Album Review “The Rise And Fall Of Ruby Woo” -The Puppini Sisters


“Old Cape Cod ” By The Puppini Sisters

To start an irregular series of occasional album reviews we kick off with the Puppini Sisters second album “The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo”. We decided to rope in a guest reviewer, on this occasion we were lucky enough to get forces sweetheart 1992-1995, Ms Anna Peska to do the honours …..

The Puppini Sisters – The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo
UK Release Date: 01.10.2007
Universal Jazz

Following on from their ultra successful debut album ‘Betcha Bottom Dollar’, like all charming musical surprises, Marcella, Kate and Stephanie otherwise known as the fabulous The Puppini Sisters deliver a stunning second album amusingly entitled ‘The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo’ (Ruby Woo being a vivid shade of red lipstick which the lovely ladies have a penchant for: – come on MAC cosmetics, sponsor them immediately!).

The Tracks‘Spooky’ a Dusty Springfield/Andy Williams cover opens the album at a full on up-tempo jazzy pace quickly followed the virally infectious Bangles, ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’, like you’ve never heard it before. Some beautiful whistling going on there too!

Everyone admittedly (or perhaps not) owns a ‘chill out’ compilation which is guaranteed to have Groove Armada’s ‘At The River’ cunningly disguised as ‘Old Cape Cod’ contained within. The Sisters, with their trademark harmonies manage to relax and lull you into a state of tranquility only to swiftly and painlessly bring you back to life with the wonderfully buoyant ‘Soho Nights’ an original penned by the girls. It tells the tale of many a night spent in London’s more nocturnal and seedy but ‘fun’ districts and features the apt lyric “drinks were dirty like the streets”. Westminster council should take note of this well made observation if I may say so myself!

‘I Can’t Believe (I’m Not a Millionaire’) another original, is a bluesy number with a fantastic guitar solo courtesy of Martin Kolarides. ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing’) is a happy, clappy, foot stomping piece of music (with a few Puppini-esque surprises cleverly segwayed into it) which will lighten the dankest autumnal day. Take That asked us, “Could It Be Magic”, my answer to their question is yes, yes it is magic, The Puppini Sisters conjure up (do you see what I did there)……a brilliant cover, sounding sultry, seductive and sexy(I seem to like using words that start with the letter “s”)yes they achieve all the things that “chubby” Barlow and the boys singularly failed to do!

‘Jilted’ another original, is a song which spookily sounds like the soundtrack to my life. The opening lyric being “I bought another dinner for one” says it all; but that’s enough about me,a song initially about self pity which then turns into a ‘Sisters’ anthem. Next up is ‘Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)’ a bitter-sweet song (depending on the variety of the said apple tree ) originally recorded by the great Glenn Miller and The Andrews Sisters. This, in my opinion is a 1940’s song about the art of stalking.

Personally ‘Crazy In Love’ is one of the stand out tracks on the album. A huge hit for Beyonce (and her gravity defying posterior,) the Puppini’s give this song a truly amazing makeover featuring a fantastic violin solo by the lovely Stephanie, transforming this R&B classic into a foot stomping one might say almost Romany influenced melodic work of art, which you can shake your ‘booty’ to in the privacy of your own home, if you so wish.

‘It’s Not Over (Death of The Toy Piano) tells us the tragic tale of the ‘suicide’ of Kate’s beloved baby piano. I sadly witnessed it stage dive during a gig in London only to shatter into tiny,little, deceased piano pieces. I strongly believe that writing the lyrics to this song acted as ‘therapy’ for its loving owner. The penultimate track on the album; ‘And She Sang’ demonstrates how effortlessly the Puppini’s voices blend to produce quite a haunting number.

‘We Have All The Time In The World’ originally sung by gravel voiced Louis Armstrong (who it appears was sadly misled with regards to how time and mortality work, god rest his soul-VP) ends the album in a creamy smooth sultry, loved up fashion with Marcella ‘doing her thang’ on the accordion.

To cut a very long story short, this second album is beautifully produced and sung with choruses that stay long in the memory. A great mixture of cover versions and original tracks demonstrates the versatility and creativity of The Puppini Sisters They do jazz, they do swing (???… oh…. yes sorry – I understand now.VP) they do pop, they do blues; a truly amazing and varied repertoire from three astoundingly talented ladies!

Expect this album to be filling many a Christmas stocking this year instead of the usual nuts and tangerines!

Anna Peska

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And Now For Something Completley Different – The Puppini Sisters

“Crazy In Love” By The Puppini Sisters

Marcella Puppini, Kate Mullins and Stephanie O’Brien are The Puppini Sisters, but unlike the Scissor Sisters 😉 they are, quite unbelievably, actually not real sisters! But let us not file a complaint under the trade descriptions act just yet, let us first delve further into this murky Film Noir-esque web of intrigue…

The Puppinis have been wowing crowds on both sides of the Atlantic with their 1940s style Pop and jazz arrangements. Their debut album “Betcha Bottom Dollar” was a huge hit in The UK and in the U.S reached number two on the bestsellers list, number two on the U.S. Jazz Charts and number nine on the U.S. new artist chart.

Their combination of close harmony singing and 1940s take on modern classics such as The Smiths “Panic” and Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights “ has seen them gather a cult following from fans of all musical persuasions. They have a new album due for release later this year, which despite rumours, is sadly not going to be called “The Pencil Thin Moustached Stranger With The Twinkling Eyes Of Blue “

Secure in our own masculinity and therefore not adverse to the occasional bit of camping the “V.P.M.E”, needed no encouragement to chat with sophisticated young ladies with a love for unnaturally red lipstick, and we therefore felt compelled to ask the charming Marcella Puppini “What’s it all about “

VP : How did the idea of “the Puppini Sisters” come to fruition ?

MP :It was my idea. I really missed singing in harmony having left Trinity College of Music and the Jazz choir. I was toying with the idea of starting a harmony group when I saw a movie called Belleville Rendez-vous, and immediately thought 1940s close harmony was the way to go. I’ve always loved old-style jazz (in the old days when it was wild and cool) and I am obsessed with old movies – from Fred and Ginger to Bette Davis, so it all just seemed to fit in. It all started for a bit of fun, back in November 2004, and then it snowballed really quickly.

VP: The first album had an eclectic range of covers, ranging from Kate Bush to The Smiths? How did you decide which songs to Pup-ify, are they personal favourites?

MP: The first cover we ever did was definitely a personal favourite of mine, but the reason we covered it was because the lovely Mr Marcella Puppini (David to his friends) lied to a club we desperately wanted to play at and told them we did this amazing version of Wuthering Heights, which is their anthem (the club is the legendary gay alternative cabaret night called Duckie).
Having got the gig on the strength of that we then had to do the song! I thought it was going to go horribly wrong, but they absolutely loved it, and it seems to be a favourite with audiences everywhere.

VP: The new album is to introduce songs written by your good selves. How do you go about songwriting, what’s the process?

MP: So far all three of us have written separately, and in very different ways. We haven’t yet collaborated on a song, but that’s going to be the next step.
I guess the process is the same as for any songwriter, the only big difference being that the song has to be either written in three-part harmony or arranged afterwards.
Each of us does it differently, and no two songs are approached quite in the same way

VP. If you could all duet with one artist (past or present) who would that be?

Marcella= Nick Cave
Kate= Marilyn Manson
Steph= Chopin

VP: You’ve done the festival scene and America this year, how did the U.S react to you and whats been the highlight of the year?

MP :So far the audiences we’ve had in the US have been incredible: up for having a good time, enthusiastic and appreciative. And so knowledgeable about our style of music, which is part of their heritage that it’s a real pleasure to speak to them after each gig.
It’s really hard to pinpoint a highlight of the year, because we’ve had a pretty good run. Montreal was fantastic, but our stay in New York was pretty unforgettable too. And we LOVED going back to our old haunts earlier in the year to test our new material before going into the studio. We played really small, unannounced gigs which were really good fun.

VP: What would be suitable attire for attending a Puppini concert? (Male and Female)

MP: A pencil thin moustache and spats for the gent, and red lipstick and a dress for the lady. Our audiences really go for it, and we love that.

VP: . What do you think of the current music scene? Is Johnny Borrell really a genius? (Ha!)

MP: Who???? We’re not really into that Indie thing, so we can’t say. There are some amazing bands around who may not get as much airplay as the identikindie lot, but who are absolutely wonderful. My favourite ones are The Dresden Dolls, Joanna Newsome, Anthony and the Johnsons, The Tiger Lilies and a whole host of unsigned talent, which thankfully get heard on MySpace and are helping reshape the future of music.

VP: Sum yourselves up in five words?

MP: Oh no, you do that!!!

PS.(The VPME notes with amusement that the correct response when answering questions relating to Mr Borrell is indeed, “Who???” It’s something he really is going to have to get used to in the very near future I`ll wager ! (if there’s a god)


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“Bugle Boy From Company C”-The Puppini Sisters