Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Canto Di Primavera

Year of Release: 1979
Label: Virgin Dishi SRL
Catalog Number: 7866092
Format: CD
Total Time: 37:15:00

Gearing up for this year's Progfest, I knew there were a few artists I was going to have to familiarize myself with...well, honestly, most of the lineup. Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso was one of those bands that I had heard of, heard great things about, but hadn't actually heard.

Some of my favourite progressive music is from the classico-symphonic school, generally the Italian and French. To that list, I'm adding Banco. Though I've seen mixed opinions about Canto Di Primavera, I quite like it. If the earlier stuff beats this, this band must be spectacular.

As long time fans will already know, vocalist Francesco Di Giacomo has a terrific, sonorous voice. For "newbies" like me, I'll tell you that you might think of Andre Boccelli at times, presuming, of course, that you are familiar with him. With the hype The Bellagio Hotel in Vegas was getting a year or so ago, it's quite possible you have without knowing (or, I suppose, caring; yes I took the easy comparison). At any rate, Di Giacomo has a great, warm voice.

The music is also quite beautiful, a melodic mix of rock and classical, though I find the classical aspect to be the stronger element. The rock aspect comes to the fore on, for example, "Interno Citta'," where symphonic keys combine with shimmering percussion and that voice of Di Giacomo. The title track builds slowly, but when it reaches full flower, the voices and keys soar (the title translates to "Song of Spring"). The mix of this track and several others puts the percussion up in the mix, so you get to hear clearly the dynamic sounds of Pierluigi Calderoni. While the other instruments get their focus, hearing such clear sound is quite refreshing, if not entirely successful. Horns (Rodolfo Maltese) also make their appearances throughout the able, enhancing the jazzier elements. "Sono La Bestia" has more a "Spanish" feel to it, kinda like a tango.

"Niente" begins with keys (sounds like a Rhodes), that evokes more mainstream pop hits. The sounds coming from the keys are fat, but a bit flat, a bit squishy. It is this track that made me most think of Boccelli, Di Giacomo's voice soars (again) on this ballad. It's odd to say, but I wouldn't have found this out of place on 80's American Top-40 radio, except for the Italian vocals (Top-40 then consisted of Kenny Rogers, Sheena Easton, Journey, Styx, etc.). Stiff sounding guitar arpeggios accompany the keys, which themselves seem at times to be a bit clumsy. "Interno Citta'" has a similar sense, though more of a crossover jazz-rock track. There are some parping keys, a sound that would turn up later in neo-prog, though I wouldn't call Banco neo at all. I love the energetic percussion here, too...sounds like bongos to me. The liner notes are frustratingly lacking on this release, as I had to go searching the 'net for the lineup for this album, and basically give you the song listing and times plus the writing and production credits.

"Circobanda" which closes the album sounds at times like a 70's US TV-series theme music (though that description is misleading). But at other times, comes across as rather stumbling and finds itself again, but if one came in at that section, one would wonder what all the hype was about.

Although this makes me look forward to tracking down their earlier catalog and to their performance at Progfest, and as much as I like this, I can see (I think) why it's not more highly regarded among Banco experts.

[There is no date for the CD reissue, so the release info above is, naturally, about the original LP release - ed.]

Ciclo (4:20) / Canto Di Primavera (5:30) / Sono La Bestia (4:35) / Niente (4:00) / E Mi Viene Da Pensare (3:20) / Interno Citta' (6:30) / Lungo Il Margine (4:50) / Circobanda (5:30)

Vittorio Nocenzi - keys/vocals
Gianni Nocenzi - keys
Rodolfo Maltese - guitar and horns
Pierluigi Calderoni - drums
Gianni Colaiacomo - bass
Francesco Di Giacomo - vocals

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso (1972)
Darwin (1972)
Io Sono Nato Libero (1973)
Banco (1975)
Garofano Rosso (1976)
Come In Un' Ultima Cena (1976)
...Di Terra (1978)
Canto Di Primavera (1979)
Capolinea (1980)
Urgentissimo (1980)
Buone Notizie (1981)
Banco (1983)
...E Via (1985)
Donna Plautilla (1989)
Il 13 (1994)
Nudo (1997)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin IT

Added: August 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 961
Language: english


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