Being the son of Fabrizio De André, Italy's greatest songwriter of all time, cannot be easy, yet Cristiano De André has managed to become a distinguished songwriter on his own right -- think more Jakob Dylan than Julian Lennon. On De André Canta De André, a live album accompanied by a tour documentary DVD, Cristiano takes the bull by the horns and for the first time devotes an entire album to his own versions of Fabrizio's songs. Fortunately, Cristiano's relationship with his father and his music has always been a positive one. A proficient multi-instrumentist, Cristiano was an important contributor to the last few Fabrizio De André tour bands and albums, and he clearly knows his father's work inside and out. While it is hard to think of a more apt interpreter -- in fact, Cristiano's voice sometimes resembles Fabrizio's so much that it is hard to tell his versions from the originals -- such familiarity also implies few revelations. Even if he purposefully chose to work with a young five-person band rather than with any of Fabrizio's musicians, Cristiano's renditions are as accomplished as they are respectful. Ditto for the arrangements by Luciano Luisi, who had previously worked with A-list rock names such as Zucchero and Ligabue. Sure, the band rocks a little harder on a few numbers (especially "Il Pescatore"), but never to the point of presenting the songs in a new light. On the other hand, what is perhaps the most surprising, and welcome, aspect of this project is Cristiano's choice of material. Rather than sticking exclusively to the classics (only two or three of the 11 songs present on the CD would qualify, chiefly among them "La Canzone di Marinella"), Cristiano selected material that appealed to him either for autobiographical reasons ("Amico Fragile," "Verrano a Chiederti del Nostro Amore") or because of their contemporary relevance in terms of their subject matter, such as the discrimination of minorities ("Smisurata Preguiera," "Fiume Sand Creek"), one of Fabrizio's key themes. Make no mistake, these may not be Fabrizio De André's greatest hits but they are still all masterpieces -- and probably a better way to honor Fabrizio's enormous musical and ideological legacy. Neither is this is a professional, uninspired tribute: Cristiano's emotion in dealing with this material is palpable at all times. Coupled with peerless material and musicianship, De André Canta De André makes for a thoroughly engaging listening experience, albeit one that adds little to Cristiano's impressive career, or to Fabrizio's timeless songs.
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AllMusic Review by Mariano Prunes
Track Listing - Disc 1