This deluxe edition of the new Franc Cinelli album goes some way to explaining his appeal and has no better example of his talent than the two versions of ‘Fortune Teller Song’. One is a commercial radio edit but the acoustic take is akin to a tuneful Dylan, reedy harmonica interludes and all. This is pure troubadour stuff and after repeated listens, falling somewhere in style between English song maestro Al Stewart in the songs’ clear delivery and touch of mysticism and US roots stalwart Steve Forbert in the texture of Cinelli’s edge-of-raspy voice. The way that he sings is exactly right for these easy-paced compositions and the crisp rhythms have you tapping your feet and nodding along.
Opener ‘Point One’ is a lovely rolling lope of a number with fine washes of harmonica here and there ; “Let It Begin’ a lively country rocker with a catchy chorus, probably a set-opener and a darned good one. His clarity of vocal delivery heightens the impact of each song and there is a keen sense of dynamics at work in the arrangement on this selection.
Anyone liking McGuinness Flint or Stealers Wheel ought to investigate Franc Cinelli at the first opportunity.
‘Magic Hour’ is the most evocative of Al Stewart, in his ‘Last Days Of The Century’ classic era, when the songs were rooted but had a twist away from the ordinary, the rhythm here is a stealthy tread and the singing a touch conspiratorial over some inspired chord choices…is there a neat major 7th in there ? One thing : the production on the band numbers is never over-the-top which makes the set a comfortable listen as you are never struggling to make out the lyric. As for ‘Love’, the song should be taken immediately to Rod Stewart as recording numbers like this might just rescue him from Vegas Loungeland ….
The airy ‘Get Ready’ has a Zimmerman touch and you do wonder how often the young Cinelli might have played his copy of ‘Nashville Skyline’. Maybe as much as I played the Byrds’ ‘Younger Than Yesterday’ I suspect !
Born in Rome and brought up in London, Franc Cinelli is a natural World musician of the folkrock persuasion and I am not surprised that he has played around the US to a good response. I have no doubt that Cinelli songs could prove successful vehicles for other singers to cover – ‘Diamonds In The Sky’ for Steve Gibbons or Zucchero for example. But like another of my favourite artists Albert Hammond, it is so good to hear the composer perform them.
Always tuneful and with a balanced drive to his delivery, Cinelli has put together a very listenable collection with this album and I hope to catch him live in the near
Pete Sargeant www.fairhearing.co.uk