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Showmen 2

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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Showmen 2 Showmen 2 album cover
3.17 | 17 ratings | 1 reviews | 6% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Abbasso lo zio Tom 6:54
2. Amore che fu 8:22
3. Epitaffio 7:16
4. Corri uomo corri 7:10
5. E la vita continua 4:49
6. Ma che uomo sei 7:32

Line-up / Musicians

Gianmichele Mattiuzzo Organ, Piano, Vocals
James Senese Sax, Flute, Percussion, Vocals
Pepe Botta Bass, Vocals
Piero Alonso Guitars
Franco Del Prete Drums, Percussion
Mario Archittu Trombone, Piano

Releases information

LP: B.B.B. Records, #NL SH 0001 (1972)
CD: Dvmore #6022 (1996)
CD: BTF/AMS #AMS126 (2007)

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SHOWMEN 2 Showmen 2 ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(6%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (47%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SHOWMEN 2 Showmen 2 reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Important but little-known RPI band

Showmen were a Naples band important in RPI history as well as rock and roll. The first incarnation dates to 1966 and included in its line-up Elio d'Anna, who would go on to form the RPI powerhouse Osanna. The first line-up blended Italian pop with soul/R and B and had several successful singles before breaking up around 1970. Shortly after this, several members joined some new musicians to form Showmen 2 which would attempt to blend some of the original Showmen sound with the exciting new rock sounds that were beginning to permeate Italy. This line-up is the one of interest to RPI fans as it produced the fine 1972 album Showmen 2. While together they played at the 1972 Genova Pop Festival and other open air festivals of the day. The story is a familiar one: the album didn't sell particularly well and the band broke up shortly after this, with Senese and Del Prete going on to form Napoli Centrale, who actually were quite successful and recorded several jazz-rock albums. Showmen 2's history spans the beat and progressive eras, with points of interest in both. Their lone album features elements of their recent past blended with distinctive nods into the surging RPI scene. While not wildly avant-garde by any means, the excitement of the moment is felt in the spirited jamming, blended styles, and occasional splash in the prog-sound ocean.

The Showmen 2 album is quite a good one with an interesting mix of sounds powerful and passive. Most tracks are 7-8 minutes long and have plenty of time to show off the considerable talents in playing, singing, and arrangements. The opening cut is a stunner with up front and muscular bass playing, really active and in-your-face which I love. To me it feels almost like a bit of the more rocking early Chicago crossed with Rare Earth, made especially bold by the two male vocals. The vocals have to be emphasized on this album. They are blue collar and gregarious throughout, vibrant and always belted out with no fanciness, reminding me of Raminghi. The grooving rhythm section and vocal sections are augmented with occasional light use of horns, not the hard-edged brass of Officina Meccanica but a Chicago style trombone, I believe. A nice amped up electric solo cuts through with bite. As quickly as you think you have Showmen 2 pegged the second track shifts gears completely, sounding like some lost Tull or Renaissance track. Acoustic guitar, flute, and piano drift in a very ethereal, longing mood showing that Showmen were very interested in the current scene. A melodic and lighter vocal is introduced here, the mood and playing almost in the Reale Accademia territory. Suddenly the band will stop and the flute will simply appear again, very beautiful but melancholic. As the third track begins Showmen are really getting out there, with spooky spoken intro and screaming guitar feedback. But soon return the melodic and impeccably tasteful rock of the first track, with good changes and superb two-part vocals. The second side continues with consistent strength, introducing a bit of folk influence in spots. Some moments are bringing to mind the band Libra or Samadhi while in other places they are having enough fun to remind me of the Blue Brothers. The bottom line is an album that does not break significant ground in any prog sense, but certainly plays with the freedom of the moment in a way that is quite satisfying on top of what this band really is: just one hell of a rock and roll band. The "Pound for a Brown" Blog notes: "Musically this is a mighty discovery. It consists of long tracks, and simply amazing songs that glue your ears to the music. It's definitely heavy prog like you've never heard until you hear this. A superb recording, mixing prog with heavy psych on a jazz framework."

Recommended for RPI historians first and foremost, but also for anyone interested in the bands I noted. Showmen 2 will not let you down in quality or enthusiasm. The BTF/AMS reissue is another high quality gatefold mini-lp sleeve with good sound quality, though it is a disappointment that the Bio is not translated to English. Usually they do this for us. 3 stars for me, though not quite enough for me to round up.

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