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Buon Vecchio Charlie - Buon Vecchio Charlie CD (album) cover


Buon Vecchio Charlie


Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.75 | 125 ratings

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4 stars For an album that never saw the light of day in the 1970s, Buon Vechhio Charlie managed to create a solid effort released posthumously in 1990. Unlike the Alphatuaurus album Dietro L'Uragano, this unearthed treasure actually deserved release and if it was truly recorded in '71-'72 (no one is quite for sure), it is amazingly ahead of its time and sounds professionally recorded. I believe it was possibly even recorded live in studio, as there are some bum notes here and there (particularly out of the bass player) that any typical band with the luxury of time and multitrack recording capabilities would have gone back and fixed. If true, the off-the-cuff nature of the playing is adventurous and mature, warts and all.

"Venite Gui al Fiume" quotes liberally from Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King," but is not a straight up cover like ELO would attempt in 1973 on their third album. There is a very nice sax performance and above average ensemble playing as well. The jazzy tendencies really feel themselves out for a good chunk of the song, but the latter half is all over the map; there are numerous tempo and stylistic changes but nothing out-of-this-world. The drumming does leave a little to be desired - I think this guy uses the same drum fill about 30 times over the course of the album. His playing is far more tasteful on the second tune, "Evviva La Contea di Lane," my favorite on the album. Gone is the jazz and classical sound of the opener...this six-minute masterpiece is a joy, steeped in the Italian tradition but with a bluesy touch. The last two minutes are absolutely brilliant, a symphonic triumph anyone would enjoy.

A nod to Mussorgky's "Night on Bald Mountain" begins "All'uomo Che Raccoglie I Cartoni." A suite comprised of five sections, the song is varied stylistically. But this is a good thing - BVC manage to pull it off quite nicely and it never drifts too far into silly territory. If the album ended here, I would probably give it three stars. For what it is, Buon Vecchio Charlie just can't hold water when compared to the giants of the genre. However, the 1999 Akarma CD release features two bonus tracks, the only other known output of the group besides that of Bauhaus (a jazz-rock album recorded in 1974 by members of BVC). These two tracks alone warrant an extra star, particularly based on the strength of "Rosa." These tracks originally appeared on a solo album by pop artist Beppe Palomba. While I realize the band may not have shared in the compositional or lyrical content of the song, their backing of Palomba is exceptionally tasteful and executed perfectly. A lovely song that doesn't just feel "tacked on," but actually adds value to the album as a whole.

coasterzombie | 4/5 |


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