Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pappo's Blues - 1971 - Pappo's Blues

Pappo's Blues 
Pappo's Blues

01. Algo Ha Cambiado   
02. El Viejo   
03. Hansen   
04. Gris Y Amarillo   
05. Adios Willy   
06. El Hombre Suburbano   
07. Especies   
08. Adonde Está La Libertad   

Pappo Napolitano: Guitar, Vocals, Piano
David Lebon: Bass
Black Amaya: Drums

Norberto Aníbal "Pappo" Napolitano (La Paternal, 10 March 1950 – Luján, 25 February 2005). Ten Years gone but not forgotten... Grande Carpo!

 Norberto Napolitano, better known as Pappo, was born on March 10th, 1950. In 1967, after playing with his teen band Los Buitres, his drummer friend Pomo introduced him to Miguel Abuelo and poet Pipo Lernoud. Pappo then joined Los Abuelos de la Nada.

A self-taught guitar player, his skill is noticeable even early in his first composition, "La estación", sung by him and recorded by Los Abuelos de la Nada after Miguel Abuelo left the group. (This song was included on the compilation LP Mandioca Underground [MLP 331] in 1969).

Pappo played piano (!) with Manal during a coast tour and later joined beat group Conexión Nro 5 for a brief period of time. Credited as Pappo's, he recorded a song ("Nunca lo sabrán") for another compilation: Pidamos peras a Mandioca (MLP 335).

In 1969, Los Gatos called him to replace Kay Galiffi. With Pappo on guitar, the pioneer beat combo turned rocker and released their best two albums. He later joined the short-lived groups Engranaje and Pistola, and played on the first two Billy Bond y La Pesada LPs. Pushed by producer Jorge Álvarez, he finally formed his own group, Pappo's Blues, with David Lebón (credited as "Davies") on bass and Black Amaya on drums.

click to enlarge click to enlarge The first Pappo's Blues album, recorded on a 2-track machine, shows a brilliant skilled rock and blues guitar player. The powerful "Algo ha cambiado", "El hombre suburbano" or the long "Adonde está la libertad" are good examples.

For Pappo's Blues Volúmen 2, Pappo is joined by Luis Gambolini and Black Amaya on drums and Carlos Piñata and Willy Verdaguer on bass, among others. This excellent second LP, "inspired" by Tommy Iommi's and Rory Gallagher's best known riffs, includes lots of Pappo's classics: "El tren de las 16", "Llegará la paz", "Blues de Santa Fe" and the beautiful blues "Desconfío". Much stronger than his first effort, the album was recorded "live in the studio" with minimum post production.

Pappo also appeared in the rock movie Rock hasta que se ponga el sol playing "El tren de las 16" and "Trabajando en el Ferrocarrill" with group La Máquina (no relation with the Charly García symphonic outfit). The soundtrack album does not include these performances.

click to enlarge Soon afterwards, Pappo recruited drummer Pomo and bassist Machi for the best remembered line-up of Pappo's Blues and recorded his best LP: Volúmen 3. This album opens with the speed instrumental "Stratocaster boogie" and includes "Pájaro metálico", the classic "Sucio y desprolijo", the enigmatic "Sándwiches de miga" and the superb blues "Siempre es lo mismo, nena". The group sounds like a real power trio and Pappo is as good as ever, establishing his reputation as great guitar player. However, influential rock magazine Pelo strongly criticised this album when released, mainly due to the poor lyrics.

Pomo and Machi left to join Invisible, Luis Alberto Spinetta's new project. Pappo –with his friends David Lebón and Black Amaya and La Pesada musicians Alejandro Medina and Isa Portugheis– recorded Pappo's Blues Volúmen 4. (Pomo and Machi played on "Con Elvira es otra cosa", also released on single [Music Hall 40022]). Another great album, Vólumen 4 includes "Fiesta cervezal" (a tribute to beer drinking), "Gato de la calle negra" and "Abelardo el pollo" (yet another example of offbeat lyrics).

click to enlarge click to enlargeHis fifth album, the only to have a name (Triángulo), was still good, but much improvised in the studio. The best moments are the great "Malas compañías", "Hubo distancias en un curioso baile matinal (parte 1)" and the psycho-folk "El buzo".

Soon after the album was released, Pappo moved to England for a two-year period. He jammed with Peter Green and got in touch with hard-rock bands. In the meantime, the record company released Volúmen 6, an LP comprising studio outtakes. Although mostly instrumental, this album is still good to me.

Pappo returned and formed Aeroblus, with Alejandro Medina on bass and Brazilian drummer Junior Castello. They recorded a hard rock album.

click to enlarge click to enlargeIn 1978, with Medina on bass and Darío Fernández on drums, Pappo released Pappo's Blues swan song: Volúmen 7, an album of new and old songs re-recorded. Also in 1978, Pappo went to Spain and played some well-acclaimed gigs; but unable to release a record there, Pappo's Blues split.

Pappo went back to Europe, and when he returned he formed the successful Riff, a heavy metal band influenced by Black Sabbath and AC/DC. Later he played on and off, to return to his rock and blues roots. He played live and recorded with B.B.King, Deacon Jones and Edgar Winter. In 1993 he had a huge success with "Mi vieja", a popular tribute to everybody's mother.

First Pappo's Blues album, the musical project of guitarist-vocalist Norberto "Pappo" Napolitano after his tenure in Los Gatos during the latest 60s, here accompanied by David Lebon (aka Davies) on bass and "Black" Amaya on drums, the perfect and typical power trio from the 60s and 70s, rocking hard without complexes.

For some reason (maybe because it was the debut) this record turned out to be the superior classic in the Pappo's discography for many people (along with "Pappo's Blues Vol. 3"), the sound is primitive and technically imperfect, including heavy wah-wah by Pappo and some moments of jam band; the solos are frenetic and the vocalizations are quite desperate every now and again, the sound of the cymbals is crude, and all the whole thing seems to have been recorded in one session, live and without any technical schtick, the sound of the drums is strange and the bass is, sometimes, excessively groovy, some spacey aural feel is not completely absent, also.

Highlights include "Algo ha cambiado", "Hansen", "Especies", "Adonde está la libertad", or the bluesy "El viejo", everything sung by the Yogi Bear-like voice of Pappo, with slightly philosophical lyrics full of streetwise advice, and his guitar that sounds like echoing his own words.

God, I love it when Pappo uses the wah pedal! It's a shame that he only uses it on two tracks here and completely forgets about it after this album. "Algo ha cambiado" (heavy wah jam!), "Especies" (Sabbath riff!), and "Adonde esta la libertad" (more wah-wah!) are the best tracks, and they put the rest of the songs on this album to shame. It almost sounds like Pappo used up so much energy on those three gems that he decided to play slow, relatively boring blues to catch his breath. And this seems to be live sessions without a trace of overdubs or any other studio effect; and that doesn't seem to be a bad thing in this case.

The album is recommendable as an inception to Pappo's Blues, and it's especially adequate for hard rock, heavy psych and 70s' proto-metal fans (Buffalo (AUS), Sir Lord Baltimore, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Lucifer's Friend, etc).

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