The first of a two-part career compilation, Primo Tempo is also the first Ligabue official greatest-hits collection. Spanning the years 1990-1995, Primo Tempo gathers its 18 tracks from the four studio albums Ligabue, Lambrusco Coltelli Rose & Popcorn, Sopravvissuti e Sopraviventi, and Buon Compleanno Elvis, as well as from the EP A Che Ora È La Fine del Mondo?. It also boasts two terrific new songs, "Buonanotte All'Italia" and "Niente Paura," the latter a massive radio hit in Italy. In addition, the release comes with a DVD of all the Ligabue video clips from the period. While fans may debate the inclusion of some tracks at the expense of others, there is no question that this is a generous, excellent compilation that chronicles Ligabue's rise from provincial rocker to pop stardom. The collection is not arranged chronologically, but this only reinforces the steadiness and uniform quality of Ligabue's output. In fact, over the years Ligabue has refined but never deviated from his template of outcast/working man's rock and ballads à la Springsteen. On the other hand, the production and arrangements of some of this material may sound a bit dated. Indeed, while this is incontestably a fine compilation, the two-disc 1997 live album Su e Giù Dan un Palco included virtually every track present here (but for the two new songs), and then some ten more, in arguably superior versions. The first greatest-hits collection of one of Italy's most popular rock stars, Primo Tempo went straight to number one on the Italian charts. Its follow-up, SecondoTempo, was scheduled for late May 2008.
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AllMusic Review by Mariano Prunes