When youíve read our Italian-special on the Background Magazine-website you may have noticed the live album Live Orme by Le Orme. This double album, released on vinyl in 1986, originally came out in Japan only. The French Musea Records released it on CD with a special price tag on it, so to own this special release you had to pay a lot of money as Erik Neuteboom, the writer of our Italian-special, found out. Now several years later, the Italian Black Widow-label decided to give the album a proper release and added some bonus tracks as well. This time you donít have to pay too much money to possess this album. Maybe you wonder why this release is so special. Well, therefore you need some background information first.
In the mid-seventies, a technician of Le Orme recorded several live concerts in Italy and then he sold these tapes to Japanese people, who were interested in Italian prog rock bands like PFM, BMS, New Trolls and Delirium. The King- and Thorpe-label, both unknown to Le Orme, released a limited edition of a double vinyl album and CD which spread quickly all over the world among fans. One of the people at Black Widow got a copy of this album and he was aware of the fact that he owned an important musical document of the music Le Orme - with guitarist Germano Serafin- played at the time. He also felt that it was lacking some fundamental songs like Sera, Los Angeles, Laurel Canyon, Amico Di Ieri and a complete version of La Porta Chiusa. Therefore those tracks were included in the original tapes, but later on they were excluded, probably because of space problems or the bad quality of the recordings.
Thus it was a good idea to reissue this album including the missing tracks. However, the real problem was to find the original mastertape of the album that, being out of control of Le Orme, had to be found in the boundless jungle of the Japanese discographic market. After an exhausting research and with the help of some relations they eventually found the right link in Japan and the work for a proper release of Live Orme could start. Now after all these years, they got the complete works out on two CDís and three vinyl albums. In spite of the fact that all tracks have been remastered, the quality of the original recordings couldnít be perfect in every part. This has to be considered in the light of the purposes of this operation. They wanted to give an important evidence of the absolute value and splendour of the group during an unrepeatable and unforgettable period.
After listening to both albums itís easy to conclude that these are live recordings from the seventies. The music wasnít recorded the way itís done nowadays, but for anyone who enjoys keyboard-dominated music, this release certainly is a Ďmust haveí. Le Orme started more or less as a psychedelic band, but after a visit to London they gradually moved towards the musical style of The Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Especially on Collage (1971) this change in style can be heard. On this album, lead singer Aldo Tagliapietra switched from guitar to bass and the keyboards played by Tony Pagliuca got a leading role. You can enjoy several songs from Collage on the first disc; the tracks Cemento Armato and Era Inverno are good examples of songs that hardly contain any guitar, because these songs were originally recorded without a guitar player. Only on the bonus tracks Los Angeles and Laurel Canyon guitarist Germano Serafin has a leading role.
However, Serafinís guitar leaves a great mark upon the second disc, which starts with short excerpts from Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin) and Aqualung (Jethro Tull) on which Serafin shows that he knows his classics. On the next piece Felona E Serona, he gets all the room to show his talents as well. This epic piece, divided into five parts, is probably the bandís best known work. The musical story based upon the two planets Felona and Serona acts as a great vehicle for several solo spots and a lot of jamming. The drum solo from Michi Dei Rossi even got a special reference on the track list. The second disc contains more classic pieces like Collage and Maggio, but also music from the albums on which the guitar got more evident. Laserium Floyd, from the Smogmagica≠-album recorded in Los Angeles in 1975, is a fine example. This disc contains two bonus tracks as well of which La Porta Chiusa is my favourite. The guitar and keyboard sounds on the longer version of this piece are very tasteful. It once again proved that it was a great loss for Le Orme when keyboard player Antonio Pagliuca went solo after several break-ups. Thanks to the hard work of Black Widow Records we can enjoy him in full splendour on this great release. †
Black Widow dedicates this fine work to the great Michi Dei Rossi, one of the best drummers the prog world has ever known and one of the founding members of Le Orme as well. Itís also a tribute to the unique and inimitable Aldo Tagliapietra who recently decided to retire after giving forty years of his life to Le Orme. Live Orme is also a homage to Tony Pagliuca, master on the Hammond and the MiniMoog and above all to the late Germano Serafin who followed the footsteps of guitarist Tolo Marton after the latter had left the band. Serafin certainly left his mark upon the music of Le Orme. Black Widow did a good job releasing Live Orme again, this time with the additional tracks. I really looked forward to listen to this album and it certainly met my expectations. Bravo!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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