The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Friday, May 04, 2007

Le Orme

Le Orme were simply my introduction to Italian rock music. I first heard something from their debut album on the FM radio, played by an “all night’ DJ (Mr. Greg Stewart, who I have come to be friends with for 30+ years) – a spooky instrumental found on their debut Philips album (“Collage”, 1971) called “Evasione Totale” (presumably “Total Evasion”?). I had no trouble finding the Italian-pressed LP at Tower Records in Hollywood – far enough away from where I lived that I had to get my dad to drive me there – and then buy the LP for me (it would’ve been around $5 - $6, a lot of money for a single LP in the early 70’s!). After getting “Collage” home, the song I was after was there – and I really liked the voice of bassist Aldo Tagliapietra. It’s Italian pop music – and certainly not a disappointment to someone interested in early 70’s “prog rock”.

The 2nd Philips Orme album, “Uomo Di Pezza”, 1972 ( = “Man of Rags” ) had a fantastic LP cover (pictured), and a killer instrumental track that finished the album, “Alienazione”. There are also more great (Italian language) pop songs from Aldo T.

As the 70’s wore on, I bought the Le Orme LP’s whenever they made their way to L.A. – in “progressive rock” circles, Orme were a known quantity. That they were a trio without a guitarist used to suggest comparisons with Emerson, Lake & Palmer – yet, when Orme aligned themselves with a British progressive artist – it was Peter Hammill (of Van Der Graaf Generator), who wrote the English language lyrics for their 3rd Philips album, “Felona E Sorona”, 1973.

I met Mr. Tony Harrington when he came into the record store I was working at, near the beginning of 1977 – he was promoting his “All Ears” label – we began talking and in the laundry list of band names I told him that I liked, I mentioned Orme. He must’ve visited a lot of radio stations and record stores promoting his label, but I think I must’ve been about the only person he’d met recently who knew about Orme – Tony had worked with them, during their ’75 visit to L.A.! When I was going to go to Europe for the first time in ’79, Tony offered to call Aldo of Le Orme (he spoke English!), and “introduce” me to the band. After meeting Tony, the next two Orme albums were among my favorites: “Verita Nascoste” and “Storia O Leggenda” (both from ’77).

So, in the fall of ’79, I went to Venice – Aldo even arranged my ‘pensione’ (in Mestre)! I was a guest at his home in Spinea for some memorable meals, and I got to meet Michi, Orme’s drummer! They had finished their “all acoustic” album “Florian” (1979) – and Aldo took me to “Café Florian” in St. Mark’s Square in Venice. 21 years old, and already meeting European ‘rock stars’! They were such nice guys to me. A few years later, I went to Italy with Tony Harrington – and met up with Le Orme a second time – if my memory serves, we were even on TV with Aldo, in Italy!

As far as I know, Le Orme are still together; Tony Harrington passed away in 2006. I am still Le Orme’s fan – try any of their albums on Philips, all are readily available on CD. Don’t forget Aldo’s solo album, “Nella Notte”!


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