Not many progressive music collectors are aware that Stormy Six released some very interesting and original works in that style, the group having long been associated with the left-wing political and protest songs of their first albums.Stormy Six began as a beat band in the 60's in Milan, and they even supported the Rolling Stones during their first italian tour. Their first album, named Le idee di oggi per la musica di domani by their record company, is a good example of the genre, with even some light psych influences like in the instrumental Schalplattengesellschaft mbh, bass player Claudio Rocchi being the most interested in psychedelia. He was in fact the first to leave the band to pursue a solo career.
Second album L'unità saw the group reduced to a quartet, with bassist Massimo Villa replacing Rocchi, and keyboardist Martinetti leaving during the recording sessions, though he appeared on some tracks only. The sound was now strongly inspired by the then popular West-Coast style, yet it contained some rock-inspired moments like in the long Suite per F & F with good instrumental parts by Ricky Belloni (then with Il Pacco and later in Nuova Idea) and sax player Claudio Fasoli from Perigeo.
In the third album, Guarda giù dalla pianura, dealing more strongly with protest songs, the Woody Guthrie influence was evident in the cover versions' choice, and the band was now a constant presence in left-wing movements concerts and festivals.
Their 1975 album Un biglietto del tram was the first proper original Stormy Six album, a highly rated album in Italy at the time and with strong political contents. Released on the newly born independent label L'Orchestra (in which the band members had a leading role), it was a concept album, based on some events from the last years of World War II in Italy and the Resistance movement against nazis, the album contained an original blend of folk and prog sounds and interesting lyrics. Songs like Stalingrado or Dante Di Nanni (the name of a victim of nazis) have always been in the band's concerts in later years.
In 1976 a revised line-up produced the instrumental Cliché, conceived as a soundtrack for a theatre piece and with help from jazz players Guido Mazzon and Tony Rusconi, and a year later L'apprendista, one of their best works ever. A real prog gem, the album had complex rhythm changes in the best tradition of this style (some comparison are possible with Gentle Giant), yet retaining a very original mood, with a perfect use of any kind of instruments and multivocal parts.
At the end of the 70's the band had prolific collaboration with foreign artists and Stormy Six were one of the five founder members (along with Henry Cow from UK, Univers Zero from Belgium, Etron Fou Leloublan from France and Samla Mammas Manna from Sweden) of the RIO-Rock In Opposition international movement, that gave them the opportunity to play all over Europe.
Next album in 1980, Macchina maccheronica, that also becomes the name of the band in some concerts, a varied album in the best RIO tradition with some very good tracks mixed with odd short songs and crazy rhythms, even a waltz! Last chapter in this long story Al volo, in 1982, still a good album that reveals 80's electropop influences added to the typical Stormy Six sound.
In 1984 some of the band members also collaborated with german group Cassiber, releasing some recordings together with the name of Cassix on the english Recommended Records label. Cassix line-up included Umberto Fiori (vocals), Franco Fabbri (guitar), Heiner Goebbels (keyboards) Alfred Harth (sax), Pino Martini (bass), Chris Cutler (drums).
Guitarist Franco Fabbri has written many books on music and still collaborates with various avantgarde music and theatre groups, the others have had many other musical experiences after the band split. The band reunited in 1993 for a concert that's been released on the nice Un concerto CD (italianprog)