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Delirium Dolce Acqua album cover
3.83 | 127 ratings | 17 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Preludio (Paura) (3:39)
2. Movimento I (Egoismo) (4:31)
3. Movimento II (Dubbio) (3:26)
4. To Satchmo, Bird and Other Unforgettable Friends (Dolore) (5:38)
5. Sequenza I e II (Ipocrisia - Veritā) (3:36)
6. Johnnie Sayre (Il perdono) (4:48)
7. Favola o storia del Lago di Kriss (Libertā) (4:22)
8. Dolce acqua (Speranza) (5:49)

Total Time 35:49

Bonus track on 1989 CD release:
9. Jesahel (4:05)

Line-up / Musicians

- Ivano Fossati / lead vocals, acoustic & electric flutes, acoustic guitar, recorder, harmonica
- Mimmo Di Martino / acoustic guitar, vocals (3)
- Ettore Vigo / piano, organ, electric piano, celesta, vibraphone, harpsichord, prepared piano, harmonium, vocals
- Marcello Reale / bass, vocals
- Peppino Di Santo / drums & percussion, timpani, vocals (1)

- Giancarlo Chiaramello / strings conductor

Releases information

Artwork: Gigi

LP Fonit ‎- LPX 11 (1971, Italy)

CD Fonit Cetra ‎- CDM 2025 (1989, Italy) With a bonus track
CD ‎- VMCD149 (2010, Italy) Remastered (?)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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DELIRIUM Dolce Acqua ratings distribution

(127 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

DELIRIUM Dolce Acqua reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
5 stars DELIRIUM's "Dolce Acqua" is a wild concaution of Jazz, Prog, World and Psychedelic influences yet always retains that Characteristically 70's Italian influence. Musically this album explores a wide range of impressions with some great flute, piano and percussive passages... lots of gentle syncopation. Vocals are deep and full of emotion. Songs are quite rhythmic and heavily centered on a the melodic aspect... even some orchestration. This album unveils many highs for this music lover with its wide spectrum of bright and bouncy colors and sounds. Although 70's sounding throughout, "Dolce Acqua" leans much more on the Jazz-prog arena than many of the heavy Ital-Prog albums of its era and most certainly that of their second album. One of the most remarkable aspects of this album for me lies in its sound reproduction which comes to life in the CD re-mastered version. Sonically this album offers great wide speaker separation and clear definition making the performers sound as if they are in your living room. Might be one of the best recorded albums of 1971... Captivating and then some!!

Review by andrea
5 stars This is the first Delirium's album, but for many people this is most of all the first album of Ivano Fossati, the Delirium's singer, guitarist and flutist that left the band after "Dolce acqua" was released and that is now one of the most influential and successful Italian singer-songwriters. Anyway, "Dolce acqua" is an amazing work: it's a kind of concept album about human feelings and the music is a mix of progressive, folk, jazz, classical influences and poetry.

Just the sound of the flute, then an acoustic guitar. "White houses kissed by a sun without light / Strange sun / Cosmic trains set off and don't come back anymore / From that sun. Hot shadows that burn the air above us / From that sun / Cold hands opening from our ruins / To that sun / The fear runs within me since I know / All that will remain of us is a bonfire. Spring, if you ever pass around here / You will bring with you a little part of me". The delicate opener "Preludio" is about "Fear" (Paura) and it's a dreamy ballad with the vocals of Ivano Fossati and Mimmo Di Martino that interact very well. Than the rhythm goes up with the following "Movimento I", about "Selfishness" (Egoismo). "I haven't got father / I haven't got mother / In my life I never loved anyone but me". "Movimento II" is about "Doubt" (Dubbio) and it's another ballad with poetic lyrics and a classical inspired outro. "To Satchmo, Bird and other unforgettable friends" is a jazzy instrumental chosen to represent "Pain" (Dolore).

Side two begins with the brilliant instrumental "Sequenza I e II", about "Hypocrisy and Truth" (Ipocrisia - Veritā), introduced by an acoustic rhythm guitar and a with a catchy melody that melts into a weird jazzy sound after a short drum solo break. The following track "Johnny Sayre", delicate ballad with an interesting instrumental passage and change of rhythm , is about "Forgiveness" (Perdono). "Padre tu non sai l'angoscia del momento / In cui la ruota di quel treno fu su di me / E ti chiedo perdono.": the lyrics are an adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters' character Johnny Sayre from the "Anthology of Spoon River". "Father, thou canst never know / The anguish that smote my heart / For my disobedience, the moment I felt / The remorseless wheel of the engine / Sink into the crying flesh of my leg / As they carried me to the home of widow Morris / I could see the school-house in the valley / To which I played truant to steal rides upon the trains / I prayed to live until I could ask your forgiveness / And then your tears, your broken words of comfort! / From the solace of that hour I have gained infinite happiness / Thou wert wise to chisel for me: / Taken from the evil to come" (well, sometimes I think that poetry is music and vice-versa.). The following "Favola o storia del lago di Kriss" is about "Freedom" (Libertā): it's an acoustic ballad and the lyrics tell about a lake that would like to go out from its shores to explore the world of men. The final "Dolce acqua" is about "Hope" (Speranza), almost completely instrumental with a beautiful melody introduced by the flute and a "crescendo" with a good vocals and piano work: "The storm isn't gone yet / But I can see sweet water". The last one is perhaps the best track of the album.

On the CD version there's also a bonus track, "Jesahel", that was released as a single in 1972 (a very successful one indeed) and didn't appear on the original version of the album. It is the most known song of the band but it has nothing to do with the concept of an album that is one of most interesting in the progressive scene of the early seventies in Italy.

If you like this album I suggest check some of the solo works of Ivano Fossati (for instance "La pianta del tč", "Macramé" or "L'arcangelo"); though not exactly prog I think that the music of Fossati is worth listen to.

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dolce Acqua was the first of the three albums released by Delirium during their official activity (1971-1975). The only with Ivano Fossati, who left to become a famous (pop) singer-songwriter. The album if often regarded by many as a their masterpiece due to the large range of influences and genres (from jazz to folk and even hints of world music!!!). After having compared it with the following records for such a long time, I cannot agree with them. Ok, this is a very important album, one of the first examples of prog in Italy. There's also a huge variety of styles and influences on it. Not enough, though, to overshadow their third one, known as "Viaggio negli Arcipelaghi del Tempo".

Dolce Acqua is the only true "prog-folk" album ever released by the band. Acoustic instruments (guitars and classic piano) and flute. The jazzy vein is already quite evident and strong in songs as "To Satchmo, Bird and Other Unforgettable Friendd (Dolore)". A freely arranged composition that reminds me, somehow, the first album of Jethro Tull (This Was) in songs as "Serenade to a Cuckoo". Flute is very well played and it was one of Delirium's trade mark along with the deep, charismatic and, sometimes, rough vocals.

The album also features wonderful melodic tracks as "Favola o Storia del Lago di Kriss (Libertā)" with the contribution of strings in the coda section. In the cd version their most famous track ever is added: "Jesahel". This one was initially a single published in early 1971 and remains, still nowadays, their most important hit and one of the most memorable italian tunes ever.

In conclusion, Dolce Acqua is certainly worth of special mention, due in particular to its kindness and delicate variety of sounds and roots, from jazz to folk to melodic, with sparse (but important) echoes from Jethro Tull. Excellent for it drawed the line of what rock progressivo italiano could have been but it wasn't then. Dolce Acqua came before the arrival and the success of all those symphonic bands we all know very well. At that time, Delirium were already there along with very few bands and artists as, mainly, Le Orme, New Trolls and I Giganti...Jethro Tull were so strong at that time.

The following album Lo Scemo e il Villaggio is better if you want to listen to more complex sound.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars First album of a group fronted by future pop solo singer Ivan Fossatti (no link that I know of with Garybaldi's Bambi Fossatti), but one of the lighter/poppier one, even after Fossatti left to pursue his solo career. Dolce Acqua is overloaded with Fossatti's presence and the rest of the group appears more like an accompanying band rather than a real prog group. Musically the album hestates between pop, jazz, jazz-rock and the odd bit of folk(mostly heard in the acoustic guitar strumming often sounding Latin American) and all tracks are penned by Fossatti and Magenta (whom does not appear as a musician in the group's line- up) and has pop feeling. Lyrically the album has a concept about feelings (the subtitles in brackets), but it appears non-convincing to the album's lack of musical focus. Due to the group's strategic appearances to a few festivals and a few successful chart-topping singles (Canto Di Osanna and Jezahel), this album gained a lot of attention and healthy sales early on in the country's golden prog era. And a very naïve artwork is gracing the cover as well.

In the 8 tracks of the album (Jezahel is a bonus track not properly mentioned on this reissue), there seems to lack unity, some being outright standard jazz (To Satchmo), some other are overloaded by cheesy strings (the title track), other dips in jazz rock (Sequenza), some are insufferably pop, but on the whole the album remains a pleasant listen, partly due to Fossatti's able presence behind the flute.

Indeed, it appears that a good deal of the "prog" groups that managed good success/public attention in Italy's golden prog age, might have not been the most gifted (I think of Osanna's Debut album as well) and that the most deserving groups did not get the needed recognition. Delirium appears to belong in the first category and this writer is not really impressed by this album, no matter how important (historically or commercially) the album was.

Review by micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Oh what a special album this is to me.. most likely surpassed in quality perhaps by Delirium III but still one of my favorite albums from the RPI movement. One with a great deal of personal attachment due to a very special person in my life. One of early classics of Italian prog released before the great wave of PFM, Banco, and a great wave of others came in 1972. Delirium was formed in 1970 from the ashes of the beat group Sagitari. They first made an impression on the musical scene at the first avant-guarde festival of Viareggio in 1971. Later that year they recorded their first album, Dolce Acqua which became one the big 4 Italian rock albums of the year. Along with The New Trolls Concerto Grosso, Le Orme's Collage, and Osanna's L'Uomo. On a seperate note it is interesting to note the wide musical differences between those albums but that is for another time. Unfortunately as a quick check of the Italian album charts for that year will show. Dolce Acqua was the only one of those albums not to crack the top 10. In fact.. Dolce Acqua less commercially less successful than Osibisa in Italy hahha. However ask those.. like Raffaella that DID hear the album as a beautiful young lady and what they thought of it. It was a album that stuck to you and made an immediate impression. Commercial success for Delirium would come a year later and that would come with significant changes for the group but that is for later reviews.

Dolce Acqua is typical RPI faire in it's wonderfully eclectic mix of the Italian symphonic tradition with jazz, folk and catchy pop melodies. The star of this album is Ivano Fossati whose....rather distinctive voice is really the thing that sets this album apart. Fossati in addition to his VERY distinctive voice was a very competent flute player and was given a great deal of space on this album. As such.. with any prog group it seems that has the flute in the forefront, that has often lent to frequent Jethro Tull comparisons. Personally I don't see that at all. The flute is common of course.. actually listening to the album and the influences simmering and then served up on the album should take care of that misconception about similarity to Tull. Tull especially at this time was rooted in Blues and English Folk.. find that on this album and I'll give you my copy of the album for free.

The album kicks off with Preludio (Paura) with Fossati's airy flute giving way to a vocal given and take with Fossati and Di Martino. A soft sensual opening track that sets up up for the next song the incredible Movimeto I (Egoismo) which explodes with Fossati's manic flute playing with an upbeat and danceable tempo. I dare you to listen to this song with out being to keep your body still. The piano solo on this is one of favorite moments on the album.. a sprited jazzy excursion that is so full of life and passion you really have to be cold not to feel the music deep within you and let it take hold of you. Movimento II follows with a delicate flute melody with nice classical flourishes especially as the song closes. A nice sedate counterpoint to the frantic and upbeat tone of Movimento I. The long winded 'To Satchmo, Bird and Other Unforgettable Friends (Dolore)' follows a nice piano intro with a journey into a jazz anchored by Fossati's flute and pianist Ettore Vigo. Not a particularly original piece of music perhaps.. but it simply sounds good and again provides dynamic contrasts between the other styles Delirium was putting into the pot on this album. Sequenza I e II follows next and is one of my favorites on this with another melody that just grabs you and won't let go. A nice bouncy melody carried by the acoustic guitar and piano which Fossati dances over joined by the group singing wordlessly with the melody. Johnnie Sayre (Il perdono) is a vocal showcase for Fossati in the first half of the song before the acoustic guitar kicks in and takes us down a folk path with drums panning across the stereo speaker with chatting voices in the background before returning to the comforting sound of Fossati's voice to bring things to a conclusion. Favola o storia del Lago di Kriss (Libertā) has again Fossati's voice.. almost descending to warbling but never quite reaching that threshold. A rather plain folkish song that really didn't have any highlights to me other than the nice string interludes. Weakest on the album. Dolce acqua (Speranza) follows with a great and memorable flute melody a warm inviting piece of music with wonderful piano and string sections. I can best describe it as very classy and refined. An elegant piece of music I guess you would say. Very touching. The album closes with the song that would later break the group apart I guess you could say.. Jesahel which would be released later in 1972 as a single and bring the group the fame that escaped them with this album. Not much to the song for me... Jesahel being being a chorus of sorts that is repeated throughout the song. Pretty much a pop song. Again... foretelling the end of Fossati's time in Delirium.

For the album. Hard one to rank. Personally as much I adore Fossati and his voice.. Delirium would hit their apex with Delirium III and was simply a better album than this one. However Italian prog. .and prog in general is filled with great albums that simply are not 'essential' listens. Lord knows I have reviewed more than a few. Conversely you will have albums that are not letter perfect that ARE essential. This album is one of them. Want to understand in an early album what the phenomenon of Rock Progressivo Italiano is ..and why it is unique among the branches of prog. This album is one of the early example of what why it was. I mentioned 3 other albums earlier that came out in the same year. The derivative tag can be fairly.. maybe not accurately.. but with some justification be put on each of those 3 early albums. This one though.. the potent mix of Italian symphonic, jazz, folk, and pop music was what would foretell the real heights of Italian prog in the 70's. As creators of their own sound.. not merely English imitators. For the site 5 stars. For myself .. as I noted. I think Delirium III is a better album even without Fossati but that doesn't mean I don't take great pleasure from this album and some of the moments on this album are simply magic. 4 stars for me. Dedicated to that very special woman in my life. I can just picture you listening to this back in those incredible days.

Michael (aka Micky)

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I was 11 years old when, in the early spring of 1972, Delirium appeared at one of Italy's best-known musical events, the Festival of Sanremo. At the time, even if the festival had always been largely devoted to traditional Italian musica leggera (easy listening), it still offered some scope for more innovative acts. Delirium's choice of song , "Jesahel", became an instant hit, though it didn't really fit the bill of the kind of music Sanremo generally stood for. Though not a masterpiece by any means, the song was infectious in an odd kind of way... To one who, like me, even at an early age had never been able to stand the unrelenting dominance of the so-called Italian melody, the song sounded like something new, fresh and intriguing. It might have been the chorus, or the presence of a flute played in a more aggressive way, or Ivano Fossati's distinctly untraditional vocal style... Well, my 11-year-old self was truly and well hooked, and wanted more. This is how I got my mother to buy me what was to be my very first prog album...

"Dolce acqua" ("Sweet Water" in English, and also the name of a town in the band's native region of Liguria) was released in 1971, after the band had won a couple of prestigious musical awards. Even as young as I was, I still remember the original liner notes, written by a well-known music journalist, where Delirium were compared to the likes of Colosseum and Blood, Sweat & Tears. I knew practically nothing of either band, but I understood that Delirium were trying to do something that went beyond that Italian musical tradition which I had always loathed. Everything about them felt different... The colourful artwork, hippyish look and intriguing song titles, their use of instruments that sounded so exotic to a naive, pre-teen girl. When I finally got the album and gave it the first spin, I was not disappointed. It was the beginning of my love affair with progressive rock - first the Italian variety, then, a few years later, the big English groups.

Fast forward some 35 years... After what felt like a lifetime, I got the chance to listen to "Dolce acqua" again. In the spring of 2007, my youth was well behind me, and the album I had never really forgotten resurfaced in my life again, when the man of my dreams, whom I had met by a mere chance thanks to our mutual love of prog rock, finally got hold of a copy of the album. We were both astonished at how good it sounded... still, after all those years. Listening to it with the ears of an adult person, I was swept back to that time in my life when I realised my musical tastes were never going to be conventional. Though "Dolce acqua" may not be as musically or lyrically accomplished as Delirium's undisputed masterpiece, their third album, it is one of the best debuts in prog - a true rough diamond, unpolished yet full of emotional impact.

Since the preceding reviewers have perfectly illustrated the musical content of the album, I'll skip a track-by-track analysis. As others have pointed out, "Dolce acqua" combines such diverse influences as jazz, blues and prog with more mainstream sensibilities. However, Delirium's overall sound is light years away from the definitely more melodic approach of historic Italian bands such as Dik Dik or I Pooh. There are no love songs on the album, which was in itself a groundbreaking event in the country where 'love' rhymes with 'heart'. The songs are instead structured as a suite in eight movements, each of them dedicated to a particular feeling or emotion - interestingly, love not is not included. One of the tracks, "Johnnie Sayre", contains the almost obligatory homage to an American poet who had become a cult item in the Italy of the late Sixties and early Seventies, Edgar Lee Masters of "Spoon River Anthology" fame (legendary singer-songwriter Fabrizio De André, hailing, like Delirium and Christopher Columbus, from the harbour city of Genoa, had also dedicated one of his first albums to "Spoon River"). Incidentally, "Jesahel" did not feature on the original version on the album, since at the time it had only been released as a single.

Ivano Fossati's low, dark, intensely expressive voice is probably the most noteworthy element of "Dolce acqua", together with his flute playing, in turn melodic and aggressive, perhaps not highly technical, but essential to the whole texture of the music. His vocals shine throughout the album, wistful and almost plaintive in the acoustic intro "Preludio", forceful in "Movimento I (Egoismo)", sad and mournful in "Johnnie Sayre", warm and richly emotional in the title-track. The overall sound of the album veers more towards the acoustic than the electric, which anchors it to the Italian tradition without detracting from its aspirations to be something different.

Though "Dolce acqua" has been called naive and amateurish by some, it does possess an endearing quality which makes it worthwhile even to ears accustomed to more sophisticated fare. The band had indeed potential in spades: unfortunately, though, they never became as successful as some of their contemporaries did, and split in 1974 - only to reform in 2007 for an excellent live album. As to Fossati, after leaving Delirium he embarked on a successful career as a singer-songwriter. Though I have a lot of respect for what he's been doing ever since, I can't help regretting that he didn't stick to prog - in my opinion, he had the potential to become one of the best vocalists of the Seventies, bar none.

In spite of my sentimental attachment to the album, I will hold the fifth star because it can't really be considered a masterpiece in the way, for instance, "Darwin" or "Storia di un minuto" are. However, I would recommend it very highly to everyone interested in exploring some of the lesser-known facets of RPI - as well as hearing some great, soulful, unconventional singing. On a more personal note, it is very likely that, without this album, I would have never got into prog, and therefore never met the man who has changed my life completely. Because of this, "Dolce acqua" will always hold a special place in my heart.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is one of the earlier Italian prog releases coming out in 1971. Acoustic guitar, flute and piano dominate the sound although Fossati's vocals are the most pleasing sound I hear. I would describe the music as charming, simple, folky and uplifting and I would agree with what Micky says: "Some of the moments on this album are simply magical".

"Preludio" opens with flute and then reserved vocals and acoustic guitar take over. It's so cool to hear both Fossati and Di Martino singing on this one. Flute and piano end it. Great tune ! "Movimento I" has a 60's flavour to it with those vocal melodies. Flute, strummed guitar, drums, bass and piano create the music. Vocals a minute in. Another excellent track. "Movimento II" opens with piano before these passionate vocals come in with flute and drums. The vocals are emotional and yes magical. Orchestral sounds to end it. "To Satchmo, Bird And Other Unforgettible Friends" is led by piano, flute then drums before we get some standup bass 1 1/2 minutes in. Some nice piano in this one too.The drums dominate after 4 minutes.

"Sequenza I E II" opens with strummed guitar as flute and piano join in. Catchy stuff. Organ and vocal melodies 1 1/2 minutes in. Flute, piano and bass lead the way late. "Johnnie Sayre" opens with strummed guitar (surprise), vocals a minute in as it settles. Some female vocal melodies come in and then the sound slows down. Male vocals end it with strummed guitar. "Favola O Storia Del Lago Di Kriss" is my favourite song on here. It's such a simple beat with vocals but it's...magic. "Dolce Acqua" opens with flute and strummed guitar. Piano before 2 minutes as vocal melodies follow, drums too. Vocals after 4 1/2 minutes. It calms right down to end it. "Jesahel" opens with strummed guitar as flute, vocals and clapping join in. Percussion follows as the sound builds. It sounds like mellotron after 2 minutes.

This is a gem that should not be overlooked. Do yourself a favour and read Raff's review as well. This is one of those albums that slowly stole my heart.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3.5 stars for this one...

Highly influential band from Genova,formed in 1970 out of the ashes of ''I Sagittari''.The original line-up featured Ivano Fosatti,who later followed a solo career of great success.Their first single ''Canto di osanna'' was a big highlight of the Viareggio Pop Festival,so DELIRIUM won their first points by the public.In 1971 they released their debut ''Dolce acqua'' on Fonit Label.

This album can please both progressive and art-pop fans with its unique musicianship,as DELIRIUM were trying to bring an early progressive rock sound,characterized by a mass of influences, together with easy-listening,almost poppish tunes...and the truth is that they did it very well.In ''Dolce acqua'' one can listen to echoes of jazz,classical music,pop and meditterenean folk.Instrumentally the band leans towards the jazz scene,accompanied by the -always present- folkish flutes of Fosatti.There is a fair amount of nice piano passages,both with jazz and classical tendencies,and delicate acoustic guitars with an intense ethnic feeling.As for the vocal tracks,they are also quite nice,dominated by hard flutes,distinctive Hammond organ and the alternating dramatic/sweet vocal parts of Fosatti,who prooves to be a charismatic singer.At the end you will agree that DELIRIUM managed to create their own beautiful style from their first ever release...and this is a good reason to search for this early-70's Italian work...

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars Several five and four star ratings for this album. Huuuum?

Let's say that I quite like the Italian genre: according PA statistic, this is my 215th review of the genre. Still, I won't be as laudatory as most of my colleagues. Just because I am lacking something while I listen to this album.

Of course the music is at times beautiful. There is no doubt either about the musicianship (but as I often said, this is no wonder). But as a whole, this album doesn't transport me in the other world.

Below average jazz ambience ("To Satchmo?" or "Sequenza I e II") aren't any of my liking. Fortunately, the previous tracks from this work correspond more with my idea of Italian prog rock. ("Egoismo" is one of them). This debut album is by no means their best and if I were you, I would skip this one and concentrate on later works.

The grandeur of the magnificent ISP is not often present on this album. Some good fluting at times: yes. Some fine folkish atmospheres: yes. But is this leading to a masterpiece? Absolutely not.

The weak "Favola O Storia ?" is just an example of the whole. It leads to a weakening of the rating because it is quite miserable. I am desperately looking for a highlight. But this debut from "Dolce Acqua" doesn't hold many of them (if any).

I quite like the opening fluting part of "Speranza". The band is gifted and at times proposes some real good instrumental parts; but as a whole I can't rate this work with more than two stars. I never have "vibrated" here. And believe me: this genre is quite moving for me (you might discover this in my previous 214th reviews).

Let's wait for better shapes of things to come.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Such power, yet so delicate...

Words like 'engaging', 'powerful', 'energetic', 'intense' and similar adjectives depicting the blood, sweat and tears that an artist put into his work are regular features in my reviews. Delirium's debut provides a perfect example of what I try to say using those words, as they are not meant to indicate raging fury or an onslaught of blast beats or reckless riffing. Nope, they rather stand for the emotive power of the music and the ability of a work of art to tickle the senses. It's something that this album achieves like no other.

It reminds me so much of another early prog album that I love to bits, Jethro Tull's Stand Up. Both albums consist of short songs with traditional rock structure, with a mix of blues, light-jazz and lots of folksy flutes and sweeping melodies. There almost no point where they rock out, instead gentle and delicate acoustic guitars, flowery ballads and sweet melancholy prevail.

This album won't score as high on your proggometers as the UK albums from 1971, but this is an album from a brand-new prog-scene that would mature at an incredible pace and more then make up for its slow start. So instead of a full-fledged prog album, this is more like an album belonging to '69, to an era of impassioned songwriters, bittersweet violins and a naive yet irresistible optimism. Every track is a pearl of song writing craft, lyrical melodies and deeply touching melancholy.

Vocalist Ivano Fossati is the magician, the secret ingredient that charms the notes and chords into living organisms. Some tunes like Johnnie Sayre and Jesahel reveal that this man had more poppy ambitions but everything remains very tasteful and soulful.

In my book Dolce Aqua is a most satisfying early Italian album, it's simple but so effective and so deeply moving. 4.5 stars

Review by stefro
2 stars Another entry into the category of albums overshadowed by their own artwork - there are plenty of those - this 1971 effort from the Italian outfit Delirium is one of those frustrating albums that features plenty of pretty moments yet just doesn't ever really get going. Italian albums, especially middling one's like 'Dolce Aqua', are always going to have it difficult simply by dint of being from Italy. Up against some formidable local opposition, the Italian prog scene of the 1970's was amongst the most diverse, featuring some of the genre's true greats in the shape of such luminaries as Le Orme, PFM, Maxophone and Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso and their subsequent albums which have proved amongst their most popular created, if not commercially speaking then certainly critically. Taken in context 'Dolce Aqua' seems pretty average; taken out of context, it's actually a pretty decent album, featuring a flute-laced sound, classical textures and some attractive harmonies. However, the pace is slow, bordering on the soporific, certain tracks seem to wander aimlessly, as if the musicians are unsure of what to do next, and the album on the whole seemingly owes a great deal of debt to both Jethro Tull and Van Der Graaf Generator, only lacking the fiery invention of the latter and the inventive genre- blending of the former. Opener 'Preludio' does exude a certain playfulness, and the group sport a refined jazz touch on the piano-led 'To Satchmo', yet there's nothing here that hasn't been done before, and done slightly better. All told then this is a pretty decent affair, yet when compared to the competition the word ordinary quickly springs to mind. Great front cover though. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars It was 1972. My mother was watching the San Remo festival. Then I saw those hippie guys singing a song called Jesahel. Even if I was still only 12 years old (my serirous musical interest didnīt really start until I was 14) I was quite impressed by what I heard and saw (they didnīt win, but their brilliant performance made quite a stir). Some 40 years later I was in a friendīs house when I found this CD with an impressive cover. I decided to borrow it, without even listening a single note and the fact that I had never heard of the band. Well, with a cover like that I could guess it might be good. At least it would bring memories of the pop art of the period, which was quite common.

I was quite surprised that this is the band that made Jesahel (included here as a bonus track). Having found the name of the group and title of the song it was easy to look for their San Remo stunning performance on the YouTube (Gosh, donīt we all LOVE YouTube?). But back to the album: Dolce Acqua was their debut LP. After several spins I should say this CD is very, very good. Not perfect, not a masterpiece, but really good and quite promising. There are two real flaws: first, their songwriting was not fully developed at the time. All songs are nice and melodic, but a few tunes could benefit from a little more work. Nothing is bad, though. Overall the acoustic and pastoral songs are quite inspired and convincing. Second, and the main problem here, although Dolce Acqua is quite veried, the fourth track is a straight jazz number that has nothing to do with the rest of the album. Even if not a bad song per se, it completely ruins the flow and balance of the record. If you hear this CD and thinks that there is something wrong, try to listen to tit skipping that track. Itīll make much more sense. I discovered that myself after several sessions. A real shame.

Otherwise, I loved Dolce Acqua. Ivano Fossati has a great voice and his flute playing is amazing. The band is tight and accomplished. The production is ok for the time, and the remastering made it sound even better. There are some real strong material here like Ipocresia - Veritá, the title track and the opener Paura. And, of course their biggest hit, Jesahel, but it was not on the original LP. A very nice surprise.

Final rating: difficult album to rate. I guess 3,5 stars is quite fitting: a few excellent songs among other that are just good ones. Promising album from a promising band. Iīm looking forward to hear its follow up.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Delirium's debut album `Dolce Acqua' from 1971 is a hazy and warm acoustic mix of vocal pieces and instrumentals, a snapshot of a band finding their feet by stretching the boundaries of pop, folk, jazz, classical and psychedelic music. There's a sense of comfort and togetherness from the band through their pleasing group harmonies and the frequently upbeat, joyous compositions. Mostly dominated by acoustic guitar, piano and flute, with tastefully restrained orchestral flourishes, with even occasional raga-rock droning percussion wrapped up in a late 60's/early 70's Pink Floyd drowsiness, it's truly a perfect soundtrack for warm summers, best enjoyed in the company of good friends and relaxed atmospheres. Lead vocalist Ivano Fossati would only hang around for this one album, but his style is not too different to his replacement Martin Grice, so fans coming to the band from their later defining work `Delirium III' should still feel right at home.

Apparently `Dolce Acqua' is a concept album about human emotions, but you don't need to follow the Italian lyrics too closely to enjoy the pieces. Besides, it's frequently instrumental, the music perfectly conveying the titles, and many of the vocals are wordless harmonies anyway. `Preludio' is a haunting and thoughtful acoustic opener, Ivano sharing the vocals with another member of the band (hard to tell who, they're all credited on vocals!), and it's especially lovely when their two voices seamlessly blend together in the sublime chorus. There's some lovely shimmering vibraphone and restrained bass too. The boisterous `Egoismo' fires up for a more raucous and stomping acoustic rocker, raspy lead vocals leading the way before improvised huffing flute and a foot-tapping jazzy run. For some reason, the melody reminds me briefly of the opening title track off the Renaissance album `Prologue'! The piano driven `Movimento II' has a late Beatles-like orchestral grandiosity, especially listen out for the strangely uneasy ending, while `To Satchmo...' is a laid-back and breezy flute-fuelled lounge-jazz instrumental that floats along on supremely good and positive vibes.

`Sequenza 1 And 2' is another pleasing extended piano and distorted flute instrumental with some added humming Hammond organ. The slow-drifting yet spiky acid folk of `Johnnie Sayre' has droning repeated vocals, electronic distortion and wild stereo-panning drumming/percussion that leaves the listener dizzy and overwhelmed. Despite strident acoustic strumming and other-worldly treated lead vocals, `Favola O Storia...' is a little repetitive, with far too many vocals crammed into a shorter pop piece, so thankfully there's some ghostly orchestration that almost resembles a scratchy Mellotron during the brief instrumental passage in the middle. After a nicely plodding acoustic strum ala Pink Floyd's `Green Is The Colour', the closing title track finds a purposeful beat and blesses the listener with a heartfelt, confident Rick Wright-styled piano build and gentle orchestration throughout. It ensures the album ends in a suitably grand and momentous manner.

Admittedly, a few of the pieces are a little repetitive and played out a little long, but there's not a single poor moment to be found here. Italian progressive albums would only start getting even more experimental and daring from here, but there's no denying the band was offering magical, wonderful music right from the start. Despite only four studio albums, a handful of singles/non-album tracks and live recordings to show for their forty-plus year career, the band has almost always delivered superb musical offerings, and this exquisite debut is no exception. It's fairly easy to get hold of again now on both LP and CD reissues, but try to track down the inexpensive two disc Warner Brothers CD boxset I bought, `Delirium - 1971-1974', that includes every bit of their Seventies recorded output. You'll get three amazing works and a bunch of tasty extras that add up to an extra 40 minutes of music. Absolutely essential.

`Dolce Acqua' is a very special, delicate gift, the most precious and breezy Delirium album, yet never skimps on terrific musical sophistication. It will captivate every listener, and forty years on, has proven to be truly timeless.

Four stars, and my personal favourite from the band.

(I wish I had this one on vinyl, just look at that front cover with the flute being plugged directly into the brain! Just how I feel when I listen to so many of those flute-dominated RPI titles!)

Review by zeuhl1
5 stars Although many people point to Delirium III as the one to grab, I need to point out that there is something very important missing from Delirium's second and third album: frontman, lead vocalist and flautist extraordinaire Ivano Fossati.

One cannot underestimate how much of Fossati's personality and talent went into this band. In two short years he brought them to the top of the charts in the Italian scene on the back of their monster hit 'Jesahel', a finalist in the Sanremo Music Festival in 1972. Furry freaks on national TV entered into an establishment music festival/contest? What?

His departure (drafted, perhaps intentionally, into the army) on the cusp of national and European fame threw a large monkey wrench into the plans, as Delirium was starting to blow up big. Them surviving at all was in doubt, like Genesis continuing after Gabriel quit-unthinkable they'd survive.....hmm.

Which left us with their only album with Fossati, the excellent Dolce Acqua. Acoustic guitars, heavy use of flute and Fossati's remarkable ability to construct memorable melodic hooks make this an essential album for any RPI collection. Like Jesahel, some of this stuff gets inside your head and runs on repeat it is so catchy. What makes this record so satisfying is the unifying cohesiveness contained within, something lacking in their second and third releases. A warmth surrounds every song, like the band had been playing these songs hundreds of times in many settings. This stuff just makes you feel good in a way that their later albums can only hint at. Fossati's vocals (in Italian of course) are some of my favorite in the whole scene, distinctive, impassioned without overwhelming. Some might hesitate at sixties era tinges in backing vocals, but that is all part of the charm of this album.

Reference points would be wide and varied-acoustic folk with jazz tinges and Italian classical leanings? Donovan sits in with Genesis in 1971? Hard to pin down, this one is an original.

Highly recommended. Five stars and a foundation album of the whole RPI scene, pre dating PFM. Get the triple gatefold lp if you can find one for the period piece artwork. The CD usually contains Jesahel, but the lp does not as it was a 45 only release.

Latest members reviews

5 stars "Dolce Acqua" is for me one of the best works of the Italian Prog scene. Back in '71, Delirium, led bt the famous singer Ivano Fossati, released this as their first LP, and the following year the album was reprinted with Delirium's new hit, "Jesahel", a very enjoyable song, even if it belongs to ... (read more)

Report this review (#2243837) | Posted by Cymbaline98 | Thursday, August 15, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is one of the most beautiful touches for me with really classic Italian Prog. It contains an excellent mix of Jazz, Prog and Folk. They used rather many musical instruments, like keyboards, percussion, acoustic guitar and particularly flute. Electric guitar didn't find a place among them, b ... (read more)

Report this review (#194986) | Posted by Mr. O | Thursday, December 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first work released in 1971 "Dolce Acqua". The content is thick folk rock. Various music like jazz and classics, etc. is taken. It gives birth to air with a nostalgic sound of a romantic melody and musical instruments. The perfection as pop is preeminent. This album is not progressive. How ... (read more)

Report this review (#71465) | Posted by braindamage | Wednesday, March 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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