BANCO DEL MUTUO SOCCORSO – Io Sono Nato Libero
In 1973 Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso issued the follow-up to the highly regarded 'Darwin!', - ‘Io Sono Nato Libero’ (‘I Am Born Free’), completing their trilogy of outstanding albums. This one is dominated by the fifteen minute ‘Canto Nomade Per Un Prigioniero’, which opens the album, and shows from the start that the band are using even more keyboards, and that the sometimes overly operatic vocals of singer Francesco Di Giacomo have been toned down. The quality of the music, however, remains just as high, with all the twists and turns that you would expect from top notch progressive rock. The musicianship on this song is superb, and the band are not afraid to experiment with unusual instruments and effects, and it is generally agreed that this track is the finest that the band ever recorded. The rest of the album would have to be exceptional to match this opener, and so it is perhaps no surprise that the other tracks on here pale in its shadow, although being Banco they are still worth hearing. ‘Non Mi Rompete’ is an acoustic ballad which doesn’t really show any prog leanings until it is almost over, but it is still a lovely song. ‘La Citta Sotille’ is more like it, although the prog elements are more low-key for the most part, until about halfway through where the band start experimenting with the keyboards. ‘Dopo… Niente E Piu Lo Stesso’ is the longest piece on side two, and as expected the band use its ten minutes to deliver some great prog rock. Flute makes an appearance on here, alongside the usual piano, organ and guitar, and even though it is a slower piece it is still extremely enjoyable. ‘Traccia II’ closes the album with a short classically influenced keyboard instrumental, rounding off another essential Italian prog album.