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Riccardo Fogli - Matteo CD (album) cover

MATTEO

Riccardo Fogli

 

Rock Progressivo Italiano

3.50 | 2 ratings

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Todd
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano!
3 stars An interesting find from an unexpected source

Riccardo Fogli was the bassist and one of the lead vocalists for I POOH from 1966-1972, when he left for a solo career. He soon found success singing popular ballads. But in 1978 he wanted to mix things up a bit and decided to write a concept album, complete with proggy music. Interestingly, most of the popular artists who dabbled for an album or two in prog did so in the early 1970s. But perhaps Fogli yearned for something a bit meatier. His first four solo albums featured music written almost entirely by other people. But for his first attempt at writing his own material, he went back to his prog roots.

"Matteo" is a concept album chronicling a man living his life in reverse (similar in concept to Fitzgerald's short story "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"). The concept album was recorded in 1978 and musically has more in common with the proggy singer-songwriter albums than with the solo material he had previously released--think of artists such as Mario Barbaja, Gino D'Eliso, Franco Maria Giannini, and Gianni D'Errico. The melodies conveyed by Fogli's wonderful voice are the focus, with some nice guitar and keyboard work. There are some orchestrations, but they are pretty tasteful. There are some nice rhythm changes as well, as well as some RPI grooves ("Verita' Dov'e'" comes to mind).

"Matteo" was such a departure from his pop style that Fogli's label refused to release it, fearing that his newly- found momentum would be derailed and his new fans alienated. (One track, "Festa," managed to find its way onto his next album, 1979's "Che Ne Sai," the title track of which proved to be his breakthrough single.) "Matteo" would have remained in the vaults, but in 1999 the magazine "Raro!" released the album as a limited run of 1000 CDs. Although the CD version is difficult to find now, the album has been officially released digitally.

Fogli is not a prog artist, and unless you like syrupy ballads you can safely skip the entire discography outside of "Matteo," as far as I've heard. But now that "Matteo" is available, you should at least give it a listen. The entire album is currently on YouTube if you don't like samples, and the digital versions can be purchased at iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, etc. Any RPI fans who want to broaden and deepen their collection would do well to check this one out. Three stars (Gnosis 10/15)

Todd | 3/5 |

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