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


Fabio Celi e Gli Infermieri

Rock Progressivo Italiano

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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.

Report this review (#195018)
Posted Thursday, December 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars An Italian group from San Giorgio a Cremano near Napoli, Fabio Celi e Gli Infermieri were led by keyboardist Fabio Celi, who's real name was Antonio Cavallaro, with a supporting crew of four more musicians, Ciro Ciscognetti on additional keyboards, Luigi Coppa on guitar/harmonica, Rino Fiorentino on bass and Roberto Ciscognetti on drums.In 1968 they released a single as Fabio Celi e I Pop for the unknown Gilbert label and in 1969 they recorded their only album ''Follia'' for the label linked to the Studio 7 in Napoli.For questionable reasons the album was only released four years later, propably because it was banned for containing offensive lyrics.

While having a very clean production and tricky sound considering the time of recording, ''Follia'' is much a period product with dominant Psych and Pop influences, containining lots of organ parts and some good guitar plays, showered by omnipresent Italian vocals and a playful rhythm section.The style rarely moves away from the standard values of late-60's music, the melodic organ themes, the poppy choruses, the light guitar plays and the rather indifferent drumming are the basic characteristics of this release, although some tracks contain some more piano and harsichord passages.Moreover the typical addition of a couple of ballads was not prevented, on the other hand Fabio Celi and his team did make a decent attempt on somewhat avoiding the sweet themes of 60's music and offer a more dramatic touch in their music, both from an instrumental and vocal point of view.The guitar work is really good with some great ideas and the organs combined with the piano lines are at least satisfying, especially when the vocals become a bit more serious.Still there are lot of dull choirs and childish, syrupy melodies to be found, you have a feeling this act could have been trully nice later, similar to HUNKA MUNKA, GLI ALLUMINOGENI and the likes, but the recording period left not much room for deep experimentation.

Reputedly the band was an impressive live monster with some great shows and in 1971 Celli release a solo single with guitarist Coppa being replaced by Silvio Feo.After ''Follia'' was released the band hit the road again and even received some national exposure through TV programs, but never recovered.In 1975 Ciro Ciscognetti joined Napoli Centrale, before becoming a piano bar player, same as with Celli, Roberto Ciscognetti has played since 1980 with Popularia, Luigi Coppa left the music industry to work as an employee, while Fiorentino unfortunately passed away, following a heart attack.

Vocal/organ-based Psych/Prog/Pop, standard stuff of the Italian scene, with decent melodies, some good twists, some nice guitar parts, but poor progressive extensions.Recommended for fans of Proto-Prog and melodic Psych Rock...2.5 stars.

Report this review (#1312024)
Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2014 | Review Permalink


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