Anni di piombo, anni di paillettes.

Music from a country on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

[music:] Alan Sorrenti, Alan Sorrenti Special (1980)

with 3 comments

Usually I don’t post “greatest hits” or “best of” stuff, but this is a whole other story.

Basically, it’s like if there were two distinct artists called “Alan Sorrenti”: the half Italian, half Welsh long-haired & long-bearded hippy vocal experimenter who worked with Luciano Cilio, Toni Esposito, Jean-Luc Ponty, Francis Monkman from Curved Air and Dave Jackson from Van der Graaf Generator versus the moustached, well hairdressed falsetto singing latin lover who recorded with Toto as a backing band and whose most successful songs are featured in almost every oldies collection released. The tiny minority of people worldwide who know and love his early folk/prog works (that is two albums released on Harvest Records: Aria – “air” – 1972, and Come un vecchio incensiere all’alba di un villaggio deserto – “like an old incense burner at a desert village’s dawn” – 1973) most of the time dismiss his post-1974 career, while those who enjoy singing along with his disco-pop tunes usually can’t even fancy of a time when Alan was called “the Italian Tim Buckley” – “Bach-who?”.

This amazing 1980 EMI anthology knocks down this barrier, compiling in no chronological order ten songs seemingly the most distant from one another – and leaving aside his major hits such as “Figli delle stelle” or “Tu sei l’unica donna per me” – perhaps aiming at recovering some kind of an aesthetically and emotionally consistent general picture of the artist’s path from the beginnings to 1977.

Well, the mission is accomplished. The result is a mesmerizing stream of uncosciousness which lines up on the a side with no prejudice and an excellent taste the late seventies italo drama hint of “Notte di stelle” (an excerpt from the bestseller Figli delle stelle, “sons of the star”, 1977) with the ethereal “A te che dormi” (from Come un vecchio incensiere…); “Alba” (from Sienteme, it’s time to land, recorded in the States and released in 1976) with “Vorrei incontrarti” (from the first album) and the thin, sensual “Poco più piano” (from from the 1974 self-titled full-length).

The b side instead revolves around three songs in Neapolitan dialect, two of which are renditions of standards from the classical melodic songbook: the wonderful “Dicitincello vuje”, which topped the chart in 1974 and costed Sorrenti heavy protests from the alternative scenesters (at its worst, he was forced to leave the stage at the Licola Festival in 1975, when people from the audience started throwing bottles and cans), and “Passione”, arranged in a funky-disco fashion. Plus, it includes the sumptuous “E tu mi porti via” from the 1977 album and a scattered gem like “Le tue radici”, released as a stand alone single in 1975.

Here is the tracklist:

01, Notte di stelle (“starry night”)
02, A te che dormi (“to you sleeping”)
03, Alba (“dawn”)
04, Vorrei incontrarti (“i’d like to meet you”)
05, Poco più piano (“a little slower”)
06, Dicitincello vuje (“go and tell her”)
07, Le tue radici (“your roots”)
08, Sienteme (“listen to me”)
09, Passione (“passion”)
10, E tu mi porti via (“and you take me away”)

Get it: Alan Sorrenti, Alan Sorrenti Special (1980)

Alan Sorrenti has released five other albums since 1980 – not counting the compilations – the last being Sottacqua (“underwater”, 2003), none of which managed to regain his late seventies success. Incidentally, his sister Jane “Jenny” Sorrenti is a gifted singer herself; she founded the short-lived folk/prog band Saint Just in 1973, and is still active as a live performer.

Written by alteralter

February 24, 2009 at 11:50 pm

3 Responses

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  1. bravo
    buon post.
    bisogna conoscere sorrenti, anche quello del periodo disco!
    ciao

    ellaguru

    March 8, 2009 at 11:28 am

  2. Thank you for your great work!

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    Munju

    March 17, 2009 at 10:09 pm

  3. It is time to say the true about Licola. True, we were all nervous for him switching to more commercial music. But that eve, he entered the stage with an only guitarrist and he introduced the song he was going to sing. I still remember the title: “Revolution”. Then he started an annoying vocalization on a simple chord progression of 3 and he continued, continued…. I feel he continued for more than half an hour. Before he started we were telling among us that the only “Serenesse” would have been enough to go back to our tents satisfied and happy…. We felt insulted. We did not only throw whatever we had available. We started also to flock away while he continued… We were sure he had decided to give up with the audience he had till then. To switch to a more wealthy market…
    I have found different bloggers and interviews telling his version, i.e. he was forced to close. The true is what reported above. I was there and I can tell.

    Ciro D'Acunzo

    November 11, 2014 at 10:49 pm


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