Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Various Artists - 1971 - Heavy Christmas

Various Artists 
Heavy Christmas

01. Libido - Evolution
02. Marcel - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
03. Joy Unlimited - All Heaven and All Earth are Silent
04. Virus - Mary Meets Tarzan
05. Dies Irae - Silent Night
06. Libido - Come on Everybody
07. Ardo Dombec - Heavenly Rose
08. Dies Irae - Shepard's Song
09. Ardo Dombec - Open Your Door, Open Your Mind
10. Virus - X-mas Submarine
11. Flute & Voice - Ecce Navicula

Just in time for Xmas! Rare early '70s Brain release in official fold out CD digi-pak form, featuring bands playing Christmas related material. Don't let this put you off. This is a collection of mind blowing acid rock and progressive mayhem. Marcel's "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is absolutely stunning, filled with wah wah acid guitar and tripped out teutonic harmonies that will blow your tits off! Features Virus, Dies Irae, Joy Unlimited and more! Fantastic festive stoners....

One of the odder relics of the Krautrock heyday of the early '70s, Heavy Christmas found itself reissued in 1997 as part of the overall revival of the said sound. Originally released in 1971, it featured both new and traditional Christmas songs interpreted by seven different acts, most of whom contribute two tracks each. None of the featured acts are among the upper tier of Krautrock acts -- and it would have been quite something to hear the likes of Can, Kraftwerk, and Guru Guru do Christmas songs! -- but the end results have their high points. If any bands would be points of inspiration, Amon Duul II and Faust would probably be them; most of the acts here have the nutty playfulness of the first, touched here and there by the sheer cut-up chaos of the second. Compared to both, though, groups like Libido and Virus are much more straightforward. Libido itself gets in two of the representative songs: "Evolution," starting with a weird, ragged chorus and getting in some heavy drum slams and crazed guitar wah-wah action; and the rockin' good times of "Come on Everybody," apparently the album's single. Virus has its own fine winner, "X-Mas Submarine," with a stuttering keyboard line and fantastic guitar soloing its high points. Joy Unlimited's contribution is a doozy, a lengthy number called "All Heaven and Earth Are Silent" which sounds like a mix of stoner folk, pomp-rock instrumentals, and a strung-out Up With People. In perhaps the most entertaining trip-out, Dies Irae rips through an instrumental version of "Silent Night" with a snarling electric guitar taking the totally unlikely lead, alternating between full propulsion and calmer moments. Solo act Marcel delivers "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" with a nicely airy vocal, while his backing musicians crank the amps and add violin to boot.

There's a couple of fun tracks from "Libido", a band seemingly created for this set that consisted of Achim Reichel (guitar, vocals) and Frank Dostal (vocals) who were also in "A.R. & Machines" and earlier, The Rattles. You can hear a bit of their spacey guitars at the end of "Evolution" that is reminiscent of  A.R. & Machines. Flute & Voice were the duo of Hans "Flute" Reffert (guitar, flute) and Hans Brandeis (sitar, guitar, vocals).  The rest is all of high quality and you can't go wrong with the likes of strong tracks from Joy Unlimited and the pipes of Joy Fleming, Marcel, Virus and Dies Irea's brutal version of "Silent Night" (yes you read that correctly).
Heavy Christmas indeed.

I just got this one in a couple of days ago (Big thanks to Afterthesabbath for reminding me of this one... and yes I copied most of the above from their excellent site), A Couple of weeks ago I got some extra shekels from my German father in law as a birthday present so I decided to finally go and get this album. Which I can tell you is not a cheap one to get, neither the original version or the 1997 re-release. But now I finally can put that old cassette form the early 80's to rest (It still sounded better than the 192 kbp rip doing the rounds). Well enjoy a heavy Christmas and see you all in a couple of days!

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - 1982 - Ciudad de la Habana (Soundboard Tape)

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Teatro Nacional - Sala Avellaneda
Ciudad De La Habana, CU

101. Traccia II (3:13)
102. Baciami Alfredo (5:34)
103. Frevo (5:12)
104. 750000 Anni Fa...L'Amore (5:05)
105. Fino Alla Mia Porta (3:52)
106. piano solo (inc. Metamorfosi) (7:33)
107. drum solo (3:20)
108. guitar / drum improvisation (2:10)
109. Ma Che Idea (8:12)

201. band introductions (1:04)
202. Buone Notizie (5:28)
203. AM/FM (2:36)
204. Canzone D'Amore (5:36)
205. Garofano Rosso (5:23)
206. Buona Notte, Sogni D'Oro (5:52)
207. E Mi Viene Da Pensare (8:36)
208. Non Mi Rompete (9:49)
209. Traccia II (1:24)

Francesco Di Giacomo
Vittorio Nocenzi
Gianni Nocenzi
Rodolfo Maltese
Pierluigi Calderoni
Gianni Colajacomo

I usually try to keep bootlegs out of this blog and safely in the other blog where they belong, in this case I'm making an exeption, because, this was the very first show I attended when I was a kid, and it was a life changing experience, plus its a very nice sounding Soundboard recording from a time long gone. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have for the last 32 years!

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - 2014 - Un Idea Che Non Puoi Fermare

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Un Idea Che Non Puoi Fermare

101. In volo (Live 2012) (0:40)
102. R.I.P., Pt.1 (Live 2012) (4:22)
103. R.I.P., Pt. 2 (Live 2012) (4:42)
104. Canto di primavera (Live 2013) (4:38)
105. Dopo niente è più lo stesso (3:26)
106. E mi viene da pensare (Live 2013) (7:24)
107. Cento mani e cento occhi (Live 2012) (6:46)
108. Interno città (2:31)
109. Bisbigli (Live 2013) (3:11)
110. Nudo, Pt. 3 (2:14)
111. Nudo, Pt. 2 (Live 2012) (5:30)
112. Sirene, Pt. 2 (2:03)
113. Guardami le spalle (4:13)
114. A cena per esempio (1:38)
115. Pioverà (1:59)
116. Canto nomade per un prigioniero politico (Live 2013) (5:19)

201. L'evoluzione (Live 2013) (0:35)
202. Passo dopo passo / Con i capelli sciolti al vento (Medley: Il giardino del mago) (8:08)
203. Emiliano (Live 2013, Extended Version) (5:03)
204. Niente (Extended Version) (3:55)
205. Non mi rompete (Live 2013, Acoustic Extended Version) (8:04)
206. Paolo, Pa (2:38)
207. Il ragno (Live 2013) (5:39)
208. Michele e il treno (4:09)
209. Frevo (Live 2013) (6:46)
210. Tirami una rete (Live 2013) (5:08)
211. Magari che (Gargarismo) (3:33)
212. 750.000 anni fa... l'amore? (Live 2012) (8:19)
213. Traccia 1 (Live 2013) (3:22)

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - 2012 - Quaranta

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

01. Nudo (6:02)
02. R.I.P. (8:06)
03. Cento mani e cento occhi (6:48)
04. Metamorfosi (12:57)
05. Ragno (5:11)
06. Canto nomade per un prigioniero politico (6:08)
07. La conquista della posizione eretta (10:48)
08. Evoluzione (8:07)
09. Traccia II (3:18)

- Francesco Di Giacomo / vocals
- Vittorio Nocenzi / piano, keyboards, vocals
- Rodolfo Maltese / guitar
- Filippo Marcheggiani / guitar
- Alessandro Papotto / sax, clarinet, flute
- Tiziano Ricci / bass
- Maurizio Masi / drums

Recorded live in November 2010 at Teatro Tendastrisce, Rome, Italy

CD Aerostella/Edel ARS IMM / 1007 (2012)

Previously released as a part of 2011 ''Prog Exhibition - 40 anni di musica immaginifica'' 7CD + 4DVD V/A box set

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - 2005 - Seguendo le Tracce

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Seguendo le Tracce

01. R.I.P (English Version) (8:58)
02. L'albero del pane (5:01)
03. La danza dei grandi rettili (11:31)
04. Passaggio (0:50)
05. Non mi rompete (6:03)
06. Dopo... niente é più lo stesso (12:36)
07. Traccia II (3:27)
08. Metamorfosi (26:15)

- Francesco Di Giacomo / vocals
- Gianni Nocenzi / piano, electric piano, clarinet
- Vittorio Nocenzi / keyboards
- Rodolfo Maltese / guitars and trumpet
- Roberto D'Angelo / bass guitar
- Pierluigi Calderoni / drums and percussions

Recorded live at Teatro Verdi in Salerno, Italy - 23 April 1975

Man talk about digging up a treasure with this 1975 concert in Italy from one of RPI's greats.This wasn't released until 2005 if you can believe that. I wish there were more live concerts available from Italy's golden age of Prog but they seem to be few and far between. I would rank this one right up there with AREA's "Are(A)zione". All of the songs here are from the first four studio albums and spread out fairly evenly. At almost 75 minutes this is a real treat.

"R.I.P." is from the debut but is the English version. Gotta love the keyboards and bass early on this one. Guitar comes in just before 2 minutes and starts to solo. Piano follows.Vocals are back after 4 1/2 minutes. A calm follows as we get this gorgeous section. It kicks back in after 7 1/2 minutes with synths to end it. The guys speak to the audience between songs a few times and honestly they sound like they are half asleep. And they speak in Italian of course.

"L'albero Del Pane" is from "Banco(1975)" which I assume this was the tour for. This is uptempo with vocals. "La Danza Del Grandi Retii" is the only track from "Darwin !" and it's incredible. My first top three song. It's laid back with the piano, bass and drums standing out early. It turns fuller as we get some outstanding instrumental work here.The tempo picks up before 3 minutes and the trumpet joins in after 5 minutes. It's the keyboard's turn before 6 1/2 minutes then the synths solo. A percussion solo follows then drums and strummed guitar join in. It's experimental late.

"Passaggio" is from the debut and it's a short harpsichord piece. "Non Mi Rompete" is from the third album "Io Sono Nato Libero".This is a top three. How beautiful is this as vocals and guitar lead the way.Vocal melodies after 1 1/2 minutes as the tempo picks up. It settles back again as contrasts continue. Great track.

"Dopo...Niento E Piu Lo Stresso" is also from "Io Sono Nato Libero". A spacey intro then it kicks in with keys after a minute.Vocals 2 minutes in.Yeah he can sing. It settles back then we get these theatrical spoken words before 6 minutes. Intense section.Then it kicks back in. Great instrumental section before 20 1/2 minutes to the end.

"Traccia II" is from "Banco(1975)" and is led by piano to start then we get horns a minute in as it gets fuller. Harpsichord too. "Metamorfosi" ends it in fine fashion from the debut with an over 26 minute version. A top three for me. It kicks in right away then settles before 2 minutes. Some beautiful piano here. Drums then take over around 7 minutes then it turns spacey before 9 minutes.The piano is back after 15 minutes. Great sound.The synths sound amazing. Bass 19 minutes in then the guitar joins in. Nice. A calm 21 1/2 minutes in then the vocals arrive before 24 minutes. Gulp.

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - 2003 - No Palco

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso 
No Palco

01. Prologo #1 (1:13)
02. R.I.P. (8:24)
03. Il Ragno (5:18)
04. Cento Mani E Cento Occhi (4:29)
05. Quando La Buona Gente Dice (6:28)
06. Canto Di Primavera (7:27)
07. La Caccia / Fa# Minore (4:30)
08. Moby Dick (7:20)
09. Non Mi Rompete (10:37)
10. Come Due Treni / Intro (3:10)
11. 750.000 Anni Fa... L'Amore? (6:34)
12. Traccia I (3:01)
13. Traccia II (5:01)

- Francesco Di Giacomo / vocals
- Vittorio Nocenzi / piano, organ, synthesizers, vocals
- Rodolfo Maltese / electric and acoustic guitars
- Maurizio Masi / drums
- Tiziano Ricci / bass
- Filippo Marcheggiani / electric and acoustic guitars
- Alessandro Papotto / sax, flute, clarinet

Guest musicians:
- Gianni Nocenzi / piano (12), electric piano (10, 11, 13)
- Pier Luigi Calderoni / drums (3, 9, 13)
- Federico Zampaglione (Tiromancino) / electric guitar (8)
- Morgan / bass (2, 5), backing vocals (9)
- Mauro Pagani / violin (6, 9)
- Filippo Gatti (Elettrojoyce) / backing vocals (9)
- Andrea Satta (Tetes de Bois) / vocals (9)
- Viola / backing vocals (9)

During this live concert Banco plays most of the better numbers that has made them popular over the years, and by including many of the past members of the group, some of the old feel is recaptured. Francesco's voice has darkened a bit over the years, but it is still strong. The recording is above average for a live concert, but there are a few dead spots where the mics cut out or something. I really miss Gianni's playing, and I wish he would re-join his brother in the group. The playing is first-rate. Guest Mauro Pagani of PFM is in fine form, though I am not sure he was used to the best effect. His violin passages seemed somehow out of place in Non Mi Rompete.

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - 2000 - En Concierto Mexico City

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso 
En Concierto Mexico City 

101. Brivido (6:48)
102. Il Ragno (5:42)
103. Sirène (6:38)
104. R.I.P. (Requescant In Pace) (9:05)
105. Bisbigli & Passagglio (1:55)
106. La Conquista Della Positione Eretta (10:36)

201. E Mi Viene Da Pensare (6:46)
202. Canto Di Primavera (7:11)
203. L'Evoluzione (8:11)
204. Moby Dick (5:41)
205. Roma-Tokyo (6:29)
206. Lontano Da (7:15)
207. Traccia (3:19)

- Francesco Di Giacomo / vocals
- Vittorio Nocenzi / keyboards
- Rodolfo Maltese / guitar
- Filippo Marcheggiani / guitar
- Tiziano Ricci / bass
- Maurizio Masi / drums

It is, probably, the best Banco live recording. The sound is perfect, the selection of songs reflects well both band's past and present (to date) material. Only the album "Nudo Live" presents equal sound quality.

Even tracks from the album "Il 13" ("Brivido", "Sirène", "Bisbigli") sound well in the context of this concert. So here we have a journey through Banco's long musical career - from early songs ("R.I.P", "L'evoluzione" etc) and 80's pop-period ("Moby Dick" and "Lontano da") to the band's latest studio album "Il 13" (what's a pity they haven't released new material since then).

Musicianship is superb, the voice of signore Di Giacomo sounds as if there were no 27 years behind his shoulders, when all these things only started, the energy of the band explodes, leaving, at times, the place to the most delicate passages, and music takes the listener to some another world.

Gentle (just listen to "E mi viene da pensare") and explosive at the same time, this album shows all possible sides of Banco: catchy melodies, gorgeous epics and the perfect feel of the beauty in every song.

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - 1997 - Nudo (live)

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Nudo (live)

CD 1: Studio And Unplugged (57:13)

01. Nudo (Parte I) (6:47)
02. Nudo (Parte II) (3:32)
03. Nudo (Parte III) (4:53)
04. E Mi Viene Da Pensare (5:53)
05. Prologo #1 (1:08)
06. R.I.P. (Requescant In Pace) (7:48)
07. Il Ragno (7:24)
08. Emiliano (4:06)
09. L'Evoluzione (8:18)
10. 750.000 Anni Fa ... L'Amore? (7:30)

CD 2: Live (60:09)

11. Sul Palco (0:34)
12. La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta (10:08)
13. Metamorfosi (12:37)
14. Guardami Le Spalle (5:54)
15. Roma / Tokyo (4:35)
16. La Band (1:44)
17. Bisbigli (1:28)
18. Passaggio (0:41)
19. Coi Capelli Sciolti Al Vento (2:01)
20. Traccia (3:05)
21. Prologo #2 (2:22)
22. Non Mi Rompete (14:58)

CD 1 - in studio, 1997

CD 2 - live:
tracks 11 - 16 - Tokyo, Japan in 1997
tracks 17 - 20 - Padova, Italy in 1995
tracks 21, 22 - Avigliana, Italy in 1989

 This is a double CD released in 1997 that contains some unplugged and live versions of some songs of BMS progressive years.

The first CD (Studio and Unplugged) contains "Nudo" - a new "studio" track in three parts that gives the name to the album (quite disappointing indeed) - and some old songs rearranged only with piano, vocals and two acoustic guitars: that's could be very interesting for the fans that can listen here to some new versions of masterpieces like "R.I.P.", "Il ragno" and "L'evoluzione". but I miss bass and drums (except in the amazing "E mi viene da pensare") and if you are not familiar with this band in my opinion is better listen to the original versions.

The second CD (Live) contains four tracks from two 1997's concerts (25 and 26 may at the "On Air West" in Tokyo to be exact, as indicated in the booklet) - "Sul palco" and "La band" are just Francesco Di Giacomo talking introducing the band - "La conquista della posizione eretta" and "Metamorfosi" are quite good performances, while "Guardami le spalle" (from the album "Il 13" with Vittorio Nocenzi on lead vocals) and the instrumental "Roma / Tokyo" are less interesting. Tracks from 7 to 10 are from a 1995 concert in Padova (Italy) and the last two tracks are taken from a 1989 concert in Avigliana (Turin - Italy). At the end of "Non mi rompete" (slightly different from the studio version in the structure, as in the live "Capolinea") there's a hidden track. nothing interesting, just the reprise of "Nudo"! Personally as a live album I prefer "Capolinea" that is more compact.

Anyway, although not essential, in the whole "Nudo" is a good album with new versions of great songs, especially recommended for the fans.

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - 1994 - Il 13

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Il 13

01. Dove non arrivano gli occhi (1:45)
02. Sirene (4:01)
03. Sirene (Parte II) (0:59)
04. Brivido (6:45)
05. Guardami le spalle (4:39)
06. Anche Dio (3:36)
07. Spudorata (pi-ppò) (4:53)
08. Bambino (5:23)
09. Tremila (Rock Prove) (5:16)
10. Rimani fuori (6:41)
11. Emiliano (3:41)
12. Mister Rabbit (3:59)
13. Magari che (Gargarismo) (6:04)
14. Tirami una rete (5:03)
15. Bisbigli (1:41)

- Vittorio Nocenzi / keyboards, Minimoog, piano, organ, synth bass, vocals
- Francesco Di Giacomo / lead vocals
- Rodolfo Maltese / acoustic and electric guitars, backing vocals
- Max Smeraldi / acoustic and electric guitars (2 - 4,6 - 9, 12, 14)
- Toni Armetta / bass (2, 3)
- Tiziano Ricci / bass (4, 7 - 10, 12, 13)
- Paolo Sentinelli / keyboards (6, 9, 12 - 14)
- Maurizio Masi / drums (2, 3, 9)
- David Sabiu / drums (4, 7, 8, 10, 12) tambourine (9), backing vocals (7)
- Pierluigi Calderoni / drums (5, 13)

- Coro Polifonico M. Terribili, Angela Fontana, Diana Torti, Franca Campoli, Cristina Rizo, Monica Panico, Masimo Biagini, Alex Coppola, Paolo Sentinelli, Mirco Bezi, Roberto Sordi, Antonella Dini / backing vocals
- Riccardo Ballerini / A/D Korg sequencer programming (5)
- Paolo Sentinelli / percussion (6)

Finally the 80's passed and the band seems to try to escape from the market logic and make some steps back its root. The result is surely not comparable to the oldies but something better than the late efforts came out. This is not a prog album but some ideas are quite good such as "Anche Dio", "Bambino", "Bisbigli" and the little masterpiece "Emiliano" that seems to come out from one of the great albums of the 70's. Unfortunately this is, at the moment, the last studio album followed by a series of live albums that cannot add anything to the musical history of the group.

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - 1994 - Papagayo Club 1972

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso 
Papagayo Club 1972

01. Miserere Alla Storia (6:51)
02. Traccia 1º (3:39)
03. Cento Mani E Cento Occhi (10:03)
04. La Danza Dei Grandi Rettili (10:06)
05. 750.000 Anni Fa, L'Amore (7:12)
06. Il Giardino Del Mago (25:28)

- Francesco Di Giacomo / vocals
- Marcello Todaro / guitars
- Gianni Nocenzi / keyboards
- Vittorio Nocenzi / keyboards
- Renato D'Angelo / bass
- Pierluigi Calderoni / drums

As the recording was made during the "Darwin" promotional tour, the songs come from the first two albums. The club was obviously small, and the recording is very poor. It sounds like a bootleg. The first track is especially bad, but it does get better. If you can get past this, and the audience chatter, the performances are quite good. They put on a heck of a show for that small crowd.

The value in this mostly comes from a historical perspective. As a snapshot of these guys in their initial glory, it works quite well. If you are looking for a great Banco live recording, you should probably go elsewhere. Every song can be heard on another live CD, or DVD, with the exception of "Miserere Alla Storia." Unfortunately, this is the one with the worst sound.

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - 1991 - Darwin (1991 version)

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso 
Darwin (1991 version)

01. L'evoluzione (16:46)
02. La conquista della posizione eretta (9:59)
03. Danza dei grandi rettili (4:15)
04. Cento mani e cento occhi (6:03)
05. 750.000 anni fa ... l'amore? (7:53)
06. Miserere alla storia (6:18)
07. Ed ora io domando tempo al tempo (ed egli mi risponde ... Non ne ho!)(3:23)

- Francesco Di Giacomo / lead vocals
- Vittorio Nocenzi / piano, Hammond organ, minimoog, synthesizers, keyboards, drum programming, synth bass, accordion, clarinet, recorder, vocals, backing vocals
- Rodolfo Maltese / electric guitar, mandolin, sitar, backing vocals
- Pierluigi Calderoni / drums, percussion

Guest musicians:
- Piercarlo Penta / Hammond organ, keyboards, drum programming
- Tiziano Ricci, Fabrizio Faderighi, Claudio Rego / backing vocals

After their extremely poor output of the eighties, what could "Banco" proposed in the early nineties ? Well, why not trying a remake of their best album : "Darwin" ? Almost twenty years later. Why not if you have nothing else to offer. This shows anyway the dead end in which "Banco" was heading to.

After so many incredibly dull albums, this one could only be better of course. If you start from a very good original, you could hardly screwed it up. This version is longer than the original one (this will fit on a CD, right ?). But the idea as such does not please me very much. Sounds as if they needed to make money at all costs (especially the fan's one).

Yet again, the highlight is "L'Evoluzione", no wonder. "La Conquista" sounds more pompous here. Even if the original was not really my fave of the album, Franceso was much more emotive than on this version. Each song is more extended in this new release (some just a bit like the jazzy "Danza Dei Grandi Rettili" and some more like the great "750,000 Anni Fa ... L'Amore". This one is my second fave. Fantastic vocals again (Giacomo is really the one who holds things here).

But frankly, what's the use of getting another version of a great album. Would "Floyd" release a b-copy of "WYWH", "Genesis" another "SIBTP" ot "Tull" another "TAAB"? Pointless.

This album is good of course. Songs are well reworked, sound is much more polished but also harder than the original; and Giacomo always sounds magnificent. Musically this album deserves three stars because if it weren't for Giacomo, this might have been as a good cover effort. But I have a lot of concern about their marketing startegy (zero to one star for this). But I guess that it was the only way to get a good "Banco" album.


Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - 1991 - B.M.S.

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

01. In volo (2:17)
02. R.I.P. (Requiescant in pace) (9:09)
03. Passaggio (4:06)
04. Metamorfosi (13:01)
05. Il Giardino del mago (19:09)
... Passo dopo passo ...
... Chi ride e chi geme ...
... Coi capelli sciolti al vento ...
06. Traccia (2:08)

- Francesco Di Giacomo / lead vocals
- Vittorio Nocenzi / piano, Hammond organ, minimoog, synthesizers, keyboards, drum programming, synth bass, accordion, clarinet, recorder, vocals, backing vocals
- Rodolfo Maltese / electric guitar, mandolin, sitar, backing vocals
- Pierluigi Calderoni / drums, percussion

Guest musicians:
- Piercarlo Penta / Hammond organ, keyboards, drum programming
- Tiziano Ricci, Fabrizio Faderighi, Claudio Rego / backing vocals

 Francesco Di Giacomo writes in CD booklet that he does not like remakes and BANCO decided to re-record their two first albums because fans asked them ''to do it today''. It seems the easiest way was to play both albums live and make a record, but the band did it in studio. I guess musicians had their reasons for this.

I'm not a big fan of remakes too, but I like new versions of both albums. There are lots of new colours in familiar tunes, first of all due to Vittorio Nocenzi's excellent keyboard work. Rodolfo Maltese is more than competent guitarist, and Francesco Di Giacomo is, as usual, in good vocal form. It became a common place in prog circles to consider him an opera-trained vocalist, but I've read somewhere that he is a self-taught singer. Don't know where the truth is, but anyway he is one of the greatest rock singers of all time. The low point for me is the absence of bass guitar player on the whole record and the use of programmed drums on many tracks. But great music is great music. I love original ''BMS'' and ''Darwin!'' albums to bits, but quite often listen to these new versions.

Highly recommended, but get 1972 originals first.