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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - River Of Life: The Manticore Years Anthology 1973-1977 CD (album) cover

RIVER OF LIFE: THE MANTICORE YEARS ANTHOLOGY 1973-1977

Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.01 | 20 ratings

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beebfader
4 stars This compilation heralds Esoteric's acquisition of the Manticore catalogue. ELP became talent scouts (in much the same way as Led Zeppelin with Swan Song) and seemed to show particular fondness for Italian acts, signing Banco and the more recognised Premiata Forneria Marconi. Already Italy's number one band and heavily influenced by King Crimson, they were signed by Greg Lake and paired with the lyrical talents of former Crimson courtier Pete Sinfield to bring them to an English audience. Their first two albums were re-arranged and re-written and called `Photos Of Ghosts' and `The World Became The World'.

This 2CD well annotated and packaged release acts as a definitve introduction to the band's glory years between 1973-77 and provides an overview of the five albums they released for Manticore together with some hitherto unheard gems. To the novice this is the perfect place to start, to the casual listener a perfect overview, and to the afficionado there is enough to justify purchase, with a total of some 40 minutes unheard top quality material.

For fans of `PFM Cook' in particular there is a stunning 16 minute previously unreleased `Is My Face On Straight' from the same NYC Central Park 1974 source tapes. The band really stretch out here with winning mini-moog and rhodes solos, delivered with aplomb, logic and not a note wasted . In many ways the essence of PFM was and is as a spectacular live outfit with dazzling virtuosity on display, and other key selections here are `Four Holes In The Ground' and `Alta Loma Nine Till Five' from `Cook'. Studio releases `Photos Of Ghosts', `The World Became The World' `Chocolate Kings' and `Jet Lag' are all represented by 3 tracks each, and there is a rare and most welcome B-side `La Corrozza Di Hans' from 1974.

Disc two offers up a further 20 minutes of unreleased live material from Nottingham University from the 1976 tour including the perennial favourite `Celebration', and in general this compilation charts the development of the band over a five year period during which they covered a lot of musical territory from classically informed ensemble rock to their final offering for Manticore `Jet Lag' which is a particularly under-rated work which has aged well and has a woody, fusion feel to it and some truly lovely keyboard sounds.

It all bodes well for Esoteric's forthcoming issuing of the individual albums, with more unreleased material promised on each .

beebfader | 4/5 |

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