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Angelo Branduardi - Il Ladro CD (album) cover

IL LADRO

Angelo Branduardi

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.31 | 4 ratings

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rupert
3 stars Listening to the title track the first thing that comes to mind is...: "Branduardi's got the BLUES" - and, once you've grown familiar with the whole album, which is another strange but a more cohesive and relaxed one than "Pane e Rose", you somehow ought to agree with John Lee Hooker: "The blues is the healer".

With this one the "Italian Minstrel" finally discovers ( embraces ) America in a pleasant way. More Latin-rhythms featuring Richard Galliano's awesome Bandoneon-playing, combined with Blues, Country and Jazz-Flavors, possibly as far as the songwriter could go from the once familiar, medieval sounds. Maurizio Fabrizio was absent, so the great classical guitar-playing of the two is absent as well, but the guitars ( Barnduardi and Franco Mussida ) are still very good - especially for a blues-infected album. "Il Ladro" ( = "The Thief" ) pairs Branduardi's singer/songwriter-approach with a strong American ( north & south ) flavour - surely not what you expect of him if you think of his most successful albums.

But it's making more sense this time than all the experiments on "Pane e Rose" - Branduardi probably felt better cause he sounds more confident and inspired, and somehow you can still distinctively hear that it's him, especially in "Ballerina" and "Amazzonia", where he's quoting the guitar-lines of "La Canzone del Deserto" - turning the original idea into a more contemporary and soaring track... ( where the Bandoneon gets used like a harmonica ! ), one of the best here, as is "Il tempo di partire", where the Blues from the opening track returns, with jazzy trumpet. Branduardi's voice sounds better, too - though a bit brittle still ( especially on "Ballerina" ). The dreamy ballad "Ai Confini dell' Asia" may be closest Branduardi got to his previous work here, but the arrangement and mix ( the bass-guitar comes in upfront at 3'23'' - you've got to get used to this, cause it's really LOUD ) are more of the meditative world-music-field.

The most outstanding tracks on this album for sure are those that feature Galliano's bandoneon in affective measure, be it for building a perfect amalgam with the rhythm-section's clever work, namely in "Madame" and "Il Grido", or be it the melancholic cream-top in a bar-jazz-march like "Uomi di Passaggio", which is a strange hybrid all the way, feels like a sailor's lamento from a Brecht/Weill-musical ( actually, the lyrics are thoughts on vagabonds/clochards and homeless people striving through town, asking questions about their lives and feelings from the view of a passer-by... ).

There's not a bad track on the album, but it's more a testament of Branduardi's search for new influences in order to evolve as an artist than it is a real must-have for anyone but his fans, and progressive... well, for the artist himself it surely was a huge progression and an interesting step on his way, but honestly, with the exceptions of "Madame", "Amazzonia" and "Il Grido", it couldn't keep track with his best work, so, although slightly better than "Pane e Rose", I can't give it a better rating than 3 stars on this site... but it's too good for a lesser rating. And it feels good, cause "the blues is the healer" indeed.

rupert | 3/5 |

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