Angelo Giardinelli (guitar, vocals)
Giorgio Brandi (keyboards, guitar, vocals)
Carlo Bruno (bass)
Filippo Carnevale (drums, guitar)
Angelo Giardinelli (guitar, vocals)
Lino Stopponi (keyboards)
Pasquale Cavallo ("Windy") (bass)
Roberto Balocco (drums)
With a great album, highly representative of the Italian prog sound, Panna Fredda should have deserved some more success, but theirs is the typical story of a band having a record deal and not being able to produce an album. Uno was delayed for many months after its recording and even broadcast in radio programs before its release, but the record company, Vedette, didn't support it at all and the band disappeared.
The band was from Rome, formed in the 60's as I Figli del Sole and later I Vun Vun from the name of a popular club where they used to play very often. After the early contacts with Vedette that group's line-up reduced to a quartet, leaving out a horn section that also included sax player Giulio Carnevale (brother of drummer Filippo), and adopted the definitive name Panna Fredda.
Two singles were released in 1970 by Vedette, the first one contained songs written by popular composers: Delirio, on the B-side (sung by Giorgio Brandi), composed by the Jaguars (a popular garage group from Rome) leader Silvio Settimi had a good radio airplay, while the A-side Strisce rosse was written by Roby Crispiano (a.k.a. Roby Castiglione, a good solo singer) but went unnoticed.
Their first album, Uno, was finally
released in 1971, but as mentioned above, the group had already ceased to exist
by the time of its release, as the various members had to join the army for
All the tracks on the album were composed by singer/guitarist Angelo Giardinelli, and the LP contains six long cuts, mostly based on a very effective guitar-keyboards interplay. Some English prog influences can be heard, like on Un re senza reame based on Heaven from Gracious' first album. Classical influences are evident, especially in the keyboard parts, but the music is convincing and impressive. The voice is good, the lyrics original and the album has no weak points.
Original keyboardist Giorgio Brandi entered i Cugini di Campagna with which he has had a long and successful
career, until the mid 90's, and now owns a recording studio.
Roberto Balocco was later with Capsicum Red, bassist Windy joined Cammello Buck (a group which evolved in the duo Rustichelli-Bordini).
|Uno||Vedette (VPA 8134)||1971||gatefold cover|
|Mayfair/BTF (VM 001)||2004||reissue of the above with 2 bonus tracks - gatefold cover|
|BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM 118LP)||2012||as above with clear vinyl|
|Uno||Vinyl Magic (VM 001)||1989||reissue of 1971 album - now deleted|
|VM2000/Vinyl Magic (VM CD 001)||2000||as above with 2 bonus tracks - now deleted|
|BTF/Vinyl Magic (VM 118)||2007||as above but with 6 bonus tracks - mini-LP gatefold cover|
SINGLES (with picture sleeve)
|Vedette (VVN 33177)||1970||both unreleased tracks|
|Una luce accesa troverai
|Vedette (VVN 33184)||1970||both unreleased tracks|
PROMOTIONAL AND JUKEBOX SINGLES (with blank cover)
|Vedette (VVN 33177)||1970||jukebox white label issue|
|Una luce accesa troverai
|Vedette (VVN 33184)||1970||jukebox white label issue|
|È la mia vita||Vedette (VVN 33200)||1970||jukebox single with white label - backed with I Pooh/Otto rampe di scale|
Released on the small Vedette label, Uno is very rare. It's interesting to notice that the album and songs titles have an English translation on the original LP label and cover. Maybe it was intended to be released abroad?
The album had a CD release by Vinyl Magic. The
latest 2007 reissue contains the tracks originally released on the first single and four unreleased ones, Risveglio, Un attimo fa, Chiama una rondine, Estate '70, whose style is closer to a post-beat sound than to the contents of the LP.
At last, at the end of 2004, a vinyl reissue has been made, printed in Italy but released by the German Mayfair label, with the same gatefold cover as the original and two extra tracks, Delirio and Strisce rosse from the first 1970 single (both tracks also on the CD version). The first pressing had a faulty vinyl, that was later replaced in early 2005, the revised copies had on the vinyl run-off groove the number VM-001-LP BIS.
No counterfeit exists, nor foreign reissues.
Panna Fredda - LP and label
Strisce rosse 7" single
Una luce accesa troverai 7" single
A conversation with Giorgio Brandi, by Augusto Croce, April 2003
1-How was Panna Fredda born?
We used to play together since 1966-67 as I Figli del
Sole, we played the nightclubs circuit. Then we had the chance of playing many
times at Vun Vun, a popular club in Rome, a sort of Piper, and they proposed us
to change the name in I Vun Vun. It worked that way then, groups used to change
their names quickly.
Then we had this contact with Vedette, to release a single, and we decided to change our name to Panna Fredda and our line-up to a quartet. The sax player was the brother of our drummer Filippo Carnevale, but the horns didn't fit in our new sound.
2-Were your singles successful?
Only the B-side of our first single, Delirio. This had been composed by Silvio Settimi, the singer with the Jaguars, a famous group in Rome in the 60's, not as much as Rokes or Equipe 84 but very popular indeed. It was played many times in "Per voi giovani" [this was a very popular radio show]. The A-side wasn't as successful, it had been composed for us by Roby Castiglione [also known as Roby Crispiano, he had his moments of fame as solo singer].
3-What about the LP?
I can't remember much about it, I was called up by the army, so I just took part to some recordings, then I had to leave for Sicily. During the 18 months of the draft I was in touch with Angelo Giardinelli, who even came to visit me with the band's van. I had taken my organ with me, so I could play with an army band and avoid the hardest works.
4-How come there were two guest drummers on the album?
For the same reason, we were disbanded, and they were contacted to replace our drummer who was in the army as well.
5-The album is rather different from the singles. Was it your choice or it was the record company who wanted this change?
No, it was Angelo who liked all these new groups, Uriah Heep and similar, and he wanted to do a rock album. He was not our leader, there was no leader in the group, but he composed all the tracks.
6-What happened after the album?
When I returned back home I was still in touch with Angelo only. We tried to make something together, but it didn't work.
7-What did you do after Panna Fredda?
I joined I Cugini di Campagna [a famous melodic pop
group], I've played for more than twenty years with them, we made Anima
mia [their biggest hit] and many other things.
Then I left in 1996, there was no more interest in investing in the group by the record companies, so I went on my own, with my recording studio.
8-So you're still in the music biz, what are you doing now?
I made a record with Flavio Paulin, he was the lead singer with I Cugini di Campagna and he left for a solo career in 1978, but it wasn't successful. We're playing together now and have a CD out on the On Sale label.
Some recollections by Angelo Giardinelli, February 2005
The group initially started out as a 6 piece, funk and R&B, semi-brass band called VUN VUN (taken from a "Piper, Titanus and Kilt" type venue). It was the same music every other band was playing and for the most part, a very boring experience.
We wanted to be a rock/blues quartet, but being that it wasn't a very commercial style at the time, making it hard for us to get gigs and we were advised against it.
It was the end of the 60's and even though there was plenty of new music coming from England and America, Italy remained in the past with names like Wilson Pickett and James Brown.
Panna Fredda was born secretly, behind the backs of our sax and trumpet band mates. While on tour in Tunisia 2 years earlier, I had become friends with the American ambassador's daughter, before I returned to Italy she gave me some LP's that she had recently purchased in the States from some bands that were virtually unknown in Italy, Vanilla Fudge, Jimi Hendrix, Moody Blues and King Crimson. These, along with my collection of Pink Floyd, became my inspiration. I listened to them day and night.
Upon returning to Italy, I tried sharing this new music with my fellow musicians, however, every time I did, I was told I was crazy and that this type of music would never make it in Italy.
Then one day, while auditioning a new bass player I met Carlo Bruno. When I played him Hey Joe for the first time, he fell in love with it. He shared my passion for this crazy new sound and we immediately became friends. We started making plans to form a new band, convincing Giorgio Brandi (keyboards) to join our secret venture. But the hard part was convincing Filippo Carnevale (drummer), who was Giulio's (Vun Vun's sax player) younger subordinate brother. It was a hard decision for him to make, not only to change musical styles but to break free from the influence of his controlling brother and form the band behind his back. He eventually came around and we found a place where we could rehearse.
There, hidden from our other band mates, the quartet was born.
I had become friends with Roby Crispiano who was considered a "Bob Dylan/protest" type artist. He had already released a few singles and was well known in the business. After consulting with him, he offered to become our music manager. He had a couple of songs in mind for the project which he had us listen to, but they were very melodic and weren't really along the lines of what we were going for, so Carlo and I decided to try to re-arrange a few of them in our own new style.
We picked Strisce Rosse, which we chose to re-arrange in a Vanilla Fudge style using the Jimi-style guitar distortion and giving the vocals a Leslie/Hammond type feel.
We also re-arranged Delirio by Silvio Settimi from I Jaguar, a well-known Shadows/Apache sounding guitar quartet.
Roby set us up an appointment with the Maestro Armando Sciascia from Vedette Records for a live demonstration, but after listening to it, he turned us down, claiming that it wasn't commercial enough. After he left we sat in his studio in silence, fuming. Our rage finally got the better of us, we couldn't hold it any longer and proceeded to vent, bitching about the incompetence and bureaucracy of the record labels, accusing him of being old fashioned and full of himself.
Unbeknown to us, the studio we were in was linked to an inter-office monitoring system, apparently he had been listening in on our whole conversation. Suddenly we heard his voice on the loud speakers, "One of you come up to my office, I need to speak to you!", all eyes were on me.
As Giorgio mentioned in an earlier interview, we didn't really have a band leader, but whenever there was a problem or decision to be made they looked to me to do the dirty work. So I went. Here I was, a young hippie freak kid ready to give the music industry a piece of my mind, going up against not only a famous classical musician but a rich and well-dressed, respected gentlemen. His office was like something out of a movie, and foregoing formal pleasantries, he asked me to sit.
Before I could open my mouth he had said: "We're going to put out a single and see what happens. The Pooh (a famous Italian band signed to Vedette Records) aren't selling anymore and we need a new band". Then, he stood up, shook my hand and added "My secretary will have you sign a form and you will receive a preliminary contract within the next week". The conversation was over. I got up leave and he stopped me, "What's your name?" he asked, "Angelo" I answered. "Your band name is Angelo?". I realised we hadn't even begun to think of a band name. "We'll change it" I blurted out, "Send me a list of names as soon as possible" he told me, "we May able to help out as well, I think you'll find we're not that old-fashioned after all". With that, the meeting was concluded. We still we had a contract to finish out with Vun Vun, playing at a club in Caorle (Venice) for the summer season. The other 2 band members knew nothing of our meeting, contract and the record that was to be released in September. We continued to meet secretly to discuss our plans and band name. After sending in our list of names, the record company called and we all agreed on the name Panna Fredda (Cold Cream) a spin off of one our favourite bands: Vanilla Fudge. A month later the contracts were drawn and signed.
A few weeks later our first single Strisce Rosse was released, it hit the charts at number 1 on Bandiera Gialla (radio program) for 4 weeks in a row. Vedette Records informed us that under contract we were obligated to release a minimum of 2 singles and one LP per year, we immediately got to work writing and recording.
Our first 2 singles were released just before the summer of 1970: Una luce accesa troverai and Vedo lei , were my first compositions.
A few months later Giorgio was called for mandatory military service, he had already been avoiding it for a year and there was no way around it. We were left with no choice but to find a new keyboard player.
At the same time I found out that Carlo had been playing with other musicians and wanted to put together a band with them playing Black Sabbath, Cream etc.
The band had been split in two and we still had to finish the LP. After auditioning many keyboardists we found Lino Stopponi, there was undeniable chemistry between us, something clicked and we became best friends almost immediately. While playing at Caorle we had met Windy [Pasquale Cavallo], he turned out to be an excellent bassist and was thrilled when we asked him to join to band.
The new version of the band that emerged was stronger and more united than ever, we immediately began working on the LP, once again taking the band in a new direction.
We started writing songs like La Paura. Our new sound proved to be so controversial that it shocked many, most of all the Maestro Sciascia.
We soon found out that the last thing he wanted to appear on the LP were songs like Il vento, la luna e i pulcini blu and Scacco al re lot.
Thus began the battle between the sound we were going for and what the record company wanted to hear. They wanted us to be the new Pooh, but we weren't (I admire the Pooh and they're my friends but we didn't want to be a band like them).
Filippo Carnevale got married and decided to leave the band, so once again we were stuck with having to replace another band member with our LP only half completed. Windy brought in his ex-drummer, Roberto Balocco to audition. He was young, 17 years old, but skilled nonetheless and his playing style fused will with our sound. We decided to go ahead with our new songs despite protests from Sciascia and the record company. We began touring clubs and discoteques throughout Italy.
Everywhere we performed, the original sound of our new songs was met with such great enthusiasm and new fans, that it only served to convince us further that we were on the right track and that we should go ahead and record the album our own way.
With the help of an American ally inside the record company, we finally got our budget and one of Vedette's recording studios. She was able to convince the Maestro Sciascia to produce an acetate: an unfinalized product pressed on a synthetic material that can be played on a record player.
Finally, after overcoming numerous obstacles, we began recording our first LP. However, once completed, they refused to release the album. In the meantime, the new Woodstock-style Pop-festival craze had reached Italy. Everywhere you looked there were new festivals popping up, which we readily participated in. Through these we got to know Paolo Giaccio and Mario Luzzatto Fegiz, who were running a popular Italian radio program "Per voi giovani" which was quickly becoming well-known as "avant-garde". Once they heard of our situation with the record company, they took it upon themselves to apply the necessary pressure to get the album released. They organized live radio performances where we were able to inform the public of our dilemma, which caused a series of protests against the record companies holding albums, thus refusing the development of progressive music.
This resulted in the eventual decision to release our album, which included a review from Paolo Giaccio on the cover.
AFTER THE ALBUM
Unfortunately, for several reasons, the album never became the success we had hoped it would be. First, the record company never had any intention of backing the album with the necessary publicity/promotion. The disappointing second being that once again, the band was facing a crisis.
After a couple concerts we had played with Arthur Brown, Windy had decided he wanted to leave the band to pursue a more psychedelic style.
I continued to hold the band together for the next few months to carry out the various contracts we had for upcoming concerts, but it was obvious that the band was falling apart. Eventually, the inevitable happened, in 1976 a music magazine declared the sad news: "Panna Fredda has dissolved!".
In an effort to respect the contract with Vedette Records I stayed on for another year as a solo artist, recording and releasing several projects with various studio musicians but the magic moments of Panna Fredda are long gone.
However today, more than ever, the magic of music is still very much a part of my life. More than 25 years have passed since Panna Fredda broke up. My wife (also a musician) and I have travelled the world with our 10 kids, most of whom are musicians as well, performing and travelling with bands of their own.
The reissue of the Uno album can be ordered through Mayfair Music label's website, www.mayfair-music.com.
Many thanks to Giorgio Brandi and Angelo Giardinelli for their friendly collaboration with lots of information on Panna Fredda.
Also thanks to Giovanni Ottone, Guilherme Tofani, Luciano Fassa, Massimo Santoni, for some pictures and information.