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Quella Vecchia Locanda - Il Tempo della Gioia CD (album) cover


Quella Vecchia Locanda


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.11 | 350 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA (That Old Inn in English) emerged at the height of the Italian prog boom in the early 70s, released only two gems of the genre and then sadly disbanded but in their brief yet productive career they released not only their stunning masterpiece of a self-titled debut but a second classic in the form of IL TEMPO DELLA GIOIA (The Age Of Joy). In the two years since the debut there had been a significant lineup change that steered the band's sound in a new direction. Violinist Donald Lax was replaced by Claudio Filice and bassist Massimo Giorgi (from the band Il Ritratto di Dorian Gray) took over for Romualdo Coletta. The debut album gained the band a prominent role in the Italian prog scene and in the two year gap they caught the attention of RCA records which meant a stealthier production job for their sophomore release.

One of the most startling differences between QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA's debut and IL TEMPO DELLA GIOIA is the absence of the madman violinist Donald Lax who was one of the key components of the debut. In his stead, the more relaxed Claudio Filice is quite subdued and the band follows suit making album number two a much mellower romp through the prog universe with longer tracks that develop into intricate parts but eschew the frenetic youthful energy that permeated the eponymous debut. Another distinct feature of IL TEMPO is that is includes the guest sax player Rodolfo Bianchi who adds some rather jazzy touches strewn about although never taking center stage. There are also some beautiful choral moments.

At its core QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA's general musical approach centers around complex classically driven piano and keyboard parts that break into heavy rock enthusiasm less often than album #1. As mentioned Claudio Filice doesn't compete in the sheer madman approach of Lax and even on tracks like "Un Giorno, Un Amico" where he lets loose, he still sounds quite inhibited which ultimately affected the entire band's performance. While this may sound like a bad thing, it's a testament to how the members of the band were a cohesive unit and worked together within the confines of every member making IL TEMPO DELLA GIOIA, which makes it a true GIOA (Joy) to listen to. Each of the five compositions has a distinct identity and offers each musical instrument to have a day in the sunlight.

While initially i was disappointed by the approach of QUELLA VECCHIA LOCANDA's mellow second album since it clearly makes less of an impact, there is no doubt that this is the same band with the same compositional approach of beautifully designed symphonic Italian prog of the era. While the sheer intensity of the debut has been dampened, the focus has shifted to more melodic driven symphonic touches and instrumental interchange. Once again the members play tightly constructed pieces that flow together perfectly. This album is almost exclusively instrumental with only occasional dynamic vocals from founding member Giorgio Giorgi whose vocal prowess matches any of the operatic greats of the day. Despite playing second best to their debut, IL TEMPO DELLA GIOIA is still an excellent slice of early 70s Italian prog not to be missed.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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