Another band coming from a 60's long career, The Showmen from Naples had some hits in 1968 and 1969 with their original blend of soul, rhythm & blues and italian pop, releasing only an LP and a bunch of singles on RCA.
The band had been formed by bassist/singer Mario Musella and sax player James Senese in 1966, and their first single came in 1968. They had a great hit with Un'ora sola ti vorrei, that won the 1968 Cantagiro.
The original group split at the turn of the 70's, with Musella embarking in an unsuccessful solo career (he sadly died in 1979), and Elio D'Anna going to form Osanna.
After a short time Senese and Del Prete, aided by the guitarist Botta (now on bass), reformed the group with a new line-up, more influenced by the current italian rock tendencies. They first released some singles, halfway between the 60's soul of the original line-up and a new sound, then an album simply called Showmen 2 (the group was touring as Showmen 2, but the liner notes refer to them as simply Showmen), from which another single was taken, on the small local label B.B.B., with little promotion.
The album is housed in a stunning heavy gatefold cover and contains a peculiar mix of rock, rhythm & blues, prog, not far from the sound of Chicago or the english band If. The voice has melodic pop influences, but the music is powerful and well played, with strong horn arrangements that make this album unique in the italian prog scene of the time.
Tracks like Abbasso lo zio Tom (also released as a single and with lyrics about racism) or Epitaffio have good lyrics and nice arrangements.
The band disbanded after the album, founders Senese and Del Prete creating Napoli Centrale with a production of three jazz-rock albums in 1975-77.
Much confusion has been made about Showmen's name, with their album being reissued by B.B.B. label as Showmen 2 / Napoli Centrale; a later compilation on the same label (and still simply called with the group's name) mixed tracks from their 60's beat repertoire, the Showmen 2 album and even a Chicago track cover, Introduction, originally included in Mario Musella's solo album from 1973....read more here
amore che fu
thanks to antony :)