Francesco Guccini

Storia di Altre Storie

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Francesco Guccini turned 70 in 2010, an event duly celebrated with the release of his umpteenth compilation album, Storia di Altre Storie. Considering how many Guccini studio and live collections are available, what does this new entry bring to the table? The short answer is: not much. There is a new song, "Nella Giungla," that is actually not a Guccini original but the Italian version of a Renaud song about the Ingrid Betancourt story, and an alternate version of "Un Altro Giorno é Andato," and that's about it. Guccini himself picked the songs, but since his set list has been pretty much carved in stone for the previous 20 years, there are no major surprises. Still, while Storia di Altre Storie may not differ greatly from other Guccini compilations, it certainly does the job quite efficiently. Liner notes by critic Riccardo Bertoncelli (yes, the same one Guccini insulted in his 1975 legendary scathing tirade "L'Avvelenata," of course included in this album, but the two have long reconciled) and a suggested retail price that offers this generous two-CD, 30-track collection for the price of one, makes for quite an attractive package deal. Naturally, there can be no argument whatsoever with the songs, as Guccini is, after all, one of Italy's true finest songwriters. Songs are not presented in chronological order, but since Guccini's sound and world-view have never altered substantially, it does not make much of a difference. If anything, it proves that while Guccini has seldom achieved the consistency of his classic '70s albums, when cherry-picked, his latest compositions are as good as anything he ever wrote. Certainly his popularity has not diminished over the years; on the contrary, he has become a sort of moral and political icon to people from all generations, as attested by his massively attended concerts. Storia di Altre Storie is thus a great introduction to a superb storyteller, a compendium of the very best Italian folk-rock has to offer, and further proof that Guccini's music remains essential. On the other hand, fine as it is, this compilation is positively not essential -- it is only good value for the money for those looking for a first Guccini collection, or a Christmas gift.

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