Artist: Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
Label: Manticore Records
Catalog#: MA6-505S1
Format: Vinyl
Country: United States
Released: 1975-04
A1 Chorale (From Traccia's Theme) 2:30
A2 L'Albero Del Pane (The Bread Tree) 4:45
A3 Metamorphosis 14:54
B1 Outside 7:42
B2 Leave Me Alone 5:20
B3 Nothing's The Same 9:58
B4 Traccia II 2:42

Bass, Acoustic Guitar - Renato D'Angelo
Drums, Percussion - Pier Luigi Calderoni
Grand Piano, Clarinet, Synthesizer - Gianni Nocenzi
Guitar, Trumpet, Backing Vocals - Rodolfo Maltese
Organ, Synthesizer, Strings [Electronic] - Vittorio Nocenzi
Vocals - Francesco Di Giacomo

Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Banco is short for Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso or "Bank of the Mutual Trust." Hailing from Rome, the group centered around brothers Vittorio and Gianni Nocenzi's dual keyboards, and Francesco Di Giacomo's classic Italian tenor. Following a UK tour in 1974, the band was approached by Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Manticore label, who had already signed fellow countrymen Premiata Forneria Marconi. This contract led to the band's next album: a re-recording of several tracks from their previous three albums for Dischi Ricordi, all of which had made the top of the Italian charts. Simply titled Banco (though also referenced as IV), the album features Di Giacomo's rather large frame on the cover. The formal "Chorale" opens unceremoniously, but is followed by the lively "L'Albero Del Pane," an unreleased Italian song. Spirited, the track highlights the group's intricate arrangements, a rather ELP-inspired break and, of course, Di Giacomo's superb voice. However, the opening meters of "Metamorphosis" demand complete attention: Bold, complex and shifting, this is Rock progressivo italiano at its finest. Along with the exceptional drumming of Pier Luigi Calderoni, Gianni's piano and Vittorio's Hammond and synthesizer intertwine effortlessly as the track evolves into a striking masterpiece "Outside" (original title "RIP") gives new guitarist Rodolfo Maltese some room to stretch before digressing into something a little more bel canto. The next pair of songs offer translations to English from Marva Jan Marrow, who also worked with PFM. Whether they add anything to the equation is debatable, as Di Giacomo's voice is a treat no matter what language he sings in. The gentle "Leave Me Alone" (originally "Non mi rompete") is uncharacteristically acoustic and reminiscent of PFM or Le Orme; while the liberal use of synthesizers and interplay between musicians adds a unique Banco feel to "Nothing's The Same" (original "Dopo niente e più lo stesso"), certainly another highlight of the album. The final track "Traccia II" brings the album full circle, but sounds like a midi file. Without a doubt, Banco's first three records—the self-titled debut Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Darwin, and Io Sono Nato Libero—are worth more of an investigation than this compilation offers.
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