70's Italian Prog Rock bands: Cherry Five

Tony Tartarini  (vocals)
Claudio Simonetti (keyboards)
Massimo Morante (guitar)
Fabio Pignatelli (bass)
Carlo Bordini (drums)

The band was formed by keyboard wizard Claudio Simonetti and guitarist Massimo Morante in 1972, aided by bass player Fabio Pignatelli and drummer Walter Martino (who had previously played with Simonetti in the band Il Ritratto di Dorian Gray and the short-lived Seconda Generazione). Between 1972 and 1973 they recorded some demo tapes of their compositions incially under the name Oliver. On a trip to London, while looking for contacts, the band bumped into Eddie Offord (long time ELP collaborator and then producer of Yes); after listening to a demo tape, the producer showed some interest and asked them to move to England. By then, Fabio Pignatelli had become a steady member, the band found a regular drummer, Carlo Bordini, (that also played in the duo Rustichelli & Bordini) and an English lead vocalist, Clive "Artman" Haynes (or Clive Heinz, as he was then known). They played in the UK in the university circuit and even had some sessions taped by Eddie Offord. After many months of rehearsing, they unfortunately returned to London while Eddie Offord was on tour with Yes in the United States; after many performances and various attempts at striking deals with record houses, they were forced to go back to Italy, due to lack of funds. Going back to Italy, with new singer Tony Tartarini (previously known as Toni Gionta and former singer of L'Uovo di Colombo) and a new name, Goblin, the group recorded what was to become their first and only album in 1974, but it was shelved when drummer Carlo Bordini refused to sign a contract with Cinevox as it could damage his career as a session musician. The other three -Simonetti, Morante and Pignatelli- went on with a new drummer as Goblin -leaving out also singer Tartarini- and recorded Profondo rosso. So, although the LP cover notes only list two musicians' names, Tartarini and Bordini, the group also included three members of Goblin, with Simonetti and Morante being credited as composers of all the album tracks.

The swan is a murderer Part 2

The unreleased album was shelved for a couple of years, it was pressed in 1975 -as demonstrated by the date on the label- but released in January 1976 under the name Cherry Five (a name that really didn't belong to any real group) and only Tartarini and Bordini were credited on the cover; maybe someone thought that it could damage the Goblin's career. Even if it's not particularly representative of the Italian prog sound, the self-titled LP is a genuine rarity due to the great world success Goblin achieved with some of their soundtracks, and the small number of copies pressed. Cherry Five is a critically acclaimed keyboard based album (Hammond organ and vintage synthesizers), sung in English with strong and fluent compositions, very melodic and with many good ideas; it has strong influences by the likes of Genesis and Yes, especially in the fluid keyboard parts and the powerful bass sound. This is one of the gems of the Italian prog rock of the 70's. It contains six long tracks, including the opening "Country graveyard" and "The picture of Dorian Gray". This last title, translated in Italian as Il Ritratto di Dorian Gray, was in fact the name of Claudio Simonetti's first band.

The picture of Dorian Gray

Cherry Five (1975):

1. Country Grave Yard (8:18) 
2. The Picture of Dorian Gray (8:28) 
3. The Swan is a Murderer Part 1 (3:53) 
4. The Swan is a Murderer Part 2 (5:07) 
5. Oliver (9:30) 
6. My Little Cloud Land (7:43)