Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Canzoni:
   Via della Povertà - Desolation Row (Bob Dylan)

Il Salone di bellezza in fondo al vicolo
è affollatissimo di marinai
prova a chiedere a uno che ore sono
e ti risponderà "non l'ho saputo mai".
Le cartoline dell'impiccagione
sono in vendita a cento lire l'una
il commissario cieco dietro la stazione
per un indizio ti legge la sfortuna
e le forze dell'ordine irrequiete
cercano qualcosa che non va
mentre io e la mia signora ci affacciamo stasera
su Via della povertà.

Cenerentola sembra così facile
ogni volta che sorride ti cattura
ricorda proprio Bette Davis
con le mani appoggiate alla cintura.
Arriva Romeo trafelato
e le grida "il mio amore sei tu"
ma qualcuno gli dice di andar via
e di non riprovarci più
e l'unico suono che rimane
quando l'ambulanza se ne va
è Cenerentola che spazza la strada
in via della Povertà.

Mentre l'alba sta uccidendo la luna
e le stelle si son quasi nascoste
la signora che legge la fortuna
se n'è andata in compagnia dell'oste.
Ad eccezione di Abele e di Caino
tutti quanti sono andati a far l'amore
aspettando che venga la pioggia
ad annacquare la gioia ed il dolore
e il Buon Samaritano
sta affilando la sua pietà
se ne andrà al Carnevale stasera
in via della Povertà.

I tre Re Magi sono disperati
Gesù Bambino è diventato vecchio
e Mister Hyde piange sconcertato
vedendo Jeckyll che ride nello specchio.
Ofelia è dietro la finestra
mai nessuno le ha detto che è bella
a soli ventidue anni
è già una vecchia zitella
la sua morte sarà molto romantica
trasformandosi in oro se ne andrà
per adesso cammina avanti e indietro
in via della Povertà.

Einstein travestito da ubriacone
ha nascosto i suoi appunti in un baule
è passato di qui un'ora fa
diretto verso l'ultima Thule,
sembrava così timido e impaurito
quando ha chiesto di fermarsi un po' qui
ma poi ha cominciato a fumare
e a recitare l'A B C
ed a vederlo tu non lo diresti mai
ma era famoso qualche tempo fa
per suonare il violino elettrico
in via della Povertà.

Ci si prepara per la grande festa
c'è qualcuno che comincia ad aver sete
il fantasma dell'opera
si è vestito in abiti da prete
sta ingozzando a viva forza Casanova
per punirlo della sua sensualità
lo ucciderà parlandogli d'amore
dopo averlo avvelenato di pietà
e mentre il fantasma grida
tre ragazze si son spogliate già
Casanova sta per essere violentato
in via della Povertà.

E bravo Nettuno mattacchione
il Titanic sta affondando nell'aurora
nelle scialuppe i posti letto sono tutti occupati
e il capitano grida "ce ne stanno ancora",
e Ezra Pound e Thomas Eliot
fanno a pugni nella torre di comando
i suonatori di calipso ridono di loro
mentre il cielo si sta allontanando
e affacciati alle loro finestre nel mare
tutti pescano mimose e lillà
e nessuno deve più preoccuparsi
di via della Povertà.

A mezzanotte in punto i poliziotti
fanno il loro solito lavoro
metton le manette intorno ai polsi
a quelli che ne sanno più di loro,
i prigionieri vengon trascinati
su un calvario improvvisato lì vicino
e il caporale Adolfo li ha avvisati
che passeranno tutti dal camino
e il vento ride forte
e nessuno riuscirà a ingannare il suo destino
in via della Povertà.

La tua lettera l'ho avuta proprio ieri
mi racconti tutto quel che fai
ma non essere ridicola
non chiedermi "come stai",
questa gente di cui mi vai parlando
è gente come tutti noi
non mi sembra che siano mostri
non mi sembra che siano eroi
e non mandarmi ancora tue notizie
nessuno ti risponderà
se insisti a spedirmi le tue lettere
da via della Povertà.

Via della Povertà text © 1974 Fabrizio De André-Francesco De Gregori based on
Desolation Row © 1965 Warner Bros Inc.; renewed 1993 by Special Rider Music


De André regarded highly the work of Bob Dylan, both for its literary quality and for the many Biblical references found therein. De André considered Dylan part poet and part prophet. This translation was one of the first collaborations between De André and Francesco De Gregori, and it led to the creation of the subsequent album Volume 8.









Bob Dylan text for Desolation Row:

They’re selling postcards of the hanging
They’re painting the passports brown
The beauty parlor is filled with sailors
The circus is in town
Here comes the blind commissioner
They’ve got him in a trance
One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker
The other is in his pants
And the riot squad they’re restless
They need somewhere to go
As Lady and I look out tonight
From Desolation Row

Cinderella, she seems so easy
“It takes one to know one,” she smiles
And puts her hands in her back pockets
Bette Davis style
And in comes Romeo, he’s moaning
“You Belong to Me I Believe”
And someone says, “You’re in the wrong place my friend
You better leave”
And the only sound that’s left
After the ambulances go
Is Cinderella sweeping up
On Desolation Row

Now the moon is almost hidden
The stars are beginning to hide
The fortune-telling lady
Has even taken all her things inside
All except for Cain and Abel
And the hunchback of Notre Dame
Everybody is making love
Or else expecting rain
And the Good Samaritan, he’s dressing
He’s getting ready for the show
He’s going to the carnival tonight
On Desolation Row

Now Ophelia, she’s ’neath the window
For her I feel so afraid
On her twenty-second birthday
She already is an old maid
To her, death is quite romantic
She wears an iron vest
Her profession’s her religion
Her sin is her lifelessness
And though her eyes are fixed upon
Noah’s great rainbow
She spends her time peeking
Into Desolation Row

Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood
With his memories in a trunk
Passed this way an hour ago
With his friend, a jealous monk
He looked so immaculately frightful
As he bummed a cigarette
Then he went off sniffing drainpipes
And reciting the alphabet
Now you would not think to look at him
But he was famous long ago
For playing the electric violin
On Desolation Row

Dr. Filth, he keeps his world
Inside of a leather cup
But all his sexless patients
They’re trying to blow it up
Now his nurse, some local loser
She’s in charge of the cyanide hole
And she also keeps the cards that read
“Have Mercy on His Soul”
They all play on pennywhistles
You can hear them blow
If you lean your head out far enough
From Desolation Row

Across the street they’ve nailed the curtains
They’re getting ready for the feast
The Phantom of the Opera
A perfect image of a priest
They’re spoonfeeding Casanova
To get him to feel more assured
Then they’ll kill him with self-confidence
After poisoning him with words
And the Phantom’s shouting to skinny girls
“Get Outa Here If You Don’t Know
Casanova is just being punished for going
To Desolation Row”

Now at midnight all the agents
And the superhuman crew
Come out and round up everyone
That knows more than they do
Then they bring them to the factory
Where the heart-attack machine
Is strapped across their shoulders
And then the kerosene
Is brought down from the castles
By insurance men who go
Check to see that nobody is escaping
To Desolation Row

Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody’s shouting
“Which Side Are You On?”
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row

Yes, I received your letter yesterday
(About the time the doorknob broke)
When you asked how I was doing
Was that some kind of joke?
All these people that you mention
Yes, I know them, they’re quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces
And give them all another name
Right now I can’t read too good
Don’t send me no more letters, no
Not unless you mail them
From Desolation Row
The beauty parlor at the back of the alley
is packed with sailors.
Try to ask one what time it is
and he’ll tell you “I never knew it.”
The postcards of the hanging
are for sale, a hundred lira apiece.
The blind commissioner behind the station
reads your misfortune for a clue
and the restless forces of order
search for something that doesn’t work
while my lady and I look out the window tonight
onto Poverty Way.

Cinderella seems so easy,
every time she smiles she catches you,
reminiscent of Bette Davis
with her hands resting against her belt.
Romeo arrives panting
and shouts to her “My love, it’s you.”
But someone tells him to go away
and not to try it again,
and the only sound that remains
when the ambulance goes
is Cinderella sweeping the street
on Poverty Way.

While the dawn is killing the moon
and the stars are almost hidden,
the fortune telling lady
went away in the company of the innkeeper.
Except for Cain and Abel
everyone went to make love,
expecting that the rain might come
to water down the joy and the sorrow.
And the Good Samaritan
is honing his mercy,
he’ll go to the Carnival tonight
on Poverty Way.

The three Wise Men are desperate,
Baby Jesus became old
and Mister Hyde is crying disconcerted
watching Jeckyll who is laughing in the mirror.
Ofelia is behind the window,
no one ever told her that she’s beautiful.
At only twenty two years of age
she’s already an old maid.
Her death will be very romantic,
transforming herself into gold she’ll go away.
For now she walks back and forth
on Poverty Way.

Einstein, dressed as a drunkard,
hid his notes in a trunk.
He passed this way an hour ago
straight towards the final Thule.
He seemed so shy and scared
when he asked to stop a bit here,
but then he started to smoke
and to recite the A B C's,
and to see him you would never say it,
but he was famous some time ago
for playing the electric violin
on Poverty Way.

In preparing for the big party
there’s someone who’s starting to be thirsty
The phantom of the opera
is dressed in the clothes of a priest,
he is force feeding Casanova
to punish him for his sensuality.
He'll kill him, speaking to him of love
after having poisoned him with pity,
and while the phantom shouts
three girls are already stripped naked -
Casanova is about to be raped
on Poverty Way.

And way to go Neptune, joker!
The Titanic is sinking in the dawn.
In the lifeboat the beds are all taken
and the captain shouts, “There still are some.”
And Ezra Pound and Thomas Eliot
are fighting in the captain’s tower.
The calypso players laugh at them
while the sky is becoming distant,
and leaning from their windows to the sea
everyone fishes for mimosas and lilacs
and no one has to be too worried
about Poverty Way.

At midnight on the dot the police
do their usual work
putting handcuffs around the wrists
of the ones who know more than they do.
The prisoners come to be dragged
to an improvised Calvary nearby,
and lance corporal Adolf informed them
that they will all pass from the chimney,
and the wind laughs strongly,
and no one will manage to trick his destiny
on Poverty Way.

Your letter I had just yesterday,
you recount everything you’re doing.
But don’t be ridiculous,
don’t ask me “How are you?”
These people of whom you're speaking
are people like all of us,
it doesn’t seem to me that they’re monsters,
it doesn’t seem to me that they’re heroes.
And don’t send me still your news,
no one will respond to you
if you insist on sending your letters
from Poverty Way.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Canzoni, released in 1974, was a "filler" album, like Volume III, desired by De André's label. The only three previously unreleased songs here are covers of Dylan's "Desolation Row" and of two songs by Georges Brassens. Also included are two covers of Leonard Cohen songs.


De André/De Gregori text, translated, for Desolation Row:

The beauty parlor at the back of the alley
is packed with sailors.
Try to ask one what time it is
and he’ll tell you “I never knew it.”
The postcards of the hanging
are for sale, a hundred lira apiece.
The blind commissioner behind the station
reads your misfortune for a clue
and the restless forces of order
search for something that doesn’t work
while my lady and I look out the window tonight
onto Poverty Way.

Cinderella seems so easy,
every time she smiles she catches you,
reminiscent of Bette Davis
with her hands resting against her belt.
Romeo arrives panting
and shouts to her “My love, it’s you.”
But someone tells him to go away
and not to try it again,
and the only sound that remains
when the ambulance goes
is Cinderella sweeping the street
on Poverty Way.

While the dawn is killing the moon
and the stars are almost hidden,
the fortune telling lady
went away in the company of the innkeeper.
Except for Cain and Abel
everyone went to make love,
expecting that the rain might come
to water down the joy and the sorrow.
And the Good Samaritan
is honing his mercy,
he’ll go to the Carnival tonight
on Poverty Way.

The three Wise Men are desperate,
Baby Jesus became old
and Mister Hyde is crying disconcerted
watching Jeckyll who is laughing in the mirror.
Ofelia is behind the window,
no one ever told her that she’s beautiful.
At only twenty two years of age
she’s already an old maid.
Her death will be very romantic,
transforming herself into gold she’ll go away.
For now she walks back and forth
on Poverty Way.

Einstein, dressed as a drunkard,
hid his notes in a trunk.
He passed this way an hour ago
straight towards the final Thule.
He seemed so shy and scared
when he asked to stop a bit here,
but then he started to smoke
and to recite the A B C's,
and to see him you would never say it,
but he was famous some time ago
for playing the electric violin
on Poverty Way.

In preparing for the big party
there’s someone who’s starting to be thirsty
The phantom of the opera
is dressed in the clothes of a priest,
he is force feeding Casanova
to punish him for his sensuality.
He'll kill him, speaking to him of love
after having poisoned him with pity,
and while the phantom shouts
three girls are already stripped naked -
Casanova is about to be raped
on Poverty Way.

And way to go Neptune, joker!
The Titanic is sinking in the dawn.
In the lifeboat the beds are all taken
and the captain shouts, “There still are some.”
And Ezra Pound and Thomas Eliot
are fighting in the captain’s tower.
The calypso players laugh at them
while the sky is becoming distant,
and leaning from their windows to the sea
everyone fishes for mimosas and lilacs
and no one has to be too worried
about Poverty Way.

At midnight on the dot the police
do their usual work
putting handcuffs around the wrists
of the ones who know more than they do.
The prisoners come to be dragged
to an improvised Calvary nearby,
and lance corporal Adolf informed them
that they will all pass from the chimney,
and the wind laughs strongly,
and no one will manage to trick his destiny
on Poverty Way.

Your letter I had just yesterday,
you recount everything you’re doing.
But don’t be ridiculous,
don’t ask me “How are you?”
These people of whom you're speaking
are people like all of us,
it doesn’t seem to me that they’re monsters,
it doesn’t seem to me that they’re heroes.
And don’t send me still your news,
no one will respond to you
if you insist on sending your letters
from Poverty Way.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Canzoni:
   Le passanti - The Passersby (Georges Brassens)

Io dedico questa canzone
ad ogni donna pensata come amore
in un attimo di libertà
a quella conosciuta appena
non c'era tempo e valeva la pena
di perderci un secolo in più.

A quella quasi da immaginare
tanto di fretta l'hai vista passare
dal balcone a un segreto più in là
e ti piace ricordarne il sorriso
che non ti ha fatto e che tu le hai deciso
in un vuoto di felicità.

Alla compagna di viaggio
i suoi occhi il più bel paesaggio
fan sembrare più corto il cammino
e magari sei l'unico a capirla
e la fai scendere senza seguirla
senza averle sfiorato la mano.

A quelle che sono già prese
e che vivendo delle ore deluse
con un uomo ormai troppo cambiato
ti hanno lasciato, inutile pazzia,
vedere il fondo della malinconia
di un avvenire disperato.

Immagini care per qualche istante
sarete presto una folla distante
scavalcate da un ricordo più vicino
per poco che la felicità ritorni
è molto raro che ci si ricordi
degli episodi del cammino.

Ma se la vita smette di aiutarti
è più difficile dimenticarti
di quelle felicità intraviste
dei baci che non si è osato dare
delle occasioni lasciate ad aspettare
degli occhi mai più rivisti.

Allora nei momenti di solitudine
quando il rimpianto diventa abitudine,
una maniera di viversi insieme,
si piangono le labbra assenti
di tutte le belle passanti
che non siamo riusciti a trattenere.

Le passanti © 1974 Fabrizio De André based on
Les Passantes © 1972 Georges Brassens based on a poem by Antoine Pol


"Le passanti" is a translation/adaptation of Georges Brassens's "Les passantes" that was released in 1972. The text of the song is a poem by Antoine Pol from his first collection Émotions poétiques (1918).

I dedicate this song
to every woman thought of as a lover
in an instant of freedom,
to that one only just met -
there was no time and it was worth it
to lose ourselves for another century.

To that one almost imagined,
in such a hurry you saw her pass
from the balcony to a secret further on,
and you like to remember the smile
she didn’t make for you and that you decided for her
in an absence of happiness.

To the fellow traveler,
her eyes, the most beautiful scenery,
make the way seem shorter,
and hopefully you’re the only one to understand her,
and you drop her off without following her,
without having brushed against her hand.

To those who are already taken
and who, living in the disillusioned hours
with a man by now too changed,
left you, wasted folly,
to see the depths of the melancholy
of a desperate future.

Dear images for a few instants,
you'll all soon be a distant jumble,
climbed over by a memory more near.
However little happiness returns,
it is very rare that one remembers
the events along the way.

But if life stops helping you,
it is harder for you to forget
those happy glimpses
of kisses one dared not give,
of the occasions left waiting,
of the eyes never again seen.

Then in the moments of solitude
when regret becomes a habit,
a way of living together,
mourned are the absent lips
of all the beautiful passersby
we didn’t manage to not let go.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Canzoni, released in 1974, was a "filler" album, like Volume III, desired by De André's label. The only three previously unreleased songs here are covers of Dylan's "Desolation Row" and of two songs by Georges Brassens. Also included are two covers of Leonard Cohen songs.

Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Monday, June 9, 2014

Canzoni:
   Fila la lana - Spin the Wool

Nella guerra di Valois
il Signor di Vly è morto,
se sia stato un prode eroe
non si sa, non è ancor certo.

Ma la dama abbandonata
lamentando la sua morte
per mill'anni e forse ancora
piangerà la triste sorte.

Fila la lana, fila i tuoi giorni
illuditi ancora che lui ritorni,
libro di dolci sogni d'amore
apri le pagine sul suo dolore.

Son tornati a cento e a mille
i guerrieri di Valois,
son tornati alle famiglie,
ai palazzi alle città.

Ma la dama abbandonata
non ritroverà il suo amore
e il gran ceppo nel camino
non varrà a scaldarle il cuore.

Fila la lana, fila i tuoi giorni
illuditi ancora che lui ritorni,
libro di dolci sogni d'amore
apri le pagine al suo dolore.

Cavalieri che in battaglia
ignorate la paura
stretta sia la vostra maglia,
ben temprata l'armatura.

Al nemico che vi assalta
siate presti a dar risposta
perché dietro a quelle mura
vi s'attende senza sosta.

Fila la lana, fila i tuoi giorni
illuditi ancora che lui ritorni,
libro di dolci sogni d'amore
chiudi le pagine sul suo dolore.

Fila la lana © 1965 Fabrizio De André

"Fila la lana" was presented as a translation of a popular medieval French song from the 15th century. In fact the French source song was "File la laine" composed by Robert Marcy in 1948, popularized by Jacque Douai in 1955. The War of Valois in De André's version is better known as the War of the Breton Succession (1341-1364). The original French version speaks of the "Monsieur of Malbrough" which refers to a 1709 battle in the War of the Spanish Succession depicted in one of the most famous of French folk songs, "Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre."

In the War of Valois
the Seignior of Vly died.
Whether he was a valiant hero
is unknown, it’s still not certain.

But the woman left abandoned
lamenting his death,
for a thousand years, maybe more,
will mourn his sad destiny.

Spin the wool, spin your days,
keep fooling yourself that he might return.
Book of sweet dreams of love -
open the pages to its sorrow.

They returned by the hundreds and by the thousands,
the warriors of Valois.
They returned to their families,
to their palaces, to their cities.

But the abandoned woman
won’t find her love again,
and the big log in the fireplace
will be worthless for warming her heart.

Spin the wool, spin your days,
keep fooling yourself that he might return.
Book of sweet dreams of love -
open the pages to its sorrow.

Knights who in battle
ignore the fear,
may your chain mail be tight,
your armor well-tempered.

To the enemy who assaults you
be ready to give riposte,
because behind those walls
you’re awaited without cease.

Spin the wool, spin your days,
keep fooling yourself that he might return.
Book of sweet dreams of love -
close the pages on its sorrow.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Canzoni, released in 1974, was a "filler" album, like Volume III, desired by De André's label. The only three previously unreleased songs here are covers of Dylan's "Desolation Row" and of two songs by Georges Brassens. Also included are two covers of Leonard Cohen songs.

Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Canzoni:
   La ballata dell'amore cieco (o della vanità)
   The Ballad of Blind Love (or of Vanity)

Un uomo onesto, un uomo probo,
tralalalalla tralallaleru
s'innamorò perdutamente
d'una che non lo amava niente.

Gli disse portami domani,
tralalalalla tralallaleru
gli disse portami domani
il cuore di tua madre per i miei cani.

Lui dalla madre andò e l'uccise,
tralalalalla tralallaleru
dal petto il cuore le strappò
e dal suo amore ritornò.

Non era il cuore, non era il cuore,
tralalalalla tralallaleru
non le bastava quell'orrore,
voleva un'altra prova del suo cieco amore.

Gli disse amor se mi vuoi bene,
tralalalalla tralallaleru
gli disse amor se mi vuoi bene,
tagliati dei polsi le quattro vene.

Le vene ai polsi lui si tagliò,
tralalalalla tralallaleru
e come il sangue ne sgorgò,
correndo come un pazzo da lei tornò.

Gli disse lei ridendo forte,
tralalalalla tralallaleru
gli disse lei ridendo forte,
l'ultima tua prova sarà la morte.

E mentre il sangue lento usciva,
e ormai cambiava il suo colore,
la vanità fredda gioiva,
un uomo s'era ucciso per il suo amore.

Fuori soffiava dolce il vento,
tralalalalla tralallaleru
ma lei fu presa da sgomento,
quando lo vide morir contento.

Morir contento e innamorato,
quando a lei niente era restato,
non il suo amore, non il suo bene,
ma solo il sangue secco delle sue vene.

La ballata dell'amore cieco (o della vanità) © 1966 Fabrizio De André

"La ballata dell'amore cieco (o della vanità)" was the B-side of the next to last 45 released on the Karim label. The lyrics of this song are closely related to a French poem "La Chanson de Marie-des-Anges" by Jean Richepin. De André's father had studied French literature at university, and in the years following WWII De André grew up surrounded with books and music. One of his attractions was to the dark sensibilities of Baudelaire. The macabre lyrics of this song coupled with the lively music (Dixieland interludes!) show the influence also of George Brassens.

An honest man, a man of probity
tralalalalla tralallaleru
Fell deeply in love
With a woman who loved him not at all.

She told him bring me, tomorrow
tralalalalla tralallaleru
She told him bring me tomorrow
The heart of your mother for my dogs.

He went to his mother’s house and killed her,
tralalalalla tralallaleru
From her chest he tore out her heart
And to his love he returned.

It wasn’t the heart, it wasn’t the heart
tralalalalla tralallaleru
It wasn’t enough for her, that horror,
She wanted another proof of his blind love.

She said darling, if you love me
tralalalalla tralallaleru
She said darling, if you love me
Cut the four veins of your wrist.

He cut the veins in his wrist
tralalalalla tralallaleru
And as the blood gushed out,
Running like a madman he returned to her.

She said to him, laughing hard
tralalalalla tralallaleru
She said to him, laughing loud
Your final proof will be death.

And while his blood slowly drained out
And then his color changed,
The cold vanity rejoiced,
A man had been killed for his love.

Outside, the wind blew gently
tralalalalla tralallaleru
But she fell into a state of consternation
When she saw him dying, contented.

Dying content and in love,
When for her nothing remained,
Not his love, not his well-being,
Just the dried blood of his veins.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Canzoni, released in 1974, was a "filler" album, like Volume III, desired by De André's label. The only three previously unreleased songs here are covers of Dylan's "Desolation Row" and of two songs by Georges Brassens. Also included are two covers of Leonard Cohen songs.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Canzoni:
   Suzanne (Leonard Cohen)

Nel suo posto in riva al fiume
Suzanne ti ha voluto accanto
e ora ascolti andar le barche
ora puoi dormirle a fianco
sì lo sai che lei è pazza
ma per questo sei con lei
e ti offre il the e le arance
che ha portato dalla Cina
e proprio mentre stai per dirle
che non hai amore da offrirle
lei è già sulla tua onda
e fa che il fiume ti risponda
che da sempre siete amanti.

E tu vuoi viaggiarle insieme
vuoi viaggiarle insieme ciecamente
perchè sai che le hai toccato il corpo
il suo corpo perfetto con la mente.

E Gesù fu marinaio
finchè camminò sull'acqua
e restò per molto tempo a guardare solitario
dalla sua torre di legno
e poi quando fu sicuro
che soltanto agli annegati
fosse dato di vederlo disse:
Siate marinai finchè il mare vi libererà.

E lui stesso fu spezzato
ma più umano abbandonato
nella nostra mente
lui non naufragò.

E tu vuoi viaggiarle insieme
vuoi viaggiarle insieme ciecamente
forse avrai fiducia in lui
perchè ti ha toccato il corpo con la mente.

E Suzanne ti da la mano,
ti accompagna lungo il fiume,
porta addosso stracci e piume
presi in qualche dormitorio
il sole scende come miele
su di lei donna del porto
che ti indica i colori
tra la spazzatura e i fiori
scopri eroi tra le alghe marce
e bambini nel mattino
che si sporgono all'amore
e così faranno sempre
e Suzanne regge lo specchio.

E tu vuoi viaggiarle insieme
vuoi viaggiarle insieme ciecamente
perchè sai che ti ha toccato il corpo
il suo corpo perfetto con la mente.

Suzanne text © 1972 Fabrizio De André based on
Suzanne © 1971 Leonard Cohen


De André's adaptation of "Suzanne" was released as a 45 in 1972 (b/w "Joan of Arc") with arrangements by Nicola Piovani. For inclusion on Canzoni the music was rearranged by Piero Reverberi.



Leonard Cohen text for Joan of Arc:

Suzanne takes you down
To her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China

And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength

And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover

And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind.

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"

But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone

And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with his mind.

Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror

And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she's touched your perfect body with her mind
In her place on the river bank
Suzanne wanted you next to her,
and now you listen to the boats going by,
now you can sleep by her side.
Yes you know that she’s crazy,
but that’s why you’re with her.
And she offers you tea and oranges
that she brought from China.
And just while you’re about to tell her
that you have no love to offer,
she is already on your wave
and she makes the river answer you
that you’ve always been lovers.

And you want to travel together with her,
you want to travel with her blindly,
because you know you’ve touched her body,
her perfect body with your mind.

And Jesus was a sailor
until he walked upon the water,
and he stayed a long time watching alone
from his wooden tower.
And then when he was certain
that only the drowned
would be able to see him, he said,
"Be you all sailors until the sea will free you."

And he himself was broken,
but more human, abandoned;
in our mind
he wasn’t shipwrecked.

And you want to travel together with her,
you want to travel with her blindly,
maybe you’ll trust him
because he’s touched your body with his mind.

And Suzanne gives you her hand,
she accompanies you along the river,
she’s dressed in rags and feathers
picked up in some dormitories,
the sun comes down like honey
on her, lady of the harbor
who shows you the colors
among the rubbish and the flowers,
you discover heroes in the rotten seaweed
and children in the morning
who lean out towards love,
and they’ll do like this forever,
and Suzanne holds the mirror.

And you want to travel together with her,
you want to travel with her blindly,
because you know her body has touched you,
her perfect body with the mind.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Canzoni, released in 1974, was a "filler" album, like Volume III, desired by De André's label. The only three previously unreleased songs here are covers of Dylan's "Desolation Row" and of two songs by Georges Brassens. Also included are two covers of Leonard Cohen songs. An unreleased alternate take of Suzanne is to the left.


Fabrizio De André text, translated, for Suzanne:

In her place on the river bank
Suzanne wanted you next to her
And now you listen to the boats going by
Now you want to sleep next to her
Yes you know that she’s crazy
But that’s why you’re with her
And she offers you tea and oranges
That she brought from China

And just while you’re about to tell her
That you have nothing to offer her
She is already on your wave

And she makes the river answer you
That you’ve always been lovers.

And you want to travel together with her
You want to travel with her blindly
Because you know you’ve touched her body
Her perfect body with the mind.

And Jesus was a sailor
Until he walked upon the water
And he stayed a long time watching alone
From his wooden tower
And then when he was certain
That only the drowned
Would be able to see him
He said: Be you all sailors until the sea will free you.

And he himself was broken
But more human, abandoned
In our mind
He wasn’t shipwrecked.

And you want to travel together with her
And you want to travel with her blindly
Maybe you’ll trust him
Because he’s touched your body with the mind.

And Suzanne gives you her hand,
She accompanies you along the river,
She’s dressed in rags and feathers
Picked up in some dormitories
The sun comes down like honey
On her, lady of the harbor
And she shows you the colors
Among the rubbish and the flowers
You discover heroes amongst the rotten seaweed
And children in the morning
Who lean out towards love
And they’ll lean out forever
And Suzanne holds the mirror.

And you want to travel together with her
You want to travel with her blindly
Because you know she’s touched your body
Her perfect body with the mind.
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Friday, June 6, 2014

Canzoni:
   Morire per delle idee
   Dying for Some Ideas (Georges Brassens)

Morire per delle idee, l'idea è affascinante
per poco io morivo senza averla mai avuta,
perchè chi ce l'aveva, una folla di gente,
gridando "viva la morte" proprio addosso mi è caduta.

Mi avevano convinto e la mia musa insolente
abiurando i suoi errori, aderì alla loro fede
dicendomi peraltro in separata sede
moriamo per delle idee, va bè, ma di morte lenta,
va bè ma di morte lenta.

Approfittando di non essere fragilissimi di cuore
andiamo all'altro mondo bighellonando un poco
perchè forzando il passo succede che si muore
per delle idee che non han più corso il giorno dopo.

Ora se c'è una cosa amara, desolante
è quella di capire all'ultimo momento
che l'idea giusta era un'altra,
un altro movimento
moriamo per delle idee, va bè, ma di morte lenta
ma di morte lenta.

Gli apostoli di turno che apprezzano il martirio
lo predicano spesso per novant'anni almeno.

Morire per delle idee sarà il caso di dirlo
è il loro scopo di vivere,
non sanno farne a meno.

E sotto ogni bandiera li vediamo superare
il buon matusalemme nella longevità
per conto mio si dicono in tutta intimità
moriamo per delle idee, va bè, ma di morte lenta,
va bè, ma di morte lenta.

A chi va poi cercando verità meno fittizie
ogni tipo di setta offre moventi originali
e la scelta è imbarazzante per le vittime novizie
morire per delle idee è molto bello ma per quali.

E il vecchio che si porta già
i fiori sulla tomba
vedendole venire dietro il grande stendardo
pensa "speriamo bene che arrivino in ritardo"
moriamo per delle idee, va bè, ma di morte lenta,
va bè, ma di morte lenta

E voi gli sputafuoco, e voi i nuovi santi
crepate pure per primi noi
vi cediamo il passo
però per gentilezza lasciate vivere gli altri
la vita è grosso modo il loro unico lusso
tanto più che la carogna è già abbastanza attenta
non c'è nessun bisogno di reggerle la falce
basta con le garrote in nome della pace
moriamo per delle idee, va bè, ma di morte lenta,
va bè, ma di morte lenta.

Text of Morire per delle idee © 1974 Fabrizio De André based on
Mourir pour des idées © 1972 Georges Brassens


"Morire per delle idee" is a translation/adaptation of Georges Brassens's "Mourir pour des idées" which was written in response to strong criticism for another of his songs "Les deux oncles," an anti-war song that was controversial because it treated two French brothers equally - one a British sympathizer and the other a collaborationist.

Dying for some ideas - the idea is fascinating.
I almost died without ever having had it,
because whoever had it, a crowd of people,
yelling “Long live death” it just fell on me.

They convinced me, and my insolent muse,
renouncing her mistakes, adhered to their faith,
telling me on the other hand in private
we are dying for some ideas, well okay, but a slow death;
well okay, but a slow death.

Taking advantage of not having a super delicate heart,
we’re going to the other world loafing around a bit,
because forcing the pace, it happens that one dies
for some ideas they no longer have the following day.

Now if there’s something bitter, distressing,
it is that of understanding in the final moment
that the right idea was a different one,
a different movement.
We’re dying for some ideas, well okay, but a slow death,
but a slow death.

The apostles on duty who appreciate the martyrdom
have been predicting it often for ninety years at least.

Dying for some ideas will be the occasion for saying it,
it's their purpose in life,
they don’t know how to do without it.

And under every flag we see them exceeding
good Methuselah in longevity.
On my behalf they tell themselves in complete privacy
we are dying for some ideas, well, okay, but a slow death;
well, okay, but a slow death.

To whoever goes then seeking a less spurious truth,
every type of sect offers original motives,
and the choice is awkward for the novice victims.
Dying for some ideas is very beautiful, but for which ones?

And the old man who brings already
the flowers for the tomb,
seeing them come behind the huge banner,
thinks, “Let’s hope sincerely that they’ll arrive late.”
We’re dying for some ideas, well okay, but a slow death;
well okay, but a slow death.

And you spitfires, you new saints,
be the first to kick the bucket,
we give way to you.
But please let the others live,
life is, roughly speaking, their only luxury.
Even more so that the carcass is already rather alert.
there's no need to hold the scythe,
it’s enough with the garrotes in the name of peace.
We are dying for some ideas, well okay, but a slow death; well okay, but a slow death.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Canzoni, released in 1974, was a "filler" album, like Volume III, desired by De André's label. The only three previously unreleased songs here are covers of Dylan's "Desolation Row" and of two songs by Georges Brassens. Also included are two covers of Leonard Cohen songs.
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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Canzoni:
   La canzone dell'amore perduto -
   The Song of Love Lost

Ricordi, sbocciavan le viole
con le nostre parole
“Non ci lasceremo mai, mai
e poi mai”

Vorrei dirti ora le stesse cose
ma come fan presto, amore
ad appassire le rose
così per noi.

L'amore che strappa i capelli
è perduto ormai,
non resta che qualche svogliata carezza
e un po' di tenerezza.

E quando ti troverai in mano
quei fiori appassiti al sole
di un aprile ormai lontano,
li rimpiangerai.

Ma sarà la prima
che incontri per strada, che tu
coprirai d'oro per un bacio mai dato,
per un amore nuovo.

E sarà la prima
che incontri per strada, che tu
coprirai d'oro per un bacio mai dato,
per un amore nuovo.

La canzone dell'amore perduto © 1966 Fabrizio De André

"La canzone dell'amore perduto" was written when things were no longer going well between De André and his first wife "Puny" Rignon, though they continued to live together for a while. It's interesting that De Andrè wrote this break-up song from the woman's point of view. The song was extremely popular and was covered by many other Italian artists. The music is from Georg Philipp Telemann (Adagio from "Concerto in D Major for trumpet, strings and basso continuo").

Remember? The violets used to bloom
along with our words
“We’ll never, ever leave each other,
never”

I’d like to say the same things to you now,
but how quickly, love,
the roses fade,
just like the two of us.

The love that drove us to our wits’ ends
Is now lost,
Nothing remains but some limp caresses
And a tiny bit of tenderness.

And when you find yourself
with those wilted flowers in hand,
withered in the sun of a now-distant April,
You’ll be filled with regret.

But there will surely be that first
woman you meet out on the street whom you’ll
cover in gold, for a kiss never given,
for a new love.

And yes, there will be that first
woman you meet on the streets whom you’ll
cover in gold, for a kiss never given,
for a new love.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Canzoni, released in 1974, was a "filler" album, like Volume III, desired by De André's label. The only three previously unreleased songs here are covers of Dylan's "Desolation Row" and of two songs by Georges Brassens. Also included are two covers of Leonard Cohen songs.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Canzoni:
   La città vecchia - The Old City

Nei quartieri dove il sole del buon Dio
non dà i suoi raggi
ha già troppi impegni
per scaldar la gente d'altri paraggi,
una bimba canta la canzone antica della donnaccia
quello che ancor non sai tu
lo imparerai solo qui tra le mie braccia.

E se alla sua età le difetterà la competenza
presto affinerà le capacità con l'esperienza
dove sono andati i tempi di una volta per Giunone
quando ci voleva per fare il mestiere
anche un po' di vocazione.

Una gamba qua, una gamba là, gonfi di vino
quattro pensionati mezzo avvelenati al tavolino
li troverai là, col tempo che fa, estate e inverno
a stratracannare a stramaledire le donne,
il tempo ed il governo.

Loro cercan là, la felicità dentro a un bicchiere
per dimenticare d'esser stati presi per il sedere
ci sarà allegria anche in agonia col vino forte
porteran sul viso l'ombra di un sorriso
tra le braccia della morte.

Vecchio professore cosa vai cercando in quel portone
forse quella che sola ti può dare una lezione
quella che di giorno chiami con disprezzo
pubblica moglie.
Quella che di notte stabilisce il prezzo alle tue voglie.

Tu la cercherai, tu la invocherai
più di una notte
ti alzerai disfatto rimandando tutto
al ventisette
quando incasserai delapiderai mezza pensione
diecimila lire per sentirti dire
"micio bello e bamboccione".

Se ti inoltrerai lungo le calate dei vecchi moli
In quell'aria spessa carica di sale, gonfia di odori
lì ci troverai i ladri gli assassini
e il tipo strano
quello che ha venduto per tremila lire
sua madre a un nano.

Se tu penserai, se giudicherai
da buon borghese
li condannerai a cinquemila anni più le spese
ma se capirai, se li cercherai
fino in fondo
se non sono gigli son pur sempre figli
vittime di questo mondo.

La città vecchia © 1965 Fabrizio De André

"La città vecchia" is set in old Genoa where De André spent much time, with its little back alleyways, bars, prostitutes, and the hard lives of the poor people and criminals who lived there on the margins of society, the opposite of what De André experienced with his own upper-middle class upbringing. The song was inspired by a poem of the same name by Umberto Saba set in the port zone of Trieste. And the first two lines were taken almost directly from a poem by Jacques Prévert, "Embrasse moi": "The sun of the good Lord doesn't shine on our parts/It already has too much to do in the rich quarters." Throughout his songwriting career, De André regularly took inspiration from and borrowed from other works of literature and music. (Translation notes: 1. "Giunone" is "Juno," but most people say "By Jove!" not "By Juno!" 2. In Italy, pensioners receive their checks on the 27th of every month.)

In the districts where the sun of the good Lord
gives not its rays,
it already has too many commitments
warming the people of other neighborhoods.
A little girl sings the ancient song of the whore:
that which you still don’t know,
you will learn only here in my arms.

And if at her age she might lack in competence,
she’ll quickly refine her skills with experience.
Where did the good old days go, by Jove,
when to practice the craft
still required a bit of a calling?

A leg here, a leg there, bloated with wine,
four pensioners half-poisoned at the table;
you’ll find them there, rain or shine, summer and winter,
guzzling it down and profusely bad-mouthing women,
the weather and the government.

They’re searching for bliss there inside a wineglass,
to forget having been taken for a fool.
There will be joy even in agony with strong wine.
They’ll wear on their faces the shadow of a smile
in the arms of death.

Old professor, what do you go seeking in that street door?
Perhaps she who alone can teach you a lesson,
she who by day you scornfully call
public wife,
she who by night sets the price for your desires.

You’ll search for her, you’ll invoke her
on more than one night.
You’ll wake up exhausted postponing everything
til the 27th,
when you will cash and trash half your pension,
10,000 lira to hear yourself say
“sweet pussycat" and "big rag doll.”

If you enter along the walkways of the old piers,
in that thick air, laden with salt, swollen with odors,
there you will find the thieves, the assassins
and the strange fellow,
that one who sold his mother to a dwarf
for 3000 lira.

If you will think, if you will judge
as a righteous townsman,
you'll condemn them to 50,000 years plus expenses;
but if you will understand, if you will search them
through and through,
even if they are not lilies they are always children,
victims of this world.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Canzoni, released in 1974, was a "filler" album, like Volume III, desired by De André's label. The only three previously unreleased songs here are covers of Dylan's "Desolation Row" and of two songs by Georges Brassens. Also included are two covers of Leonard Cohen songs.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Canzoni:
   Giovanna d'Arco - Joan of Arc (Leonard Cohen)

Attraverso il buio Giovanna d'Arco
precedeva le fiamme cavalcando
nessuna luna per la sua corazza
nessun uomo nella sua fumosa notte al suo fianco.

Della guerra sono stanca ormai
al lavoro di un tempo tornerei
a un vestito da sposa o qualcosa di bianco
per nascondere questa mia vocazione
al trionfo ed al pianto.

lalala lalala lalalalalala
lalala lalala lalalalalala

Son parole le tue che volevo ascoltare
ti ho spiata ogni giorno cavalcare
e a sentirti così ora so cosa voglio
vincere un'eroina così fredda,
abbracciarne l'orgoglio.

E chi sei tu lei disse divertendosi al gioco,
chi sei tu che mi parli così senza riguardo,
veramente stai parlando col fuoco
e amo la tua solitudine, amo il tuo sguardo.

lalala lalala lalalalalala

E se tu sei il fuoco raffreddati un poco,
le tue mani ora avranno da tenere qualcosa,
e tacendo gli si arrampicò dentro
ad offrirgli il suo modo migliore di essere sposa.

E nel profondo del suo cuore rovente
lui prese ad avvolgere Giovanna d'Arco
e là in alto e davanti alla gente
lui appese le ceneri inutili del suo abito bianco.

lalala lalala lalalalalala

E fu dal profondo del suo cuore rovente
che lui prese Giovanna e la colpì nel segno
e lei capì chiaramente
che se lui era il fuoco lei doveva essere il legno.

lalalalalala

Ho visto la smorfia del suo dolore,
ho visto la gloria nel suo sguardo raggiante
anche io vorrei luce ed amore
ma se arriva deve essere sempre così crudele e accecante.

Giovanna d'Arco text © 1974 Fabrizio De André based on
Joan of Arc © 1971 Leonard Cohen


"Giovanna d'Arco" was released as the B-side of a single featuring "Suzanne" in 1972. As with the latter song, the arrangement was tweaked by Gian Piero Reverberi for its inclusion on Canzoni, but most notably the album version deletes the final verse seen above.



Leonard Cohen text for Joan of Arc:

Now the flames they followed Joan of Arc
as she came riding through the dark;
no moon to keep her armour bright,
no man to get her through this very smoky night.

She said, "I'm tired of the war,
I want the kind of work I had before,
a wedding dress or something white
to wear upon my swollen appetite."

Well, I'm glad to hear you talk this way,
you know I've watched you riding every day
and something in me yearns to win
such a cold and lonesome heroine.

"And who are you?" she sternly spoke
to the one beneath the smoke.
"Why, I'm fire," he replied,
"And I love your solitude, I love your pride."

"Then fire, make your body cold,
I'm going to give you mine to hold,"
saying this she climbed inside
to be his one, to be his only bride.

And deep into his fiery heart
he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
and high above the wedding guests
he hung the ashes of her wedding dress.

It was deep into his fiery heart
he took the dust of Joan of Arc,
and then she clearly understood
if he was fire, oh then she must be wood.

I saw her wince, I saw her cry,
I saw the glory in her eye.
Myself I long for love and light,
but must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?
Through the darkness Joan of Arc
rode, keeping ahead of the flames,
no moon for her armor,
no man by her side in her smoky night.

I’m tired of the war now,
to the work of another time I would return,
to a wedding dress, or something white
to hide this vocation of mine
from triumph and grief.

lalala lalala lalalalalala
lalala lalala lalalalalala

Yours are words I was wanting to hear.
I spied you riding every day,
and to hear you this way, now I know what I want -
to win over a heroine so cold,
to embrace some of that pride.

"And who are you?" she said, enjoying the game,
"Who are you that speaks to me without regard?"
"Truly, you are speaking with fire,
and I love your solitude, I love your gaze."

lalala lalala lalalalalala

"And if you are fire, cool down a little,
your hands now will have to hold something."
And keeping quiet she clambered up inside him
to offer him her best, to be a bride.

And in the depths of his red-hot heart
he took Joan of Arc to envelop her,
and there up high in front of the people
he hung up the useless ashes of her white dress.

lalala lalala lalalalalala

And it was from the depths of his red-hot heart
that he took Joan and hit the mark,
and she understood clearly
that if he was fire she had to be wood.

lalalalalala

I saw the grimace of her pain,
I saw the glory in her radiant gaze.
Even I would like light and love,
but if it arrives must it always be so cruel and glaring?

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser



Canzoni, released in 1974, was a "filler" album, like Volume III, desired by De André's label. The only three previously unreleased songs here are covers of Dylan's "Desolation Row" and of two songs by Georges Brassens. Also included are covers of two Leonard Cohen songs previously released as a single.



Fabrizio De André text, translated, for Joan of Arc:

Through the darkness Joan of Arc
rode, keeping ahead of the flames,
no moon for her armor,
no man by her side in her smoky night.

I’m tired of the war now,
to the work of another time I would return,
to a wedding dress, or something white
to hide this vocation of mine from triumph and to grief.

Yours are words I was wanting to hear,
I spied you riding every day
and to hear you this way now I know what I want -
to win over a heroine so cold, to embrace some of that pride.

"And who are you?" she said, enjoying the game,
"Who are you that speaks to me without regard?"
"Truly you are speaking with fire,
and I love your solitude, I love your gaze."

"And if you are fire, cool down a little,
your hands now will have to hold something."
And keeping quiet she clambered up inside him,
to offer him her best, to be a bride.

And in the depths of his red-hot heart
he took Joan of Arc to envelop her,
and there up high in front of the people
he hung up the useless ashes of her white dress.

And it was from the depths of his red-hot heart
that he took Joan and hit the mark,
and she understood clearly
that if he was fire she had to be wood.

I saw the grimace of her pain,
I saw the glory in her radiant gaze
Even I would like light and love
But if it arrives it must always be so cruel and glaring.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List

Monday, June 2, 2014

Canzoni:
   Delitto di paese - Small Town Crime (Brassens)

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.

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 George 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 poetry by the French writer). 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 genuinely shed tears of remorse for their crime.

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 all white
but his heart, still not 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



Canzoni, released in 1974, was a "filler" album, like Volume III, desired by De André's label. The only three previously unreleased songs here are covers of Dylan's "Desolation Row" and of two songs by Georges Brassens. Also included are two covers of Leonard Cohen songs.
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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Canzoni:
   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 song was remixed for Canzoni, freed from the haze of reverb that drenches several of the early singles. 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 the 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 now 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 will no longer do you any good at all,
it’s pointless for you
save for grieving over your eyes
that no one will sing of any more.

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

Time flies, you know that it flies and goes.
Maybe we don’t notice it,
but more still than ageless time
it is we who are leaving.
And for this I say to you love, love,
I’ll wait for you every evening.
But you come, don’t keep waiting,
come now while it’s springtime.

English translation © 2014 Dennis Criteser


Canzoni, released in 1974, was a "filler" album like Volume III, desired by De André's label. The only three previously unreleased songs here are covers of Dylan's "Desolation Row" and of two songs by Georges Brassens. Also included are two covers of Leonard Cohen songs.
Back to Album List         Back to Song List