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BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso picture
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso biography
Founded in Rome, Italy in 1969 - Since 1997 active only playing Live

One of the most important progressive rock bands to come from Italy, BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO, along with LE ORME and PFM are regarded as the big three of the RPI genre. This is not only because of their longevity and the level of success they achieved in their own country, but also because each were able to make considerable inroads abroad, something which didn't happen for most of their contemporaries.

Despite not releasing their first album until 1972, the band actually formed in 1969, their sound centering around the virtuoso dual keyboard work of the Nocenzi brothers, Gianni and Vittorio. The early line-up fluctuated with various members coming and going before any recorded output was released, including drummers Franco Pontecorvi and Mario Achilli, bassist Fabrizio Falco and guitarists Gianfranco Coletta (ex CHETRO & CO) and Claudio Falco. This early incarnation of the band did, however, record some material but this wouldn't surface until 1989 (see the "Donna Plautilla" album).

Joining the Nocenzi brothers for a more stable line-up in time for their first album was ex-FIORI DI CAMPO guitarist Marcello Todaro and three members of LE ESPERIENZE, vocalist Francesco Di Giacomo, drummer Pier Luigi Calderoni and bassist Renato D'Angelo. Their eponymous first album was a remarkably mature piece of inventive symphonic progressive rock with classical influences, featuring excellent musicianship and the emotionally charged vocal delivery of Di Giacomo. This was quickly followed up by the equally highly regarded "Darwin" and "Io Sono Nato Libero," forming a trio of albums that are essential listening for anyone with even the most casual interest in the RPI genre.

A change of guitarist followed shortly after the recording of "Io Sono Nato Libero," when Todaro left and joined CRYSTALS and was replaced by Rodolfo Maltese, formerly of HOMO SAPIENS. Around this time the band attempted to make inroads outside their native Italy and released the English sung "Banco" on ELP'S Manticore label. In reality this was largely a compilation, as it consisted of re-recorded songs from their first three albums with the exception of one track. To promote this they toured the USA and UK with limited success. "Banco" was followed in 1976 by the film soundtrack album "Garofano Rosso," and in the same year two versions of the same album, one Italian and one English, "Come In Un'Ultima ...
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DarwinDarwin
Sony Music 2015
$14.01
$19.58 (used)
Donna PlautillaDonna Plautilla
Sony Music 2014
$7.32
$7.31 (used)
Io Sono Nato LiberoIo Sono Nato Libero
Sony/Bmg Italy 1998
$6.25
$6.24 (used)
Seguendo Le TracceSeguendo Le Tracce
Marac 2005
$15.74
$15.73 (used)
Banco Del Mutuo SoccorsoBanco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Sony/Bmg Italy 2010
$5.28
$5.27 (used)
BancoBanco
Sony/Bmg Italy 2006
$5.29
$3.98 (used)
Canto Di PrimaveraCanto Di Primavera
Emi Music Italy 1995
$11.02
$11.01 (used)
Io Sono Nato Libero 1973-2017Io Sono Nato Libero 1973-2017
Sony 2017
$12.49
$12.48 (used)
Come in Un Ultima CenaCome in Un Ultima Cena
Cool Sound 2005
$99.77
$25.27 (used)
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BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.29 | 794 ratings
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
1972
4.37 | 1037 ratings
Darwin!
1972
4.37 | 960 ratings
Io Sono Nato Libero
1973
4.08 | 230 ratings
Banco
1975
3.47 | 150 ratings
Garofano Rosso
1976
4.00 | 230 ratings
Come In Un'Ultima Cena
1976
3.30 | 68 ratings
As In A Last Supper
1976
3.75 | 203 ratings
...Di Terra
1978
3.74 | 156 ratings
Canto Di Primavera
1979
1.59 | 53 ratings
Urgentissimo
1980
2.06 | 45 ratings
Buone Notizie
1981
2.02 | 49 ratings
Banco (1983)
1983
1.27 | 48 ratings
...E Via
1985
2.26 | 42 ratings
Donna Plautilla
1989
2.14 | 32 ratings
Non Mettere Le Dita Nel Naso
1989
3.40 | 42 ratings
B.M.S. (Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, 1991 version)
1991
3.41 | 77 ratings
Darwin (1991 version)
1991
2.24 | 36 ratings
Il 13
1994

BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.06 | 47 ratings
Capolinea
1979
2.00 | 6 ratings
Live
1993
2.28 | 17 ratings
Papagayo Club 1972
1994
3.77 | 41 ratings
Nudo
1997
3.38 | 8 ratings
Nudo - Live In Tokyo
1998
3.70 | 19 ratings
En Concierto, May 1999 - Mexico City.
1999
3.87 | 26 ratings
No Palco
2003
4.25 | 55 ratings
Seguendo Le Tracce
2005
3.45 | 11 ratings
Quaranta (Live Prog Exhibition 2010)
2012

BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.30 | 22 ratings
In Concerto: Cio' Che Si Vede
1992
3.75 | 9 ratings
Live 1980
2007

BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.19 | 26 ratings
Da qui messere si domina la valle
1991
3.25 | 8 ratings
La Storia
1993
2.21 | 5 ratings
I Grandi Successi
1993
1.75 | 4 ratings
Banco d'accusa
1996
3.95 | 3 ratings
Le Origini
1996
2.07 | 5 ratings
Antologia
1996
1.00 | 2 ratings
Nudo (Japanese version)
1997
1.00 | 2 ratings
Musica pi
1997
3.88 | 7 ratings
Gli Anni 70
1998
3.75 | 4 ratings
Made In Italy
2004
3.82 | 2 ratings
I Miti Musica
2005
3.00 | 1 ratings
Collezione Italiana
2006
2.00 | 1 ratings
D.O.C.
2006
1.67 | 3 ratings
Le Pi Belle Canzoni Di... Il Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Il Ragno
2008
4.57 | 7 ratings
Banco del Mutuo Soccorso - 40 anni (Debut album 40th anniversary Deluxe Edition)
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
Essential
2012
5.00 | 6 ratings
Darwin!
2013
4.00 | 8 ratings
Un'idea che non puoi fermare
2014

BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Non Mi Rompete
1973
2.00 | 1 ratings
Canto Di Primavera
1979
2.00 | 1 ratings
Niente
1979
2.00 | 2 ratings
Paolo Pa / Ma Che Idea
1980
2.00 | 1 ratings
Paolo Pa
1980
2.00 | 1 ratings
Il Ragno
1980
2.00 | 1 ratings
Baciami Alfredo
1981
3.50 | 2 ratings
Lontano Da (DJ - Special Mix)
1983
1.50 | 2 ratings
Moby Dick
1983
1.95 | 3 ratings
Grande Joe
1985
1.50 | 2 ratings
Vedo Il Telefono
1989

BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 As In A Last Supper by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.30 | 68 ratings

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As In A Last Supper
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Surprisingly there were only two preceding reviews for this album, but on the other hand the original Italian-language version Come di un'Ultima Cena has (deservedly) gained more attention here. Count me among those who prefer their RPI listenings in Italian rather than in English, despite the fact that I can't speak Italian. Anyway, I have the Esoteric Recordings' re-release from 2010 on my hands. It contains liner notes by Ernesto de Pascale. Before going into music itself, I'd like to pick up some background facts.

After Greg Lake of ELP had witnessed a gig og P.F.M. in Italy and invited the band to record for their Manticore label, some other RPI groups followed the same way and made albums in English. One of them was Banco, undoubtedly the second biggest Italian prog band, both at the time and retrospectively. Whereas their first Manticore release Banco [IV] (1975) used material from various albums, As in a Last Supper is musically identical to its Italian twin. The lyrics of vocalist Francesco Di Giacomo were translated by Angelo Branduardi. "The concept for the album was casually born at a dinner with friends of the group, at which one of the guests stood up to talk about his doubts and problems, asking for help and advice. The situation suggested a series of themes and subjects, which would be covered in the album through the metaphor of the Last Supper. The illustration inside the album's gatefold cover inlay saw designer Mimmo Mellino take the painting by Leonardo Da Vinci and metaphorically revisit with the addition of the faces of the band members."

Compared to Banco's earlier albums with long compositions, this nine-track concept album favours shorter song structures. The opener 'At Supper, For Example' (6:19, the second longest track) has a fine, colourful sonic texture. Vittorio and Gianni Nocenzi play many kinds of keyboards but leave enough room for the singer. Curiously, at times I came to think of Tim Buckley's music (which is not a negative remark!). 'The Spider' is an edgier and faster prog piece slightly reminding of Kansas. 'John Has a Good Heart, But...' is a mellow and pastoral song in a folkish, acoustic-oriented arrangement.

'Slogan' (7:25) is a prog rollercoaster with lots of dynamic changes and a slower middle part. Guitarist Rodolfo Maltese plays also trumpet, and one of the synths has a harp-like sound. One of the album's highlights is 'They Say Dolphins Speak' in which the violin part of Angelo Branduardi - yes, the translator - has a Crimsonesque effect. The song has a nice, groovy bass line in the bottom. Till the end this album keeps the sonic richness and the lyrical content in good balance. And as ZowieZiggy says, Francesco sounds so passionate that the language is not that relevant. Of all RPI classics this one may not be among the very greatest achievements (and surely not even the best album of Banco), but it's a very good addition to a collection of vintage 70's prog.

 Darwin! by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.37 | 1037 ratings

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Darwin!
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Out of the multitude of Italian prog that emerged in the 70s, of which there are too many greats to mention, only a few reached the top tier status that placed them as the crown jewels of Italian progressive rock. Alongside critically acclaimed acts such as Premiata Forneria Marconi and Le Orme came another Italian great from the city of Rome and like an episode of punctuated equilibrium, a term that describes a sudden burst of evolution rather than a gradual ascent, BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO or BANCO for short unleashed their second album of 1972 and expanded their musical paradigm a millionfold on their sophomore release DARWIN! Named after the famous evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin, the band crafted a concept album based on his theories about the birth and evolution of all species on the planet. Like the self-titled debut the music is driven by the powerful classical trained keyboard counterpoints of brothers Vittorio and Gianni Nocenzi alongside the powerful rhythm section and the operatic powerhouse vocal style of Francesco Di Giacomo.

Much of the Italian prog scene was influenced by the British bands such as Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator and Emerson, Lake and Palmer who often found more enthusiastic fans abroad than in their homeland. While each respective Italian band shared similar elements from the abundance of imported influences, they each managed to find a different recipe in which to refine the ingredients. In the case of BANCO, the band continued their heavy driving double keyboard drama with an outstanding emphasis on overlapping classical attacks of bombastic ELP styled Hammond organ runs along with Moog synthesizers and the tender yet stylistically challenging piano riffs. While many bands were about showcasing their virtuosity, BANCO found a way to tamp down those primeval impulses and implemented their talents in the context of a theme which gives DARWIN! a very mature and sophisticated overall feel. In addition to these imported influences, BANCO utilized healthy doses of the beautiful Italian folk as well as pan-European classical music in general.

Due to the fact that like many Italian bands of the day, BANCO crafts their tales exclusively in their native lingo which means the storyline is completely null and void to non-speakers but even with no lyrical context, the music delivers a spine-tingling prowess that delves into a dizzying array of stylistic shifts throughout the album's seven track run. "L'Evoluzione (Evolution)," the lengthiest track running just shy of the 14 minute mark begins much like the expected symphonic prog band of the era hinting at a pastoral Genesis inspired dreamscape with lush classical passages and Giacomo's romantic soothing vocals. But as such a title would indicate many changes, the passionate lulling placidity ratchets up the tempo as classical piano runs are joined by rock and bass guitar and heavy percussive drive. The truck erupts into an organ frenzy venturing into a frenetic ELP inspired assault that becomes the main motif of the track's duration.

"La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta (The Conquest Of The Upright Stance)" switches gears showing immediately that DARWIN! is a multi-faceted beast. The ostinato bass line provides a buzzing drone effect while the keys and flute are allowed to leapfrog all over each other. The track develops a melody and rhythmic drive that sounds sort of like a James Bond movie theme getting crashed by the mafia. "Danza Dei Grandi Rettili (Dance Of The Big Reptiles)" shifts gears again and transports the listener into some clandestine speakeasy jazz club with a sultry swinging groove augmented by the unusual sound of the Hammond organ runs crashing the party. "Cento Mani E Cento Occhi (One Hundred Hands And One Hundred Eyes)" deceives as it sounds like a victory dance at a Medieval festival and then plays the old switcheroonie as it jumps into a bombastic hyperdrive that finds BANCO in full hard rock mode making it the heaviest rock track on the album without sacrificing the Chopin-esque classical piano chops with ELP organ bombast.

"750,000 Anni Fa ... L'Amore? (750,000 Years Ago?.Love?)" takes a complete 180 and tackles a passionate Italian pop piano ballad with no trace of neither progressiveness nor rock. "Miserere Alla Storia (Misery To History)" struts its swanky groove as a heavy bass line augments a heavy organ and piano intro but the tracks dramatically shifts to a sophisticated mellower track that exceeds in dynamic counterpoints that culminate in a dramatic Italian rant that sounds like something out of Phantom Of The Opera but ultimately finds resolution as a hyperactive jazzy-funk groove with out-of-sync synthesizer runs haunting the background. This track has a lot of changing parts with classical piano runs breaking in and stealing the thunder. One of my personal faves.

"Ed Ora Lo Domando Tempo Al Tempo Ed Egli Mi Risponde ... Non Ne Ho! (And Now I Ask For Time For More Time And He Answers Me?I Don't Have Any!)" is a bizarre little ender to a very ambitious album as it is a short piece that is inspired by merry-go-round music. While that seems completely out of place it becomes clear if you understand how the music corresponds to the track titles since it seems to insinuate the cosmic wheel of life going round and round but very much on the clock. In fact the album makes a lot more sense at least understanding the meaning of the titles as they give some sort of reference to the musicality taking place. While the album may seem totally off-kilter in all its arrangement prowess gone astray, logic occurs in the context of the evolutionary themes of life on the planet and as a biology major myself, a thematic content that i'm quite enthralled with on a personal level.

While DARWIN! has stood the test of time and remained one of the pinnacles of the Italian prog scene, it is by no means an instantly attainable album for the uninitiated. While melodies and moments of symphonic beauty can pacify the soul, this collection of progressive rock workouts can just as easily sound jarring and disorienting as angular rhythms and bombastic outbursts pummel away at the nerves. The sophistication of which the whole thing is stitched together takes a few spins to come to grips with and i by no means found this to be the masterpiece it's made out to be upon first encounter. After all is said and done (and a fair number of attentive listening experiences later), one can only conclude that this is indeed one of Italy's finest moments in a progressive rock context and deservingly stands up to such greats of PFM, Le Orme or Area in its unapologetic and idiosyncratic delivery of disparate ideas sewn together in a bizarre new concoction. While BANCO would churn out a few more excellent albums, none of them are quite as startling as hearing DARWIN! for the very first time.

 Io Sono Nato Libero by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.37 | 960 ratings

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Io Sono Nato Libero
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by nikitasv777

5 stars I did want to submit this review both to echo the general support for this album. Io Sono Nato Libero a classic of the Italian Progressive Rock movement in the 70s. Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso's best album (in my opinion). One of the all-time great Italian prog albums. Impressive music! Io Sono Nato Libero grabs and attract from the first minute. Melodism, perfect arrangements, scent of classical music, the Italian lyrics, theatrical flair; enchanting and varied as well. Truly wonderful stuff! The technical abilities and creativity of the band are exceptional. Even though the album is just forty minutes, there's so much to discover with each new listen.
 ...Di Terra by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.75 | 203 ratings

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...Di Terra
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Tapfret
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars It is clear that Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso made their masterpiece works with operatic front man, Francesco Di Giacomo. It was also clear that Garafano Rosso, the movie soundtrack that was the band's first instrumental work, was a tier below the rest of their 1970's discography. But the band's 1978 album, ...di Terra, easily holds its own among Banco's classics.

This instrumental does not just feature the band playing sans lyrics, it also includes the Orchestra del'Unione Musicisti di Roma. Quickly one can hear a vast departure from their early sound and style. It is not readily comprehensible what the band might sound like playing this composition without the orchestra. The fusing of the rock band and orchestrations is tight, a complete melding, creating a cohesiveness between the instruments that is so often missing in these type of projects, even with regard to the most highly acclaimed of these rock/orchestra collaborations. For instance, on Days of Future Past, the orchestra is used more as a transitional element. As seamless and natural as those transitions were, the combination was rarely simultaneous. With ...di Terra, that fusion is the rule, rather than the exception.

While the compositions are not overtly complex, they are deeply explorative. From the legato Nel Cielo E Nelle Altre Cose Mute; to the frantic, disharmonic staccato of Terramadre; to the grooving jazzy overtones of N Pi Di Un Albero Non Meno Di Una Stella; this album is not one that is void of challenge to the listener, yet never seems to waver in its themetic goal. While I am not aware of the exact circumstances, the theme of the project is actually centered around a poetic work of singer Francesco Di Giacomo. Perhaps I am reading to much into it, but it often appears that his presence is not missing. Is it that the band is making a conscious effort to convey this work in the essence of Di Giacomo's approach to music without his actual presence on the recording? To me, that is exactly what happens, right down to the closing resolution. And the only way that could happen was to approach the entire piece from a purely orchestral direction. The result is a compostion that is poetically nuanced, each movement carrying an almost conversational pace and tone. When translating the titles: "In Heaven And In Other Quiet Places", "Mother Earth", "Neither More Of A Tree, Nor Less Of A Star", while a large aspect of subjectivity certainly applies, the names are emblematic of the movements.

...di Terra is an outstanding work at a time that most classic prog acts were floundering. But still, it endures an amazing amount of criticism. And surely its understandable with 1978 being the year of Tormato and Love Beach. The competition was fierce! But all kidding aside, ...di Terra is an extremely beautiful album, ranking 3rd behind Io Sono Nato Libero and Darwin! as my favorite BMS albums. It was easily one of the best of a particularly weak year. 4 stars

 Darwin! by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.37 | 1037 ratings

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Darwin!
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The much-acclaimed and revered epitome of 1970s 'classic' RPI here finds criticism and disconnect.

1. "L'Evoluzione" (13:59) This song offers a perfect opportunity for me to express a few of my dislikes in Banco music. Banco songs can sometimes be too busy. Like the comment in Amadeus about Mozart using just too many notes, the average, untrained human brain can only take in so much. Then there are the tendencies that Banco uses to compose support music for individual soli that is too rigid and monotonous--that goes on for far longer than one would like to hear. And then there are the flaws in the mixes of the instruments. Still, there is the fact of the amazing complexity and sophistication that is always a part of Banco compositions. Admirable and laudable, but they do not always translate into enjoyable listening experiences. Sometimes there can be just . . . too much going on at once. And I am often found having trouble finding, much less attaching to, lead or woven melodies. Where are they? And I will finally admit that after all these listens to Banco materials: I am just not that big of a fan of Francesco Di Giacomo's voice. He may be the equivalent of the Peter Hammill of Italy--you either love him or you hate him. (Like with Hammill), I fall into this latter category. (Well, I don't really hate him. I don't always enjoy his voice or vocal performances.) (8.5/10)

2. "La Conquista Della Posizione Eretta" (8:42) until the final two minutes, this is an instrumental song of typical Banco complexity and breakneck speed but possessing some nice, interesting, engaging melodies on the top (mostly from the synthesizer). Still, this song feels a bit too much like a song that would run over the introductory or end credits of a 1970s spy film. One of the more tolerable, even enjoyable, Francesco Di Giacomo vocals. (9.5/10)

3. "Danza Dei Grandi Rettili" (3:42) opens with a kind of sophisticated coffee-house jazz feel. For 45 seconds. Then the full-house orchestral hall sound bursts forth. For a bit. Reverting back to caf dynamics, the jazzy sound returns for some piano and jazz guitar interplay. The louder 'chorus' section returns with some cool organ and synth interplay before a bridge back to the original sound and theme occurs. Piano, jazz bass, brushed drums, and jazz lead guitar play out to the end--and, it is assumed, the sparse applause of the smokey caf. (9/10)

4. "Cento Mani E Cento Occhi" (5:22) opens with a driving, dynamic burst of straightforward organ-based rock. Francesco's poorly recorded voice is oddly mixed. There then follows a kind of Keith Emerson section before the vocals return. In the second half of the song, a kind of all-male barrel-house vocal ensemble becomes the form of vocal delivery--in both the louder and even the softer sections. A well constructed and performed song that is somehow poorly recorded and troublesome to connect with. Better to sit back and enjoy as spectator. (8.5/10)

5. "750,000 Anni Fa ... L'Amore?" (5:38) opens as a gentle, contemplative piano-based song over which a very strong, passionate, almost operatic vocal is sung by Francesco Di Giacomo. The man can definitely sing! There's even a section where Francesco's voice alone exudes the force that an entire full rock band might try to display--just his voice! Perhaps he was a failed or frustrated opera singer. The odd synth interlude in the middle is unfortunate. But, it is short-lived. We return to the piano and solo voce format where Francesco and Gianni Nocenzi perform their magic--until the rest of the rock band finally joins in for the final 35 seconds. (9/10)

6. "Miserere Alla Storia" (5:58) opens with a fade in of an already in full-form and fast-pace jazz-rock weave, but, then, just as it reaches front and center, it stops! Instead we are left with some spacious organ, bass, synthesizer play beneath a distant soloing clarinet. At two minute mark a very aggressive, demonic (non-Francesco) vocal sets up the onset of a new instrumental section of driving film soundtrack music. Piano soloing over staccato rhythm section ensues at the end of the fourth minute before returning first to the soundtrack "chase scene" theme and then to a pensive soft section for bass and fading clarinet to take us out. Odd song. (8.5/10)

7. "Ed Ora Io Domando Tempo Al Tempo Ed Egli Mi Risponde ... Non Ne Ho!" (3:29) opens with themes and sounds that could come from several ethnic musical traditions--and which sounds a lot like some of Woody Allen's clarinet- led Italian music as used in his films. The song is partly beautiful, partly grotesquely sad, partly funny--and definitely interesting. (9/10)

A near-masterpiece of Rock Progressivo Italiano and a clear example of how brilliant ideas in the hands of virtuoso artists do not always result in glowing masterpieces of artistic product.

 Come In Un'Ultima Cena by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.00 | 230 ratings

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Come In Un'Ultima Cena
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

5 stars One of the most ground-breaking Italian progressive groups of the Seventies (actually, of all time), Banco del Mutuo Soccorso had an interesting first few years of releases. Three landmark RPI works (the self-titled debut, `Darwin!' and `Io Sono Nato Libero'), an English language remake disc and an all-instrumental soundtrack work `Garofano Rosso' arrived within the five years covering 1972-1976, and the group also delivered a further work `Come in Un'Ultima Cena' (`As In a Last Supper') in both Italian and English versions. While it's not quite up to the genre-setting standard of their first three releases, it's still a hugely impressive, intelligent and varied work that more than ever before showcases the charismatic vocals of frontman Francesco Di Giacomo, more than ably backed up by dazzling instrumental prowess of the musicians around him.

Unsurprisingly, a work inspired by the spiritual themes and symbolism of one of Leonardo Da Vinci's most famous paintings `L'ultima Cena' proves to give the music a bombastic and rich drama, and opener `...a cena, per esempio' sets things up nicely, with brash keyboard bursts, ripples of doomy and ravishing cascading piano, a jazzy swing in amongst electric guitar bite, melting Moog runs and Francesco's melancholic croon purring away with dignity. `Il Ragno' has a bass-powered funky grooving saunter that perhaps brings the album the closest to a more accessible commercial piece, but it's far from radio- friendly and still full of Banco's trademark twitching instrumental bursts. The melody of ` cos buono Giovanni, ma...' is deeply stirring thanks to Francesco's warm and sweet vocal over pretty synth trills, breezy flute, warm acoustic guitar flecks and effective sparse orchestration, and `Slogan' takes the album in a nightmarish direction with serrated buzzsaw-like cuttingelectric guitar splinters over gloomy piano and ballistic hair-tearing up-tempo symphonic bursts, a fanfare of blaring horns and thrashing drum spasms.

After a tense introduction, `Si Dice' is a frequently introspective piece that rises for a more boisterous chorus within its more compact framing, `Voil Mida' arrives like a delirious call-to-arms with its runaway dark-jazz piano and creeping organ bristles, a malevolent bounce to its histrionic bursts and stop/start snapping twists before Francesco's voice arrives with a joyful and lighter swoon. `Quando la buona gente dice' is a spirited and lively vocal-led interlude with rapid little instrumental fills,`La notte piena' a gorgeous ruminative recorder and gentle classical guitar ballad and `Fino alla mia porta' a wonderful final race of instrumental flourishes and symphonic pomp.

`Come in Un'Ultima Cena' remains a very underrated work with something of an ill-conceived lesser reputation from this important Italian group. The only problem is that they perhaps set their personal standard so impossibly high with their first three works (that remain benchmark Italian progressive discs to this very day), but close inspection and repeated plays reveals `Come in...' retains all the same vocally rich, lyrically thoughtful and instrumentally flamboyant work as those others, just crafted to a more melodic and focused work that stands proudly with great dignity on its own merits.

A disappointment? Not even slightly...

Four and half stars.

 Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.29 | 794 ratings

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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by RisingForce

5 stars Banco del Mutuo Soccorso is the eponymous debut album by Italian Progressive rock band "Banco del Mutuo Soccorso".

The album was recorded for "Dischi Ricordi" in 1972.

The beautiful and original cover of the original vinyl was shaped like a piggy bank; a slit was extracted from a strip of cardboard with the faces of the members of the group.

The image on the cover is by illustrator "Mimmo Mellino".

The album "Banco del Mutuo Soccorso" also called (il salvadanaio) "Money Box" contains six songs, that start with a medieval epic dreamy intro "In Volo", which ends with an obvious what announcement is coming;"Entro il cratere ove gorgoglia, il tempo".

"The time" (Il Tempo), of course, is to "RIP", which comes with all its power Prog and the famous start of timing/tempo on 5/4, which supports a well the tenor voice clear and decisive, which clearly enhances every refinement of musical arrangements and of the lyrics set in a medieval battle and that focuses on the horrors of war.

Each instrument takes place in the solid sound without any prevalence and this, despite the potential timbre of the virtuoso dual keyboards work by the Piano, Hammond organ and Moog of the Brothers "Nocenzi" "Vittorio and Gianni" plus the use of flute reeds (played by some of the members of the band,in addition to their usual instrument), made the sound of "Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso" increasingly.

The personal solos are relatively limited and give the work a solid and consistent groove.

The voice of "Big" Francesco Di Giacomo arrives and retracts like a wave alternating moments of calibrated power to more subtle dynamics.

Follows a short interval Baroque "Passaggio" where "Vittorio Nocenzi" enters an empty room, he plays the harpsichord and singing the melody softly and after comes out the other side of the room, slamming the door.

Closes the first side the album "Metamorfosis" masterful demonstration of balance and skill in which the "Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso" attests to both its complete independence from preconceived Anglo-Saxon and creating an Italian Progressive rock with its ability to make the most its characteristic high skill of "first Mediterranean group in two complementary keyboards."

Only after 8 minutes of articulated Progressive rock of classical and medieval references with baroquisms never extremes that blend in a immovable nucleus where the guitar with counterpoints and original arrangements it leans on an always powerful rhythm section; It appears in the sound the poignant voice of "Francesco Di Giacomo", which is the premise, with a powerful final, to the second side of the album.

The second side of the album is occupied almost entirely (over 18 minutes), from "Il Giardino Del Mago" song in which the band experiments with all its musical narrative potential by developing a balanced symphonic different variants of the theme.

Very tense and romantic moments alternate with break atmospheres of symphonic rock, epic, classical or even space.

The end of the song, pure epic Progressive rock which flows into the closing track "Traccia", synthesis of Baroque rock with radical hard sound and Italian Mediterranean character.

A classic great epic debut album, a load-bearing column of the genre Progressive that keeps the future.

In the same year 1972 "Il Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso" publishes their second album "Darwin!" an evolution of Progressive rock.

 Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.29 | 794 ratings

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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Rock Progressivo e Classico

3.5 stars

First album of BANCO DEL MUTUO SUCCURSO, this self-titled opus combines the majesty of classical music and the power of early 70's hard rock, with a touching proper Italian sensibility. The disc is strangely structured, as it features three long songs with different durations and three short passages.

Beginning in a mysterious atmosphere, "In Volo" is in fact a pleasant medieval theme played at the flute, introducing the best song of the record, "R.I.P.". Lifely and catchy, the track presents a good balance nervous guitar and piano, with a beautiful melancholic interlude. One of the best compositions from the RPI genre! "Passaggio" is a short transition simply consisting in keyboardist Vittorio Nocenzi entering the room, playing harpsichord, and leaving the room by slamming the door!

The mini-epic "Metamorfosi" is quite interesting. Its first half is instrumental and features a powerful combination of seventies' hard rock and classical keyboards. This part surely shares similitudes with ELP. The second half is softer and more delicate, and the finale is haunting. This song has some weaknesses, but is overall pretty cool. Unfortunately, although it mixes the same musical elements, the same cannot be said for the 18 minutes uneven "Il Giardino Del Mago". Not as convincing, the longest track of the disc contains a few nice moments, however these can get a bit repetitive at times. "Traccia" concludes the record with a baroque hard rock theme.

At first sight, by looking at the instruments, "Banco del Mutuo Succurso" may look similar to symphonic prog acts. Nevertheless, the approach is very different from English bands such as ELP or GENESIS, and the sensibility is typically Italian. Some passages are powerful whereas others are touching. Despite lengthy moments on "Il Giardino Del Mago", this debut album remains my favorite from the band, maybe because this is their rock-iest effort from their "classical" prog period.

Recommended if you want to discover the Rock Progressivo Italiano, and a good entry point to the genre for 70's hard rock fans.

 Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.29 | 794 ratings

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Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Ever since re-entering the music scene in 2008 after an absence of nearly twenty years I was overwhelmed by many international music scenes of which I had previously been relatively unaware. Rock progressivo Italiano is one of these. And with my enthusiastic interest drawn to the amazing number of modern artists contributing to what has proved to be quite an exciting revival of my once-beloved progressive rock music, I have not always given older albums the time and attention necessary to truly familiarize myself with them much less appreciate them. Still, I have slowly acquired the much revered "classics." (This one has 663 ratings/reviews on PA alone!) Banco has impressed me from my initial listens. The maturity and sophistication of songmaking is astounding. And to put into the formula the fact that this album and Darwin! (both 1972 releases) predate many of the most cherished masterpieces of the Golden Age only increases my appreciation and awe. The dynamic range, confidence to be quiet and subtle and then be bold and loud, all the while using thoughtful not-whimsical constructs and virtuosic command of all instruments is a wonder to behold. While the sound of lead vocalist Francesco Di Giacomo's voice is one that has still not grown comfortable or favorable to me, I find nothing but musical excellence throughout Banco's first album. It's display of musical and instrumental mastery is undeniable. Where it may lack slightly is in memorability. After several years of owning this and occasionally spinning it through my brain I still find little or no connection with the music--it has not penetrated my soul in the way that many of the 'less sophisticated' masterpieces of the era have. Not the way Darwin! and especially Io sono nato libero have done. Hence, a rating is very difficult for me to render as I do not rate this one on the same par as the two aforementioned classics, yet it is such an amazing collection of constructs it is difficult for me to give it anything less than the five stars it truly deserves. To me, it is an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection but in terms of its contribution to music history I cannot deny that it is probably essential and is definitely a masterpiece of progressive rock music . . . just not as great as either Darwin! or Io sono nato libero.
 Grande Joe by BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1985
1.95 | 3 ratings

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Grande Joe
Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The first time that I listened to BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO was to their very good "...di terra" album from 1978 which was lent to me in 1985 by a friend and musician who was one of the keyboard players in a band in which I was playing then, called "Argos" (of course, it is not the same band which is included now in the Prog Archives database, as I realized a few days ago). The band on which I was playing the drums then had eight members!

Also in 1985, one saturday evening I was watching TV, and in one of the channels of the Mexican TV there was the broadcasting of the "Sanremo Music Festival 1985". I watched to the TV programme for some minutes, not really being a fan of this kind of music festivals. But I was very surprised when BANCO appeared in the TV screen playing live, or more likely doing a playback, to a very Pop Rock song, which after doing some research in Wikipedia and in youtube, thirty years later, now I know it was called "Grande Joe", the song which is in this single. I was very surprised to see BANCO on TV in 1985 playing this song after liking a lot their "...di terra" album.

After finding it now and listening to this song several times in youtube and watching to a video of them doing a playback of this song in front of an audience (maybe it is an official video for this song, or maybe the scenes, with some edits and added visual effects, were also recorded at the Sanremo Music Festival, but I can`t remember very clearly now if they are the same scenes that I watched on TV then...maybe not...I watched to them on TV thirty years ago!) now I know the reason I was so surprised by this song. This "Grande Joe" song is a very Pop Rock song in the very typical style of the eighties: programmed drums, electronic drums, very typical eighties keyboard sounds (maybe also some programmed keyboards), the use of some reverb,...

The song is not bad. In fact It is a good Italian Pop Rock song, with good vocals by the late Francesco Di Giacomo. But the change of musical style (in comparison to their musical style of the seventies) was very drastic for me in 1985, and it still is today. As I don`t speak, read and write in the Italian language, I can`t understand the content of the lyrics. Who is "Grande Joe"? I don`t know. I also don`t know if this song was a Hit Single for the band in Italy or in other countries.

It seems that the eighties was a time for change in musical style for a lot of the Prog Rock bands of the seventies . It also happened to some Italian Prog Rock bands, like BANCO, P.F.M. and LE ORME.

For collectors and fans only.

Thanks to Todd for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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