Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I Nodi: I Califfi and "Ti Giuro è Così"

Today's random tune is an Italian throwback cover. You'll recognize the tune immediately as a cover of The Kinks You Really Got Me. I always thought of The Kinks as the forgotten fourth band of the British Invasion. Not that they were really forgotten, because they weren't. But they just seemed to me to be in the shadow of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who. But for me, they put out the most memorable riffs and guitar hooks. When You Really Got Me or Lola begins to play, you immediately know what it is and are ready to take up the song as soon as the lyrics come around. Their songs, especially the early ones, didn't aim for any fanciness - they were simple tunes with lyrics that were easy to remember. That doesn't mean that the songs themselves were somehow lacking - what they didn't have in musical artistry they made up for in pure raw power and emotion. Even their later songs, as the band became better songwriters and practitioners, seemed to me to keep simplicity at the forefront. Come Dancing, for example, is a great tune masquerading as a simple melody, the lyrics concealing pain and loss behind an uptempo dance beat. No, to me The Kinks were the real deal.

The Italian band who covers the song, I Califfi, was formed in 1965 by musicians Franco Boldrini, Giuseppe Maffei, Marco Bracci and Carlo Felice Marcovecchio. It was their first experience in a rock band, though Boldrini had played bass previously in professional orchestras that toured abroad. They were influenced early in their career by such bands as the Spencer Davis Group, The Animals, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. Boldrini stated in an interview that in the 60s, the musical skill of Italian bands was very low and everyone imitated someone else. The band went through several lineup changes through the 1960s and 70s, and disbanded for a while. However, Boldrini has resurrected them and also has started a solo career, with the most recent I Califfi album released in 2010. Ti Giuro è Così (You Really Got Me) was initially released as a single in 1966.