Betcha Bottom Dollar

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Betcha Bottom Dollar
Betcha Bottom Dollar.jpg
Studio album by The Puppini Sisters
Released 31 July 2006 (2006-07-31)
Recorded December 12-21, 2005 January 23-26, 2006 Mayfair Studios, January 16-18, 2006 Studio Piccolo
Genre Jazz, pop, vocal[1]
Length 41:29[1]
Label Universal Classics and Jazz
Producer Benoît Charest
The Puppini Sisters chronology
Betcha Bottom Dollar
The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo
Singles from Betcha Bottom Dollar
  1. "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (from Company B)"
    Released: 24 July 2006

Betcha Bottom Dollar is the debut studio album by the close harmony trio The Puppini Sisters, released through Universal Classics and Jazz on 31 July 2006 in the United Kingdom. It was produced by Canadian composer Benoît Charest, whose music for the 2003 film The Triplets of Belleville inspired Marcella Puppini to form the group. Puppini and fellow band members, Kate Mullins and Stephanie O'Brien, arranged the songs on the album themselves. Betcha Bottom Dollar received mixed reviews from critics. It debuted at number 17 on the UK Albums Chart and became the fastest selling debut by a jazz artist.

Background and development[edit]

The Puppini Sisters were founded in 2004 by Marcella Puppini.[2] She was inspired by the animated film The Triplets of Belleville, which features a 1940s-style female singing group.[2] Puppini explained "It was a revelation seeing these three ladies on stage in their matching outfits singing these close harmonies. I'd been thinking of forming some kind of harmony group. I've always been into choirs and harmony singing but I hadn't had an exact idea of what I wanted to do until I saw this."[2] Tom Lewis from Universal Classics and Jazz signed The Puppini Sisters to the label after seeing them perform live at Trinity College of Music in London, where the girls had met.[3] Lewis thought the group were "fresh, energetic and engaging".[4]

The Canadian composer, Benoît Charest, who created the music for The Triplets of Belleville, produced Betcha Bottom Dollar.[3] Puppini, Kate Mullins and Stephanie O'Brien arranged all the songs themselves and played as many instruments as they could on the album.[5] Puppini commented "I mean, there's the harp, the accordion, the sax, the piano, the melodica … we're learning banjo. That's one of the most satisfying things about this group. It's very much a musician's band. Because we arrange for ourselves, we can arrange any music that we like."[5] Betcha Bottom Dollar mixes traditional close harmony songs, like "Mr. Sandman", with more modern tracks like Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights".[5] The Puppini Sisters' released their rendition of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" on 24 July 2006, as their debut single from the album.[4]


Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Birmingham Mail 5/5 stars[6]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[7]
The Scotsman 3/5 stars[8]

Betcha Bottom Dollar received mixed reviews from critics. Heather Phares from AllMusic stated "Taken individually, the trio's voices aren't spectacular, but they blend together nicely enough to create a convincing homage to the heyday of vocal harmony pop in the '30s and '40s. A very pleasant 'Mr. Sandman,' a pretty, languid 'Java Jive' and 'Sway' are among the best vocal pop standards on Betcha Bottom Dollar, but interestingly enough, the Puppini Sisters often sound less campy on the songs they remake than on the classics."[1] Phares added that the styles the Puppini Sisters "adopt and adapt" saves Betcha Bottom Dollar from being "insufferably cutesy."[1]

The Guardian's Maddy Costa gave the album a less positive review, commenting "The singing is charmingly cute throughout, but that's it: perfect for the Chordettes' track 'Mr Sandman', and surprisingly effective in a cover of Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights', but less comfortable in 'Falling in Love Again' (oh! for the seductive languor of Marlene Dietrich), and disastrous in a chirpy version of 'I Will Survive'."[7] Costa thought that with so much of the Andrews Sisters' music available, she could not imagine anyone choosing Betcha Bottom Dollar over them.[7]

Helen Brown, writing for The Daily Telegraph proclaimed "The covers of modern songs, such as the Smiths' 'Panic' and three close-harmony Cathys on Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights', will appeal to art-school ironists. But both songs quickly bugged the boogie-woogie out of me. Blondie's 'Heart of Glass' fares better, partly because Debbie Harry always sang it high and kitsch. Fans of the 1940s should treat Betcha Bottom Dollar with mucho mistrust and spend their cash on catching this act live."[9]

A reporter for the Birmingham Mail thought The Puppini Sisters' were "quirky and original" on Betcha Bottom Dollar.[6] Andrew Eaton from The Scotsman said "the skill and effort that's gone into the brisk, light-as-a-feather arrangements is very impressive, even if the joke wears thin as quickly as with any other novelty cover versions".[8]

Chart performance[edit]

For the week ending 6 August 2006, Betcha Bottom Dollar debuted on the UK Albums Chart at Number 17.[10] The album became the fastest selling debut by a jazz artist in modern history, outselling debut albums by Michael Bublé and Jamie Cullum.[11] It sold around 13,000 units in its first week of release.[3] Betcha Bottom Dollar spent 46 weeks on the Billboard charts, reaching a peak of two on the Jazz Albums chart and a peak of nine on the Top Heatseekers.[12] The album peaked at Number 56 on the French Albums Chart and Number 79 on the Belgium Albums Chart.[13][14]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Sisters" Irving Berlin 3:04
2. "Mr. Sandman" Pat Ballard 2:35
3. "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (from Company B)" Don Raye, Hughie Price 2:27
4. "Java Jive" Milton Drake, Ben Oakland 3:34
5. "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön" Ray Noble 2:17
6. "Wuthering Heights" Kate Bush 3:35
7. "Jeepers Creepers" Harry Warren, Johnny Mercer 2:32
8. "I Will Survive" Freddie Perren, Dino Fekaris 4:00
9. "Tu Vuò Fà L'Americano (Recitative)" Renato Carosone, Nicola Salerno 0:43
10. "Tu Vuò Fà L'Americano" Carosone, Salerno 1:51
11. "Falling in Love Again" Friedrich Hollaender, Sammy Lerner 1:27
12. "Heart of Glass" Deborah Harry, Chris Stein 2:53
13. "Sway" Pablo Beltrán Ruiz, Norman Gimbel 3:07
14. "Panic" Morrissey, Johnny Marr 2:15
15. "Heebie Jeebies" Boyd Atkins 2:54
16. "In the Mood" Andy Razaf, Joe Garland 3:11


Release history[edit]

Region Release date Label
United Kingdom[4] 31 July 2006 Universal Classics and Jazz
United States[3] 1 May 2007 Verve


  1. ^ a b c d e Phares, Heather. "The Puppini Sisters – Betcha Bottom Dollar". AllMusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Whetstone, David (24 October 2006). "It's back to future for sisters". The Journal. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Sexton, Paul (31 March 2007). "UK's Puppini Sisters bringing retro-pop to U.S.". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Ferguson, Tom (8 July 2006). "Puppini Sisters Head Back to the Future". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media (27): 48. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c "Betcha Bottom Dollar on the Puppini Sisters". Pink News. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Reviews: Music – Sounds of the South". Birmingham Mail. Trinity Mirror. 5 August 2006. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c Costa, Maddy (4 August 2006). "The Puppini Sisters, Betcha Bottom Dollar". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Eaton, Andrew (28 July 2006). "Album Reviews: Give me a puppy over a man any day of the week". The Scotsman. Johnston Press. Retrieved 9 November 2012. (subscription required)
  9. ^ Brown, Helen (29 July 2006). "Pop CDs of the week: The Puppini Sisters, James Morrison, The Hot Puppies and more". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Eva, Simpson; Hedley, Caroline (7 August 2006). "The Official UK Album Chart". Daily Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "Sisters make chart history". Birmingham Mail. Trinity Mirror. 11 August 2006. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c "The Puppini Sisters". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "The Puppini Sisters – Betcha Bottom Dollar" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "The Puppini Sisters – Betcha Bottom Dollar". Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  15. ^ "The Puppini Sisters". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  16. ^ "Certified Awards". British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 27 October 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2013.