Little by little we've tried to complete the discography of this outstanding band. They belong to that genre of ethnic-progressive-folk I mentioned in connection with Orexis that sadly has disappeared. Our good friend Tom from cdrwl mentioned this album from 1978 as the most fusiony of their output, and ever since he drew our attention to this factor, I've searched high and low for this rarity. I'm sure I'm not the only one to be pleased with its appearance here at last. And Tom was right-- this is their best album.
Notice first up the cover, which is printed with the lyrics at the bottom and the year on top, curiously. In Fellini realismo style, we see an old man washing his face at his table with a cat at the bottom. On the back, the same cat is jumping up to drink from his bowl of soup when he has left. (Morra is an old game btw, for those wondering about the title.) It constitutes the second song on the 1st side. The masterpiece is the long side 2, which I split from its prelude because I love it so much.
First up let's hear what ashram templar Tom had to say:"Update 12/9/2010: I pretty much presumed "Miradas" was Canzoniere Del Lazio's contribution to progressive rock, and was under the impression all of their other albums were pure Italian folk. But that wasn't correct at all (their early albums are indeed just Italian folk), and "Morra 1978" is a very fine fusion effort, taking the reins of "Miradas" and running it into another dimension. Violin and saxophone are the main solo instruments, with percussion and female vocals continuing to play a large role in their sound. Well worth pursuing, and would like to see this one come out on a label like BTF. I also have been told that "Spirito Bono" is worth seeking out as well. (2/15/11 note: And yes indeed, it is. A bit more experimental folk, but a very interesting listen)"
For me the complexity of composition on this effort is what makes the record amazing. There is less droney folk of that 'I'm stoned and I'm strumming the same chords over and over' variety, with the usual commune chanting or hippie-screaming, though the first song is a good sample of that type of folk, and more of the high-energy fusion that brings so much clarity (like a strong cup of espresso) to one's thinking, and more of the really angular, composed, stravinskyesque style. As a complete record, holding the sleeve and as I said before, gazing lovingly at the artwork front and back, it's truly a work of art. I'm reminded of that old animated movie called "The man who planted trees" for those familiar with it, the story of an old man who spends years of his life planting trees one at a time where there is nothing. Many years later the hero-narrator returns to find a large forest there. As an epitaph to the man, he says (paraphrasing of course) "When I think of all he accomplished, it fills me with wonder at what a man can do." And I definitely think the same when I listen to parts of this album.
First part of long side B: