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GLEEMEN

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Gleemen biography
GLEEMEN are a foursome from Genoa headed by guitarist extraordinaire and Jimi Hendrix afficionado Pier Nicolò "Bambi" Fossati. After their own successful rendition of "Lady Madonna"(the famous BEATLES track) which put them on the map in the late 60's, they did a few live gigs and then decided they were ripe for a full-blown album which they released in 1970. A year later, keeping the same line-up but with a slightly more progressive edge, they would change their name to GARYBALDI.

Their eponymous album is typical of late 60's psychedelia: replete with raunchy blues vibes, it is a blend of wild, Hendrix-inspired guitar solos duelling with the Hammond organ, heavy pumping bass lines and a solid rhythm section. It covers a multitude of musical ideas, from classic to effervescent, dynamic hard rock, from acoustic to bluesy arrangements. A bit patchy and certainly no classic (especially not a prog classic), the album still contains a few hooks worth a spin or two.

Only recommended if you enjoy funky, Hendrix-style guitar play or are a fan of bands such as SANTANA, TEN YEARS AFTER .

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

Gleemen official website

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GLEEMEN discography


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GLEEMEN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.06 | 20 ratings
Gleemen
1970
3.97 | 7 ratings
Oltre.Lontano, Lontano
2013

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GLEEMEN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Oltre.Lontano, Lontano by GLEEMEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.97 | 7 ratings

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Oltre.Lontano, Lontano
Gleemen Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars It is quite true that some bands need more time than others to record their second album, but 43 years? Yes, the debut album from Gleemen was released in 1970, and here we have three of the original quartet along with some guests back with the second, with artwork that in many ways isn't too dissimilar to the original. I haven't heard the debut, but wouldn't be surprised if it sounded similar to this as what we have here is an album that is steeped in the rock sound of the Seventies, back when it was okay to mix loads of different styles and even play the blues if they wanted to. It is powerful, emotional, deep and full of passion. Although everyone has a major part to play, it is Bambi Fossati who will always gain the most attention as his guitarwork is just incredible, and it doesn't matter if he is playing a Sixties style number such as 'Stelle Di Vetro' that honestly could have been written a couple of years prior to their debut, or blasting it out in 'Schizoid Blues'.

There will be many who will say that this isn't really a progressive rock album at all, but rather a melting pot of many styles with a hard rock and blues grounding, but what really matters is not the label that ones gives to it but rather the understanding that this is one hell of an album. It is hard not to fall in love with it from the very outset and the more I play it the more I like it. The different guitarist bounce off each other, and there is the feeling on some songs that if they hadn't faded out then they would have gone on for hours. Add to the mix some great psych and pop numbers and Black Widow have a real winner on their hands. Unfortunately Bambi Fossati passed away in June at the age of 65, but he has left behind a fine way to remember him. www.blackwidow.it

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 Oltre.Lontano, Lontano by GLEEMEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.97 | 7 ratings

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Oltre.Lontano, Lontano
Gleemen Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars With the death of beloved Italian guitarist Pier Nicole `Bambi' Fossati just the other day, what better time than now to review one of the final musical appearances to feature his involvement, the comeback album from Italian psych rockers Gleemen, a precursor to the more well-known Garybaldi. It's been over 43 years since their superb debut, so you're no doubt preparing for this album to be a tired collection of bland dad-rock in the tradition of most comeback `retro' acts, right? Well, get that idea out of your head right away, as `Oltre...Lontano, Lontano' sees the band essentially time-travelling to our modern era, picking up exactly where they left off, only saying `Hey, production techniques have changed', and carried on in the same fashion! With the exception of keyboardist Lio Marchi, the original line-up is in place, the band filled out with a couple of younger members and several guest appearances, and Gleemen move through bluesy stompers, laid-back groovers, melodic rockers and the dreamiest of psychedelic pop, all bringing a truly timeless quality.

Three separate guitarists - Gianpaolo Casu, Mauro Culotta and Marco Zoccheddu - get standout (and very different) electric guitars solos throughout the simmering bluesy Clapton-styled opener `Anima di Gomma', with humming Hammond organ, slippery bass and darting flute from guest Daniela Piras, but the fade-out at the end is unforgivable! A nice mix of fiery acoustic guitar and electric soloing in the Santana band styled `La Grande Carovana', with a lusty vocal from Pino Nastasi, a ballistic Hammond run in the middle and such a strong Tex Mex influence that I thought Antonio Banderas was going to wander in with a guitar case full of guns! `Bambi' finally shows up for a thick, heavy and feral strangled n' mangled bluesy instrumental electric guitar stomp `Schizoid Blues' - "Hmm, not bad!" he proclaims at the end! Beatles influenced `Il Venditore di Pallaoni' starts as an acoustic ballad with gorgeous weeping violin, cello and sublime group harmonies, which merges with the brooding `In Una Stanza', Bambi returning for more electric guitar brimstone and a snarling vocal, but again - another fadeout! Just let the band play!

`Stelle di Vetro' is foot-tapping and spiky day-glow pop once it gets going with some joyful electric guitar soloing throughout the finale. With the exception of a few little harder moments, `Nel Mio Cortile' is a smooth Latin-influenced groover that would have fit on one of those comeback Santana albums, if he hadn't been worried about impressing a bunch of younger people who had no connection to his music and weren't, you know, rubbish. The second half lets Martin Grice of Italian prog legends Delirium provide some wicked and wonderfully stirring sax soloing, but again, we end with a disappointing fadeout. `Solo Amore' is a up-tempo rocker with endless tasty electric guitar fills to begin, a romantic chorus over violin and piano with a chugging heavy finale. The album closer title track is a head-nodding slow-burning blues come-down, full of harmonica, accordion, twinkling jazzy piano, Hammond organ ripples bubbling under and a sing-along group chorus. Hang around afterwards for a brief acoustic ballad with a sweet vocal as a hidden track.

But the absolute highlight for me is `Canzone dei Cuori Semplici', one of the most beautiful and dreamy psychedelic pop ballads I've heard in years. Other-worldly treated vocals, drowsy acoustic strumming over shimmering electric guitars, spacey synths and gentle orchestration. There's a blissful unhurried perfection to the piece, a cross between the hazy pop of the Beatles with an early Pink Floyd acid laziness. Pure psych-pop perfection to my ears.

Black Widow Records have a winning album here. This is not simply some tired hero worship by a bunch of aging hippies, it's a finely crafted collected of psychedelic and blues rock that will actually remain more timeless than ever dated. Older listeners in particular will appreciate the energy, passion and careful song-craft on display here, and `Oltre...Lontano, Lontano' is a fresh and impressive reminder of a quietly achieving psych band. It also makes for a respectable and dignified send-off to the dynamic guitarist Fossati.

Three and a half stars, rounded up to four for the Archives.

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 Oltre.Lontano, Lontano by GLEEMEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.97 | 7 ratings

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Oltre.Lontano, Lontano
Gleemen Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Formed in the 60's, the Italian band GLEEMEN released a single album back in 1970. In 1972 they decided to continue using a new name, Garybaldi, and released two more albums under that name before calling it quits. They reunited again in 1990 for a few years, and after another spell of inactivity reunited again in 2010. Come 2013 and the members decide to revive the old Gleemen band name, and towards the end of the year "Oltre... Lontano, Lontano" was released through Black Widow Records, 43 years after the first album issued under that band name saw the light of day.

While Gleemen as of 2013 perhaps isn't the best fit for the avid progressive rock fan they do touch ground also with this style during this hour long album. Their field of expertise appears to be blues based hard rock with more of a mainstream orientation however, and it's when exploring that variety of music I find Gleemen to be most intriguing. Which, in summary, should mean that those with a soft spot for that kind of music that also have an interest in progressive rock to be a likely key audience for this album.

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 Gleemen by GLEEMEN album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.06 | 20 ratings

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Gleemen
Gleemen Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Luciana Aun

4 stars The Italian band Gleemen was created around 1965 in Genoa and played in some festivals making covers of Beatles and Stones in diversified versions. In 1970, they decided to release their self titled album led by a well-known figure in the progressive Italian scene, Pier Nicolò "Bambi" Fossati, tremendous guitar player and a huge fan of Hendrix. Fossati besides being a talented guitarist, has a wonderful voice and also, shared stage with Van Der Graaf, Santana and Uriah Heep.

Actually, Gleemen is nothing less than the embryo of the great band Garybaldi, established in the same year of the release of this album and had the same formation but with some more progressive vein in their compositions. This made Garybaldi became one of the most important bands of the Italian scene in the early '70s.

This record is quite atypical to what we are used to when it comes to 60s, a bit strident guitars, with strong influences to the master Hendrix, dueling by wonderful and energetic passages of Hammond, creating a pretty damn psychedelic atmosphere. Not to mention the perfectly prowess of the lead drummer conducting the band.

Absolute highlight for track "The Confusione Dei" which brings excellent guitar passages followed by the beautiful voice of Fossati and a Hammond tone quite different but wonderful!

Here's an atypical audition to what we are used when it comes to Italian Progressive Rock and i´m quite sure that everyone will be surprised with this innovative album for the time. The record gets to a near perfection when the issue is psychedelic rock.

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 Gleemen by GLEEMEN album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.06 | 20 ratings

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Gleemen
Gleemen Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars Beat by beat.

The Rock Progressivo Italiano scene did not happen over night. The forerunner was the Italian beat scene which branched out in all directions. One of the branches was the Rock Progressivo Italiano scene. But Italy also had a good blues scene. Being the forerunner of Garybaldi, Gleemen has been put into the Rock Progressivo Italiano category. But in all honesty; they are more a blues band than a prog band.

This album is their only album and I have to confess I love the art work. That though is the only agreeable part of this album. The music is blues with some beat and rock influences. Gleemen is far too Italian to sound like something from Chicago or even New Orleans though. But is is clear that USA has been a major influence for Gleemen rather than the green, green grass of England (see Rock Progressivo Italiano). The result is a pretty poor album which offers little. The only good thing about this album is some Clouds and The Nice influenced Hammond organs. That is the only good thing I take from this music. These Hammond pieces is good. The songs are poor. The musicianship and the vocals are decent. Hence my restrained use of stars.

2 stars

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 Gleemen by GLEEMEN album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.06 | 20 ratings

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Gleemen
Gleemen Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This early version of "Garybaldi" works needs your attention.

Of course, we are talking here of some oldies of prog. The very early seventies. But wasn't it one of the best period in prog history? This band though is more on the heavy side and should have made their entry into the heavy prog genre instead of this RPI melting pot.

The psyche and upbeat "Farfalle Senza Pois" is certainly as brilliant as some of the best Anglo-American of the style (even if the latter ones were producing their work some two years prior to this one). I won't tell you that this album is an absolute jewel or must own: some tracks are quite forgettable like "Shilaila Dea Dell' Amore".

But if you are looking to some wild and heavy psychedelia, "Spirit" is probably a moment that you should share with "Gleemen". A highlight. Huge and heavy organ, wild guitar and superb drumming. What else? If you are keen on the great "Atomic Rooster", you should be interested in this album, for sure.

The guitar work from Bambi Fossati is also excellent and it is no wonder if Lise mentioned Hendrix or TYA in their bio.

The filiation with the heavy and bluesy "Hendrix" sounds are more than obvious while " Chi Sei Tu, Uomo" is being performed.It almost sound as a live track. Only that the percussive punch from the master is quite "ice-creamed" with a piano-bar sort of solo.

The next track is just a great performance: wild and heavy keys, huge drums and superb bass. The beat is really grandiose. When this type of song is being played, it is quite difficult to remain seated? Just think that this album was released by an Italian band in 1970. Very few of the Italian greats were effective by these pre-historical days, and only therefore "Gleemen" should be rewarded.

The band is even melodic during "Bha-Tha-Hella" which is a heavy psychedelic affair with some fine vocals I have to say. Again, early Purple and Hendrix are quite present on the bill during "Clakson".

If you are interested in the psyche sounds of the late middle sixties, this album definitely deserves your attention. It is not truly innovative since this musical source had been already approached some three years ahead. Still: as I have said, Italian bands were only showing their heads in those remote days.

This is quite a good album, not shy of lots coming from the West coast or the London underground at the same period (or somewhat earlier as I have mentioned already). Most of the songs are enjoyable but "Dei O Confusione" holds this little extra which makes it one of my fave out here.

Heavy-jazz is featured in "Induzione 1 & 2". This is the weakest part of this album, but the whole was such a good surprise that I can only recommend this work.

Three stars.

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 Gleemen by GLEEMEN album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.06 | 20 ratings

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Gleemen
Gleemen Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Melos

3 stars Pre Garybaldi formation, with Bambi Fossati as frontman, showing a superior ability to play the guitar. The album is ok, nothing special, although some interesting organ work. Anyway, the result as a whole is nice and enjoyable.

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