mercoledì 20 marzo 2024





Manticore Records

Paola Tagliaferro arrives at the second recording experience dedicated to "Mr. Voice" Greg Lake, but "FOR THE LOVE OF GREG LAKE" is the first production as an artist of Manticore Records, a symbolic and historical label that needs no introduction for those who have fresh memories of the progressive music of the 70s, for all the others it will be easy to fill the gaps with some targeted visits on the net.

Incidentally, the Manticore landmark is currently Regina Lake.

Paola Tagliaferro is not looking for copy paste, but gives the personalization of existing art. However, unlike what any musician could do, perhaps rightly eager to give a tribute to some genius of the past certainly studied in detail for the occasion, Paola lives Greg Lake on a daily basis... It's in his home, in his existence, in his way of thinking.

Listening, song after song, gave me a feeling that was difficult to explain, as if I were in the presence of new music, brand new, but of which I already had brief knowledge.

I'll leave aside any kind of technicality to say that I was really excited, and this is enough for my current way of conceiving music.

The team work, enclosed in the name "La Compagnia dell'Es", reveals itself as a true ensemble that forms a single body with the frontwoman.

It is not a given, these are the cases in which we tend to imagine that good, very good musicians, can be the mere technical support for those who lead the project; I don't think this is the occasion, because the sound I perceived is that of a real band, and that's what you expect, for example, during a live show, and this overcomes any kind of personal need that only those who have the ownership of the project know in detail.

I think at this point it's clear that I'm very satisfied with an album that I've listened to three times, which is necessary for a basic metabolization.

Let's come to a minimum of story, song after song, an action that also allows us to remember - or discover - immortal music.

The screening of the tracks must not have been easy, because the amount of material available is truly remarkable, but Paola tells how she was totally free in her choice, with Regina's only desire to "fish" in the solo Greg's box as well. It is therefore to be imagined that the songs are the result, above all, of personal involvement and generic technical possibilities.

To look for objectivity, before this comment of mine, I listened to the two versions of each piece, the original one and the revisitation, and I must say that I had no difficulty in curbing the sterile exercise of comparison, because the new face contains the characteristics of Paola Tagliaferro, which means much more than a work of covering.

It starts with IT HURTS, taken from the self-titled album of Greg Lake's solo debut, released in 1981.

Originally a sort of ballad, very suitable for that temporal context, but Tagliaferro's version appears as updated, intended as wide-ranging pop rock, a sort of song representative of the spirit of the project, and I don't think it's a coincidence that a video was made...

This was followed by WATCHING OVER YOU,a lullaby written by Lake, with the help of Pete Sinfield for lyrics, and contained in "Works Volume 2", ELP's eighth album in 1977. 

Paola maintains the acoustic and intimate dimension, preserving the original spirit but providing a passionate and heartfelt interpretation, accompanied by the trusty Pier Gonella on acoustic guitar and Gino Ape on xylophone. Also on this occasion it is possible to show the video.

With the third episode, my mind flies backwards and the time spaces tighten.

STONES OF YEARS is a fragment of the Tarkus suite, taken from the 1971 album of the same name.

In this case I felt the need to maintain a certain aulicity, an atmosphere that in my opinion had to be preserved beyond any personalization, and I must say that PT is very skilful and sincere in his interpretation. I imagine that Luca Scherani, in his piano passages, had to carry on his shoulders all the weight of the history of prog!

LEND YOUR LOVE TO ME TONIGHT fu scritta con Pete Sinfield e comparve in Works Vol. 1" del 1977.

A beautiful version that Paola draws from the vast repertoire of ballads, a reinterpretation that gives a specific atmosphere, a seventies perfume that goes beyond the genres of which Lake was the standard-bearer.

I didn't remember this piece and captured it with great pleasure.

THE ONLY WAY is another track that releases sacredness and that sees in the foreground the intertwining of voice and keyboards, with the cumbersome initial authorial presence of a certain J. S. Bach.

Also in this case the container from which to extract is Tarkus, and even if in these cases we focus more on the musical and interpretative aspects, Greg's message is very current and appears a perfect dress for Paola's exhibition, being a song that explores the themes of spirituality, the search for truth and answers about the universe and human existence. A dress that the author wears perfectly, elegantly and respectful of the proposed themes and those who wrote them.

Track number six draws on a more recent repertoire compared to the glories of ELP.

 AFFAIRS OF THE HEART was written by Geoff Downes in addition to Lake, and was included on ELP's eleventh album, Black Moon, released in 1992, that is, in the post-punk era, a period in which the progressive rock scene was evolving and incorporating influences from post-punk and new wave music.

The meanings could be different, not only the most obvious ones related to the man/woman relationship that has always animated the musical world, but Paola's way of exposing imposes a sentimental image, at times poignant, certainly channeling emotions.

With I TALK TO THE WIND, we are given the opportunity to go back to Greg's origins, when King Crimson officially - and I think unconsciously - inaugurated the era of progressive music with their In the Court of the Crimson King: it was 1969!

Nothing brainy and complex, but this is a song that appears as a blank canvas that takes color and shape as you approach the end. Giulia Ermirio's viola contributes to the poetic creation and Paola materializes an action that is easy to understand, that "talking to the wind" symbol of an impossible communication, in search of answers that will hardly be found.


And we come to ALL I WANT IS YOU, written by Greg Lake and Peter Sinfield, a song from "Love Beach", the ninth album by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released in 1978.

Tagliaferro chooses another rock ballad and the guidelines can be guessed from the title, which refers to the concepts of love and desire. The text describes the intensity and depth of the protagonist's feelings towards the loved one, and the state of mind springs spontaneously during the listening, from which one benefits, also, for the accuracy of the purely musical aspects.

The temporal context is also clear, as each piece refers to a precise musical period.

The album ends with a top piece, THE GREAT GATES OF KIEV, estratto dall'album “Pictures at an Exhibition” (1971).

Greg Lake joins forces with Mussorgsky to tell the story of the triumphal entry into the Great Gate of Kiev, a symbol of Russia's power and grandeur, with the aim of making us reflect on the cyclical nature of life and the hope for a better future: more than fifty years have passed but some lyrics seem to have just been written!

This could probably have been the most complicated choice, a track of absolute beauty - and importance - that requires a vocal performance that can excite and a complicated and adequate musical section.

Paola Tagliaferro manages to hit the target and her working group demonstrates its professionalism and the state of aggregation in place.

The piece itself gives the idea of the closing of the circle, of the completion of the project... I applaud the choice and the consequent result.

I would also like to point out the work of Dario Canepa, a musician I don't know personally but who convinced me for his elegance and measure, knowing how to tiptoe into such a delicate project was not easy.

A special mention goes to Pier Gonella, who has been involved in Paola's projects for years, a sound engineer, in this case also on bass, as well as electric and acoustic guitar.

Paola Tagliaferro offers a beautiful work, which makes it easier for the oldest souls to travel backwards that everyone, or almost everyone, needs from time to time; But alongside the celebrations - of a myth and "his" music -, as well as a result linked to empathy between different souls, we can/will have to look at everything from a less romantic, more technical/musical point of view, "limiting" ourselves to enjoying an album that, thanks to a great teamwork, should fully satisfy every type of sensitive and virtuous listener.

Well done Paola, your spirit guide will be very happy with you!

The Company of the Id that collaborated on this project was formed as follows:

Paola Tagliaferro (vocals), Pier Gonella (guitar and bass), Luca Scherani "piano and keyboards", Giulia Ermirio (viola), Dario Canepa (drums) and Gino Ape (xylophone).

All the musicians wrote the arrangement of the parts assigned to their instruments.

The album was recorded and mixed by Pier Gonella and Paola Tagliaferro, with the Artistic Production of Paola Tagliaferro and the Artistic Co-Production of Regina Lake who is also the Cover Design.

They are all very good professional musicians, qualified and enthusiastic about the project. Pier Gonella has been an important collaborator of mine for eight years, with him I have made three albums as a musician and as a sound engineer.

Giulia Ermirio has recorded her viola in some songs contained in my last three albums.

Luca Scherani is on his first album with La Compagnia dell'ES.

Dario Canepa is at his first experience with La Compagnia Dell'ES.

Gino Ape of Enten Hitti is the second time that he collaborates with La Compagnia Dell'ES, guest in some songs.