Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Volume I:
   Preghiera in gennaio - January Prayer

Lascia che sia fiorito
Signore, il suo sentiero
quando a te la sua anima
e al mondo la sua pelle
dovrà riconsegnare
quando verrà al tuo cielo
là dove in pieno giorno
risplendono le stelle.

Quando attraverserà
l'ultimo vecchio ponte
ai suicidi dirà
baciandoli alla fronte
venite in Paradiso
là dove vado anch'io
perché non c'è l'inferno
nel mondo del buon Dio.

Fate che giunga a Voi
con le sue ossa stanche
seguito da migliaia
di quelle facce bianche
fate che a voi ritorni
fra i morti per oltraggio
che al cielo ed alla terra
mostrarono il coraggio.

Signori benpensanti
spero non vi dispiaccia
se in cielo, in mezzo ai Santi
Dio, fra le sue braccia
soffocherà il singhiozzo
di quelle labbra smorte
che all'odio e all'ignoranza
preferirono la morte.

Dio di misericordia
il tuo bel Paradiso
l'hai fatto soprattutto
per chi non ha sorriso
per quelli che han vissuto
con la coscienza pura
l'inferno esiste solo
per chi ne ha paura.

Meglio di lui nessuno
mai ti potrà indicare
gli errori di noi tutti
che puoi e vuoi salvare.

Ascolta la sua voce
che ormai canta nel vento
Dio di misericordia
vedrai, sarai contento.

Dio di misericordia
vedrai, sarai contento.

Preghiera in gennaio © 1967 Fabrizio De André/Gian Piero Reverberi

"Preghiera in gennaio" was written on the occasion of the suicide of Luigi Tenco, a friend and fellow singer/songwriter. Tenco took his life after his song "Ciao amore, ciao" was rejected at the 1967 Sanremo Music Festival, an annual competition for Italian songwriters. At the time, suicide being considered a sin by the Church, a traditional Catholic funeral mass and burial were prohibited. The song itself was influenced by "Prière pour aller au paradis avec les ânes," a poem by Francis Jammes with whom De Andrè probably became familiar by way of Georges Brassens.




Luigi Tenco
May blossoms adorn
his pathway, Lord,
when to you his spirit
and to the world his skin
he'll have to hand back in,
when he comes to your heaven,
there where in broad daylight
the stars shine bright.

When he crosses
the last old bridge,
to the suicides he will say,
kissing them on the forehead,
"Come you all to Paradise,
there where I too am going,
because there's no Hell
in the world of the good Lord."

Make it so he joins You
with his tired bones,
followed by thousands
of those white faces.
Make it so he returns to You,
in contempt among the dead,
who to heaven and to earth
displayed their courage.

All you right-thinking sirs,
I hope not to displease you
if in heaven, in the midst of the saints,
God, in his embrace,
will hush the sob
of those pale lips
that, over hatred and ignorance,
preferred death.

God of mercy,
your beautiful Paradise
you have made, above all,
for whoever didn’t smile,
for those who lived
with a clear conscience.
Hell exists only
for those who fear it.

None better than he
can ever show you
the errors of us all,
whom you can and do want to save.

Listen to his voice
that now sings in the wind.
God of mercy,
you will see, you will be pleased.

God of mercy,
you will see, you will be pleased.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Volume I is De André’s first full studio album, released in 1967 on the Bluebell label. It was produced by Gian Piero Reverberi and Andrea Malcotti. Reverberi shares writing credits on the music of six of the songs.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Volume I:
   Marcia nuziale - Wedding March

Matrimoni per amore, matrimoni per forza
ne ho visti d'ogni tipo, di gente d'ogni sorta
di poveri straccioni e di grandi signori
di pretesi notai di falsi professori

Ma pure se vivrò fino alla fine del tempo
io sempre serberò il ricordo contento
delle povere nozze di mio padre e mia madre
decisi a regolare il loro amore sull'altare.

Fu su un carro da buoi se si vuole esser franchi
tirato dagli amici e spinto dai parenti
che andarono a sposarsi dopo un fidanzamento
durato tanti anni da chiamarlo ormai d'argento.

Cerimonia originale, strano tipo di festa,
la folla ci guardava gli occhi fuori dalla testa
eravamo osservati dalla gente civile
che mai aveva visto matrimoni in quello stile.

Ed ecco soffia il vento e si porta lontano
il cappello che mio padre tormentava in una mano
ecco cade la pioggia da un cielo mal disposto
deciso ad impedire le nozze ad ogni costo.

Ed io non scorderò mai la sposa in pianto
cullava come un bimbo i suoi fiori di campo
ed io per consolarla, io con la gola tesa
suonavo la mia armonica come un organo da chiesa.

Mostrando i pugni nudi gli amici tutti quanti
gridarono "per Giove, le nozze vanno avanti"
per la gente bagnata, per gli dei dispettosi
le nozze vanno avanti,
viva viva gli sposi.

Marcia nuziale © 1967 Fabrizio De André based on
La marche nuptiale © 1957 Georges Brassens


"Marcia nuziale" is De André's adaptation of "La marche nuptiale" by Georges Brassens, from his 1957 album Oncle Archibald. Georges Brassens was one of De André's earliest and strongest influences, offering inspiration both from his music and from his personal philosophical leanings - towards anarchism and against war and hypocrisy.

Marriages of love, marriages of necessity,
I have seen every type and every sort of person:
poor beggars and great nobles,
posturing notaries, deceitful professors.

But even if I live until the end of time,
I will always cherish the happy memory
of the poor wedding of my father and mother,
determined to make their love official at the altar.

It was on an ox cart, if one wishes to be frank,
pulled by friends and pushed by relatives
who were going to marry them, after an engagement
of so many years you could call it by then one of silver.

An original ceremony, a strange kind of party,
the gathered watched us, eyes nearly out of their heads.
We were observed by the townsfolk,
who had never seen marriages in that style.

And behold, the wind blows and carries off
the hat my father was tormenting in one hand.
And here falls the rain from an ill-tempered cloud
determined to stop the wedding at any cost.

And I'll never forget the weeping bride,
she cradled her wildflowers like a child.
And I, to console her, I with tense throat
played my harmonica like a church organ.

Shaking their bare fists, their friends all
shouted “By Jove, the wedding will go forward!”
For the people all drenched and for the vexatious gods,
the wedding proceeds.
Long live, long live the bride and the groom!

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser




Volume I is De André’s first full studio album, released in 1967 on the Bluebell label. It was produced by Gian Piero Reverberi and Andrea Malcotti. Reverberi shares writing credits on the music of six of the songs.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Monday, December 9, 2013

Volume I:
   Spiritual

Dio del cielo se mi vorrai
in mezzo agli altri uomini mi cercherai
Dio del cielo se mi cercherai
nei campi di granturco mi troverai.

Dio del cielo se, mi vorrai amare
scendi dalle stelle vienimi a cercare
O Dio del cielo se, mi vorrai amare
scendi dalle stelle vienimi a cercare.

Le chiavi del cielo non ti voglio rubare
ma un attimo di gioia me lo puoi regalare
le chiavi del cielo non ti voglio rubare
ma un attimo di gioia me lo puoi regalare.

O Dio del cielo se, mi vorrai amare
scendi dalle stelle vienimi a cercare
O Dio del cielo se, mi vorrai amare
scendi dalle stelle vienimi a cercare.

Senza di te non so più dove andare
come una mosca cieca che non sa più volare
senza di te non so più dove andare
come una mosca cieca che non sa più volare.

O Dio del cielo se, mi vorrai amare
scendi dalle stelle vienimi a salvare
O Dio del cielo se, mi vorrai amare
scendi dalle stelle vienimi a salvare.

e se ci hai regalato il pianto ed il riso
noi qui sulla terra non lo abbiamo diviso
e se ci hai regalato il pianto ed il riso
noi qui sulla terra non lo abbiamo diviso.

O Dio del cielo se, mi vorrai amare
scendi dalle stelle vienimi a cercare
O Dio del cielo se, mi vorrai amare
scendi dalle stelle vienimi a salvare.

O Dio del cielo se mi cercherai
in mezzo agli altri uomini mi troverai
O Dio del cielo se mi cercherai
nei campi di granturco mi troverai.

Dio del cielo io ti aspetterò
nel cielo e sulla terra io ti cercherò.

Spiritual © 1967 Fabrizio De André/Gian Piero Reverberi

"Spiritual" was not a song that De André was enthusiastic about. He felt his voice was not well-suited for this type of song. It's possible that the idea with Volume I was to include in the same album various styles of music, ranging from a troubadour ballad like "Carlo Martello" to a traditional Afro-American song like this one. De André would probably not have included the song on the album, except it was needed to bring the duration of the album up to the minimum required at the time.

Lord of Heaven if you want me,
amongst the other men you might search for me.
Lord of Heaven if you search for me,
in the fields of corn you might find me.

Lord of Heaven if you want to love me,
come down from starry skies, come search for me.
O Lord of Heaven if you want to love me,
come down from starry skies, come search for me.

The keys to heaven I don’t want to steal from you,
but a moment of joy you can give to me.
The keys to heaven I don’t want to steal from you,
but a moment of joy you can give to me.

O Lord of Heaven if you want to love me,
come down from starry skies, come search for me.
O Lord of Heaven if you want to love me,
come down from starry skies, come search for me.

Without you I don’t know where to go any more,
like a blind fly that no longer knows how to fly.
Without you I don’t know where to go any more,
like a blind fly that no longer knows how to fly.

O Lord of Heaven if you want to love me,
come down from starry skies, come save me.
O Lord of Heaven if you want to love me,
come down from starry skies, come save me.

And if you bestowed on us tears and laughter,
we here on earth have not shared it.
And if you bestow on us tears and laughter,
we here on earth have not shared it.

O Lord of Heaven if you want to love me,
come down from starry skies, come search for me.
O Lord of Heaven if you want to love me,
come down from starry skies, come save me.

O Lord of Heaven if you search for me,
you will find me amongst other men.
O Lord of Heaven if you search for me,
in the fields of corn you will find me.

Lord of Heaven I will wait for you,
in Heaven and on Earth I will search for you.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Volume I is De André’s first full studio album, released in 1967 on the Bluebell label. It was produced by Gian Piero Reverberi and Andrea Malcotti. Reverberi shares writing credits on the music of six of the songs.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Volume I:
   Si chiamava Gesù - His Name Was Jesus

Venuto da molto lontano
a convertire bestie e gente
non si può dire non sia servito a niente
perché prese la terra per mano
vestito di sabbia e di bianco
alcuni lo dissero santo
per altri ebbe meno virtù
si faceva chiamare Gesù.

Non intendo cantare la gloria
né invocare la grazia e il perdono
di chi penso non fu altri che un uomo
come Dio passato alla storia
ma inumano è pur sempre l'amore
di chi rantola senza rancore
perdonando con l'ultima voce
chi lo uccide fra le braccia d'una croce.

E per quelli che l'ebbero odiato
nel Getsemani pianse l'addio
come per chi l'adorò come Dio
che gli disse sia sempre lodato,
per chi gli portò in dono alla fine
una lacrima o una treccia di spine,
accettando ad estremo saluto
la preghiera l'insulto e lo sputo.

E morì come tutti si muore
come tutti cambiando colore
non si può dire che sia servito a molto
perché il male dalla terra non fu tolto
Ebbe forse un po' troppe virtù,
ebbe un volto ed un nome: Gesù.
Di Maria dicono fosse il figlio
sulla croce sbiancò come un giglio.

Si chiamava Gesù © 1967 Fabrizio De André/Vittorio Centanaro

"Si chiamava Gesù" was another of De André's songs censored by Italian radio and television (RAI). Interestingly, the song was played on Vatican Radio; interesting because De André's anti-conformist concept of Christ was that he was not a deity, but rather a common man who, simply with the power of love, was able to rise above his own human-ness. To De André, Jesus as a common man was someone he could relate to and emulate, and whose teachings and example were thus far more powerful and immediate.

Coming from far, far away
to convert beasts and humans,
you can’t say it was for naught,
because he took the earth by its hand.
Dressed in sand and in white,
some said he was a saint,
for others he had less virtue -
he went by the name of Jesus.

I don’t intend to sing of the glory
nor to invoke the grace and forgiveness
of one who I think was not other than a man,
like God passed into history.
Yet inhuman, it is still forever, the love
of one whose last gasps are without ill will,
pardoning with his final voice
those who kill him in the arms of a cross.

And for those who had hated him,
in Gethsemane he wept farewell,
as for those who adored him as a God
and who said to him, "Praise be to you always,"
and for whoever brought to him as a gift at the end
a tear or a braid of thorns,
accepting at the final farewell
the prayer, the insult and the sputum.

And he died like everyone dies,
like everyone, changing color.
You can’t say it did much good,
because the evil from the land wasn't removed.
He had perhaps a few too many virtues,
he had a face and a name: Jesus.
Of Maria they say he was the son,
on the cross he turned white as a lily.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser

Volume I is De André’s first full studio album, released in 1967 on the Bluebell label. It was produced by Gian Piero Reverberi and Andrea Malcotti. Reverberi shares writing credits on the music of six of the songs.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Volume I:
   La canzone di Barbara - Barbara's Song

Chi cerca una bocca infedele
che sappia di fragola e miele
in lei la troverà
Barbara
in lei la bacerà
Barbara.

Lei sa che ogni letto di sposa
è fatto di ortica e mimosa
per questo ad un'altra età
Barbara
l'amore vero rimanderà
Barbara.

E intanto lei gioca all'amore
scherzando con gli occhi ed il cuore
di chi forse la odierà
Barbara
ma poi la perdonerà
Barbara.

E il vento di sera la invita
a sfogliare la sua margherita
per ogni amore che se ne va
lei lo sa
un altro petalo fiorirà
per Barbara.

La canzone di Barbara © 1967 Fabrizio De André/Gian Piero Reberberi

"La canzone di Barbara" was written perhaps with the thought of it being a follow-up to the very successful "La canzone di Marinella." But the song met with little success and was never included in De André's live performances. The song was dedicated to photographer Barbara Rombi Serra, who later took the cover photo for the second edition of La buona novella.

Whoever searches for unfaithful lips
that taste like strawberry and honey,
in her they will find them -
Barbara.
In her they will kiss them -
Barbara.

She knows that every marriage bed
is made of nettle and mimosa.
For this, until another age
Barbara
will delay true love,
Barbara.

And meanwhile she plays at love,
joking with the eyes and the heart
of whoever will perhaps hate her,
Barbara,
but then will pardon her,
Barbara.

And the evening breeze invites her
to pick petals from a daisy
for every love that is gone.
She knows
another petal will bloom
for Barbara.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Volume I is De André’s first full studio album, released in 1967 on the Bluebell label. It was produced by Gian Piero Reverberi and Andrea Malcotti. Reverberi shares writing credits on the music of six of the songs.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Friday, December 6, 2013

Volume I:
   Via del Campo

Via del Campo c’è una graziosa
gli occhi grandi color di foglia
tutta notte sta sulla soglia
vende a tutti la stessa rosa.

Via del Campo c’è una bambina
con le labbra color rugiada
gli occhi grigi come la strada
nascon fiori dove cammina.

Via del Campo c’è una puttana
gli occhi grandi color di foglia
se di amarla ti vien la voglia
basta prenderla per la mano
e ti sembra di andar lontano
lei ti guarda con un sorriso
non credevi che il paradiso
fosse solo lì al primo piano.

Via del Campo ci va un illuso
a pregarla di maritare
a vederla salir le scale
fino a quando il balcone è chiuso.

Ama e ridi se amor risponde
piangi forte se non ti sente
dai diamanti non nasce niente
dal letame nascono i fior...
dai diamanti non nasce niente
dal letame nascono i fior...

Via del Campo © 1967 Fabrizio De André/Enzo Jannacci

"Via del Campo" is perhaps one of De André's best loved songs. Via del Campo is one of the narrow alleys of the ancient center of Genoa, close to the port. With its mix of smugglers, thieves, prostitutes and many others living on the margins of society, in sharp contrast to the upper-middle class life De André was raised in, it represented to him a way of life more honest, real and intense. De André spent much time in this part of Genoa during his university years, and he lived there for a while. The song itself was inspired by a transvestite (commonly called "una graziosa") who plied his wares as a beautiful blonde named Josèphine. In 1972, photographer Lisetta Carmi published a book on the transvestites of Genova, I travestiti. The music for the song was first described as being from the 16th century. In fact the music, shown to De André by Enzo Jannacci, was a piece Jannacci had written and already used for one of his own songs, "La mia morosa la va alla fonte." As a joke, Jannacci had presented the song to De André as one with medieval origins.

Via del Campo, there’s a young lovely
with great big leaf-colored eyes.
All night long she stands in the doorway
selling to everyone the very same rose.

Via del Campo, there’s a young girl
with lips the color of dew,
her eyes grey like the street -
flowers rise up where she walks.

Via del Campo, there’s a whore
with great big leaf-colored eyes.
If the desire to love her comes to you,
it’s enough to just take her by the hand.
And it seems like you're going far away,
she looks at you with a smile.
You didn’t believe that paradise
would be just up there on the second floor.

Via del Campo, a fool goes there
to beg her to marry,
to see her go up the stairs
until the balcony door is closed.

Love and laugh if love responds,
cry hard if it doesn’t hear you.
From diamonds nothing is born,
from manure, flowers arise . . .
From diamonds nothing is born,
from manure, flowers arise . . .

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Volume I is De André’s first full studio album, released in 1967 on the Bluebell label. It was produced by Gian Piero Reverberi and Andrea Malcotti. Reverberi shares writing credits on the music of six of the songs.

Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Volume I:
   Caro amore - Sweet Love

Caro amore
nei tramonti d'aprile
caro amore
quando il sole si uccide
oltre le onde
puoi sentir piangere e gridare
anche il vento ed il mare.

Caro amore
così un uomo piange
caro amore
al sole, al vento e ai verdi anni
che cantando se ne vanno
dopo il mattino di maggio
quando son venuti
e quando scalzi
e con gli occhi ridenti
sulla sabbia scrivevamo contenti
le più ingenue parole.

Caro amore
i fiori dell'altr'anno
caro amore
son sfioriti e mai più
rifioriranno
e nei giardini ad ogni inverno
ben più tristi sono le foglie.

Caro amore
così un uomo vive
caro amore
e il sole e il vento e i verdi anni
si rincorrono cantando
verso il novembre a cui
ci van portando
e dove un giorno con un triste sorriso
ci diremo tra le labbra ormai stanche
"eri il mio caro amore"

Text of Caro amore © 1967 Fabrizio De André

"Caro amore" is based on a French song "Aranjuez mon amour" released in 1967 by Richard Anthony, itself based on a poem by Guy Bontempelli who was inspired by an episode in the Napoleonic War of 1806-1808 (specifically a scene that was painted by Goya in The Third of May 1808). The music is Joaquin Rodrigo's Concerto di Aranjuez. However, Rodrigo did not give De André permission to use the music, so "Caro amore" was replaced on the second pressing of Volume I in 1970 with "La stagione del tuo amore."

Dear love,
in the sunsets of April,
dear love,
when the sun extinguishes itself
beyond the waves,
you can hear, weeping and crying out,
even the wind and the sea.

Dear love,
a man cries this way,
dear love,
to the sun, to the wind, to his youthful years
which, singing, depart
after the morning in May
when they came
and when, barefoot
and with laughing eyes,
on the sand, contented, we wrote
the most innocent words.

Dear love,
the flowers of the other year,
dear love,
are wilted and never again
will bloom,
and in the gardens every winter
ever more sad are the leaves.

Dear love,
a man lives this way,
dear love -
the sun and the wind and the youthful years
chase each other singing
towards November to whom
they go, carrying us along,
and where one day with a sad smile
we’ll tell each other between lips by then tired,
“You were my dear love.”

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Volume I is De André’s first full studio album, released in 1967 on the Bluebell label. It was produced by Gian Piero Reverberi and Andrea Malcotti. Reverberi shares writing credits on the music of six of the songs.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Volume I:
   La stagione del tuo amore - The Season of Your Love

La stagione del tuo amore
non è più la primavera
ma nei giorni del tuo autunno
hai la dolcezza della sera

Se un mattino fra i capelli
troverai un po' di neve
nel giardino del tuo amore
verrò a raccogliere il bucaneve

passa il tempo sopra il tempo
ma non devi aver paura
sembra correre come il vento
però il tempo non ha premura

Piangi e ridi come allora
ridi e piangi e ridi ancora
ogni gioia ogni dolore
poi ritrovarli nella luce di un'ora

Passa il tempo sopra il tempo
ma non devi aver paura
sembra correre come il vento
però il tempo non ha premura

Piangi e ridi come allora
ridi e piangi e ridi ancora
ogni gioia ogni dolore
puoi ritrovarli nella luce di un'ora

La stagione del tuo amore © 1967 Fabrizio De André/Gian Piero Reverberi

"La stagione del tuo amore" did not appear on the first pressing of Volume I, as it was the replacement for "Caro amore" when permission for the use of the music was not obtained from Joaquìn Rodrigo.



The season of your love
is no longer spring,
but in the days of your autumn
you have the sweetness of the evening.

If one morning in your hair
you find a bit of snow,
in the garden of your love
I’ll come to pick the snowflake.

Time passes over time,
but you need not fear.
It seems to run like the wind,
but time is in no hurry.

Cry and laugh as you did then,
laugh and cry and laugh again,
every joy, every sorrow,
then revisit them in the light of an hour.

Time passes over time,
but you need not fear.
It seems to run like the wind,
but time is in no hurry.

Cry and laugh as you did then,
laugh and cry and laugh still again,
every joy, every sorrow,
then revisit them in the light of an hour.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Volume I is De André’s first full studio album, released in 1967 on the Bluebell label. It was produced by Gian Piero Reverberi and Andrea Malcotti. Reverberi shares writing credits on the music of six of the songs.

Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Volume I:
   Bocca di rosa - Rosemouth

La chiamavano bocca di rosa
metteva l'amore metteva l'amore
la chiamavano bocca di rosa
metteva l'amore sopra ogni cosa.

Appena scese alla stazione
del paesino di Sant'Ilario
tutti si accorsero con uno sguardo
che non si trattava di un missionario.

C'e' chi l'amore lo fa per noia
chi se lo sceglie per professione
bocca di rosa ne' l'uno ne' l'altro
lei lo faceva per passione.

Ma la passione spesso conduce
a soddisfare le proprie voglie
senza indagare se il concupito
ha il cuore libero oppure ha moglie.

E fu così che da un giorno all'altro
bocca di rosa si tirò addosso
l'ira funesta delle cagnette
a cui aveva sottratto l'osso.

Ma le comari d'un paesino
non brillano certo d'iniziativa
le contromisure fino al quel punto
si limitavano all'invettiva.

Si sa che la gente da' buoni consigli
sentendosi come Gesù nel tempio
si sa che la gente da' buoni consigli
se non può dare cattivo esempio.

Così una vecchia mai stata moglie
senza mai figli, senza più voglie
si prese la briga e di certo il gusto
di dare a tutte il consiglio giusto.

E rivolgendosi alle cornute
le apostrofò con parole acute:
"Il furto d'amore sarà punito -disse-
dall'ordine costituito".

E quelle andarono dal commissario
e dissero senza parafrasare:
"Quella schifosa ha già troppi clienti
più di un consorzio alimentare".

Ed arrivarono quattro gendarmi
con i pennacchi con i pennacchi
ed arrivarono quattro gendarmi
con i pennacchi e con le armi.

Il cuore tenero non e' una dote
di cui siano colmi i carabinieri
ma quella volta a prendere il treno
l'accompagnarono malvolentieri.

Alla stazione c'erano tutti
dal commissario al sagrestano
alla stazione c'erano tutti
con gli occhi rossi e il cappello in mano.

A salutare chi per un poco
senza pretese, senza pretese
a salutare chi per un poco
portò l'amore nel paese.

C'era un cartello giallo
con una scritta nera, diceva:
"Addio bocca di rosa
con te se ne parte la primavera".

Ma una notizia un po' originale
non ha bisogno di alcun giornale
come una freccia dall'arco scocca
vola veloce di bocca in bocca.

E alla stazione successiva
molta più gente di quando partiva
chi manda un bacio, chi getta un fiore,
chi si prenota per due ore.

Persino il parroco che non disprezza
fra un miserere e un'estrema unzione
il bene effimero della bellezza
la vuole accanto in processione.

E con la Vergine in prima fila
e bocca di rosa poco lontano
si porta a spasso per il paese
l'amore sacro e l'amor profano.

Bocca di Rosa © 1967 Fabrizio De André/Gian Piero Reverberi

In addition to being one of the more famous of De André's songs, "Bocca di rosa" is the one he chose when asked in an interview which of his songs he most resembled. The term "bocca di rosa" is often used to mean prostitute; regarding this song, however, De André was outspoken that the woman of the song is not a prostitute.

They called her Rosemouth,
she put love, she put love,
they called her Rosemouth,
she put love above everything else.

As soon as she got off at the station
in the small town of Sant’Ilario,
everyone noticed with one look
that she was nothing to do with a missionary.

There are those who make love out of boredom,
those that choose it as a profession.
Rosemouth was neither one nor the other,
she did it for passion.

But passion often leads
to satisfying its own wants
without investigating whether a partner in lust
has a free heart, or else has a wife.

And thus it was that from one day to the next
Rosemouth brought down upon herself
the black ire of the bitches
from whom she had taken a bone.

But nosy neighbors of a hamlet
aren't shining examples of initiative.
The countermeasures up until that point
were limited to invective.

We all know that people give good advice,
feeling like Jesus in the temple.
We all know that people give good advice
if they can’t set a bad example.

Thus an older woman, never a wife,
ever childless, with no more longings,
took the trouble, and certainly with relish,
to give everyone some proper advice.

And addressing the cuckolds
she held forth to them with sharp words:
"The theft of love will be punished," she said,
"by the established order."

And they went to the commissioner
and they said, without paraphrasing:
“That despicable woman already has too many customers,
more than a food co-op.”

And four gendarmes arrived
with their plumes, with their plumes,
and four gendarmes arrived
with their plumes and with their weapons.

A tender heart is not an endowment
the carabinieri are overflowing with.
But that time, to catch the train,
they grudgingly accompanied her.

At the station there was everyone
from the commissioner to the sexton.
At the station everyone was there
with red eyes and hat in hand

to greet one who just for a moment,
without pretense, without pretense,
to greet one who just for a moment
brought love to the village.

There was a yellow sign
with a black inscription, it said:
“Farewell Rosemouth,
springtime is parting with you.”

But news that’s a bit unusual
doesn't need any newspapers.
Like an arrow shot from a bow,
it flies fast by word of mouth.

And at the next station,
many more people than when she departed -
one who throws a kiss, one who tosses a flower,
one who makes reservations for two hours.

Even the parish priest, who doesn’t condemn -
between a "have mercy" and an annointment of the sick -
the ephemeral gift of beauty,
wants her beside him in the procession.

And with the Virgin in the first row
and Rosemouth not far behind,
he takes them out for a walk through the village,
Sacred Love and Love Profane.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Volume I is De André’s first full studio album, released in 1967 on the Bluebell label. It was produced by Gian Piero Reverberi and Andrea Malcotti. Reverberi shares writing credits on the music of six of the songs.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Monday, December 2, 2013

Volume I:
   La morte - Death

La morte verrà all'improvviso
avrà le tue labbra i tuoi occhi
ti coprirà d'un velo bianco
addormentandosi al tuo fianco

Nell'ozio nel sonno in battaglia
verrà senza darti avvisaglia
la morte va a colpo sicuro
non suona il corno né il tamburo

Madonna che in limpida fonte
ristori le membra stupende
la morte non ti vedrà in faccia
avrà il tuo seno e le tue braccia

Prelati notabili e conti
sull'uscio piangeste ben forte
chi bene condusse sua vita
male sopporterà sua morte

Straccioni che senza vergogna
portaste il cilicio o la gogna
partirvene non fu fatica
perché la morte vi fu amica

Guerriero che in punta di lancia
dal suolo d'Oriente alla Francia
di stragi menasti in gran vanto
e fra i nemici il lutto e il pianto

Di fronte all'estrema nemica
non vale coraggio o fatica
non serve colpirla nel cuore
perché la morte mai non muore
non serve colpirla nel cuore
perché la morte mai non muore

Text of La morte © 1967 Fabrizio De André
Music © 1960 Georges Brassens


"La morte" uses the music of “Le verger du roi Louis,” released in 1960 by the French singer/songwriter Georges Brassens, setting to music a 19th century poem by Théodore de Banville. The poem alludes to the "gardens of King Louis" - the parts of his forest that were reserved for those who were hanged, in "clusters never visited." De André feared death, something he spoke about on several occasions, and death is a presence in many of his songs. The opening lines of De André's lyric are quite similar to the first lines of Cesare Pavesi's 1950 poem "Death Will Come and Have Your Eyes."






Death will come suddenly,
it will have your lips and your eyes.
It will cover you in a white veil,
sleeping on your side.

In idleness, in sleep, in battle
it will come, giving you no warning.
Death goes without fail,
sounding neither horn nor drum.

Fine lady who in clear springs
refreshes her marvelous limbs,
Death will not see you face-to-face,
it will have your breast and your arms.

Prelates, notables and counts,
you cried at the door right hard.
Whoever conducted his life well
will bear poorly his death.

Tramps who without shame
wore the hair shirt or mounted the pillory -
departing was not a struggle
because Death was for you a friend.

Warrior who with the point of a lance,
from the soil of the Orient to France,
you boasted grandly of massacres,
and among the enemies, bereavement and weeping.

In front of the ultimate enemy,
neither courage nor struggle is worthwhile.
It’s no use to strike it in the heart
because Death never dies.
It’s no use to strike it in the heart
because Death never dies.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Volume I is De André’s first full studio album, released in 1967 on the Bluebell label. It was produced by Gian Piero Reverberi and Andrea Malcotti. Reverberi shares writing credits on the music of six of the songs.

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Volume I:
   Carlo Martello ritorna dalla battaglia di Poitiers -
   Charles Martel Returns from the Battle of Poitiers

Re Carlo tornava dalla guerra
lo accoglie la sua terra
cingendolo d'allor

al sol della calda primavera
lampeggia l'armatura
del sire vincitor

il sangue del principe del Moro
arrossano il ciniero
d'identico color

ma più che del corpo le ferite
da Carlo son sentite
le bramosie d'amor

"se ansia di gloria e sete d'onore
spegne la guerra al vincitore
non ti concede un momento per fare all'amore

chi poi impone alla sposa soave
di castità la cintura ahimè è grave
in battaglia può correre il rischio di perder la chiave"

così si lamenta il Re cristiano
s'inchina intorno il grano
gli son corona i fior

lo specchio di chiara fontanella
riflette fiero in sella
dei Mori il vincitor

Quand'ecco nell'acqua si compone
mirabile visione
il simbolo d'amor

nel folto di lunghe trecce bionde
il seno si confonde
ignudo in pieno sol

"Mai non fu vista cosa più bella
mai io non colsi siffatta pulzella"
disse Re Carlo scendendo veloce di sella

"De' cavaliere non v'accostate
già d'altri è gaudio quel che cercate
ad altra più facile fonte la sete calmate"

Sorpreso da un dire sì deciso
sentendosi deriso
Re Carlo s'arrestò

ma più dell'onor poté il digiuno
fremente l'elmo bruno
il sire si levò

codesta era l'arma sua segreta
da Carlo spesso usata
in gran difficoltà

alla donna apparve un gran nasone
e un volto da caprone
ma era sua maestà

"Se voi non foste il mio sovrano"
Carlo si sfila il pesante spadone
"non celerei il disio di fuggirvi lontano,

ma poiché siete il mio signore"
Carlo si toglie l'intero gabbione
"debbo concedermi spoglia ad ogni pudore"

Cavaliere egli era assai valente
ed anche in quel frangente
d'onor si ricoprì

e giunto alla fin della tenzone
incerto sull'arcione
tentò di risalir

veloce lo arpiona la pulzella
repente una parcella
presenta al suo signor

"Beh proprio perché voi siete il sire
fan cinquemila lire
è un prezzo di favor"

"E' mai possibile o porco di un cane
che le avventure in codesto reame
debban risolversi tutte con grandi puttane,

anche sul prezzo c'è poi da ridire
ben mi ricordo che pria di partire
v'eran tariffe inferiori alle tremila lire"

Ciò detto agì da gran cialtrone
con balzo da leone
in sella si lanciò

frustando il cavallo come un ciuco
fra i glicini e il sambuco
il Re si dileguò

Re Carlo tornava dalla guerra
lo accoglie la sua terra
cingendolo d'allor

al sol della calda primavera
lampeggia l'armatura
del sire vincitor

Carlo Martello ritorna dalla battaglia di Poitiers © 1963 Fabrizio De André/Paolo Villagio

This song was released in 1963 as the B side of a 45 with "Il fannullone" as the A-side. The text was written by a friend from childhood, Paolo Villagio, and the music is by De André. The Battle of Poitiers occurred in 732, a battle between the Franks and the Moors in what is now northern France. The song is in the style of popular French pastourelles sung by medieval troubadours about encounters between knights and country girls. In 1965 a complaint was brought against De André and his label Karim for obscene content in the lyrics. The case was settled in De André's favor in 1968. The Italian in this song is an old style, and Riccardo Venturi has done a nice translation into a similarly "olde" style of English.



King Charles was returning from the war.
His land welcomes him,
crowning him with a laurel.

In the hot spring sun
flashes the suit of armor
of the victorious Sire.

The blood of the prince and the Moor
redden the crest,
of identical color.

But more than the wounds of the body,
Charles felt
the yearning for love.

“If eagerness for glory and a thirst for honor
extinguish war for the victor,
it allows you not a moment to pursue love.

"One, then, who imposes on the gentle wife
the chastity belt - alas it is heavy -
in battle can run the risk of losing the key.”

Thus complains the Christian king.
The grain bows down and
flowers gather about.

The mirror of the clear fountain
reflects, proud in his saddle,
the victor of the Moors.

When here in the water is formed,
marvelous vision,
the symbol of love -

in the fullness of the long blond braids
the breast intermingles,
naked in broad daylight.

“Never was seen something more beautiful,
never did I catch such a maid,”
said King Charles, dismounting quickly from his saddle.

“But oh, Knight, come no closer,
that which you seek is already the joy of another.
Quench your thirst from some easier spring.”

Surprised by a response so sharp,
feeling put down,
King Charles stopped.

But greater than honor was the power of abstinence.
Trembling, his brown helm
the King lifted off.

This was the secret weapon
by Charles often used
in dire straights -

to the woman appeared a big nose
and the face of a goat,
but it was her majesty.

“If you were not my sovereign,” -
Charles takes off his heavy sword -
“I wouldn’t conceal the desire to run far away."

"But since you are my Lord,” -
Charles frees himself from the prison of his armor -
“I must give myself over bare to every shame.”

He was indeed a valiant knight,
and even at that juncture
was covered again with honor.

And, conjoined at the end of the duel,
uncertain, the saddle
he tried to remount.

Quickly the maiden harpooned him.
Suddenly a bill
she presents to her Lord.

“Ah, just because you are my Lord,
it’s five thousand lira,
a special price.”

“It’s ever possible, son of a bitch,
that the adventures in this realm
should all end up with big whores.

"Even the price, then, can be criticized.
I remember well that before I left
there were lower prices of three thousand lira.”

Thus spoken, he acted like a scoundrel -
with the leap of a lion
he mounted his steed.

Whipping the horse as if it were a donkey,
through the wisteria and elderberries
the king disappeared.

King Charles returned from the war.
His land welcomes him,
crowning him with a laurel.

In the hot spring sun
flashes the suit of armor
of the victorious Sire.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Volume I is De André’s first full studio album, released in 1967 on the Bluebell label. It was produced by Gian Piero Reverberi and Andrea Malcotti. Reverberi shares writing credits on the music of six of the songs.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Nuvole barocche:
   Nuvole barocche - Baroque Clouds

Poi un'altra giornata di luce
poi un altro di questi tramonti
e portali colonne fontane.

Tu mi hai insegnato a vivere
insegnami a partir.

Ma il cielo è tutto rosso
di nuvole barocche
sul fiume che si sciacqua
sotto l'ultimo sole.

E mentre soffio a soffio
le spinge lo scirocco
sussurra un altro invito
che dice di restare.

Poi carezze lusinghe abbandoni
poi quegli occhi di verde dolcezza
mille e una di queste promesse.

Tu mi hai insegnato il sogno
io voglio la realtà.

E mentre soffio a soffio
le spinge lo scirocco
sussurra un altro invito
che dice devi amare
che dice devi amare.

Nuvole barocche © 1961 Fabrizio De André/Gianni Lario/Carlo Stanisci

"Nuvole barocche" was the first song written by De André and was the A side of the first 45 released by the Karim label, in 1961. The song had been written in 1958 and had more the vocal style of "Volare" by Domenico Modugno, a song that had taken the world by storm also in 1958. Official credits aside, the lyrics of the song were co-written by De André and Gianni Cozzo (Giannilario), and the music was written by Umberto Bindi. The song is far from trademark De André, who wrote this song off, along with "Fu la notte," as retro "sins of youth."




"Volare," the smash hit of 1958 that probably indirectly influenced "Nuvole barocche."
Then another day of light,
then another of these sunsets,
and portals, columns, fountains.

You taught me to live,
teach me to leave.

But the sky is all red
with baroque clouds
over the river that rinses itself
under the setting sun.

And while breath by breath
the cool damp sirocco wind pushes them on,
it whispers another invitation
that says to stay.

Then caresses, lures, moments of abandon,
then those eyes of green sweetness,
a thousand and one of these promises.

You taught me the dream,
I want the reality.

And while breath by breath
the cool damp sirocco wind pushes them on,
it whispers another invitation
that says you must love,
that says you have to love.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Nuvole barocche, released in 1969, is a collection of De André singles released between 1961 and 1966.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Nuvole barocche:
   E fu la notte - And It Was Nighttime

E fu la notte
la notte per noi
notte profonda
sul nostro amore.

E fu la fine
di tutto per noi
resta il passato
e niente di più.

Ma se ti dico:
"non t'amo più"
sono sicuro
di non dire il vero.

E fu la notte
la notte per noi
buio e silenzio
son scesi su noi.

E fu la notte
la notte per noi
buio e silenzio
son scesi su noi.

E fu la notte © 1961 Franco Franchi/Carlo Cesare Stanisci/Arrigo Amadesi

"E fu la notte" was the B side of the first 45 released by the Karim label, in 1961. Given the power of De André's lyric writing throughout his career, the banality of the lyrics provided for him on this song, combined with the sappy, retro '50s sound of this recording, are quite the contrast to his subsequent work. One can see why he disowned these earliest tunes, entertaining as they might be as historical footnotes, which marked his first steps into being a recording artist.



And it was nighttime,
the nighttime for us,
deep night
on our love.

And it was the end
of everything for us,
the past remained
and nothing more.

But if I tell you,
“I don’t love you anymore,”
I am sure
to not be telling the truth.

And it was nighttime,
the nighttime for us.
Darkness and silence
descended on us.

And it was nighttime,
the nighttime for us.
Darkness and silence
descended on us.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Nuvole barocche, released in 1969, is a collection of De André singles released between 1961 and 1966.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Friday, November 8, 2013

Nuvole barocche:
   Delitto di paese - Small Town Crime (Brassens)

Non tutti nella capitale
sbocciano i fiori del male,
qualche assassinio senza pretese
l'abbiamo anche noi in paese.

Qualche assassinio senza pretese
lo abbiamo anche noi qui in paese.

Aveva il capo tutto bianco
ma il cuore non ancor stanco
gli ritornò a battere in fretta
per una giovinetta.

Gli ritornò a battere in fretta
per una giovinetta.

Ma la sua voglia troppo viva
subito gli esauriva,
in quattro baci e una carezza
l'ultima giovinezza.

In quattro baci e una carezza
l'ultima giovinezza.

Quando la mano lei gli tese
triste lui le rispose,
d'essere povero in bolletta
lei si rivestì in fretta.

D'essere povero in bolletta
lei si rivestì in fretta.

E andò a cercare il suo compagno
partecipe del guadagno
e ritornò col protettore
dal vecchio truffatore.

E ritornò col protettore
dal vecchio truffatore.

Mentre lui fermo lo teneva
sei volte lo accoltellava
dicon che quando lui spirò
la lingua lei gli mostrò.

Dicon che quando lui spirò
la lingua lei gli mostrò.

Misero tutto sotto sopra
senza trovare un soldo
ma solo un mucchio di cambiali
e di atti giudiziari.

Ma solo un mucchio di cambiali
e di atti giudiziari.

Allora presi dallo sconforto
e dal rimpianto del morto,
si inginocchiaron sul poveruomo
chiedendogli perdono.

Si inginocchiaron sul poveruomo
chiedendogli perdono.

Quando i gendarmi sono entrati
piangenti li han trovati
fu qualche lacrima sul viso
a dargli il paradiso.

Fu qualche lacrima sul viso
a dargli il paradiso.

E quando furono impiccati
volarono fra i beati
qualche beghino di questo fatto
fu poco soddisfatto.

Qualche beghino di questo fatto
fu poco soddisfatto.

Non tutti nella capitale
sbocciano i fiori del male,
qualche assassinio senza pretese
lo abbiamo anche noi in paese.

Qualche assassinio senza pretese
lo abbiamo anche noi qui in paese.

Text of Delitto di paese © 1965 Fabrizio De André based on
L'Assassinat © 1962 Georges Brassens


"Delitto di paese" is a mostly faithful translation of "L'assassinat" by Georges Brassens, with only a few small changes (notably there's a reference to Baudelaire with De André's change to "flowers of evil," the title of an early volume of Baudelaire's poetry). This was the first of many translations De André would do of songs by Brassens, who was a major influence on De André both for his music and for his political and philosophical points of view. Both men considered compassion and forgiveness the most powerful human forces for good, reflected in this song by the killers' admittance to Heaven after they shed tears of remorse for their crime (the tears on their faces gave them entrance to heaven).

Not only in the capital
do flowers of evil bloom.
Some modest killing
even we have in the village.

Some modest killing
even we have here in the village.

His head was white all over
but his heart, not yet tired,
returned to him to throb fast
for a young girl.

It returned to him to throb fast
for a young girl.

But his desire, too lively,
quickly exhausted
in four kisses and a caress
his final youthfulness.

In four kisses and a caress,
his final youthfulness.

When his hand she held,
he responded to her, sad
for being poor, flat broke.
She got back dressed in a hurry.

For being poor, flat broke,
she got back dressed in a hurry.

And she went in search of her companion,
sharer in the earnings,
and returned with a protector
to the old trickster's place.

And she returned with a protector
to the old trickster's place.

While he, standing, held him,
she stabbed him six times.
They say when he spent his last breath
she showed him the tongue.

They say when he spent his last breath
she showed her companion the tongue.

They turned the place upside down
without finding a penny,
only but a pile of bills
and court judgments.

Only but a pile of bills
and court judgments.

Then, taken by the discomfort
and regret of death,
they got down on their knees by the poor fellow,
asking him for pardon.

They got down on their knees by the poor fellow
asking him for pardon.

When the gendarmes entered
they found them crying.
Some tears were on their faces
to give them heaven.

Some tears were on their faces
to give them heaven.

And when they were hung
they flew among the blessed.
Of this fact a few bigots
were little satisfied.

Of this fact a few bigots
were little satisfied.

Not only in the capital
do flowers of evil bloom.
Some modest killing
even we have in the village.

Some modest killing
even we have here in the village.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Nuvole barocche, released in 1969, is a collection of De André singles released between 1961 and 1966.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Nuvole barocche:
   Valzer per un amore (o campestre)
   Waltz for a Lover (or Country Waltz)

Quando carica d'anni e di castità
tra i ricordi e le illusioni
del bel tempo che non ritornerà,
troverai le mie canzoni,

nel sentirle ti meraviglierai
che qualcuno abbia lodato
le bellezze che allor più non avrai
e che avesti nel tempo passato

ma non ti servirà il ricordo,
non ti servirà
che per piangere il tuo rifiuto
del mio amore che non tornerà.

Ma non ti servirà più a niente,
non ti servirà
che per piangere sui tuoi occhi
che nessuno più canterà.

Ma non ti servirà più a niente,
non ti servirà
che per piangere sui tuoi occhi
che nessuno più canterà.

Vola il tempo lo sai che vola e va,
forse non ce ne accorgiamo
ma più ancora del tempo che non ha età,
siamo noi che ce ne andiamo

e per questo ti dico amore, amor
io t'attenderò ogni sera,
ma tu vieni non aspettare ancor,
vieni adesso finché è primavera.

Valzer per un amore © 1964 Fabrizio De André/Gino Marinuzzi

"Valzer per un amore" was the B side of the sixth 45 released by Karim, in 1964. The music is that of "Valzer campestre" from the Sicilian Suite (1909) by Gino Marinuzzi. De André wanted to set lyrics to this piece of music when he learned that he had been born at home while this song was playing on the record player. He contacted the composer's son and was happily given permission to use the music. De André's lyric approach was influenced by a 16th century French poem, one of Pierre de Ronsard's Sonnets pour Hélène:

Quand vous serez bien vieille, au soir, à la chandelle,
Assise auprès du feu, dévidant et filant,
Direz, chantant mes vers, en vous émerveillant:
Ronsard me célébrait du temps que j’étais belle.

When you are very old, in the evening, by candlelight,
Sitting by the fire, winding and spinning,
You will say, singing my verses, marveling:
Ronsard celebrated me in the time when I was beautiful.



When laden with years and with chastity,
among the memories and illusions
of the good times that won’t return,
you will find my songs.

In hearing them you’ll marvel
that someone praised
the beauties that you’ll then no longer have
and that you had in times past.

But it won’t do you any good, the memory,
it won’t do you any good
save for lamenting your refusal
of my love that won’t return.

But it won't do you any more good at all,
it won't do you any good
save for grieving over your eyes
that no one will sing of any more.

But it won’t do you any more good at all,
it won't do you any good
save for grieving over your eyes
that no one will sing of any more.

Time flies, you know that it flies and it goes.
Maybe we don’t notice it,
but even more so than time, that has no age,
'tis we who are going away.

And for this I say to you love, love,
I’ll wait for you every evening.
But come, don’t you keep waiting,
come now while it’s springtime.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Nuvole barocche, released in 1969, is a collection of De André singles released between 1961 and 1966.
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nuvole barocche:
   Per i tuoi larghi occhi - For Your Big Eyes

Per i tuoi larghi occhi,
per i tuoi larghi occhi chiari
che non piangono mai,
che non piangono mai.

E perché non mi hai dato
che un addio tanto breve,
perché dietro a quegli occhi
batte un cuore di neve.

Io ti dico che mai
il ricordo che in me lascerai
sarà stretto al mio cuore
da un motivo d'amore.

Non pensarlo perché
tutto quel che ricordo di te,
di quegli attimi amari,
sono i tuoi occhi chiari.

I tuoi larghi occhi
che restavan lontani
anche quando io sognavo,
anche mentre ti amavo.

E se tu tornerai
t'amerò come sempre ti amai,
come un bel sogno inutile
che si scorda al mattino.

Ma i tuoi larghi occhi,
i tuoi larghi occhi chiari
anche se non verrai
non li scorderò mai.

Per i tuoi larghi occhi © 1965 Fabrizio De Andrè

"Per i tuoi occhi" was released in 1965 by Karim. As does "La ballata dell'amore cieco" the following year, this song bears the influence of Baudelaire and the femme fatale.



For your big eyes
For your big bright eyes
That don’t ever cry
That don’t ever cry

And why didn’t you give me
But such a brief farewell?
Because behind those eyes
Beats a heart of ice.

I tell you that never
Will the memory you’ll leave me with
Be close to my heart
By reason of love.

I don’t think so because
Everything that I remember of you,
Of those bitter moments,
Are your bright eyes.

Your big eyes
That remained distant
Even when I was dreaming,
Even while I was loving you.

And if you return
I will love you as I always loved you,
Like a beautiful useless dream
That one forgets in the morning.

But your two big eyes,
Your two big bright eyes
Even if you don’t come
I won’t forget them ever.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Nuvole barocche, released in 1969, is a collection of De Andrè singles released between 1961 and 1966.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Nuvole barocche:
   Carlo Martello ritorna dalla battaglia di Poitiers
   Charles Martel Returns from the Battle of Poitiers

Re Carlo tornava dalla guerra
lo accoglie la sua terra
cingendolo d'allor

al sol della calda primavera
lampeggia l'armatura
del sire vincitor

il sangue del principe del Moro
arrossano il ciniero
d'identico color

ma più che del corpo le ferite
da Carlo son sentite
le bramosie d'amor

"se ansia di gloria e sete d'onore
spegne la guerra al vincitore
non ti concede un momento per fare all'amore

chi poi impone alla sposa soave
di castità la cintura ahimè è grave
in battaglia può correre il rischio di perder la chiave"

così si lamenta il Re cristiano
s'inchina intorno il grano
gli son corona i fior

lo specchio di chiara fontanella
riflette fiero in sella
dei Mori il vincitor

Quand'ecco nell'acqua si compone
mirabile visione
il simbolo d'amor

nel folto di lunghe trecce bionde
il seno si confonde
ignudo in pieno sol

"Mai non fu vista cosa più bella
mai io non colsi siffatta pulzella"
disse Re Carlo scendendo veloce di sella

"De' cavaliere non v'accostate
già d'altri è gaudio quel che cercate
ad altra più facile fonte la sete calmate"

Sorpreso da un dire sì deciso
sentendosi deriso
Re Carlo s'arrestò

ma più dell'onor poté il digiuno
fremente l'elmo bruno
il sire si levò

codesta era l'arma sua segreta
da Carlo spesso usata
in gran difficoltà

alla donna apparve un gran nasone
e un volto da caprone
ma era sua maestà

"Se voi non foste il mio sovrano"
Carlo si sfila il pesante spadone
"non celerei il disio di fuggirvi lontano,

ma poiché siete il mio signore"
Carlo si toglie l'intero gabbione
"debbo concedermi spoglia ad ogni pudore"

Cavaliere egli era assai valente
ed anche in quel frangente
d'onor si ricoprì

e giunto alla fin della tenzone
incerto sull'arcione
tentò di risalir

veloce lo arpiona la pulzella
repente una parcella
presenta al suo signor

"Beh proprio perché voi siete il sire
fan cinquemila lire
è un prezzo di favor"

"E' mai possibile o porco di un cane
che le avventure in codesto reame
debban risolversi tutte con grandi puttane,

anche sul prezzo c'è poi da ridire
ben mi ricordo che pria di partire
v'eran tariffe inferiori alle tremila lire"

Ciò detto agì da gran cialtrone
con balzo da leone
in sella si lanciò

frustando il cavallo come un ciuco
fra i glicini e il sambuco
il Re si dileguò

Re Carlo tornava dalla guerra
lo accoglie la sua terra
cingendolo d'allor

al sol della calda primavera
lampeggia l'armatura
del sire vincitor

Carlo Martello ritorna dalla battaglia di Poitiers © 1963 Fabrizio De André/Paolo Villagio

This song was released in 1963 as the B side of a 45 with "Il fannullone" as the A-side. The text was written by a friend from childhood, Paolo Villagio, and the music is by De André. The Battle of Poitiers occurred in 732, a battle between the Franks and the Moors in what is now northern France. The song is in the style of popular French pastourelles sung by medieval troubadours about encounters between knights and country girls. In 1965 a complaint was brought against De André and his label Karim for obscene content in the lyrics. The case was settled in De André's favor in 1968. The Italian in this song is an old style, and Riccardo Venturi has done a nice translation into a similarly "olde" style of English.



King Charles was returning from the war.
His land welcomes him,
crowning him with a laurel.

In the hot spring sun
flashes the suit of armor
of the victorious Sire.

The blood of the prince and the Moor
redden the crest,
of identical color.

But more than the wounds of the body,
Charles felt
the yearning for love.

“If eagerness for glory and a thirst for honor
extinguish war for the victor,
it allows you not a moment to pursue love.

"One, then, who imposes on the gentle wife
the chastity belt - alas it is heavy -
in battle can run the risk of losing the key.”

Thus complains the Christian king.
The grain bows down and
flowers gather about.

The mirror of the clear fountain
reflects, proud in his saddle,
the victor of the Moors.

When here in the water is formed,
marvelous vision,
the symbol of love -

in the fullness of the long blond braids
the breast intermingles,
naked in broad daylight.

“Never was seen something more beautiful,
never did I catch such a maid,”
said King Charles, dismounting quickly from his saddle.

“But oh, Knight, come no closer,
that which you seek is already the joy of another.
Quench your thirst from some easier spring.”

Surprised by a response so sharp,
feeling put down,
King Charles stopped.

But greater than honor was the power of abstinence.
Trembling, his brown helm
the King lifted off.

This was the secret weapon
by Charles often used
in dire straights -

to the woman appeared a big nose
and the face of a goat,
but it was her majesty.

“If you were not my sovereign,” -
Charles takes off his heavy sword -
“I wouldn’t conceal the desire to run far away."

"But since you are my Lord,” -
Charles frees himself from the prison of his armor -
“I must give myself over bare to every shame.”

He was indeed a valiant knight,
and even at that juncture
was covered again with honor.

And, conjoined at the end of the duel,
uncertain, the saddle
he tried to remount.

Quickly the maiden harpooned him.
Suddenly a bill
she presents to her Lord.

“Ah, just because you are my Lord,
it’s five thousand lira,
a special price.”

“It’s ever possible, son of a bitch,
that the adventures in this realm
should all end up with big whores.

"Even the price, then, can be criticized.
I remember well that before I left
there were lower prices of three thousand lira.”

Thus spoken, he acted like a scoundrel -
with the leap of a lion
he mounted his steed.

Whipping the horse as if it were a donkey,
through the wisteria and elderberries
the king disappeared.

King Charles returned from the war.
His land welcomes him,
crowning him with a laurel.

In the hot spring sun
flashes the suit of armor
of the victorious Sire.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Nuvole barocche, released in 1969, is a collection of De André’s singles from 1961-1965.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List