Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Acqua Fragile - 1973 - Acqua Fragile

Acqua Fragile 
Acqua Fragile


01. Morning Comes (7:22)
02. Comic Strips (3:56)
03. Science Fiction Suite (5:54)
04. Song From A Picture (4:09)
05. Education Story (4:12)
06. Going Out (2:56)
07. Three Hands Man (8:07)

- Gino Campanini / guitar, vocals
- Piero Canavera / guitar, drums, vocals
- Franz Dondi / bass
- Bernardo Lanzetti / guitar, vocals
- Maurizio Mori / keyboards, vocals

ACQUA FRAGILE formed in Parma, Italy in 1971. They are perhaps best known for the band that were to supply PFM's English singing vocalist Bernado Lanzetti, making his debut with them on Chocolate Kings.

Lanzetti with guitarist Gino Campanini and drummer Piero Canavera had played together in Gli Immortali. Joined on keyboards by Maurizio Mori and bassist Franz Dondi, formerly of I Moschettieri, who released a single in 1967, they shortly changed their name to ACQUA FRAGILE.

It was to be two years before their eponymous debut album saw the light of day, due to difficulty in finding a record company that would allow them to release it with English sung lyrics. Musically they bore a resemblance to GENESIS and GENTLE GIANT, with harmony vocals not unlike CROSBY, STILLS, NASH AND YOUNG, no doubt influenced by the time Lanzetti spent in the USA. Lanzetti's vocals have a similar feel to Roger Chapman of FAMILY and the album is skilfully played by the already at the time, well versed players. The plan to sing in English backfired as it wasn't well received in Italy and didn't receive a release abroad. Undeterred, their second album Mass Media Stars, released in 1974 saw the band treading similar musical territory and did receive a release in the USA.

Mori quit and was replaced by ex-THE TRIP keyboardist Joe Vescovi and shortly after a bigger blow came when Lanzetti left for PFM. The band soldiered on for a while longer bringing in former I TOP 4 and I DIK DIK man Roberto Facini. Lanzetti remained with PFM until 1980 followed by a successful solo career. He is now a member of MANGALA VALLIS. Canavera and Dondi went on to play with ROCKY'S FILJ and the ACQUA FRAGILE name has recently been reborn as the ACQUA FRAGILE PROJECT by Dondi. He is the only original member participating in the project.

Now here's an often underrated Italian prog album. Sure, it's not very original; the GENESIS and GENTLE GIANT influences are obvious. But I feel the music stands on its own merit. This is not a weak album at all, it's actually a very good one. ACQUA FRAGILE plays with great enthusiasm and a nice folksy touch. Great melodies. The vocalist does not put me off at all, I like his style even though he sounds like a GABRIEL impersonator at times. Lyrics are in English, I'd prefer them in Italian but that's not really a problem. All in all, an enjoyable album and certainly an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

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