Premiata Forneria Marconi (PFM) – Photos of Ghosts (1973)

PFM_PhotosGhosts4 out of 5 Stars!

After releasing an impressive debut album (Storia di un minuto), then an equally stunning follow-up (Per un amico), PFM got “discovered” outside its native Italy by Greg Lake, who signed the band to Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s Manticore label.

Immediately afterward, the group either re-recorded or remixed some of its past material (mostly from its sophomore album) and added English lyrics, created one additional song as well (“Old Rain”), and packaged the “new” album as Photos of Ghosts, thus giving PFM more worldwide exposure through the Manticore distribution channels.

For the most part, the gamble paid off, and countries including America started to pay attention. Unfortunately, despite the added exposure over the next few years, the band went only so far in expanding its worldwide fan base and still remains horribly obscure.

Regardless, some PFM fans prefer the original Italian-lyric versions of the various tracks offered on this release, while I sit on the fence and replay all the band’s early albums, both in Italian or English, about equally.

Whichever preference one may have, however, the listener is treated to sophisticated, complex, and creative music from arguably Italy’s most talented Prog-Rock group in the first half of the ’70s, and Photos of Ghosts includes several of PFM’s most famous and classic tracks, including “Celebration,” “Mr. 9 Till 5,” “Il Banchetto,” and “Promenade The Puzzle.”

For those still Prog-Rock fans still unfamiliar with this legendary group, Photos of Ghosts wouldn’t be a bad place to start when delving into the band’s extensive catalogue.

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