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Prog Folk • Italy

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Pierrot Lunaire biography
An original mix of soft progressive and avantgarde atmospheres is the distinctive sound of PIERROT LUNAIRE, highly regarded among foreign collectors though not particularly representative. Still, over the course of their two albums, this band draw from a broad set of influences as diverse as FAUST, PFM and DEBUSSY for their eclectic, unpredictable sound.

PIERROT LUNAIRE's first album contains really beautiful instrumentation. The second ("Gudrun") is one of the most adventurous records of Italian progressive, and it is one of my favourite albums of all time too. "Gudrun" is one of those masterpieces where only one classification seems appropriate: extraordinary music. In any case, PIERROT LUNAIRE's two albums are a must for adventurous listeners.

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Pierrot LunairePierrot Lunaire
Imports 2014
Audio CD$5.58
$5.57 (used)
Imports 2017
$24.73 (used)
Pierrot Lunaire by PIERROT LUNAIREPierrot Lunaire by PIERROT LUNAIRE
Audio CD$38.70
Pierrot Lunaire by ImportsPierrot Lunaire by Imports
Audio CD$38.70
Imports 2011
Audio CD$16.18
$20.19 (used)
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Roger Marsh - : Albert Giraud's Pierrot Lunaire (2007) USD $25.73 Buy It Now 12h 19m
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Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

PIERROT LUNAIRE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.53 | 61 ratings
Pierrot Lunaire
3.71 | 76 ratings

PIERROT LUNAIRE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

PIERROT LUNAIRE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PIERROT LUNAIRE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.73 | 7 ratings

PIERROT LUNAIRE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pierrot Lunaire by PIERROT LUNAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.53 | 61 ratings

Pierrot Lunaire
Pierrot Lunaire Prog Folk

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

5 stars Another bizarre, or lunatic wall of sound, let me call. The first shocking shout should define the destiny of this album completely I'd felt via a quick listening to it, and got sure it be quite correct ... their dry acid folk with avantgarde sweetness drives us crazy obviously, along with kinda killer sleeve.

Their freaky trip begins through the instrumental masterpiece and the most depressive music treatment "Ouverture XV", followed by "Raipure", that is pretty impressive under their soft, smooth, but a tad distorted sound cloud with an acoustic guitar and voices play ... this cool wind reminds me of early folksy essence of RPI legends. Another dry skin folk rock "Invasore" goes forward through an ethnic fruity atmosphere with impressive sitar chops. And their incredible avantgarde power explodes just in the following instrumental one "Lady Ligeia". The mysterious appearance of Arturo's piano play can be called as Folk Progressivo Italiano. Via "Narciso", an acid folk where hypnotic percussion sound is amazing, "Ganzheit" sounds very fantastic, even only with simple acoustic guitar phrases and rhythmic percussion footprints. Another great creation.

Contrary to the previous madness, "Verso il lago" is a beautiful guitar premier indeed, inappropriate for such an acidity. Yes, our feelings might be knocked down soon via the following one "Il Re Di Raipure", in that the first flute (with ring keys?) wind blow be brilliant. This creation is basically beautiful but sometimes sounds of an eccentric scape as well, regardless of its acoustic folksy appearance. As if we would flit over the blue sea ... nothing under our feet but anacatesthesic feeling. On the other hand, for the first time in this album we can enjoy a simple folk rock like Dylan in "Sotto I Ponti", where piano phrases are gorgeous as usual. Oh yeah "Arlecchinata" could be mentioned as the highlight on the latter phase, featuring fully female risky chorus and keyboard-based spacey sound shower like gems in a kaleidoscope. A slowtempo folk dessert is "La Saga Della Primavera", followed by the last madness "Mandrangola", where almost all of their avantgarde acid folk elements (except some pop thingies) get fused, merged, unified, and exploded together, quite suitable for the epilogue of this drysweet theatre.

In conclusion, there might not be anything special nor innovative in this creation I've felt, but it's another incredibleness such a bizarre, eerie, lunatic approach would be heard deeply beneath this avantgarde acid folk one. Fantastic really.

 Pierrot Lunaire by PIERROT LUNAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.53 | 61 ratings

Pierrot Lunaire
Pierrot Lunaire Prog Folk

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars An eclectic mix of adventurous folk music, classical sophistication and avant-garde daring, the debut self-titled album from 1974 by Italian act Pierrot Lunaire is a unique little treasure in a sub-genre filled with so many daring and thrilling works. The three musicians on this album present an evocative and unpredictable collection of sounds and styles that head in endless different directions, a true case of musical multiple personalities. Classical piano meets with sitar, Hammond organ serenades mandolin and acoustic guitar dances with flute for a range of both vocal and instrumental pieces that also frequently blend medieval, psychedelic and rock music in a subtle and distinctive fashion, with a constant shadow hanging over the music to bring just a hint of unease and edge.

The opening `Ouverture XV' is a softly stirring fanfare of organ, gentle acoustic guitar strums and murmuring bass slinking along the backdrop, with beautiful cascading spectral piano throughout a real highlight. `Raipure' is a rollicking but tasteful folk tune with instrumental breaks that pair sprightly piano over subtle little soloing bass eruptions, almost like they're duelling together. Tracks like `Invasore' are `Narciso' are psychedelic acid-folk ballads with groaning raga-rock sitar drones, drowsy wasted vocals and drifting synths. Ghostly classical piano, pursuing bass and spectral synth veils permeate the beautiful instrumental interlude `Lady Ligeia' (but what a shame about the abrupt cut-off ending!), and `Ganzheit' is a quietly melancholic instrumental acoustic lament to close the first side.

Acoustic interlude `Verso il Lago' opens the second side with some welcome romantic flavours that also carry on into the mandolin and recorder folk ballad `Il re di Rapure'. The seven minute `Sotto I Ponti' is one of the best pieces on the album, where the extended length allows the group to really stretch out. What starts as a shimmering 12 string acoustic ballad with a weary vocal lurches to life and beautifully transitions into a warm sunny mellow pop-rocker, where some fiery drumming, thick upfront bass and frazzled quick guitar brings an added punch to the second half. `Arlecchinata' alternates between dark moody male narrated passages and ethereal wordless female wisps that dance between around mischievous piano runs. Medieval flavours emerge through the emotional piano and acoustic guitar pirouettes of `La Saga...', and `Mandragola's strangled maniacal electric guitar soloing over booming pounding piano and a stomping intimidating beat closes the album in a dramatic manner!

While it would have been nice to hear more of the pieces extended and developed even further, Pierrot Lunaire's singular, unique mix of folk, classical, psych and experimental music is fascinating to discover. This album is less bombastic and symphonic that what many of the other Italian acts playing challenging progressive music from the time were presenting, but it's absolutely no less ambitious or inspired. Best enjoyed with a good pair of headphones to ensure you pick up all the most careful and tiniest of subtle details, `Pierrot Lunaire is endlessly captivating and utterly essential.

Four and a half stars.

 Gudrun by PIERROT LUNAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.71 | 76 ratings

Pierrot Lunaire Prog Folk

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars PIERROT LUNAIRE started out as a more normal Italian folk band when it released its first eponymous album in 1974 but after a few years when the more adventurous side of progressive music was waning rather than waxing the band took the absolute opposite approach and created a more experimental, avant-garde and progressive approach with their 2nd album GUDRUN. Despite the folk aspect being weirded out to the nth degree it is still to be found alternating with strange electronic embellishments, diva soprano vocals and a healthy dose of the avant-garde without overdosing on any particular element. In fact, the whole thing comes together quite well despite there being seemingly totally disparate sounds fighting for dominance at any given moment. Once usurpation of a particular sound or style has settled in, thankfully is allowed to run its course before the next one intervenes the possible boredom that could occur if allowed to ramble beyond its approved time slot.

The band took their name from the famous classical composition by Arnold Schoenberg, who is known for his avant-garde approach to classical music incorporating atonality and developed the twelve-tone technique. Likewise with the band's namesake, they utilize the avant-garde to really spice up their folk influences to the point it doesn't often sound like folk anymore. This is one of those albums where you can put aside any expectations of what you think will happen and just surrender to the music and let PIERROT LUNAIRE do the driving. You do have to put on your seat belts because they do come awfully close to driving off the cliffs yet always at the nick of time are saved by a mysterious chimera pushing the brake pedal. I am very intrigued by this album to say the least. It nourishes my inner freak-a-zoid like very few albums can. The fact is that there is really nothing else that i've personally heard that sounds anything even close to this one. The weirdness and the accessible play together like a tiger and a lamb giving the impression of eminent mortality but always emerging unexpectedly in a truce between the polar opposites. A must-hear for all you demented sonic sluts who just can't satiate your appetite for the weirdest and wildest that experimental music has to offer.

 Pierrot Lunaire by PIERROT LUNAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.53 | 61 ratings

Pierrot Lunaire
Pierrot Lunaire Prog Folk

Review by VOTOMS

4 stars Another hidden treasure: Pierrot Lunaire (self-titled debut). I don't know why, but I was attracted by this strange album cover. At the first track, Ouverture XV, this Italian prog folk open your eyes to an unexpected gem. The flute, the sitar, the mandolin, the string and acoustic sound is present almost every time at the album, this is very folk. Pierrot Lunaire sounds very far from the Italian Prog scene. The instrumentation is well done, and songs like Lady Ligeia increases the enjoyment of the album. Well, if you don't like the prog folk, you will find some hammond organ too. Good one.
 Gudrun by PIERROT LUNAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.71 | 76 ratings

Pierrot Lunaire Prog Folk

Review by coasterzombie

4 stars Gudrun is a fascinating, challenging listen that defies categorization and at times is difficult to get through. But those that do are treated to a unique offering in the realm of Italian Prog. Gudrun is not quite prog folk, electronic, neo-classical or RIO but contains elements of each. Those familiar with Pierrot Lunaire's folksy debut album released three years earlier are in for quite a shock: This is a completely different animal, dense and robust, and not one-dimensional like the first album. Gudrun is hard to describe but anyone with a taste for the bizarre will have something to latch onto, which is not to say the album is totally avant- garde. Innovative is more like it. It is because of that pioneering spirit that Pierrot Lunaire gets a bonus star, and allows me to bump the rating to four out of five.

The extensive title track is the main attraction and does it ever deliver. Nearly twelve minutes of pressurized prog perfection await those adventurous enough to try it. "Gudrun" begins like a soundscape - a whispering loop of synthesized flute is presented in a Musique concrète fashion. This may be one of the first instances of a style that would later be called ambient music. Then abruptly at the two-minute mark a familiar Italian symphonic quality takes over. Not two minutes after, the group morphs into something like Picchio dal Pozzo and presents a theatrical, keyboard-laden foundation. Then Jaqueline Darby sings. Her vocals will be the make-or-break factor for many, as the operatic style and warbling oscillation is a lot to handle at times. I think this device is used sparingly enough to not detract from the fantastic musicianship on display, but others may disagree. If you can make it through the last half of "Gudrun," you've earned your prog stripes.

Arturo Salteri is a striking piano talent, and nowhere is this more evident than "Dietro Il Silenzio." His restraint and light touch create a lovely, if somewhat brief, interlude. "Plaisir d'amour" is far less enjoyable and plays like a twisted cover of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love." I don't know if the musical similarity was intentional or coincidental, but the two are so similar I can't help but think it's the former. "Gallia" features a heavy dose of Darby's avian voice, and is regrettably skippable. "Giovane Madre" however is an instant classic. A hearty slice of RPI paradise, the song is conveniently packaged in a four-minute parcel anyone can digest. "Sonde In Profondita" begins as a sound collage and brilliantly transitions to a delicate composition, thanks to Salteri's keyboard work. The song hearkens back to Pierrot Lunaire's debut and sets the tone perfectly for "Morella." The penultimate track is a conglomeration of everything to this point, and should probably just end the album. Instead, the average "Mein Armer Italiener" prevents what could be a concise masterpiece of the genre. Gudrun is still an worthwhile disc for thorough collections and lovers of the outlandish.

 Gudrun by PIERROT LUNAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.71 | 76 ratings

Pierrot Lunaire Prog Folk

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Towards the end of 1975 Pierrot Lunaire entered the studio for the recording of a second album.However Vincenzo Caporaletti had already left the band to work as a session musician in the USA, before returning to Italy and participate in several collaborations.Instead of him the remaining duo of Stalteri and Chiocchio recruited Welsh female soprano Jacqueline Darby.The album initially was planed to be released in 1976 on the Vista label, eventually it came out a year later on It label, entitled ''Gudrun'' from the eponymous figure of the Norse mythology.

The album is of course centered around the 11-min. self-titled track, a complete Avant- Garde/Folk Rock experience filled with obscure keyboard sounds, wordless vocals, fast piano paces and sound effects, characterized by the impressive voice of Darby and the high level of experimentation and dissonance.The rest of the album contains seven shorter tracks with a diverse but always experimental sound.Most of them are based on Classical Music, Folk Rock and Opera, either driven by Stalteri's piano and organ or the haunting operatic voice of Darby, which is excellent but a bit too excessive for the average music fan.A few of them are closer to traditional Prog sounds like the nice ''Giovane madre'' with the fiery organ work and massive synths' parts of Stalteri along with the great bass/drum support, the dreamy ''Sonde in profonodita'' with its folky atmosphere, characterized by the ethereal acoustic guitars and elegant organ sounds or the delicate ''Morella'', which is closer to Classical Rock with a fine combination of piano, synthesizers and operatic vocal lines.

Pierrot Lunaire disbanded soon after this release with Stalteri releasing the solo album ''Andre sulla luna'' in 1979, while Chiocchio became a musical director for It and was involved in the 80's band Effetto Notte.He, along with Caporaletti, tried to revive Pierrot Lunaire's sound in the 90's, but no recorded tracks were ever released due to his sudden death from heart attack in 1996.The CD ''Tre'' on MP Records from 2011 contains material for a third album scheduled for release in 1978 along with alternate versions and cover songs by contemporary groups of old Pierrot Lunaire material.

''Gudrun'' shows a tendency by this unique band towards more groundbreaking and innovative realms compared to their debut, it still is a good album with plenty of interesting parts, but its more experimental moments are really hard to get into.Recommended overall.

 Pierrot Lunaire by PIERROT LUNAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.53 | 61 ratings

Pierrot Lunaire
Pierrot Lunaire Prog Folk

Review by LinusW
Special Collaborator Italian Prog Specialist

3 stars A strange little thing this one. Italy's Pierrot Lunaire's self-titled first album sits as a wedge between several familiar styles without really conforming to the standards of any of them. Of these styles, folk and the wide spectrum of Rock Progressivo Italiano are definitely the most predominant. Not the strangest or most revolutionary of combinations, but there you have it.

They do however manage to present this package in their own particular and often unique little way. It never really feels comfortable in the prog folk idiom in which it finds itself placed, even though I can certainly see why Pierrot Lunaire is where it is. The music comes across as mostly rather gentle and soothing, with tender, crisp folk melodies and lovely "watercolour" instrumental richness, harmony and warmth. An array of guitars (acoustic, 12-string, electric) and prevalent, warm and pleasant keyboards such as organ and piano tend to do that to an album. With additions of mandolin, sitar and celesta these feelings are further enhanced. All of this is presented with an unusual, but refreshing naiveness and earnestness that is both endearing and easy to digest.

Folk'y, nimble acoustic and electric guitars are all over the place, serving as textural backdrop or playing the sweet and delicate pastoral melodies you immediately pick up on as a first impression. Piano, being a favourite instrument of mine, is also given a big role: cheerfully rollicking, gently phrasing, begging for your attention in the same discreet, lovely and rejuvenating way as falling rain (thank you, Pierre!) or just dominating melodically in the fresh sumptuousness only the piano can bring to music. There is often an air of joyful urgency and expectancy in the music, a youthful impatience and happiness that drives the music. A touch of spring, perhaps? Sometimes it positively surges with bouncy bass lines, energetic acoustic guitar, that rollicking piano mingling with other melodies and other instruments coming to the fore only to drift away into the backdrop again. At times there are more hard-hitting pieces and shades of murkier emotions, a bit more menace and dark energy in the chord progressions and melodies, but it is never really threatening or ominous, just a bit of coldness and/or heat (or to continue with the spring theme - a late frost or a grass fire) now and then. On the whole, it is a fairly dynamic and expressive set of songs.

What lurk as a bit of a constant shadow over the record is the, in my opinion, sometimes rather bland rhythmic constructions and the simplicity of the underlying main motifs that shine through the decidedly stronger musical topping. Partly, this is surely due to the lack of a dedicated drummer, but it reaches further than that, being, as it is, at the basic structural AND melodic core of the album. No added drummer can remedy that, but it could at least give the music more of a much needed backbone on some of these compositions. It is just a bit clumsy and cumbersome, a little too sterile and strict at times. The underlying guitars and (especially) bass make up for it a lot of the time, but it still is a weakness in my eyes.

I also feel that on repeated listens, being washed over by beautiful melody upon beautiful melody with beautiful harmony upon beautiful harmony coupled with the general positive and pleasing vibe of it all can become a little bit grating. There is a tendency for the simple-yet-effective and expected to get the upper hand a little too often, be it dynamically or melodically. Nothing wrong with that per se, but it really is not good enough for it to be a great album in my book. Sure, there is drama to be found, but always a bit toned-down and mellow, staying away from the more flamboyant and heartfelt. No need for an entire album to be like that, but I find myself looking for something a little more red-blooded.

Regardless of shortcomings, I treasure Pierrot Lunaire. It is a wonderful pick-me-up, and if I am looking for an album of this type the energy, earnestness and sometimes heart-achingly beautiful melodies found here are very hard to beat.

3 stars.


 Gudrun by PIERROT LUNAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.71 | 76 ratings

Pierrot Lunaire Prog Folk

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars Electronic High Priestess

Originally a book by Belgian poet Albert Giraud as well as a musical piece by Schoenberg, Pierrot Lunaire were also an Italian group back in the 70s that dug out a musical path of their own. Whether the name is taken from the melodramatic pantomime figure - or the musical soundtrack to this white painted moon lover - remains to be proven, but everything points in every direction with this group. Literally...

I remember when Jim recommended this album to me a little while back - knowing my affinity for the mad and slightly left-field in music. I heard the opener of Gudrun and was absolutely floored! I felt this deep tingling tickling sensation inside me - like a musical salamander dancing in my stomach. Sure thing - I knew I had to get my hands on this record.

Gudrun is a remarkable record - one that fluctuates between electronics, folk and avant guarde tendencies without ever loosing a certain 'togetherness' - that unique musical core. Take the opening track here simply called Gudrun. This one throws it all on the table with extensive usage of caterpillar electronics with a hovering characteristic to them that more than anything remind me of Franco Battiato's early albums. In fact, most of this album wouldn't feel out of place snuggled up against a warm fire with those first 4 Battiato albums - sipping grappa and telling stories of once great pasta cooks and the fabulous night life of Venice.

Add to the worming synthesizers a serrated clean operatic voice executing some creepy and foreboding vocals - like a high priestess with her finger stuck in an electric socket whilst serenading a sailor's crotch. Some weird constellation anywho... And wam bam thank you mam: You've got Gudrun! (weirdly enough that sounds uncannily like the name of a Danish milkmaid from the 19th century...)

These convoluted ramblings probably explain Gudrun pretty well - apart for my rather ridiculous parallels, - but the fluid, expressive and wonderfully progressive usage of electronics this album offers, is really the main deal here. They overtake the folk element of the band, that again much like Battiato's work, tower above any sort of sticker you can throw at them. Then again, it is also the complexity of all the little things here - the way beats and tempers rise ever so slightly - the tempo turning around on its heels for then to run madly in the opposite direction with those Italian operatic female yearnings overhead.

Then all of a sudden you get a familiar feeling listening to Plaisir D'Amour. The melody seems common and right at home, and then bang! you realise that by changing the high pitched female opera singer for a hamburger eating side burn wielding leather wrapped hot dog named Elvis Presley - the tune magically transform into 'I Can't Help Falling in Love with You'..... Yes, this is a rearrangement of the old classic with Italian vocals - a million trillion miles away from home - with a murky, demented fairground feel to it - like had you been sitting with your newly found love in an unstoppable carousel after 4 pounds of bacon soft-ice...

Just like most culinary feats need something that opposes the prevailing ingredients of the dish - something tangy, salty, sweet or hot - this album too holds that little extra that manages to cut through the larval unspecified mush of the synthesizers. Mostly that turns out to be the piano. It splits open the textures of the music - dissects it and then conjures up an idiosyncratic melody line on which the vocals take their cue from. It's not that Gudrun is a lean mean fighting machine - stripped down to a few epochal instruments, -no it is chuck full of exotic and vivacious features such as organ, spinet, cembalo, Glockenspiel, acoustic guitar, recorder, tambourine, violin, mandoline, harpsichord, Shaj Baja, zither tirolese, sitar and the odd bell chimes - yet it is the alterations between the high priestess, electronics and piano that truly make this album a thing of mad, clumsy and refined elegance.

Recommended to all you pantomime fans out there! Buy this astonishing record instead of your next bash of white make-up. You won't regret it - not even slightly.

 Gudrun by PIERROT LUNAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.71 | 76 ratings

Pierrot Lunaire Prog Folk

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A unique mix of folk, electronic, and avant-garde with operatic vocals.

Definitely one of the most interesting bands to come out of Italy in the '70s, and even into the 21st century, Gudrun remains as one of the most unique albums I've heard. Being drawn to this group by their name and hoping that they sounded nothing like the A. Schoenberg work, I dived right into the first, self-titled track; with the sounds of acoustic piano noodling coupled with German-esque electronic music had me hooked. This first track is oddly one that I can actually compare to another Italian group, Albergo Intergalattico Spaziale, which is also mainly experimental electronic music with operatic vocals.

But immediately following one of the most unique tracks is one of the most beautiful tracks, "Dietro Il Silenzio", which starts off with a metallic Neptune-like intro before turning into one of the most depressingly beautiful piano melodies I've heard by heard that wasn't by F. Chopin.

Also featured on this album are tribal drums, Henry Cow-like noisy guitar playing, occasional folky melodies, and straight-up '70s rock licks. There is no shortage of variety on this album, and the grandiose attitude of it all gives it an undeniable Italian feel. This is what RPI fans should listen to once all of their favorite RPI artists have begun to sound the same; this is where that RPI mentality was taken to its limits.

Gudrun is compelling, unique, bizarre, and beautiful.

 Tre by PIERROT LUNAIRE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2011
3.73 | 7 ratings

Pierrot Lunaire Prog Folk

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars PIERROT LUNAIRE was a short-lived Italian band, whose two albums from the mid-'70s made them a semi-legendary act in Italian music history. And it is their second and last production "Gudrun" from 1976 that has earned them most accolades, at least by progressive rock aficionados. Until recently, these two albums covered all known recorded material by the band, with later reissues catering for various outtakes, alternative versions and suchlike. But with the release of "Tre" in 2011, the history of this band will be in need of a slight revision.

The five recordings by Pierrot Lunaire, three of which are previously unreleased, aren't the major reason for owning this CD, unless you're an avid fan that is. But fans and those curious alike might want to and possibly should contemplate getting this production for the cover versions, which by and large are of good to excellent quality. Some straying further from the originals than others, but all of them are well made recordings by artists that appear to be passionate about the material they have chosen to cover. First and foremost a disc that will interest fans I suspect, but there's plenty to enjoy here even for those who don't have this Italian act as a personal favorite.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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