A unique case of an italian band signed with Motown, Libra were formed in Rome in 1974, and in the same year they recorded their first album for Ricordi, after a successful tour with Banco del Mutuo Soccorso; some of the group members came from significant past experiences, like keyboardist Centofanti from Buon Vecchio Charlie and singer/guitarist D'Andrea from Myosotis and Logan Dwight.
Mainly a rock album with large use of acoustic parts and some jazz-rock and funky influences, Musica e parole has some PFM similarities and a few interesting prog moments, like in the 13 min. long closing track Inquinamento (originally sung in roman dialect and renamed Pollution in the US version), and gave the band the chance to be signed in the States with Motown, that issued it in a revised english-sung version (simply called Libra) in USA. One of the album tracks, the funky Beyond the fence, was sung in english even in the original LP version, and was recorded live or with fake audience overdubs.
A year later, with D'Andrea leaving and ex-Goblin drummer Walter Martino joining the band, Libra released an US-only second album, Winter days nightmare, much more commercial than the previous one and with strong (obvious considering the label) funky influences. This was not successful and the band returned to Italy.
A final Libra line-up, including keyboardist Maurizio Guarini from Goblin and guitarist Carlo Pennisi from Flea, released a third album in 1977 as a soundtrack to the film Shock (but the LP was misspelt as Schock), by director Mario Bava, much in Goblin style, before disbanding. Federico D'Andrea died in 1978, run over by a car. (italianprog.com)
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