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Osage Tribe - Arrow Head CD (album) cover


Osage Tribe

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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3 stars I'm aware that this one is probably not an essential one in Prog, it's in fact closer to 60's/70's heavy bluesrock. I just stumbled over it when I browsed through the bands on because I love very much Italian 70's rock. Still this album is a bit more than standard bluesrock since it contains as well some jazz elements and a nice keyboard section in the beginning of the first track. Highlights are the jazz-influenced "Cerchio Di Luce" and the almost 10 minutes long track "Soffici" with great guitar, bass and drum playing. If you're deeply in this ancient stuff it might be worth looking for this album which will probably be hard to find. Anyway good for 3 stars! P.S. The bonus tracks are not worth for getting the CD release, since they are just commercial pop songs!
Report this review (#34566)
Posted Saturday, March 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Prog by it's nature has it's share of albums that you have to concentrate on to listen to.. to ponder deep meanings it it's lyrics or by bizarre twists and turns in the music. Some times it is fun to just have a prog album to turn up to 11, that makes no pretenses but taking the skill of the musicians and making music that is shear power and plain fun to listen to.

Arrowhead by the guitar/bass/drums trio known as Osage Tribe is just an album. Again, as those who know me know, I am not fluent in Italian yet, so any deep meanings in the lyrics are lost to me unfortunately. Thankfully I've never read of any such thing on this hahha. The vocals are not unpleasing at all.. being that this is a very hard aggressive album you aren't going to find beauiful singing on this. The vocals match to music well. What this album though is known for is dynamic rhythm section of RPI (Rock Progressivo Italiano) bassist legend Bob Callero and drummer Nunzio 'cucciolo' Fava. They propel all 5 original album tracks with power and intensity during the hardest sections yet are able to downshift right into the occasional softer section or the more prodominant jazzy sections where the group really could swing. Guitarist Marco Zoccheddu while not known as an A-list RPI instrumentalist like the other two provides firery guitar lines and even the occasional piano in the jazzier sections.

The album kicks off which Hajenhanhowa, which as it sounds is meant to establish some sort of American Indian kind of theme. Chant like vocals and a vaguely Indian type drum beat are at the heart of it. Not exactly a classic album opener..but not bad either. Almost comical in a way.. which isn't bad... who says prog can't make you laugh. A warm up of sorts to what is to follow. The title track, Arrow Head, follows with a frenetic opening with Callero going nuts around the drummer and guitarist. Callero dominates the track with a certain Jack Bruce-ian like 'busy' nature ...dancing all around the others The next track begins the stretch of the album that is to die for.. 'Cerchio di luce' begins with a soft intro that explodes.. receeds in intensity to a soft accoustic section before taking flight again. The song is highlited by a killer jazz section where Callero's walking bass lines anchor a free for all between cucciolo and Zoccheddu's guitar and overdubed piano. The interplay is incredible. Far and away my favorite track on the album. 'Air' guitar, keys, drums, and bass abound on the track hahhaha. Great fusion of jazz stylings into a hard prog masterpiece.

After that I hate to let you down and say the next track is some quiet, lovely interspective song... hah.. so I won't. 'Soffici bianchi veli' is anchored by a killer driving riff that cruises at breakneck speed, with frenetic guitar runs and the always active Callero dancing all around bluesy solos. The song again suddenly downshifts into a slower paced vocal section though Callero can't resist making it interesting again by playing counterpoint to the melody and again dancing around another guitar solo. Maybe not the most complex of songs.. but with the dynamic shifts in style and tempo that we demand of prog. The song is slightly marred by some ...I hate to say it ...horribly recorded accoustic noodlings that actually is a bit painful to listen to. Thankfully they don't last but a short bit The album closes with another midrange workout 'orizzonti senza fine'. A sweet guitar and bass intro begins the song. The vocal sections have some interesting rhythms with some clean chiming guitar. A nice departure from the sonic attack of the previous two tracks. As per prog though.. soon a repeated bass line by Callero herald a new dynamic shift to and away we go into to prog stratosphere where Zoccheddu coaxs sounds from his guitar before returning to the vocal sections and it's interesting rhythm patterns. The song again changes as it, and the album nears the end, with some tape effects over a droning bass chord closes the original album.

The new CD reissue by Vinal Magic has two bonus tracks...of which...hahah.. could be construed as offensive by Native Americans. Full of sterotypical chanting and the such. Pop singles that were included on the new CD release. The less said the better, only to note that Battiato sang on them.

For rating this album..hmmm... reading up on RPI as I do. I had found this album listed as one of the seminal albums of the Italian prog movement. Listening to it.. you can see why. Full of power.. great talents and showcasing future key members of other RPI giants. For that I have to give this album 5 stars. It is a masterpiece and a defining album of RPI. In my rapidly expanding RPI collection... there are few albums that have the power and instrumental firepower as this one. For me.. 4 stars... 'cerrchio di luce' and 'soffici bianchi veli' are well on the way to being established RPI gems for me song-wise. The campy Indian themes though knocks a star off of that, especially the first song. Highly recommended for those who love their prog hard and heavy yet with twists and turns enough to not feel simply bludgeoned over the course of an entire album.

Michael (aka micky)

Report this review (#118360)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Osage Tribe is definitely not for everyone. Itīs a mix of heavy prog and Italian Symphonic prog rock. The singing is in Italian which will already divide the waters.

The music is very varied and so is the singing from the lead singer. There are jazzy parts in Cerchio Di Luce, Arrow Head is pretty heavy with funky parts and the opener Hajenhanhowa has an almost sing a long like quality. Indian chanting is used in the last two songs ( the bonus tracks). Prehistoric Sounds is and english version of Un Falco Nel Cielo. These two songs are not great editions to the album as they are clearly the worst songs here. As you can see there are lots of different things going on in the songs, but I find it a bit directionless. Note the guitar sound which sounds a lot like the guitar sound Zappa had in the early seventies. Distorted and with lots of Wah.

The sound quality is really poor and Iīm being friendly here. This is a major issue for me as it really destroys my listening pleasure on several occasions. It seems like a garage production to me and it doesnīt suit the music at all. Really amatourish.

The musicians are hard to evaluate as Arrowhead almost sounds like it is recorded live in the studio and there are multible flaws in the playing. Judge for yourself.

I donīt know much about Italian prog rock yet, but seen from a general prog rock perspective this is kind of poor. Iīll have to rate it 2 stars. It might be me though as I can see that the rating for this album is much higher.

Report this review (#163222)
Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars This little known Italian band plays different music than its glorious contemporaries.

When I listen to the opening track Hajenhanhowa it starts as a psychedelic and "loaded" number (if you see what I mean). It turns into some sort of world music song once the main and repetitive theme "Hajenhanhowa" starts. I have to say that the contrast is quite a shock. A tribal song played by an Italian band: why not? Still, I'm rather perplexed.

The title track is strongly in the heavy genre. "Arrow Head" features a wild beat: drumming is absolutely impressive and I reckon that the psychedelic atmosphere is not alien to this song either. The bass play is really amazing as well. Even if production is not the best asset of this track, it is rather a good heavy rock moment.

This album also features some jazzy influences during the chaotic "Cerchio Di Luce". This track sounds more as a jam session amongst friends than a structured prog Italian song. I really don't fancy such moments. But jazz has never been my cup of tea.

"Osage Tribe" are digging the heavy rock territories even more during the longest track of this album: "Soffici Bianchi Veli" is nothing else than heavy guitar mixed with a serious attraction for jamming. I basically have no problem with this; except that it has noting to do with the soft, melodic and passionate Italian genre I love so much.

But since I'm also a found lover of the heavy sounds of the early seventies, I am not too much lost in here. Still, the loose, experimental and self indulgent part is just average. The long and closing number is not very different: "Orizzonti Senza Fine" features the same and heavy music which is not too bad to listen to actually.

The CD version also features their only single release. I have to be honest and say that "Un Falco Nel Cielo" is almost laughable. Some sort of Indian chant sung in Italian. I don't want to be disrespectful but this is very close to be ridiculous. B-side is the same song but in English. It is just as poor.

Three stars for this heavy-prog album.

Report this review (#186543)
Posted Monday, October 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars Thanks to Todd who brought this band to my attention. I just wish i was as enthusiastic as he,Tom Ozric and Mickey are about this album. Don't get me wrong because this is very close to a 4 star record for me, but not quite. OSAGE TRIBE released this their only album back in 1972, they were a trio with the guitarist coming from NUOVA IDEA. The drummer went on to play for THE TRIP and I DIK DIK among others, while the bassist not only had a solo career but he played in IL VOLO as well. So yeah lots of talent here.The sound is very much heavy drums, and bass with raw sounding guitar.

"Hajenhanhowa" opens with clashing cymbals and piano before soft vocals arrive before 2 minutes. Harmonica before 3 1/2 minutes. The song starts to come to life thankfully after 4 1/2 minutes. Guitar before 7 minutes. "Arrow Head" hits the ground running with bass, drums and gutar creating havoc. Vocals a minute in. This is an uptempo rocker. "Cerchio Di Luce" is more restrained with them contrasting the mellow sections with the raw guitar and drum passages. The bass actually sounds like an upright one later.

"Soffici Bianchi Veli" opens with drums followed by a raw and aggressive soundscape. Nice guitar 2 minutes in as he lights it up. It settles with vocals before 3 1/2 minutes. Here we go after 6 minutes as it kicks back in. Vocals and a calm after 8 minutes. "Orizzonti Senta Fine" features bass, drums and restrained vocals early. The guitar starts to make some noise before 5 minutes. It calms right down after 7 minutes. I never include the bonus tracks when I rate an album, and in this case that's a good thing. Haha. The two songs are one in the same,one is the Italian version and the other is the English version.

This is a good, bluesy flavoured album that is quite well done. 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#198555)
Posted Monday, January 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Heavy on the jamming fun, light on the RPI

Osage Tribe is considered by some an important early band in RPI history (why? I'm not sure.) Formed in 1971 by Franco Battiato (who left very quickly) and two members of Nuova Idea they were based in Genova. After releasing Arrowhead in 1972 the band eventually split, with Zoccheddu and Callero forming the far more impressive Duello Madre. While Arrowhead is not without some charms I would say that its importance to the RPI scene is vastly overstated. The closest comparison or reference point I can think of is Flea's "Topi o Uomi" from the same year, and frankly the Flea album is far more interesting. Arrowhead is a large serving of garage-rock jamming, basically ballsy hard-rock in the Cream/Hendrix vein with perhaps some nods to prog and fusion. "....with three berserk musicians, each fighting their own way through some furiously punctuated rhythms. "Cerchio Di Luce"'s instrumental part also shows some jazz influence, comparable to the early Ten Years After's merging of blues, hard-rock and jazz." [Scented Gardens] True enough, these guys can play....and play....and play. The pace is maniacally fast in "Cerchio", breathlessly so. And for the part of me that can still appreciate the long stoner jam for the sake of it, it works fine. But there's little to Arrowhead that feels contributory to the fantastic RPI scene happening around it. Or at least, contributory to what I perceive as the highlights of the period.

With the exception of the strange opener "Hajenhanhowa" which is spacey and unique, the rest of the album pales. The long jams occasionally feature complex intricacies but on the whole do not fulfill. No great operatic vocals, mind blowing keyboard arrangements, or Italian song traditions being simultaneously cherished and turned on their head. There's but a jam, with some hot moments to be sure, but really quite limited in their ability to stimulate listeners who've heard the best of 72-73 Italy. Thus, my recommendation is only to those who love the Cream style heavy jam, in this case with Italian vocals, fairly low production value, and plenty of the attitude that permeated the smoke/beer smells emanating from the practice space of your friend's old band. But first I'd get that Flea album for a better version of the same thing. I guess when it comes to "jam" albums the question isn't how good the players are (since most are), the question really is whether the show is going to get old fast, or keep kickin' you over time. The fact is, it takes me several drinks to get in a frame of mind where Osage Tribe entertains. That's right, Arrowhead requires a bit of partying to appreciate and I don't drink often enough to get the job done. Ideally, the music should take the place of the altered state of mind, not necessitate it. If you get into that first Rush album, Rag e Ryggen, or similar testosterone-laden flailing, by all means check out the Osage Tribe. There certainly are some good moments and rip-roaring jams, and again, some moments which I did appreciate. Just not enough to recommend I'm afraid. If you're a fan of more elaborate RPI looking to deepen your collection, you should have at least 100 more substantive titles on your shelf before even considering the Osage Tribe.

Report this review (#252553)
Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Italian rock goes Indian.

This is an unknown band and a one album only and then disappear forever. Osage Tribe is most known for it's association with Franco Battiano, I guess.

For me, they will forever be associated with blue rock and hard space rock excersises. It is between space and blues rock we will find their sound. A pretty bad sound too which disguises any subleties their music have. If their music have some hidden debt, we will never know due to this pretty bad sound.

The quality of the music is pretty bad too. The guitars are good and so is the vocals. But that is the only saving grace on this album. An album without any good songs. I am afraid this is not an album for me.

2 stars

Report this review (#584542)
Posted Thursday, December 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the earliest prog bands from Italy and a matrix of producing musicians for other bands, Genova-based Osage Tribe included a young Franco Battiato in the original 1971 line-up, who left the band after only one single on Bla-Bla label.The remaining trio of singer/multi-instrumentalist Marco Zoccheddu (who had quit earlier from Nuova Idea), bassist Bob Callero and drummer Nunzio "Cucciolo" Favia recorded the band's sole release ''Arrow Head'' in 1972.

Despite having an English title, the album is sung in Italian with the opening 10-min. ''Hajenhanhowa'' being an obcure number of Psych/Proggish Hard Rock with light Folk tendencies, opening with a soft piano/harmonica introduction and revealing a monster sound at the second part with good guitar leads.The eponymous track is another freak Hard Rock track with very complex guitar work, reminding a bit of MUSEO ROSENBACH harder moments, but with somewhat dull vocals.''Cerchio di Luce'' is an interesting piece with nice multi-vocal choirs, plenty of breaks and a middle section filled with a jazzy appreciation on bass/guitar/piano interplays.The only weak moment seems to be the sterile drumming.Another 10-min adventure, ''Soffici Bianchi Veli'' opens with some frenetic guitar-driven instrumental section before getting in an overstretched and less interesting Jazz/Blues mood until the end with the bass work of Callero being the bright spot.''Orizzonti Senza Fine'' is another Psych/Hard/Prog inspiration, having a powerful rhythm section, the guitars come and go, alternating from smooth to hard qualities, while vocals are decent this time.

The Vinyl Magic CD reissue features the pair of tracks from the Battiato era's single, when Osage Tribe had quite a different sound.''Un falco nel cielo'' is actually a Pop/Rock track with some African-inspiration on the vocal parts and ''Prehistoric sound'' is an Engilsh version of it, rather pointless, fully commercial and uninspiring music.

The brief history of Osage Tribe ended not long after this album.Zoccheddu and Callero formed Duello Madre and the remaining Cucciolo recruited ex-Capsicum Red singer/guitarist Red Canzian and bassist Giampiero Marchiani, but Cucciolo was called to fullfill his army obligations shortly after.He was replaced by Helza Poppin's and later Uno's drummer Enzo Vallicelli, but again Canzian left for I Pooh and Osage Tribe disbanded for good.Original drummer Nunzio "Cucciolo" Favia later played with The Trip, while Callero was a stable member of Il Volo.

A great album for all fans of guitar-based Hard Prog but I can see also fans of the early-70's Proto-Prog movement appreciating this release.Overall recommended.

Report this review (#629684)
Posted Friday, February 10, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars The members of power trio Osage Tribe would all go on to bigger and better things: Bassist Bob Callero and guitarist Marco Zocchedu quit in 1972 to form the far superior Duello Madre, and drummer Nunzio Favia later found success with I Dik Dik. But before they left, this uneven offering was discharged on an unreceptive public. Arrow Head hasn't exactly aged well, either. Hopelessly behind the times upon release, Osage Tribe's psych-rock-cum-prog pastiche sounds even more dated today. The album does have a few redeeming moments, and actually does rock quite a bit, but I get the sense this band was A LOT better live and the studio recording doesn't really do them justice. But this is what we have to go by, and giving any more than two stars for this one would be undue.

One shining star is "Hajenhanhowa," which mysteriously and quietly begins the album. The intro no doubt was inspired by original member Franco Battiato, who left prior to recording the album and would of course go on to much solo success. The enjoyable introduction lasts about five minutes after which Callero pounds out some fuzz bass and Zocchedu doubles on guitar and keys. Then a rap breaks out. Seriously, this has to be one of the earliest known examples of proto-hip-hop in history. Weird stuff, but oddly enough it just works. Zocchedu then rips off some Clapton-inspired licks and heavy riffing. If all of this sounds insanely appealing, don't get your hopes up; it's all downhill from here.

The title track is a raunchy minor blues, reminiscent of Gleemen or Garybaldi. Apparently, someone forgot to tell Osage Tribe that the Hendrix fad was over and far more interesting things were happening in 1972. "Cerchio di Luce" is better, as the band starts to incorporate some more disparate elements like jazz and symphonic rock into their arsenal. "Soffici Bianchi Veli" and "Orizzonti Senza Fine" are testosterone-driven jams hardly worth mentioning. Normally this could be overlooked, but at a total of 19 minutes, or nearly half the album's length, this self- indulgence cannot be forgiven and ultimately destroy any momentum from the first side. And the two bonus tracks, despite Battiato's involvement, are nothing more than banal pop with a juvenile guitar solo. There's just not enough worthy content here to bump Arrow Head to a three-star rating, but I suppose collectors will find something to like.

Report this review (#879043)
Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2012 | Review Permalink

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