There were many performers who released albums in
the Italian singer/songwriter tradition during the 1970s,
names like Enzo Capuano, Battisti, Genco Puro, and
Stefano Testa to name a few.
All used elements of the songs tradition and mixed
varying degrees of other influences, orchestrations,
experimentations, and the prog-rock popular in Italy
at the time.
Some worked better than others and some had more
on an RPI association than others.
One of the nicest gems to come from this period is
"Affresco" by Franco Maria Giannini.
Born in Rome in March 1945, Giannini
(real name Aldo Parente) began playing with bands
in the late 1960s.
He was active on the festivals scene of the early 70s
and in 1974 released this album for a small label
named Aris Records.
"Affresco" is a wonderful album!
While steering clear of long, complex instrumental prog
it features eight feisty 3-5 minute tracks full of variety
and proggy touches.
While the basic tracks have a folk-rock feel about them,
they are souped up with a bit of everything: cello, violin,
mandolin, 12-string, trumpet, electric solos and keyboards.
The title track opens with a nice rocker, upbeat, with
mandolin for some flavor.
It is the second track where the album gets good,
as the beautiful violin of Quella Vecchia Locanda's
Claudio Filice opens the track.
Instantly recognizable and adds a ton of atmosphere!
The Italian song tradition is in full display here with
a festive vocal and rolling piano along with the violin.
Another weapon the album boasts is the capable
lead guitar work of Libra's Nicola Di Staso.
"Il Cane Duc" features some lovely mellotron or strings
to a heartfelt ballad.
Later comes the inventive use of horns which were
not super common, and reminds one of Battisti's
Another similarity to "Anima" is the use of children's
vocals on "Per La Tua Strada" which really plays
to one's heartstrings.
Great musicianship continues with lovely integrations
of feisty guitar, piano, violin, mandolin, soft keyboards,
flute, and warm bass.
Giannini should be very proud of this album which
I predict will become much more popular as
the current crop of RPI fans begin to discover it.
The album is recorded quite well and still sounds
pretty good even by today's standards.