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Piero e i Cottonfields - Il Viaggio, La Donna, Un' Altra Vita CD (album) cover


Piero e i Cottonfields


Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.77 | 11 ratings

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3 stars Piero e i Cottonfields was a group built around the vocalist Piero Cotto who continues to perform to this day, lovingly dubbed by one fan "the Italian Barry White." Born in 1944 he began his career in the early 1960s and spent some time in America before returning home and forming Cottonfields in 1972. The band was short lived managing a few singles and one full length album before splitting in 1974. It was not the end for Cotto though who has had a long vocal career outside of the progressive realm.

The album "Il Viaggio, La Donna, un' Alrtra Vita" is not a highly progressive album by any standards really, but like other albums on the site features a period pop/rock mixed with the prog sounds of the day. The songwriting is fairly strong: catchy, melodic tracks featuring the booming, gregarious voice of Cotto who is described as close to Delirium's Fossati. I also think he shares some vocal cadences with the singer of Locanda delle Fate. Most tracks feature a fairly stock structure and beat with the rhythm doing what you'd expect, fairly pedestrian, and the payoffs coming from the vocal and mainly sunny vibes. Building up the sound are at various times acoustic guitars, keyboards, and flute. Cotto's vocal is paired with interesting female backing vocals which have a rather young, na´ve sound to them. I can't tell if there is more than one backing vocal or if the female vocal is layered but that's how it sounds in certain spots and the effect is quite good. Once in a while the electric guitar is allowed to cut loose with a Joey Molland type solo or in the case of "Due Delfini Bianchi" a little Jerry Garcia style steel guitar treat at the end. Other bands I am sometimes reminded of as I listen to Cottonfields include George Harrison, Cat Stevens, and Chicago (without horns). The title track features a nice layered flute part to go with bongos and mellotron. "Cantico" is a highlight for me, beginning with lovely piano and slowly evolving with mellotron and chaotic flute against a dramatic vocal. Then a quiet break spills into a nice e-guitar solo over the mellotron again. It fades out which is a huge problem here: nothing exceeds the 3-5 minute range so there is never any chance that the nicely worked up moods will be pushed into outer space. By the time you get into the song, it's over. "Fammi un Segno" contains a not so subtle nod to George Harrison with a "Hare Krishna" sing-along. "Volo 715" contains some layered keyboards, putting two synths over each other at first before changing to an alternating piano and mellotron. The real star of the show though is the voice of Piero Cotto. The music is nice, but this album is for those who enjoy a rich voice capable of character and emotion, laid atop simple, effective tunes.

While I enjoyed this piece of RPI history as a fan I must contain the rating at 3 stars. It's a good little melodic album but clearly of interest mainly to hard core Italian fans. This is NOT the album to choose if you are a modern prog-rock fan dipping your toe into the Italian classic scene, this is an album for you hard-core freaks who are amassing the big time RPI/ISP historical collection. If that's you, you'll enjoy the gatefold mini-LP sleeve with the far out cover painting. The CD booklet is disappointingly brief. 6/10

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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