Marcello Marrocchi]
3.  Orazi e Curiazi [Rossi-Marcello Marrocchi-Lanati] Ruggero Cini & 4+4 N.Orlandi
4.  La bretella [Lina Wertmüller-Leo Chiosso-Lelio Lutazzi] w/ the Talismen
5.  Strong love [D.Malone-E.J.Silvers-M.Brown] w/ the Talismen
6.  Il treno [This train] [Peter Yarrow-Paul Stookey; v. Mogol] w/ the Talismen



Lina Wertmüller was instrumental in the production of ‘Stasera Rita’ TV show. She wrote the opening and closing themes and other stuff. The album was released in early 1966 while the show was still fresh in people’s memories. The ‘beat’ movement in Italy was gathering strength with bands like The Rokes and Equipe 84 becoming more and more popular. Maybe that’s why Rita’s manager brought British rock band The Talismen from London, to support her at the TV show and accompany her in rockers such as ‘My baby left me’, ‘Strong love’, ‘Il treno’ etc. After almost two years it seemed Rita was coming back to her rock origins.

San Remo 1966 ushered in a new ‘beat’ era with blonde rocker Caterina Caselli being called the ‘new sensation’. Italy teens were moving on. Gone were the ‘old teen idols’ like Paul Anka and Neil Sedaka and in were British bands like Spencer Davis Group, Kinks and Rolling Stones. Rita was just on the edge of being ‘old news’.

As for South America we lived in a completely different world. British bands were still relatively unknown as yet. Brazilians had their own brand of local rock bands and singers that were taking over. It was called Jovem Guarda [Young Guard] with Roberto Carlos at the helm, and it was all the rage in late 65 and the following years. The Italian music invasion that had started in 1963 was on the wane and Pavone’s air play was almost non-existent. To make things worse the local RCA neglected to release Pavone's latest recordings and it looked like nobody cared. Italians were suddenly out of favour.

SUPERCALIFRAGILISTIC ESPIRALIDOSO [Supercalifragilistic expialidocious] – This was the biggest let down a Brazilian Pavone fan like me could have ever had. It had been more than a year since we had heard any news from our idol, and the next thing we know we are literally bombarded with such a ‘bomb’, such a dud. I remember my chagrin when I heard the first notes of such a cacophony. I felt like crying with embarrassment and dejection. ‘Supercalifragilistic’ is an awful song. Maybe it was good enough to be in ‘Mary Poppins’ where it was performed by Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and the dreaduful Pearlies. I felt my world crumbling down. I had been let down by my idol. Rita Pavone was strident and discordant. I was used to hearing people critizing her for being a ‘shouter ‘ (urlatrice) and here she was, proving them right. I would dread to go out and see my friends laugh at my face saying: ‘You said Rita was so cool! How do you explain that crap?’ It’s almost unbelievable that Ennio Morricone had the time and patience to arrange such a non-descript noise.

STASERA CON TE’Tonight with you – Beautiful introduction devised by Ennio Morricone, nowadays considered a genius universally. It was the opening song on the show.  It was released as a double sided single coupled with ‘Solo tu’, another tour-de-force.

PLIP – The B-side of  ‘Supercalifragislistic’ was almost as bad as the A-side. ‘Plip’ had been a # 1 hit in Italy, but for Brazilian ears it sounded as bad as the former. Brazilian young people didn’t go for this sort of ‘junk’. They wanted to rock and they abandoned the Italian modern music in droves either to be embraced by British or Brazilian rock. There had been a certain rivalry between Beatles and Pavone fans around 1964 but after the release of such bombs as ‘Plip’ and ‘Supercali...', I guess Rita fans just had to concede defeat and pledge allegiance to other pop idols if they wanted to survive in the ‘dog-eat-dog’ world of teenager rivalry. I, myself found refuge in the marvelous harmonies of The Mamas & The Papas that were high on the charts with ‘California dreamin’ and ‘Monday, Monday’. Rita was kaput.  Rita was passé. Rita was out-of-date.

MY BABY LEFT ME – cover of an early Elvis Presley recording, B-side to ‘I want you, I need you, I love you’ [# 1 at Billboard in 2 June 1956] which itself went to # 31 in the week of 9 June 1956. Elvis’ rendition is much slower;  a good rock-a-billy pace. Rita’s instead is pure ‘heavy metal’ before this word was invented. The Talismen, a British band ‘doing time’ in Italy then, accompany her. She over-dubs herself.

RIGHT NOW – Rita recorded this lovely ballad - in English - when she was in the USA earlier in 1965. It was a B-side to ‘Eyes of mine’ [Occhi miei]. Teddy Randazzo wrote it and arranged it for ochestral accompaniment. Rita actually sings it in Italian, titled ‘Che vuoi?', at the TV show but that has never been released commercially. Randazzo himself had been a teen-idol in the USA around 1957-1958.

SOLO TUOnly you – The highlight in the album. The best song by anyone’s standards.  I was told Rita recorded it while the orchestra was playing.  It means it was recorded ‘live’ in the studio.  In the interlude there’s a haunting mouth organ that soars into one’s soul. I wonder who is the musician who played it so skillfully.

OCCHI MIEIEyes of mine –  Even though it is an Italian song it was first recorded by Rita - in English - at the RCA studios in Nashville, USA on 25 February 1965, produced by Chet Atkins. Rita was really excited when she heard that Elvis Presley was using the same studio in the night shift. Chet asked her if she wanted to meet him and her dream came true that same night. Rita also met Brenda Lee, her other teen-age idol, the following day. She’d mentioned Brenda was her idol and Chet said Miss Dynamite lived in town so he arranged a meeting between them at Miss Lee’s residence. Enza Flori, an Italian-Brazilian teenager singer did a good cover of ‘Occhi miei’ in 1965, accompanied by The Jet Blacks, the best rock band in the country.

HIP HIP HURRÀ –  This is the 3rd time Rita recorded this song. In Germany it was called ‘Mein Jack, der ist Zwei Meter gross’; in the US was titled ‘I’ll wait and I’ll wait’ – both having the same playback. Now in Italy, Rita recorded a rockier version of Johannes Strass’ ‘Tales of the Viena Woods’, accompanied by the jangling guitars of The Talismen. Strauss had written it in 1865, exactly 100 years before.

'ORAZI E CURIAZI' - There was a segment in 'Stasera Rita' dedicated to children where Rita sang songs especially addressed to them. 'Orazi e Curiazi' is about olden times when Rome occupied the land of Alba Longa. To save killing off the whole population they choose 3 Orazi brothers to battle 3 Curiazi brothers at the local arena. In the midst of the mortal fight with swords, shields, tridents, nets, arrows and lances, one of the Orazi's sister falls in love with a Curiazi brother. The Orazi seeing his sister's betrayal kills her right there at the spot. Gory stuff those ancient Romans were used to. 

LA BRETELLA – The suspenders – The Talismen guitarrists show they’re pretty good at a tarantella as well. Such a cute song that refers to the famous suspenders Rita used to wear when she toured South America and Europe. There is a chemestry between the Talismen's guitars and a beautiful harmony from the choir that reminds one of old Yugoslavia's mountain music. The lyrics are about the advantages of wearing suspenders to hold one's pants up. 

'IL TRENO' - This train - That's the third rocker in a row by The Talismen. It was originally done in 1962 by Peter, Paul & Mary in a lively folk bent. In 1964, Trini Lopez included it in his 'Folk Album'. A long guitar introduction whence one can feel the power of the bluesy feeling of the British band that takes us to Rita's powerful delivery.






The Italian 'Stasera Rita' album back-cover which shows I Collettoni & Le Collettine doing their dancing routine.

Here's The Talismen website:  http://www.thetalismen.co.uk/gallery/index.htm





3 comments:

  1. Dear Totó, excelente a informação do LP "STASERA RITA". Com detalhes que só um ótimo pesquisador como você pode dar. Parabéns!

    ReplyDelete
  2. kouroukli chryssa26 August 2014 at 03:51

    mi piace molto

    ReplyDelete
  3. kouroukli chryssa26 August 2014 at 03:53

    fantastica

    ReplyDelete