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December 12, 2016

Gino Vannelli – A Pauper In Paradise (1977) – Lp

by Record Facts

Gino Vannelli (born June 16, 1952) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Vannelli is one of three sons (Joe, Gino, and Ross) born to Russ and Delia Vannelli. Russ, his father, was a big band musician.

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Artist:  Gino Vannelli
Title:  A Pauper In Paradise
Year:  1977
Format:  LP
Label:  A&M Records
Catalog#  AMLH 64664

Gino Vannelli’s musical creativity reached a high point in 1977 with the release of his fifth album “A Pauper In Paradise”. Like his previous album, “Gist of The Gemini”, “Pauper..” is high on dynamic musical arrangements and showcases Vannelli’s vocals at their very best.
The opening track “Mardi Gras”, is a jolly slow shuffle with some excellent jazzy arrangements. This is a fun piece which will have you smiling in no time.
Tracks such as “Valleys of Valhalla” and “A Song and Dance” are in the light-pop genre while the album’s hit “One Night With You” has a faint touch of disco.
“The Surest Things Can Change” is a gentle ballad perfect for late-night slow dancing with that special someone.
The main highlights of this album are represented in its second half. Both “Black and Blue” and the four-movement title track were recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The end results are beyond belief. “Black and Blue” displays Vannelli’s dynamic vocals in full range as the orchestra provides a beautiful lush backup behind him.
The album’s epic title track is very much in the same vein as The Moody Blues’ “Days of Future Passed” in that it features extended orchestral passages with embelishments from Gino’s backup band (consisting of three keyboarists including brother Joe Vannelli plus a drummer and two percussionists). This piece is not rock nor is it commercial pop. The majority of this piece is definitely programmatic classical music (ie: classical music with an overall story and concept). It is only during the third movement that the orchestra is not center of attention. Here, Gino’s band lets loose with a progressive rock/jazz fusion hybrid loaded with busy percussion patterns and skittering keyboard passages. This piece as whole demonstrates Gino Vannelli’s great strength as a composer and not just a vocalist as the majority of it is instrumental with only a few vocal lines at the very end of the last movement.
“A Pauper In Paradise” is definitely one of Gino Vannelli’s finest albums and makes for a perfect match alongside “The Gist Of The Gemini”.

 

Side one
1.  Mardi Gras  (3:26)
2.  Valleys of Valhalla  (4:23)
3.  The Surest Things Can Change  (4:35)
4.  One Night with You  (4:18)
5.  A Song and Dance  (3:37)

Side two
1.  Black and Blue  (4:21)
2.  A Pauper in Paradise (In Four Movements)  (15:14)

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