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The Puppini Sisters: Betcha Bottom Dollar

Woodrow Wilkins By

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The Andrews Sisters revisited? Not exactly. But the Puppini Sisters do capture their spirit, look and sound with their U.S. debut, Betcha Bottom Dollar. With three-part harmony, the trio brings 1940s music into the present-day, mixing some World War II-era classics with more contemporary pop and even disco selections—all done in the style popularized by the Andrews Sisters.

Based in the United Kingdom, the Puppini Sisters were inspired by a French animated movie, The Triplets of Belleville, which received an Oscar nomination. The film features a 1940s-style harmony group. The Puppini Sisters are mastermind Marcella Puppini, with Kate Mullins and Stephanie O'Brien. The trio met at Trinity College of Music in London, an institution that also produced the trio of musicians who accompany them most of the way: Martin Kolarides on guitar, Henry Tyler on drums and Nick Pini on double bass. Additional musicians appear on selected tracks.

Betcha Bottom Dollar is a collection of 14 tracks, all done with a flair for 1940s radio. Roger Walls plays the bugle on the high-energy "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (from Company B). The Sisters slow things down on "Java Jive. Andre Leroux plays clarinet while Alexander Warner Roche whistles during a duet on "Jeepers Creepers. The 1960s Italian canzone, "Tu Vuo Fa L'Americano is a playful track, during which the Sisters inject the opening verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner.

Gloria Gaynor's liberating disco anthem, "I Will Survive, is given a swinging treatment, including an a cappella chant at song's end. Another 1970s hit given the treatment is Blondie's "Heart of Glass. The melody is immediately recognizable to fans of the original, but the sound is completely different. The Sisters make the song seem a natural fit for a World War II performance at a military base.

Other classics featured are "Mr. Sandman" and "In the Mood. Most of the arrangements were done by Puppini, Mullins, O'Brien or their producer, Benoit Charest. It all comes together as a pleasant throwback to a long-ago period, as well as a fresh look at more recent recordings. Either way, Betcha Bottom Dollar is a delightful listening experience.

Track Listing: Sisters; Mr. Sandman; Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (from Company B); Java Jive; Bei Mir Bist Du Schon; Wuthering Heights; Jeepers Creepers; I Will Survive; Tu Vuo Fa L

Personnel: Marcella Puppini: vocals, accordion (9); Kate Mullins: vocals, melodica (11); Stephanie O

Title: Betcha Bottom Dollar | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Verve Music Group

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