Sep 182018
tom waits bella ciao

As we saw when we did a deep dive into his live covers, Tom Waits occasionally dips into some material that seems mildly unexpected – until you hear him sing it, when it makes perfect sense. That’s certainly true on his first recording in two years, a guest vocal on former guitarist Marc Ribot’s new album. The song is a cover of “Bella Ciao,” an Italian protest song that became a 1940s anthem in the fight against Mussolini and the fascists. Timely much?

“I played Tom a bunch of the tunes and he immediately bonded with that one,” Ribot said in the press release. “Of course, he brings a certain gravitas to everything he does – my Italian friends say he sounds exactly like an old ‘partigiano’ (resistance fighter)!”

Many of Waits’ rare recent recordings have been cover collaborations. His last appearance, two years ago, came on a pair of Blind Willie Johnson tunes. Before that, he belted “Shenandoah” alongside Keith Richards for a 2013 pirate album (our second favorite cover of the year). And in 2010 he sang a pair of traditional New Orleans covers with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Out now on Anti- Records (also Tom’s label), Ribot’s album Songs Of Resistance 1948 – 2018 features Steve Earle, Justin Vivian Bond, Sam Amidon, and more singing a variety of protest folk songs. Listen to Ribot and Waits’ “Bella Ciao (Goodbye Beautiful)” below.

Want many more Tom Waits covers? Click here.

Cover Me is now on Patreon! If you love cover songs, we hope you will consider supporting us there with a small monthly subscription. There are a bunch of exclusive perks only for patrons: playlists, newsletters, downloads, discussions, polls - hell, tell us what song you would like to hear covered and we will make it happen. Learn more at Patreon.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>