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Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) - Photos Of Ghosts CD (album) cover


Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM)


Rock Progressivo Italiano

4.07 | 492 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars PREMIATA FORNERIA MARCONIA broke big in 1972 releasing two bedazzling masterpieces that year and carried out a very successful tour around Italy which put them on the top of the Italian prog heap of outstanding bands to have emerged at that time. They were fortuitous enough to attract the attention of Greg Lake from ELP while they themselves were touring the Italian countryside, which turned out to be quite the burst of luck for PFM as ELP had just launched their very own record label Manticore Records and was scouting out new talents. Well, it's no brainer that they were extremely impressed with the outstanding musical wizardry of this band. First action to be taken was to go global for a wider reach of audiences and that meant going English language all the way and PHOTOS OF GHOSTS is the the very first album by PFM to be sung in English. However, instead of making a totally new album with new songs, what we get here are remakes of tracks from "Storia Di Un Minuto" and "Per Un Amico" with the sole exception of the instrumental "Old Rain" which is the only new track created for the album.

While lovers of Italian lyrics which suit the music better may not be totally thrilled (such as me), the rest of the world was exposed to a new international rock sound and PFM became one of the few Italian prog bands to find success abroad. PHOTOS OF GHOSTS actually cracked the top 200 albums chart on Billboard (#180) and scored successful tours across all of Europe, Japan, Canada and the US. The new lyrics were written by Peter Sinfield formerly of King Crimson and the new English lyrics are totally rewritten and not merely translated. Unfortunately the rhythmic cadences and flow of the music i find to be better suited for the original Italian language as the English sounds a little stilted and clunky as it's not their native tongue but truth be told, the lyrics are really a footnote between the massive instrumental workouts that placed PFM in a league above most of the competition and Franco Mussida's vocals are heavenly even if sounding out of their element.

It is quite confusing, this one. Here's a track-by-track list of which song came from which album and other details:

Track one "River Of Life" ("Appena Un Po") (6:56) with totally new lyrics in English and is the first track on "Per Un Amico" as well as here which is a great lead

Track two "Celebration" (" Festa") (3:50) became their best known song once re-recorded in English. This one was totally re-recorded including all instruments as well as vocals

Track three "Photos Of Ghosts" ("Per Un Amico") (5:20) was originally track three from "Per Un Amico" with all music the same and only the lyrics re-recorded in English

Track four "Old Rain" (3:40) is a mellow piano and acoustic guitar doing a proggy dance together with flute and piccolo joining in. Prog folk as opposed to rock actually. It's a nice little interlude between the more rocking tracks

Track five "The Banquet" ("Il Banchetto") (8:34) was track four on "Per Un Amico" with same instrumental arrangement and re- recorded lyrics in English

Track six "Mr. 9 'Till 5" ("Generale") (4:07) was originally track two on "Per Un Amico" with same instrumental arrangement and only newly recorded lyrics in English

Track seven "Promenade The Puzzle" ("Geranio") (7:35) was track five on "Per Un Amico" also with same musical accompaniment with revisions only in the lyrical language department

I guess i couldn't call this one essential because i prefer the original versions and the one new track is a nice welcome newbie to the old crowd but is noticeably inferior at the same time. It is perhaps a tad too mellow for its place but it's certainly not bad either. Even though i can't find a logical argument to say this essential, i still find it to be so. This music is brilliant and breathtakingly beautiful even if the lyrics sounds a little off. So perhaps not THE most essential release of PFM but still an excellent album nonetheless. Way too good for only three stars.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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