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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Banco album cover
4.03 | 307 ratings | 16 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side 1:
1. Chorale (From Traccia Theme) (2:30)
2. L'Albero Del Pane (The Bread Tree) (4:45)
3. Metamorphosis (14:54)

Side 2:
4. Outside (7:42)
5. Leave Me Alone (5:20)
6. Nothing's The Same (9:58)
7. Traccia II (2:42)

Total time: 46:52

Line-up / Musicians

- Francesco Di Giacomo / vocals
- Rodolfo Maltese / electric & acoustic guitars, trumpet, backing vocals
- Vittorio Nocenzi / organ, synthesizer, Mellotron (strings), producer
- Gianni Nocenzi / grand piano, clarinet, synthesizer
- Renato D'angelo / bass, acoustic guitar
- Pier Luigi Calderoni / drums, percussion

Releases information

Selection of tracks from the band's 1st and 3rd original albums, newly re-recorded (tracks 3-6 with translated lyrics in English), plus a previously unreleased song with Italian lyrics (2)

Artwork: Caesar Monti (photo) with Anthony/Reid Partnership (design)

LP Manticore ‎- MAL 2013 (1975, Italy)
LP Dischi - RL 8216 (1975, Italy)

CD Victor ‎- VICP-60815 (1999, Japan) 20-bit remaster
CD Esoteric - MANTCD 1009 (2010, UK) Remastered by Ben Wiseman

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Banco ratings distribution

(307 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
5 stars This is to BANCO what "Photos of Ghosts" is to PFM: rerecord their Italian language material in English and have it released on ELP's Manticore label. Actually the description of this album is only partially correct as they also include a brand new song, "L'Abero del Pane". The rest consists of material off their 1972 debut and "Io Sono Nato Libero". Oddly nothing off "Darwin!" is included, probably because the two best cuts on that album are too long to include.

The material off their debut is vastly improved with far greater production. Like "Metamorfosi", where the passages are unbelievably powerful and dramatic, as opposed to the original (which piano and organ dominated, piano and synthesizer dominate this version, in a vastly improved fashion). This improved piece comes to show, excellent as BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO's debut was, could have used a better and more powerful production. There's also an electronic version of "Traccia II", called "Traccia's Theme". The material off "Io Sono Nato Libero" really couldn't be improved on, since that album was well produced in the first place. Plus I thought the remake of "Non Mi Rompete", called "Leave Me Alone" just doesn't cut it with the English lyrics, which comes across as being overly sentimental. This piece was also extended a bit, by adding an extra synth solo at the end. "Traccia II" is left the same as on "Io Sono Nato Libero".

It's too bad that for many, especially in 1970s America, this was the only way people were exposed to this band, as their second and third albums are wonderful classics of Italian prog that should not be overlooked. But the music is great regardless.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars BANCO is an outstanding progressive band from Italy. The omnipresent tons of keyboards are really symphonic and some sound really electronic, sometimes lacking warmth: they sound like early SYNERGY ("Larry Fast") and Walter Carlos ("A Clockwork Orange Soundtrack"). Actually there are 2 keyboardists, so this record is keyboards oriented, despite the tons of complex bass and drums patterns involved. One can notice the talent of the guys on excellent piano parts. The lead singer has a friendly voice, the loud bass sounds like PFM, and it is very complex, so you should not be disappointed. The drums are very sophisticated, never the same. I shall not forget the presence of excellent electric and acoustic guitars, making the sound like GENTLE GIANT, especially on the majestic & epic "metamorphosis".

Always very structured, the tracks have no room for simplicity neither accessibility. Only real proggers will truly appreciate. The ensemble is usually nervous, dynamic, and surprisingly there are some outstanding floating passages through the dynamic patterns. What about song "Leave me alone"? Well, this beautiful song is "speed changing acoustic guitar and unbelievable vocals" oriented, and then an intense floating streams of keyboards enter and make, with a perfect moog like solo, a quintessential passage in the progressive rock history! Speaking of quintessence, one should notice couples of ones on the 2 next songs: "Nothing's the Same" and "Traccia 2". "Nothing's the Same" is one of the most progressive tracks ever recorded: so many rythm and melody changes, WOW! How impressive! Paradise, Nirvana and genius are in this song! But wait: the last song is one of their best: "Traccia 2": an extremely complex and symphonic masterpiece, REALLY reaching the quintessence! Beautiful, grand, complex, only made of pure keyboards and some drums! Notice the perfect passage between the 2 songs: the moog like keyboards slowing down, which give room to a poignant piano part!!! And now, unroll the red carpet: the ultimate song for the King is started: the King feels really touched by this song announcing his arrival: with a tear in his eyes, he proudly announces to his citizens: the war is over, and now let's celebrate the freedom: grape, fish, poultry, beer and wine are going to be served!

Review by soundsweird
4 stars As most of you know, this was Banco's English-language debut on Manticore Records (they tried another English-language experiment with the release of "Come In un 'Ultima Cena/As In a Last Supper; I wish I had kept my LP copy of "As In...", since I've never seen it since). Oddly enough, Manticore was by this time a "subsidiary" of Motown Records(!), after being under Atlantic for PFM's two English-language releases. It's worth owning, and not just for the novelty factor. The first two tracks (joined) don't appear anywhere else, and the track "Outside" is a superior re-working of "R.I.P.", one of the tracks from their (Italian-language) self-titled debut. Likewise, "Metamorphosis" outshines the original version from that same album. And, the cover is a hoot! I guess they thought that a photograph of a naked, obese man (on the back cover of the LP) was sure to sell the album to prospective buyers. The CD is an expensive Japanese import, but it sounds much better than the LP ever did. And yes, Banco re-recorded their first two albums much later because of the originals' inferior sound, but those versions are vastly different from those on this album. So, even if you own the original Italian albums AND the re-recorded versions, this remains a worthwhile addition. If there is a weakness here, it's the English lyrics, and the obviously-phonetic singing of them. Too bad they couldn't get Pete Sinfield to help them the way he helped PFM.
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This should be regarded more as a compilation than a true new effort from Banco. In English this time. But there are two fully instrumental numbers as well : the opening and closing numbers. There is also an unreleased song featured here : "L'Albergo Del Pane" sung in ...Italian. So, there is only four tracks that are sung into English.

The choice of the songs of this album is a bit strange. Anyway, the best improvement to be featured here is probably during "Metamorphosis". Much longer than the original. The introduction (and long instrumental part, over thirteen minutes !) is Fully ELP-ish (remember, this is their first album on the Manticore label).

Fantastic piano part which shows all the meastria of Banco to integrate classical passages into their numebers. You know, like Keith Emerson for example...It should have been a definite asset while signing for Manticore. It is the highlight on this album. Some jazzy touches, some spacey moments, some beautiful guitar notes during the final part. A grandiose piece of music. Almost fully instrumental. Franceso entering the scene at 13'08 and finishing at 14'03. So, this is no big deal of an English vocals, right ?

"Outside" (RIP) also features limited vocals, so there is really no big deal in this "English" album finally. The best songs of the early Banco are not featured either. Wonderful finale, with so passionate vocals. I really like Franceso. Being in Italian or in English.

This album is good, but hardly essential. Three stars.

Review by erik neuteboom
5 stars - For me early Banco is one of the bands that epitomizes the legendary Italy progrock sound: hints of the Seventies Symphonic Rock dinosaurs (ELP) but presented with those very distinctive Classic Italian Progrock elements like passionate native vocals (although on this Manticore version the vocals are in English), classically inspired compositions with sumptuous undertones, a pleasant variety of instruments, an eclectic musical approach (from classic and rock to jazz, avant-garde and folk) and, last but not least, very crafted, often classically trained musicians. The first Banco album I ever bought was this eponymous fifth LP, it was in the late Seventies when I had discovered Genesis, ELP, King Crimson, Camel and Yes but wanted to broaden my progrock horizon. In those days it was not very difficult to purchase 'non-UK' progrock like Banco, PFM and Ange because these bands were released on known labels like Philips and Manticore (ELP's record company).

Side 1:

1. Chorale (From Traccia Theme) (2:30) : First a bit ominous spacey atmosphere, then a lush vintage keyboards by the obviously classically trained Nocenzi brothers.

2. L'Albero Del Pane (The Bread Tree) (4:45) : A fluent rhythm in which Banco incorporates elements of rock, classical and folk, topped with the excellent Italian vocals by Francesco Di Giacomo, one of my favorite progrock singers. The duo-keyboard work delivers a wide range of sounds, from sparkling Grand piano and the warm string-ensemble to powerful Hammond organ runs and fat synthesizer flights, obviously ELP inspired. The acoustic rhythm-guitar and the adventurous rhythm- section are wonderfully blended in the lush keyboard sound, the interplay is awesome!

3. Metamorphosis (14:54) : In my opinion the final composition on side I is one of the highlights in Classic Italian Progrock, here "classical meets symphonic rock" in a very exciting and captivating way. The first parts delivers the distinctive early Banco sound with great interplay, ELP organ and synthesizers sounds and rock guitar. Then a sumptuous church organ sound as a bridge to a long part featuring virtuosic solo Grand piano (in the vein of the first ELP album), when the drums and bass join it culminates mighty close to "ELP goes avant-garde" before Banco returns to a 24-carat symphonic rock atmosphere with sensational Moog synthesizer outbursts. The music slows down to warm Grand piano runs, then spectucaluar interplay between fat Moog and sparkling Grand piano, soon Hammond and fiery electric guitar join and again we can enjoy the splendid and exciting Bacno interplay. After a bit experimental interlude with clarinet (evoking the avant-garde side of King Crimson) Banco delivers a breathtaking build-up and grand finale: first soaring strings, fragile electric guitar and warm piano, then a compelling climate with emotional vocals and sparkling Grand piano, culminating in an accellaration with bombastic keyboards and a propulsive rhythm-section, what a power and dynamics and how many goose bumps moments I had during this mindblowing final part!

Side 2:

4. Outside (7:42) : In this track the guitarplayer is more omnipresent, he adds a 'rock element' to Banco that fits perfect with the classical sounding keyboards. In a swinging rhythm we can enjoy great interplay, warm vocals, solos on guitar ("rock meets jazz"), Fender Rhodes electric piano (jazzy) and Hammond organ (Emerson-oriented). The second part starts mellow with emotional vocals, beautiful Grand piano and warm acoustic guitar, gradually the atmosphere turns into more compelling with a pleasant string-ensemble sound and strong vocals.

5. Leave Me Alone (5:20) : This composition contains wonderful duo-classical guitarplay and the emotional voice of Francesco, halfway blended with cheerful acoustic rhythm-guitar and in the end a sparkling Moog synthesizer solo, very tastefully arranged.

6. Nothing's The Same (9:58) : Along powerful electric guitar, here the Moog synthesizer sound (with echoes of Larry Fast) is very important, to me it often sounds or Banco has invited a certain JS Bach because of the very classical way of playing. Again singer Francesco adds an extra dimension to the Banco sound, a bit more theatrical than usual but that's part of the Italian tradition!

7. Traccia II (2:42) : The final track delivers outstanding duo-keyboard work, from warm Grand piano to fat Moog synthesizer runs in a classical atmosphere, gradually turning into bombastic, a perfect goodbey!


Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Like PFM did earlier, BANCO decided to put out an English language version of select songs from their previous albums. In this case from their first and third records plus a previously unreleased track. I'll be the first to say that I prefer a band sing in their own native language, especially if it's Italian, but i'll also admit i'm not a big fan of compilation or greatest hits albums. And while my intention in light of this was to offer up 3 stars for this record, I just found it impossible to do so. Sure the charm and romance of the Italian language is missing but this is just too incredible to give anything less than 4 stars.

"Chorale" has atmosphere galore to open.The dual keyboards of the Nocenzi brothers take over the rest of the song to create an interesting soundscape to say the least. "L'albero Del Pane" hits the ground running as vocals join in. A nice variety of keyboards on this one as well. "Metamorphosis" is just an amazing display of talent. Fantastic track ! It's uptempo to start and and so impressive instrumentally. It settles before 2 minutes with some great sounding piano melodies. Drums go wild 4 minutes in and then piano is back leading the way as synths join in. A full sound 8 1/2 minutes in which is just a great section ! A calm 11 minutes in. The sound is so majestic 13 minutes in as Fransesco comes in vocally.

"Outside" is uptempo with vocals to open. I like the piano/guitar interlude 2 minutes in. Drums and synths start to dominate and vocals return 4 1/2 minutes in. It settles after 5 minutes. Beautiful. "Leave Me Alone" opens with acoustic guitar and bass as fragile vocals join in. It's celebration time after 1 1/2 minutes then it settles again as contrasts continue. "Nothing's The Same" has this catchy intro as vocals come in. It's almost spacey 2 1/2 minutes in as it settles. I really like the melancholic synths 3 minutes in and later before 9 minutes. Some Howe-like guitar after 4 minutes when it kicks back in. "Traccia II" opens with piano as synths join in. A fuller sound 1 1/2 minutes in.

My favourite three tracks on here are "Metamorphosis", "Leave Me Alone" and "Nothing's The Same".

Review by friso
5 stars Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso - Banco (1975)

This is my first Banco record, I won't compensate for possible lack of importance due to the fact this record consist of songs from other records, re-recorded in English.

Thanks to Erik Neuteboom, who was willing to sell me his old vinyls, I was able to get my first two Italian sympho records, one of them Banco. From the records I got from him, this might the best addition to my progressive collection. Why? I can't think of one record that is so extremely good as this one.

Banco's sound is a hodgepodge of different styels. The symphonic music of Genesis must have had an influence, the piano virtuosity of Keith Emerson seems to appear and the Italian artistic vocal style is something new alongside the original music influences. This brings me to my frist point. Such great vocals, I can't even be bothered by the bad English pronounciation, such devotion, such a great combination of strong rock vocals with classical opera techniques.

The second apparent element of the music seems to be the outstanding keywork. I've never seen this work: an opening with modern senthesizors working perfectly together with classical piano sounds, jazz-elements and bombastic prog melodies. A highlight of progressive music in general however, is middlesection of Metamorphosis with the piano and drums working together (in 6/8 time signature) like never seen before. There are no words to discribe how intelligent this composition is, 11 out of 10. Futhermore the combination of a senthesizor puls and a jazzy chord progression on Outside is also the work of a genious. The style of Gianni Nocenzi (grand piano) and Vittorio Nocenzi (organ, senthesizor) is technically high developed, still especially the grand piano parts are touching my very soul. They never lost 'the music' while noodling.

The drummer of Banco is also an highly professional musician, while the bass and the guitar are not the main attraction here: they are functional, though some guitar solo's are highly rewarding.

The mix of different disciplines on this album is however what makes it a masterpiece. A senthesizor opening track, an up-tempo symphoprogger with opera vocals, a part melodic prog/grand piano epic, another highly rewarding symphoprogger, a gentle song with beautiful arangements and finally a theatric epic with element of Banco combined.

Conclusion. This is almost unbelievable, such quality of music. I'll do anything to get more records of this band! Five stars, but even that seems to be irralevant here. Just get music from Banco! Though I would rather have had their Italian albums, if this is al you can get, get it!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Banco's debut stemmed directly from ELP's Manticore label germinating with releases such as PFM, Peter Sinfield and this stylish English album. So this has been in my vinyl collection since 1975 and I have waited to get a CD copy without the whopping Japanese price-tag! It was exhilarating to get a version that resembles the original LP (paper, gatefold) in smaller form. Very cool indeed. Aaaah! Revisiting memories ever so fond of back to an exhilarating time when music, rock music particularly, was pure discovery! I remember getting this along with a slew of other gems from the times.

We begin with the majesticity of "Chorale", with its ultra-symphonic swirl and grandiose pomp and circumstance. Banco was the PFM running mate back then with Le Orme and Il Volo not far behind, in espousing what was to become the legendary Italian School of Prog (RPI) as we know it today. A sassy mixture of essential classical structure, passionate local folk leanings (canzone) and resolutely rock foundations, a tornado of swishy synths, elegant piano, bruising bass and drum work, all spiced with numerous soloing of the loftiest variety. The essential masterpiece from this unique band with the funny fat man singing is the mesmerizing "Metamorphosis", a classic prog rock epic if ever there has been, perhaps getting my vote as number 1 RPI track in history, I mean just marvel at the piano section that is to perish for, even Liszt or Mozart would applaud rapturously, full of elegant fury, brooding mania and thunderous élan. You can only imagine what Keith thought about it (since he was a Manticore owner!), the sheer dexterity and vision, pffffff! These are damn fine musicians that deserve their eternal legend. They were pioneers indeed, forging a huge scene in Italy that is still growing strong (if not stronger) today, a style fully dependant on talent and inspiration, technically superior and artistically "progressive". When things get rocky/sweaty, introducing the Hammond-led beat to the dirty guitar tone, this is when the genius comes shining through, forging a contemporary parallel to the romantic precedent with effortless "doigté" (ahhh, look it up) and imperial zeal. When the clarinet enters the fray, the appearance of the operatic vocals come as no surprise, only sheer astonishment.

Mixing it up a great deal was the norm, so "Outside" has both a jazz-rock and an electronic feel to it, essentially blurring the line between genres, certainly more experimental that expected. Even the tone of the vocals are oblique, almost Gentle Giant-ish, constantly on edge. After a serene piano -led passage, the fragile vocals increase in urgency, evolving into this massive lament, Francesco Di Giacomo belting it out with utter "buon" gusto.

Then we go pastoral and bucolic, because it's all about diversity and progression, the lyrics sung in English with a suavely thick Italian accent (think Pavarotti), all hypnotizingly delicious to the ears. Acoustic guitars abound, breezy synth washes wash and airy vocals, what a great combo. You want more playful? Okay! The second epic "Nothing's the Same" is tortuous, catty, mischievous and sardonic. Very sundry with both Nocenzi brothers weaving magic on their organs, pianos and synths. Drummer Pier Luigi Calderoni demonstrates considerable skill, keeping time like a Swiss watch while swerving according to the dizzying rhythms. again remindful of some Gentle Giant passages. Di Giacomo's charming accent does not detract at all from the sheer virtuosity of his trembling voice. Things get mightily symphonic when Renato D'Angelo's bass kicks in, slaloming deftly between the rough guitar and the whistling at times flamboyant synths. Patriotic defenders of RPI, the bold musicians are unafraid of creative thought and complex musical delivery.

"Traccia II" settles this one nicely, a sweet piano melody that, in the end, says it all, an Italian Rock band that had the wherewithal to interlock various styles into a cohesive bouquet. Tremendous listening .

4.5 tossed shoes

Review by zeuhl1
4 stars It's hard to consider this a compilation, as it is new recordings of older material along with some unreleased things. Banco IV from 1975 is an excellent way to get to know one of Italy's most beloved RPI bands.

This album, like PFM's Photo of Ghosts is an attempt by Manticore Records (ELP's label) to expose the band to US and UK audiences. LIke PFM, they re recorded their early material with English lyrics, which most RPI fans seem to agree is a bad move, however well intentioned.

Song two, L'Albero del Pane is the only song in Italian and is unreleased, a piece salvaged from a theater piece they were collaborating on at the time but had fallen apart. The big highlight is their reworking of the monumental Metamorphosis from their debut album. Weighing in at 12 minutes, this one song is a tour de force you can play to any prog friends and say "this is what Banco del Mutuo Soccorso sounds like'. As mentioned by others, it is odd they skipped anything from their second album, the powerful Darwin.

For those who have never really tried any Italian prog rock, this is a pretty good starting place. Likewise for anyone who wonders what Banco is all about, start here. The virtuoso dual keyboard work of the Nocenzi brothers always gave this band their distinctive sound, and this is perhaps their finest hour for showing off their chops. The album cover features the distinctive lead singer Francesco DiGiacomo, (one of the bettter known and loved singers in the RPI scene) in all his glory. It is hard to say this is my favorite Banco album, but if I had to keep one, this might be it. Sparkling clear sound quality is another characteristic that should be noted.

Reference points would be ELP on a really really good day. Make sure you get the gatefold version of the lp for the full experience.

4.5 stars

Latest members reviews

3 stars Review #187 Just as PFM did with "Photos of ghosts" and "The world became the world", BMS tried to achieve followers in non-Italian speaking countries with English versions of their previous songs. I'm not at all a fan of re-recorded material, alternative versions or forced translations s ... (read more)

Report this review (#2658152) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Monday, January 3, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The band tried to reach its market horizon outside Italy and recorded a set of English lyrics albums, this one being the first one. It is also the only one that I kept since other ones are inferior to their Italian originals. This one provides a different perspective and recordings of some song ... (read more)

Report this review (#2271376) | Posted by sgtpepper | Saturday, October 19, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I haven't listened so much to Banco del Mutuo Soccorso before, just some pieces here and there and of course liked what I heard but now I bought the vinyl "Banco"(1975) which is the band's fourth studio album and have listened to it some marvelous times. This is really so fantastic music you c ... (read more)

Report this review (#1161495) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Tuesday, April 15, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars English albums by Italian prog-rock artists seem to get either love or hate reviews - and a lot of the negative criticism does stem from the vocals. The general uncomfortable feel, the weaker display of emotional content, the heavy accents... okay, this may spoil your average PFM album, but I ... (read more)

Report this review (#96212) | Posted by coldsun | Monday, October 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This was Banco's attempt to break into the English-speaking market courtesy of Keith Emerson's Manticore label. I first heard "Chorale" on Alan Freeman's Saturday Rock Show (anyone else old enough to remember that??) and on the strength of that bought the album. I can understand why some revie ... (read more)

Report this review (#71563) | Posted by bruin69 | Friday, March 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Back in 1975, it may have seemed like a good idea release an English language album for the English speaking public - after all, PFM had done it a couple years earlier and apparently achieved considerable success. However, while "Banco" does create a decent picture of the band's sty ... (read more)

Report this review (#71550) | Posted by Pafnutij | Friday, March 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I'll be the first person to dramatically disagree with all the raters before me. Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso does not need any intriducion and is one of the greatest progressive Italian prog bands and my favourite, by the way, which has A LOT to do with their vocalist - his great, emotional, dee ... (read more)

Report this review (#36499) | Posted by | Tuesday, June 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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