Premiata Forneria Marconi is considered to be the best Italian progressive rock band ever. PFM recorded excellent progressive rock in the seventies as we can hear on albums as Photos Of Ghosts (1973), The World Became The World (1974) and Chocolate Kings (1975). During the golden era of prog rock they also assisted a good friend who made music with hardly any relation with their own musical style. This is something many PFM-fans didn’t know.
Back in 1970, PFM were the backing band of Fabrizio De André and together they recorded the album La Buona Novella (The Good News). The music on this album wasn’t progressive rock, but moved towards folk and traditional Italian music. In 1978 and 1979 both PFM and De André did a historical tour from which they later on released the double live album In Concerto. Thirty years later PFM released PFM Canta De André, a live CD/DVD with songs of their friend De André who passed away in the beginning of 1999.
Forty years after the first release of La Buona Novella the band had the idea to record the songs all over again. This time the songs got new arrangements and new songs were written suiting the music and sounding as if they were recorded in 1970. With the release of A.D.2010 - La Buona Novella, a dream came true for Franz Di Cioccio (vocals, drums, percussion), Patrick Djivas (bass) and Franco Mussida (guitar, vocals). After all these years they could close this musical chapter that so tightly connects them to Fabrizio De André. The ten songs once written by De André got an extra piece of music written by Mussida, Djivas and Di Cioccio. Even the lyrics and the song titles have a relation with the old concept. In practice this means that the songs inspired on the Holy Bible got some additional material related to the same subject in music and words.
Don’t expect PFM-music on this release. Not all the material on this album is appropriate for people who are into PFM. However, you can still hear some sound elements that will remind you of the band. Good examples are the third and fifth track on which you can recognize PFM by the way Franco Mussida plays the electric guitar. Moreover, several MiniMoog parts done by guest musician Gianluca Tagliavini also have the seventies sound of PFM, for instance track three, four and six. Even guest violin player Lucio Fabbri occasionally reminded me of Maro Pagani who played the violin back in the seventies. This time the original vocals of De André were replaced by the voices of Di Cioccio and Mussida who both sang a lot in PFM before Bernardo Lanzetti took over.
How do you judge an album that doesn’t contain progressive rock music? Although the music on this album is very well performed, it’s indeed a difficult question to answer. Of course this is a great homage to a friend and a fellow-musician. In my opinion Fabrizio De André would have been satisfied if only he could listen to his songs performed by his former friends of PFM. I took these facts into account for my final judgment.
**+ Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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