12 Songs, 51 Minutes

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Ratings and Reviews

4.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

Sawgrass Stan ,

"...she's singin' in Italian while she's hangin' out her clothes"

--from "Buzz Fledderjon" (not on this album.)
I can't believe all the Tom Waits fans haven't swarmed all over this. If you're as big a TW fan as I am, I can assure you that you'll really get a kick out of this!
It's a pretty masterful, bravura, five gold-star album of covers of some of TW's songs. Fidele is a great keyboardist (if that's a word) and arranger, not to mention an engaging vocalist. It's a plus for this material that she's an ace accordionist, one of the most evocative I've heard since "Frank's Wild Years."
Don't be deterred by the fact that she translates (almost) all the songs into Italian-- I don't speak it, but I know these songs pretty well, and her phrasing and interpretive skills more than make up for any language comprehension.
The best track of the collection is "Pornoshow" itself, which is her remake of "Pasties and a G-String." There's no bigger Waits fanatic than me, but I'm going out on a limb here: this version is actually better than the original. "Pasties..." wasn't a standout on "Small Change," but it's completely re-imagined here.
Fidele's whispered reading of the translated lyrics is breathy, conspiratorial, and incredibly sexy. It really does have the feel of being in a strip club. And not an upscale one. She's in a dive, sitting next to you, and whispering about a "special" lap dance you can get if you want to pay for it. Laura F. becomes the girl in pasties TW met in that club, and she's why he'll be back every day.
The closer is a very sweet cover of "Johnsville, Illinois" and she gets the emotions just right, with a solo accordion accompaniment that's as lonely and plangent as the piano in the original. And that one is in English, with her (slight) Italian accent adding a little backstory to the song.
If you don't believe me, give the previews a listen. Not every track is a masterpiece, and the covers are mostly from the early days, before Tom had reached his peak, but there's some real gems here. Check this out!

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