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CHERRY FIVE

Rock Progressivo Italiano • Italy


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Cherry Five biography
This band included Tony Tartarini (vocals), Carlo Bordini (drums, he later started a captivating project with Rustichelli) and three musicians who later founded GOBLIN: Claudio Simonetti (keyboards), Massimo Morante (electric guitar) and Fabio Pignatelli (bass). The music on CHERRY FIVE's eponymous album is very YES-oriented (like DRUID, ENGLAND or MIRTHRANDIR) but the keyboards sound more virtuosic.

The album "Cherry Five" ('75) is a real treat for all progrock lovers: strong and fluent compositions, very melodic and flowing with many good ideas. The emphasis is on the keyboards (Hammond organ and vintage synthesizers), especially the "Tronmaniacs" will be delighted! This is one of the gems of Italian progrock from the Seventies, a bit overlooked due to the attention for PFM, Le ORME, BANCO and GOBLIN.

: : : Erik Neuteboom, The NETHERLANDS : : :
Fan & official Prog Archives collaborator

Cherry Five official website

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CHERRY FIVE discography


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

3.93 | 139 ratings
Cherry Five
1975
3.66 | 30 ratings
Il Pozzo dei Giganti
2015

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CHERRY FIVE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Il Pozzo dei Giganti by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.66 | 30 ratings

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Il Pozzo dei Giganti
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

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

4 stars With several variations of RPI/horror soundtrack group Goblin currently active - a new version of the original Goblin, Goblin Rebirth, Claudio Simonetti's Goblin - why shouldn't the pre-Goblin band that started it all, Cherry Five, get a look in as well? The sole self-titled Cherry Five album from 1975 is often considered by some Italian prog fans as a bit of a minor classic, an energetic Yes- influenced English language work easy to enjoy and constantly return to. While Claudio Simonetti, Massimo Morante and Fabio Pignatelli are busy elsewhere, the original vocalist Tony Tartarini and drummer Carlo Bordini from the Seventies have now reformed in 2015 with three additional talented new players to offer a superb return in the form of their adaption of Dante's La Divina Commedia entitled `Il Pozzo dei Giganti' (`The Well of the Giants'), and this version of the group have not only released a vital new work, but one that stands strongly on its own merits, not some mere uninspired or desperate `comeback' album! It's a tough and heavy symphonic work far more ambitious than the charming previous work, and it just might be one of the best and most surprising Italian releases of 2015!

There's a lot of talent, both vintage and modern, on display throughout `Il Pozzo dei Giganti', a fine coming together of two eras of Italian progressive music. Original vocalist Tartarini also sung on the Seventies RPI self-titled classic `L'Uovo di Colombo', and his voice these days has taken on a groaning, raspy crooning quality, while drummer Bordini teamed up with keyboard player Paolo Rustichelli on the rough-as-guts grand classic `Opera Prima', both from 1973. Here they've recruited fresh blood with talented jazz musician Pino Sallusti, whose bass playing is thick, fluid and upfront as expected of progressive releases, and heavy guitarist Ludovico Piccinini, who comes from a more metal background. But the real standout is keyboard player Gianluca De Rossi, whose own project Taproban released a minor dark symphonic Italian classic with 2013's `Strigma', and he dominates the arrangements here with vintage sophistication and bombast.

Reverting to singing in Italian (can you imagine what that first album would have sounded like sung in Italian?!), the twenty-five minute title track kicks the album off with one almighty powerful statement of intent. `Il Pozzo dei Giganti' is a gutsy and relentless side-long slog of heavy symphonic with traces of unease and great intensity. The piece launches headfirst into Gianluca's manic and relentless church organ grinding, a coarse vocal from Tony, Carlo's maddening and busy drums, Pino's slinking bass and Ludovico's snarling electric guitar wailing (although very rarely if ever actually sounding like heavy metal), the group overwhelming with a hair-tearing madness. Everything from jazz-fusion runs, droning stormy ambience, gothic Mellotron choirs, delicate piano ruminations, pleading vocal cries, fretless bass eruptions, loopy and dazzling keyboard colours and theatrical and classical bombast are all worked in, and it's a showcase to the supreme talent of the musicians here.

Covering about sixteen minutes, the second side's `Manfredi' suite is a collection of four separate pieces that are not quite as brash and overwhelming as the first epic, but they do bring back some of the chiming, upbeat and even playful sounds of the original album in balance with the modern harder style presented here. Piano and twisting guitars are urgent throughout the snappy `La Forza del Guerriero', humming Hammond organ, jazzy guitar licks and seductive bass flirt through hard-groover `Terra Rossa' ('Red Earth'), and both `Il Tempo del Destino' (`The Time of Destiny') and the classy `Un Mondo tra Noi Due' (`A World Between Us') have emotional and powerful ballad passages that are deeply moving and reflective. The album then closes on the eight minute `Dentro la Cerchia Antica' (`Inside the Ancient Circle') that opens as a lush and sprightly acoustic madrigal folk ballad with flute and harpsichord-like synths before taking off into P.F.M-like galloping races of whirling Moog and charging guitars.

Released on the heavy Italian specialists Black Widow label, housed in gorgeous dark artwork (no-one does the mix of erotic and infernal quite like Daniela Ventrone), this vinyl-length return is a fine way to not only get reacquainted with Cherry Five, but witness the birth of a brand new version of the band with so much to offer. With `Il Pozzo dei Giganti' they've delivered a confident, intelligent and lavish work that will equally appeal to vintage and modern RPI listeners, up there with the best Italian releases of 2015 from both modern and established older acts. Hopefully the band is inspired to continue on with more new works in the near future and we won't have to wait another forty years for a follow-up!

Four and a half stars.

 Il Pozzo dei Giganti by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.66 | 30 ratings

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Il Pozzo dei Giganti
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars - The First Review of This Album -

CHERRY FIVE made in mid-seventies their sole, eponymous album which has become a middle-league classic of RPI. Three of the five members continued as GOBLIN. Now, four decades later, the other two members - vocalist Tony Tartarini and drummer Carlo Bordini - have reformed Cherry Five with keyboardist Gianluca De Rossi from TAPROBAN, a jazz bassist Pino Sallusti and a rock guitarist Ludovico Piccinini. Black Widow, the record company, seem to have played a role in bringing the two original members together again. The new album is inspired by Dante's La Divina Commedia (featuring lyrics by Tartarini). I haven't heard the mentioned Cherry Five album from 1975. Nor are either Taproban or Tartarini's other 70's band L'Uovo di Colombo's music familiar to me.

For the 25-minute title epic the role models are the classic 70's prog epics, especially ELP's Tarkus. Hmm, risky to make such comparison, because this work lacks the powerful and melodic emotion of the Tarkus sections like 'Stones of Years' and the Emersonian keyboard virtuosity. In fact the first 5-8 minutes, featuring a flat background pattern of Hammond, are a bit pushed and monotonous, apart from a decent keyboard solo. Somewhere in the middle of the epic is a fine, jazzy bass solo. The vocals that seem at first listen rather colourless show also some warmer emotion later on the album, but 'Il Pozzo dei Giganti' doesn't fully succeed to me, though I presume it grows with time. It draws from Inferno's Canto XXXI and is about giants punished for their pride.

'Manfredi' (Purgatorio, Canto III) is a four-part epic of 16 minutes. The first part is in fast tempo and attempts to sound like GENTLE GIANT in its rhythmic complexity but it's quite unmemorable. The second part is slower and more emotional - indeed approaching accessible soft pop - featuring also a brief guitar solo. The third one rocks slightly heavier with URIAH HEEP-ish Hammond, and the final part returns to the slightly sentimental softness. Nothing wrong with that! Sadly the wide dynamics in composition is not very present sonically; the album has a bit forced atmosphere, it never gets in full flight.

Could the mixing be a bit unbalanced in this album? I have a feeling that the instruments, especially the wide set of keyboards, are not heard very brightly; often the sound gets stuffy. 'Dentro la Cerchia Antica' (Paradiso, Canto XVI) "offers a progressive-medieval style..." Well, the harpsichord-like keyboards etc. get half-buried in the Heavy-oriented sound. A good prog piece otherwise.

3 stars. This would be SO close to a strong four-star album in the vein of classic 70's symphonic prog, happily even less Heavy than the Black Widow releases in general. But I guess rounding down to three stars reflects more honestly my reception.

 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.93 | 139 ratings

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Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Another example of how prog had become, by the middle 1970s, more than simply a trend or even a "movement". It was by any fair estimation the preeminent direction and sound of modern rock music, which is to say not simply new versions of what the Beatles had already done, but rather a ridiculously, even dangerously ambitious quest to stretch the rock 'n roll format to the point of near collapse. Thank God for punk, some would say, for having saved true rock from these ill-suited and pompous players. But it was too late to deny the deep and almost overnight impact ELP and Yes and Genesis and anyone else with the balls to follow those guys had on almost everybody. By 1975, Prog had become more than widely attractive, it had taken on the inescapable gravity of a black hole.

Of course it was all over as fast as it had emerged and most 'prog artists' flew from the genre faster than a spooked monkey, looking ashamed at their embarrassing, indulgent past and running toward the clipped gleam of the New Rock. The Cherry Five project is an ideal example of the peak of that prog era ~ The Grand Age, if you will ~ with three members of this Italian unit going on to create the more modern and cinematic Goblin who in turn would influence everyone from John Carpenter to Zombi. But it is here that us shameless prog trainspotters get to have our taste of this group at a hungrier and less polished stage, as on eight-minute 'Country Graveyard', oozing with classic Anglophonic instrumentation and vocal arrangements, jazzy grooves, swing, and smoky Hammond leads. A bracing first cut. Familiar 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' shows the Yes influence and is quite good though 'The Swan is a Murderer' part 1 & 2 falters a bit as it thuds along. 'Oliver' on the other hand is a treat with an expansive bass ground, sweet keyboard breaks and an acrobatic performance packed with changes; a great moment for this quintet and worth the price alone, and we end on trippy 'My Little Cloud Land'.

Cherry Five is right up there with all the other guys that, for an all too short moment in popular music, let their hair down in a way never envisioned for the adolescent and untrained rock 'n roll style, and their original album is a must for any fans who love not just the chart-topping prog, but also Greenslade, Yezda Urfa, England, Cathedral, and all the other quiet masters who, luckily for us, left behind a small sample of how to make the impossible possible.

 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.93 | 139 ratings

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Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The sole Cherry Five album sets itself apart from the rest of the Italian scene with the wide spread of UK prog influences it displays - indeed, vocalist Tony Tartarini sings in English, an oddity for all but the most internationally successful Italian bands at the time. At points some of the quirky instrumental passages remind me of Gentle Giant, whilst The Picture of Dorian Gray is nothing less than a loving tribute to Yes. (Seriously, put Jon Anderson on vocals and it sounds like something from The Yes Album.) Overall, not as original or groundbreaking as the strange waters that some of this crew would sail under the Goblin flag, but still an interesting entry to the annals of the less well-known Italian prog bands. Look it up if you are interested in the roots of Goblin.
 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.93 | 139 ratings

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Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by Suedevanshoe

4 stars Dynamic, succinct, and exciting, this album hits the listener hard with instrumental interplay in rapid changes in mood and melody. To my ears, this is early period Yes meets early period Genesis with Carl Palmer drumming.

Less bombastic than most one-off RPI I've tried, I really like the flow. The bass, mellotron, and keyboard work is fantastic. "Country Graveyard" and "Oliver" are true highlights here. Right off the bat "Country Graveyard" starts smoking with a memorable rock riff, then it splits into RPI atmospherics. "Oliver" is a nine and a half minute roller coaster that leaves your headphones smoking.

If I had any nits to pick it would be the average vocals and the name of the band. If the music is this good, I don't really care about those things. An excellent listen from cover to cover.

 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.93 | 139 ratings

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Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars One of the country's few internationally-renowned outfits, the cult Italian group Goblin made their name producing stylishly creepy synth-prog soundtracks for legendary filmmaker Dario Argento, the director of such horror classics as 'Profondo Rosso'(1975) and 'Suspiria'(1977). However, before undertaking their collaborations with Argento, Goblin had previously produced an accomplished symphonic progressive rock album under the name of Cherry Five that was issued on the Italian Cinevox imprint during 1975. The album arrived several months after the group had returned home from London, the five-piece having failed to win a record deal from any of the British labels, and as a result exhibited a strong British influence obviously inspired by the likes of ELP, Genesis and Yes. It would provide a stark contrast to their later material as Goblin, with the 'Cherry Five' album featuring vocals and lengthy song-suites, yet would also provide a hint towards their blood-drenched future with such titles as 'The Swan Is A Murderer' and the Oscar Wilde-tribute 'The Picture Of Dorian Gray'. For those not in the know, Dorian Gray was a character in one of Wilde's only horror yarns, showcasing the Italian group's early affiliation for the genre that would eventually come to define them. Though this album was issed under the Cherry Five name, many see it as a Goblin product and, despite the stylistic differences, rightly so. The bulk of Goblin's work came in soundtrack form, yet they did release a pair of non-soundtrack albums during the latter half of the 1970's in the form of the excellent 1976 album 'Roller' and the less impressive 'Il Fantastico Viaggio Del Bagarozzo Mark' from 1978. Both albums exhibited streaks of Goblin's soundtrack work, especially 'Roller', yet also added strong elements of synthesized progressive rock, their sound flushed with snazzy keyboards and eerie effects. 'Cherry Five', with its intense instrumental flourishes, strong symphonic flavour and, at times, dazzling quickfire solos, makes for an exhilarating listen, especially so for Goblin fans, though those who enjoy the early-seventies work of the major British progressive rock groups should also find much to their liking. The album's highlights are many - almost every song is worth the price of admission thanks to an interconnecting musical flow that cleverly links one track to the next both stylistically and thematically - yet it is both the richly-drawn opener 'Country Graveyard' and the lengthy, jazz-tinged 'Oliver' that truly stand-out. Alongside the seminal soundtracks adorning both 'Profondo Rosso' and 'Suspiria' and the 1976 'Roller' album, this self-titled oddity remains one of the Italian group's key releases. Fans of symphonic prog in general are also in for a stylish, whirlwind-paced treat, the only disappointment being that Goblin/Cherry Five didn't make more full-on progressive rock albums. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.93 | 139 ratings

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Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In fact the name of this 70's Italian group was Oliver, one of the few Italian bands to sing in English.Hailing from Roma they had an all-star line-up of drummer Carlo Bordini from Rustichelli e Bordini and later Goblin members Fabio Pignatelli on bass, Claudio Simonetti on keys and Massimo Morante on guitars.Oliver even traveled in England to audition a singer, eventually Clive "Artman" Haynes became the lead vocalist for a short period, but he was sacked and the band recruited Tony Tartarini (aka Toni Gionta from L' Uovo di Colombo) for the vocal work.The sole album of the band was recorded in 1974, but didn't see the light before January 76', eventually released under the name of Cherry Five.

Oliver were heavily influenced by the British Prog of the 70's, most notably from YES and GENESIS, and the fact they were quite talented resulted to challenging and complex arrangements with tight performances, but actually they did never escaped from the sound of their heroes, so not much was left to the imagination of the listener.Six nice and well- performed but unoriginal compositions is what this quintet left behind with strong symphonic leanings and a few Classic Rock and jazzy touches here and there, but the resemblance to YES' style becomes a bit annoying at moments.Of course the high level of the compositions makes the album far from boring.Lovely Classical-influenced interludes and solos performed on harpsichord and piano ala RICK WAKEMAN, strong organ leads, careful use of Mellotron, STEVE HOWE-like guitar workouts and deep bass work with evident lines from the work of CHRIS SQUIRE transform into complicated orchestral songs with shifting moods and sufficient instrumental passages.Tony Tartarini was known as an accomplished singer with L'UOVO DI COLOMBO and in ''Cherry Five'' he just prooves to be a decent frontman with an expressive and slightly GABRIEL-esque vocal color.

The rest of the story is more or less known.In 1975 Carlo Bordini, afraid that a contract with Oliver's label Cinevox could hurt his career as a session musician, refused to sign, and jumped off board along with Tartarini, propably this was the reason the album was not released in time.The rest of the crew moved on after changing their name to Goblin and had a succesful career with a more personal and unique sound.

''Cherry five'' comes as an equivalent to the works of Acqua Fragile and is likely to please more fans of British Prog than Classic Italian Prog due to the English lyrics and the strong British Prog influences.Pretty unoriginal but well-played Prog, that deserves a recommendation.

 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.93 | 139 ratings

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Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars The pre-Goblin band Cherry Five's only album.

I do not know much about Cherry Five to be honest. The full story of this band is told somewhere else in ProgArchives. But I know that the music here is pretty remote from what Goblin released.

Cherry Five does dynamic symphonic prog in the vein of Yes. The same dynamics is there. Cherry Five also sings in English, although the vocals are pretty heavy accented. Fair enough. The instruments are vintage and a real treat for those of us into this sound.

Everything comes down to the songs then. And the songs are very good. From the opener and slightly Italian beat influenced Country Grave Yard to the final track My Little Cloud Land. The songs are also filled with a lot of intricate details. Which off course adds spice to the album.

Unfortunate, some of the songs are a bit anonymous. That is my gripes with this album. It is bordering to being a great album, but it does not quite reach that level.

Nevertheless; if Yes and RPI is your thing; this album is a must have.

3.75 stars

 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.93 | 139 ratings

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Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by coasterzombie

3 stars My opinion of this album has regrettably diminished with time. Once one of my favorite Italian Prog CDs, Cherry Five just hasn't aged terribly well and suffers from mediocre sound quality, imitative playing, and embarrassing lyrics. Still, the historical value of Cherry Five is off the charts, as members of Goblin, Rustichelli e Bordini, and L'Uovo di Colombo contribute an onslaught of fierce performances; Claudio Simonetti most notably, as he controls a seemingly never-ending barrage of keyboard and synthesized instruments. Organ, piano, Mellotron, and Moog are all over this thing. Cherry Five is a fun, rocking Yes copycat that will appeal to all Goblin fans, but loses some of its shimmer after repeated listens.

"Country Grave-Yard" wastes no time in wearing influences on its sleeve, and would not sound out of place on The Yes Album. The song is a brisk showcase for Fabio Pignatelli and Carlo Bordini, and the rhythm section will lock in early and often. Morante also gets some face time here with some tasteful guitar leads and even some acoustic rhythm guitar here and there. Simonetti is far less reserved, walloping you over the head with one crazy keyboard lick after another. And that leaves Tartarini - let's just say he does a capable job with the English lyrics, but his native tongue is much preferred. "The Picture of Dorian Gray," taking its name from Claudio Simonetti's previous group, is the centerpiece of the album. Again keyboards are to the fore, as everyone else quite splendidly struggles to keep up. My favorite part of the song comes near the end when the call-and-response exchange between guitar and synth float atop a childish quarter-note foundation in the rhythm section. If Cherry Five just had more unique, interesting sections like this, I feel it wouldn't sound nearly as dated as it does.

"The Swan is a Murderer" parts 1 and 2 are each mildly enjoyable, while the long "Oliver" is far more complex and rewarding. Still, don't expect "Sound Chaser" or anything: Even though "Oliver" contains numerous tempo and key changes, the performances are fairly straight forward and typical for the era. The same holds true for "My Little Cloud Land" although the band does end on a high note and offers glimpses of the famous Goblin sound. Overall, I would probably give Cherry Five 3.5 stars rounded down. I have just heard it so many times I never reach for it any more...your mileage may vary.

 Cherry Five by CHERRY FIVE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.93 | 139 ratings

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Cherry Five
Cherry Five Rock Progressivo Italiano

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

5 stars To my mind--and ears--these guys are great musicians crafting intricate yet beautifully melodious songs la a cross between ELP, FOCUS, GENESIS, THE ALLMAN BROTHERS, YES and GENTLE GIANT. Great keys, great acoustic and electric guitars, great vocals (YES- and KANSAS-like harmonies, lead sounds a bit like Uriah Heep's DAVID BYRON or Grand Funk's MARK FARNER), solid bass and drumming, really tight compositions and performances. The highlights, for me, are the awesome vocals--lead and harmony. They are so well integrated with nary a wasted note or word yet are every bit as much important to their songs. Favorite song is "The Picture of Dorian Gray" with "Country Grave Yard" and "Oliver" close behind. One of my top ten all-time RPI albums.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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