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Osage Tribe - Arrow Head CD (album) cover

ARROW HEAD

Osage Tribe

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.88 | 31 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Heavy on the jamming fun, light on the RPI

Osage Tribe is considered by some an important early band in RPI history (why? I'm not sure.) Formed in 1971 by Franco Battiato (who left very quickly) and two members of Nuova Idea they were based in Genova. After releasing Arrowhead in 1972 the band eventually split, with Zoccheddu and Callero forming the far more impressive Duello Madre. While Arrowhead is not without some charms I would say that its importance to the RPI scene is vastly overstated. The closest comparison or reference point I can think of is Flea's "Topi o Uomi" from the same year, and frankly the Flea album is far more interesting. Arrowhead is a large serving of garage-rock jamming, basically ballsy hard-rock in the Cream/Hendrix vein with perhaps some nods to prog and fusion. "....with three berserk musicians, each fighting their own way through some furiously punctuated rhythms. "Cerchio Di Luce"'s instrumental part also shows some jazz influence, comparable to the early Ten Years After's merging of blues, hard-rock and jazz." [Scented Gardens] True enough, these guys can play....and play....and play. The pace is maniacally fast in "Cerchio", breathlessly so. And for the part of me that can still appreciate the long stoner jam for the sake of it, it works fine. But there's little to Arrowhead that feels contributory to the fantastic RPI scene happening around it. Or at least, contributory to what I perceive as the highlights of the period.

With the exception of the strange opener "Hajenhanhowa" which is spacey and unique, the rest of the album pales. The long jams occasionally feature complex intricacies but on the whole do not fulfill. No great operatic vocals, mind blowing keyboard arrangements, or Italian song traditions being simultaneously cherished and turned on their head. There's but a jam, with some hot moments to be sure, but really quite limited in their ability to stimulate listeners who've heard the best of 72-73 Italy. Thus, my recommendation is only to those who love the Cream style heavy jam, in this case with Italian vocals, fairly low production value, and plenty of the attitude that permeated the smoke/beer smells emanating from the practice space of your friend's old band. But first I'd get that Flea album for a better version of the same thing. I guess when it comes to "jam" albums the question isn't how good the players are (since most are), the question really is whether the show is going to get old fast, or keep kickin' you over time. The fact is, it takes me several drinks to get in a frame of mind where Osage Tribe entertains. That's right, Arrowhead requires a bit of partying to appreciate and I don't drink often enough to get the job done. Ideally, the music should take the place of the altered state of mind, not necessitate it. If you get into that first Rush album, Rag e Ryggen, or similar testosterone-laden flailing, by all means check out the Osage Tribe. There certainly are some good moments and rip-roaring jams, and again, some moments which I did appreciate. Just not enough to recommend I'm afraid. If you're a fan of more elaborate RPI looking to deepen your collection, you should have at least 100 more substantive titles on your shelf before even considering the Osage Tribe.

Finnforest | 2/5 |

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