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Fabio Celi e Gli Infermieri - Follia CD (album) cover


Fabio Celi e Gli Infermieri


Rock Progressivo Italiano

2.78 | 22 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Early transitional artist

Fabio Celi e Gli Infermieri are considered to be historically significant in the Italian prog universe because their album was made in 1969, making it one of the earliest entries of the RPI movement. Depending on the source you believe however it may not have been released until years later-Scented Garden's claims it was not released until 1973 due to the lyrics controversy and even then not allowed in record shops or radio. Croce's page says it was issued in '69 so I really don't know. The band were from the Naples area and released a single before changing the name and releasing a full length album. The 5-piece band's sound is heavily ruled by the twin-keyboards of Celi and Ciro Ciscognetti and the often outrageous vocals of Celi. The group obviously is influenced by British psych-pop of the 60s and would be inconsequential at PA if not for their excursions toward the progressive scene. They did this by extending the song lengths to the 5-7 minute range and using more complicated arrangements and parts. You can hear the pop structure clearly but you can also hear each player beginning to stretch out significantly via elaborate keyboard runs, long guitar solos, and some pretty cool drum fills. The vocals are also more theatrical and daring. Yet still it is a bridge band well short of anything happening in the classic RPI years of 72-74. Don't expect this to be rattle your cage to the extent of "Ys" or "Palepoli." I would say it reminds me a bit of a Yes' "Looking Around" or "I See You" from the first album-but with Cherry 5 performing it instead of Yes. How's that for a convoluted description?

But given the disclaimers above this is actually a pretty solid psych-flavored pop/rock sound. "Follia" apparently means "crazy" or "folly" and there is a clear streak of rebelliousness running throughout, some of the lyrics were banned on Italian television it is said. notes that the stage act was pretty outrageous as well with Celi being carried onstage in a coffin and wearing a straightjacket during the final number. Highlights of the album include the title track which features Celi breaking into an unbelievably obnoxious, forced laughter after each repetition of the word "Follia." This occurs over and over and certainly will be enough to drive your wife and children from the house. Oddly I have taken to the song and consider it highly memorable which was perhaps Celi's intent. The album in full features an excellent blend of piano and organ as a backdrop to the rock and roll and from there often throws in the psych electric leads. Vocals are present on all tracks I believe and Celi's style almost seems spoken sometimes though he is clearly singing, it's an odd voice surely but not unpleasant to me. I can understand anyone who does get irritated from them though as they are strange. "Uomo Cosa Fai" has a very cool opening that is tight and definitely prog but then slides into a rather bland ballady chorus. Sometimes the rhythms can be a bit static and slip into that "60s spy tv show theme" but eventually it does break and there are plenty of interesting change-ups. The Mellow reissue includes only the original lyrics reprinted from the album and no other Bio information. The CD does include two decent bonus tracks recorded originally from 1971 with mostly the same line-up. The album was reissued in '73 or '74 but Celi never made another album in those fruitful years.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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