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Lucio Battisti - Lucio Battisti CD (album) cover

LUCIO BATTISTI

Lucio Battisti

 

Prog Related

3.39 | 19 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A delightful beginning to a legendary career

Lucio Battisti is one of the great legends in Italian musical history and during our research for inclusion, we noted that someone dubbed him "the Italian John Lennon." While he was never as popular as the Beatle legend on the worldwide stage, he was as prolific and as important to the Italian people who express great pride in his work and influence. As noted in our Bio, Battisti is not a progressive rock artist in the way most fans think of "prog", but he was influenced by the scene and also an influence on others, thus fitting perfectly the spirit and definition of the site's "prog-related" category. While only a small percentage of his life's work mingles with the RPI scene as typically considered, he also left us with a great wealth of quality singer/songwriter material, melodic Italian beat rock, sophisticated pop, and what could be described as avant-electronic pop. His collaborations with Mogol and Pasquale Panella gave his work a much broader lyrical depth. Even down to the choices he made for some very striking album covers along the way, every piece of the puzzle added up to a great artist.

But his debut, released in the Spring of 1969, was a humble and lovable batch of quality songwriting that is impossible not to enjoy. The album makes me think of the early Cat Stevens' album called "Mona Bone Jakon." There is a track there called "Lady D'Arbanville" and if you've heard it, you'll have an idea what beauties like "La mia canzone per Maria" sound like. Another example would be to imagine the song "Trouble" with Italian vocals! Even overall the album is a fair comparison with crisply employed acoustic guitars and occasional rocking electric leads, punchy drumming, great control, and vocals which can turn both confident and frail. "29 Settembre" includes some light touches of flute to perfect effect. Beautiful string arrangements cover the lonely guitar playing on "Non Francesca" which must have been huge on Italian radio....a great track. The organ of "Per una lira" will briefly remind listeners of early Procol Harum. Horns enter the picture as well, and while not as daring as they would become later on "Anima Latina" they are welcome coloring indeed. Besides just being a monster song writer, Battisti's second amazing skill is his adept touch at coloring the songs with the wide variety of instrumentation. Each little nugget of sound feels truly the product of great consideration and lifts the album from more pedestrian 60s rock to something more timeless. It still has to be considered fairly tame at this point, especially compared to what was happening elsewhere by '69, but who cares? It's so enjoyable.

The early work is only of limited interest to "prog rock" fans interested in the music of Italy, but it requires an extra star for the simple quality of the music. Anyone who enjoys the softer and more romantic side of early Beatles albums or 60s rock will find music of a similar spirit and quality here, though with the warm Italian touch only Battisti could provide.

Finnforest | 3/5 |

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