Comprising pounding big beat ballads, the occasional guitar-driven nugget and other feminine pop gems of the stylish Italian variety, this much-anticipated sequel to “Ciao Bella!” offers further proof that there is musical life beyond the shores of English-speaking countries.
The collection features an equal mix of superstars and obscure artists singing songs of both Italian and overseas origin. With chart-topping albums in the 1960s and every decade since, Mina is Italy’s most successful female recording artist of all time. Think Dusty Springfield, Dionne Warwick, Shirley Bassey and Barbra Streisand all rolled into one quintessentially Italian singing sensation. ‘Cartoline’, one of several doozies composed for her by maestro Bruno Canfora, shows off her fantastic vocal technique to a T.
Milva, second only to Mina in the pantheon of the country’s female singers, delivers the stomping ‘Tamburino, Ciao…’ and ‘Une Come Noi’, two top-tier originals. “Bellissima!” cover star Patty Pravo performs her smash hit ‘La Bambola’ and the big production ‘Il Paradiso’ (an Italian number first made famous by Amen Corner as ‘(If Paradise Is) Half As Nice’) and Caterina Caselli sings ‘Incubo N.4’, a fascinating opus featuring ominous spoken passages, the screeching of brakes and cop car sirens.
Among the selections by lesser-known vocalists are ‘È Proprio Inutile’ and ‘Mi Manchi’ by Meri Marabini, ‘Il Beat...Cos’è?’ by La Ragazza 77 and ‘Gocce Di Mare, Gocce Di Sole’ by Rita Monico – groovy covers of the Hollies’ ‘You Know He Did’, the Beatles’ ‘I Need You’, Sonny & Cher’s ‘The Beat Goes On’ and Petula Clark’s ‘Round Every Corner’ respectively.
Other highlights include ‘A Me Piace Lui’ and ‘Per Un Amore’ by Twiggy-lookalike fashion model Vibeke, popcorn gem ‘Coccodrillo’ by Ornella Vanoni (an unlikely cover of Wanda Jackson’s ‘Whirlpool’), a rocked-up rendition of the gospel standard ‘This Train’ by Rita Pavone and Orietta Berti’s ‘Le Ragazze Semplici’, a superbly orchestrated beat ballad featuring a soaring vocal that must have made her opera-loving father very proud.
The collection is available in 24-track CD and 14-track vinyl formats. The CD version comes with a 24-page booklet, while the 180g white vinyl LP is packaged in a heavy-duty sleeve with a swanky inner bag, each featuring a detailed track commentary and an array of colourful photos and illustrations.