70's Italian Prog Rock bands: Buon Vecchio Charlie


Richard Benson (vocals, guitar)
Luigi Calabrò (guitar, vocals)
Sandro Cesaroni (sax, flute)
Sandro Centofanti (keyboards)
Paolo Damiani (bass)
Rino Sangiorgio (drums)

Buon Vecchio Charlie was formed in Rome in 1970 with a five-piece line-up featuring, along with  guitarist Luigi Calabrò, keyboardist Sandro Centofanti and drummer Rino Sangiorgio, bassist Walter Bernardi and percussionist Carlo Visca. After some first demos they recorded with a new six-piece line-up the tracks for an album in Suono label's recording studio near Venice in 1971, with the help of Venetian Power guitarist Claes Cornelius, also an important session musician at the time. Despite the good quality, and the interest shown for the band by many producers, the album never saw the light of the day and was shelved until its first CD release in 1990 on Melos label in a limited pressing now difficult to find. In 1999, Akarma label released it also on LP with a different cover. The Akarma issue includes two tracks, "Rosa" and "Il guardiano della valle" from an album by Beppe Palomba called A Rosa, a Giovanna e alle altre, issued by Mizar in 1972, on which some of the band members played. The self-titled album is very well made, and with a better production it could have been a classic in its style. Dominated by Sandro Cesaroni's flute, with strong classical influences -like in the opening "Venite giù al fiume" which is a reworking of Grieg’s Peer Gynt, supported by excellent rock guitar licks, Hammond and flute- and a touch of jazz, it's a wonderful album of pure symphonic prog. The third track, "All'uomo che raccoglie i cartoni" is rather a good example of folk-rock fusion. It's a very good original work with very interesting moments; one of the best and earliest Italian prog albums.

Venite giù al fiume

Buon Vecchio Charlie Melos CD cover 1990
Buon Vecchio Charlie (1971):

1. Venite Giù Al Fiume (12:06)
2. Evviva La Contea Di Lane (6:35)
3. All'Uomo Che Raccoglie I Cartoni (15:01)
a) Prima Stanza
b) All'Uomo Che Raccoglie I Cartoni
c) Terza Stanza
d) Beffa
e) Ripresa
Bonus Tracks:
4. Rosa (4:33)
5. Il Guardiano Della Valle (2:38)

Buon Vecchio Charlie Akarma LP/CD cover 1999

All'uomo che raccoglie i cartoni

The band split after the recording in 1972, probably disillusioned by the lack of chances connected to their album release. Almost all the musicians kept playing: guitarist Richard Benson released some solo albums and he is still active and popular in the Rome area, keyboardist Centofanti followed his career with singer-songwriter Claudio Baglioni and in Libra, while three of the others, Calabrò, Sangiorgio and Paolo Damiani, formed with two other musicians a jazz-rock group called Bauhaus that received the Best Italian Band prize at the Rome Villa Pamphili festival in 1974 and only produced a 7-track instrumental-only recording that has been recently issued by Akarma on CD for the very first time.