Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Osanna - 1971 - L'Uomo


01. Introduzione (3:26)
02. L'uomo (3:34)
03. Mirror Train (4:56)
04. Non sei vissuto mai (6:00)
05. Vado verso una meta (3:15)
06. In un vecchio cieco (3:31)
07. L'amore vincerà di nuovo (6:13)
08. Everybody's Gonna See You Die (3:04)
09. Lady Power (3:56)

- Elio D'anna / flute, piccolo, tenor sax, baritone sax
- Lino Vairetti / vocals, 12 string guitar, harmonica, Hammond organ, synthesizer
- Danilo Rustici / lead guitar, 12 string guitar, pipe organ, electronics
- Lello Brandi / bass
- Massimo Guarino / drums, percussion

In their first album Osanna try to blend many different influences (from Jethro Tull to Jimi Hendrix, from classical music to Italian folklore) in a "theatrical way" (they used to perform their music on stage with painted faces and peculiar costumes, as shown on the album cover). All the tracks are bound together as in a suite with continuous changes of rhythm and mood.

The instrumental "Introduzione" starts with a gentle acoustic guitar and syntesizers, then come in bass, electric guitar, flute, drums and harmonica in an aggressive crescendo that leads to the title track "L'uomo" (The man). "The man, the earth, the sky and the sea / To create, to create, to create everywhere / The sun, the light, the cold and the heat / The love, the love, the love everywhere ." vocals on a carpet of acoustic guitars lead to an "explosion", then to harmony vocals chanting "Osanna". Suddenly breaks in the "steamy" rhythm of the "Mirror train" and the singing turns from Italian to English. after some bluesy passages "Mirror train" ends on the notes of the communist anthem "Bandiera Rossa" played by a distorted guitar (that reminds a little bit of Jimi Hendrix). "Mind where you're going / If you want to do it / Never look back." The album goes on with the rocky and complex "Non sei vissuto mai" (You never lived) that fades out with an instrumental reprise of "L'uomo". Well, the first side of this album is almost a "manifesto" of Osanna musical and political "credo"!

"I'm going towards a goal / That is more distant than me / It is always one step beyond / I can see it but I know that it doesn't exist." Side two starts with the energetic "Vado verso una meta" (I'm going towards a goal") and goes on with the engaged "In un vecchio cieco" that end ends with a jazzy sax introducing the delicate and dreamy "L'amore vincerà di nuovo" (Love will win again), with singing half in Italian and half in English and remarkable harmony vocals. The last two tracks, "Everybody's Gonna See You Die" and "Lady Power", though good, are not at the same level (personally I don't like too much Osanna when they sing in English) .

Although "L'uomo" is not a perfect album (sometimes its "conceptual thread" seems to get lost - especially because of the singing swaying from Italian to English and vice-versa - and sometimes the music is not completely defined and too heterogeneous) it is historically important and it contributed to develop the Italian- prog style. So, in my opinion, it is an excellent addition to any prog collection.