Monday, February 9, 2015

Buon Vecchio Charlie - 1971 - Buon Vecchio Charlie

Buon Vecchio Charlie
Buon Vecchio Charlie

01. Venite Giù Al Fiume (12:06)
02. Evviva La Contea Di Lane (6:35)
03. All'Uomo Che Raccoglie I Cartoni (15:01)
 a) Prima Stanza
 b) All'Uomo Che Raccoglie I Cartoni
 c) Terza Stanza
 d) Beffa
 e) Ripresa
Bonus Tracks :
04. Rosa (4:33)
05. Il Guardiano Della Valle (2:38)

- Richard Benson / lead vocals, guitar
- Luigi Calabrò / guitar, backing vocals
- Sandro Cesaroni / saxophone, flute
- Sandro Centofanti / keyboards
- Paolo Damiani / bass
- Rino Sangiorgio / drums

Edward Burke said "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it", but we don't understand this message, people try to find new and original stuff in contemporary artists, but refuse to take a look to the past and research the unknown bands who made music so original that would make some self proclaimed innovators sound like copyists just because they never discovered this hidden gems.

This is the case of BUON VECCHIO CHARLIE, a pre PFM Italian band who released a fantastic self titled album in 1972 (recorded in 1971) with probably the most original adaptation of a classic. As a fact, I heard at least 5 or 6 versions of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from the "Peer Gynt Suite" released years after by iconic Prog bands, but none of them so delicate and original as the one from this forgotten gem.

Last week I found this LP gathering dust in a box inside my deposit and decided to give them a chance, and what a surprise, whoever believes that PFM or Banco del Mutuo Soccorso were the pioneers of Italian Symphonic are wrong, this modest band, was there when the genre was in diapers.

Unlike most Italian bands who followed, BUON VECCHIO CHARLIE don't limit themselves to beautiful melodies and ´pristine Symphonic songs, they dared to be different, yes, they take "In The Hall of the Mountain King" as the cornerstone of their album as many Symphonic groups did later, but they add so many different elements that would be hard to catalogue them in a determined genre.

The beautiful lyric sections morph in a matter of seconds to Jazzy passages, acoustic tracks and even rock hard when it's required, the distorted guitars go hand by hand with sweet clear acoustic guitar tunes, the pastoral flute coexists perfectly with the tortured Hammond organ and the jazzy Sax. This may sound as a mess, but the arrangements are so strong and crafted with such good taste, that one blends with the other, no matter how contradictory their nature may seem.

And if this wasn't enough, the beautiful lyrics in Italian, sung by the beautiful voice of Richard Benson with Sandro Centofanti making incredibly beautiful backing vocals, there's not a single unnecessary or missing elements, everything fits perfectly as a 10,000 pieces puzzle.

Making a song by song review, may spoil the adventure of discovering the original proposal of BUON VECCHIO CHARLIE, but I recommend to listen the 15 minutes epic "All'Uomo Che Raccoglie I Cartoni" with special care, a Progressive Rock masterpiece that proves this band was capable of great things.

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