Cardinal Point

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1964-66) as I Cardinalli

- Piero Aspria -- bass

- Arnaldo Gallie -- drums, percussion

- Mario Preveti (RIP 2013) -- vocals, keyboards

- Franco Puglisi -- vocals, guitar

- Nino Venuto -- vocals, lead guitar


  line up 2 (1966-67) as Cardinal Point

- Piero Aspria -- bass

- Arnaldo Gallie -- drums, percussion

- Mario Preveti (RIP 2013) -- vocals, keyboards

- Franco Puglisi -- vocals, guitar

- Nino Venuto -- vocals, lead guitar


  line up 3 (1967-77) 

- Piero Aspria -- bass

- Arnaldo Gallie -- drums, percussion

- Mario Preveti (RIP 2013) -- vocals, keyboards

- Nino Venuto -- vocals, lead guitar






- I Cardinali

- I Punti Cardinalli

- Jackpot (Arnaldo Galli)

- Masters (Piero Aspria and Arnaldo Gallie)

- The VIPs (Nino Venuto)



Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Cardinal Point

Company: Philips

Catalog:  6-413 036

Country/State: Italy

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3547

Price: $50.00

They were Italian (actually Sicilian), but found most of their success in the Benelux, leading to occasional confusion in terms of their country of origin.  They came to my attention in the mid-'70s when I was living in Brussels and I happened to see one of their performances on a television show.


Keyboardist Mario Preveti, guitarist Franco Puglisi, and lead guitarist Nino Venuto started their professional musical careers in 1964.  Originally known as I Cardinali, the band debuted with an interesting 1967 pop-psych single on the small Whamm label:

- 1967's 'What Is Wrong, What Is Right' b/w 'Shame' (Whamm catalog number PS 020)


When I Cadinali broke up the pair headed to Holland where the met up with fellow Italian expatriates Piero Aspria (bass), Arnaldo Gallie (drums), and Franco Puglis (guitar).  Aspria and Gallie had been members of the Dutch band The Mastersand with that entity having recently broken up, the five decided to try a partnership.  As I Punti Cardinalli, over the next two years they released a pair of obscure singles on the Italian Ricordi label:

- 1968's 'Lia' b/w 'Tienimi' (Ricordi catalog number SRL 10 522)

- 1970's 'La Borsetta Verde' b/w "Non ti diro mai piu di si' (Ricordi catalog number SRL 10 578)


In Holland the group found steady employment playing local clubs.  They also opted for a name change; going with the Anglicized Cardinal Point.  With a homesick Puglisi returning to Italy, the band continued on as a four piece at which point the scored a contract with the Dutch Negram, releasing their label debut in 1970 with a hyper-sensitive ballad that sounded like they'd been overdosing on Procol Harum:





1970's 'My Song Is Over' b/w 'Please Stay with me (Negram catalog number NG 197)







The group's big break came when they caught the attention of  Dutch producer Hans van Hemert.  van Hemert was a hot commodity having enjoyed successes with the likes of DC Lewis, Mouth & MacNeal, and Zen and his influence helped the band sign to Philips Records.  He in turn co-wrote and produced their debut single:

-1971's  'Mama Papa' b/w 'I Take It Easy' (Philips catalog number 6012 204).  


With the single proving a decent international seller, Philips agreed to finance an album.  With van Hemert again producing, the band made their LP debut with 1972's  "Cardinal Point".  With van Hemert writing, or co-writing about two thirds of the album, the result was a decent, but hardly awe-inspiring set of Netherpop.  Well, Netherpop with an occasional Italian accent.  Anyone into the likes of The George Baker Selection, The Tee Set, or even The Shocking Blue was liable to find this commercial set of pop-rock at least mildly entertaining.  Exemplified by tracks like the earlier single  'Mama Papa', 'Papa Do' and 'I Won't Let You Go', they were clearly a talented outfit. As far as I can tell, drummer Gallie was the lead singer.  His delivery was heavily accented, but he had a nice enough voice and served as the band's goofy front man (with a fondness for platform shoes and gold chains).  I'm not sure how much of the album was a reflection of their own work, rather than van Hemert working with studio professionals, but the sound was consistently entertaining with lots of entertaining little touches - check out the steel drums on 'I Won't Let You Go', the bagpipes and Tuba on 'Be My Baboon', or the jazzy guitar solo on 'Come On and Say I'.  Unfortunately most of the album simply didn't show much in the way of originality, rather they came off as a vehicle for van Hemert's creative visions.  Their affection for hand clapping was also a source of irritation. That was unfortunate given two of the three tunes co-written by keyboardist Previti were among the album highlights.


"Cardinal Point" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Come On and Say It   (Hans van Hemert) -  rating: *** stars

To my ears 'Come On and Say It' was a fairly standard slice of Netherpop ...  catchy and ultimately disposable.   The most interesting parts of the song were the harsh, growling guitar sound in the refrain and the jazzy solo that popped up about two thirds of the way through the song.   The tune was tapped as a single in Holland and a couple of European countries:

- 1972's 'Come On and Say It' b/w 'I Won't Let You Go' (Philips catalog number 6012 276)

2.) Papa Do   (Berry Green - Lynsey De Paul) -   rating: **** stars

Netherpop was never known for having a particularly hard edged sound and you weren't going to mistake 'Papa Do' for Black Sabbath, but their cover of the Berry Green - Lynsey de Paul tune was certainly heavier than most of their catalog.  Mindless summer fun.

3.) Old Dom Is Dead (Mea Culpa)   (Jean Pierre. Alarecen - C. Putterflam - C. Watson) -   rating: *** stars

It turns out producer van Hermert had actually recorded this one as a solo act, but I was familiar with the French band Sandrose's original version of the tune (featuring the late Rose Laurens).  This cover wasn't bad, sticking close to the original arrangement.  It was also one of Gallie's best performances, but didn't come close to the Mellotron drenched Sandrose version.   

4.) Oh Day, Oh Day   (R. Wilde) -   rating: **** stars

Maybe because it just sounded soooo '70s, I have to admit the goofy, mildy glam-esque 'Oh Day, Oh Day' stands as one of those guilty pleasures.   Rock and roll for your grandmother to dance around to ...   

5.) You Can Take It To Be True   (Hans van Hemert - Mario Previti) -   rating: ** stars

The album's first blatant misstep, 'You Can Take It To Be True' was a bland, forgettable big ballad.

6.) Answer Me   (Piet Souer - Hans van Hemert) -   rating: *** stars

Usually accented English vocals don't bother me one way or the other.  'Answer Me' was one of those rare exceptions.  Maybe due to the fact the song was such an irritating stab at top-40 dreck, the chirpy delivery, coupled with the seemingly endless repetition of the title, made this one pretty horrendous.  But, damn if the chorus wasn't catchy ...


(side 2)

1.) Mama, Papa (Nana Nana)   (Fernando Arbex - Hans van Hemert) - 

Previously released as a single, 'Mama, Papa' has always reminded me of Slade overdosing on Netherpop ...   As their biggest hit it wasn't bad in the same way that '70s Coke commercial byThe Hilltop Singers ( I wish I could by the world a Coke) was ear candy. Geez, come to think of it, this could have been a Coke commercial.  No idea when, or where it was filmed, but YouTube has a clip of the band manically lip-synching the tune for some forgotten television show:  

2.) I Won't Let You Go   (Hans van Hemert) -   rating: **** stars



'I Won't Let You Go' somehow managed to blend martial drumming, steel drums, and the album's best melody.   Another track that was released as a Dutch single:


1972's 'I Won't Let You Go' b/w 'Be My Baboon' (Philips catalog number 6012 248)





3.) One, Two, Three   (Mario Previtti - Hans van Hemert) -    rating: *** stars

Imagine an Italian artist trying to turn in a Paul McCartney impression.   Well, the country-tinged slide guitar had kind of a nice Wings-vibe to it.

4.) Pini, Pini (Lovey Dovey)   (D. Vangarde - A. Jaen - J. Fishman - PH Forester) -    rating: ** stars

Netherpop-meets schlager ....

5.) Be My Baboon  (Hans van Hemert) -     rating: *** stars

Breezy, if totally goofy ballad with tuba and bagpipes ...  the song title certainly left you wondering if something had gone wrong with their English translator.

6.) I Take It Easy   (Mario Previtti - Hans van Hemert) -   rating: ** stars

I've never quite figured out why so many European pop bands find barrelhouse piano fascinating.  I'm guessing this heavily orchestrated number was supposed to hit the same old timey sound as Spanky and Our Gang aimed for.   They missed the target by a mile, making for one of the album's most irritating tunes.



Over the next three years the band continued to release singles and enjoy minor success throughout the Benelux.  I've heard most of these singles and have to tell you that with the band dipping their toes into glam rock, most of these sides were better than anything on the album.  Check out the Spinal Tap-ish video for 'The Grand Pretender': 

- 1972's 'Il Talismano' b/w 'Susanna e il Serpente' (Philips catalog number 6012 296)

- 1973's 'Keep On Dancing' b/w 'Show Me the Way' (Philips catalog number 6012 359)

- 1973's 'I'm the Grand Pretender' b/w 'Lolly Linda' (Philips catalog number 6012 387)

- 1975's 'Arrivederc Goodbye' b/w 'Daisy (You're Driving Me Crazy)' (Philips catalog number 6012 491

- 1975's 'Marianne' b/w 'Gimme Some Satisfaction' (Negram catalog number NG 2054

- 1977's 'Peppermint Twist' b/w 'Gimme Some Satisfaction' (Negram catalog number NG 2010)


In 1976 drummer Analdo Galli left to join the band Jackpot.  Within a couple of months the rest of the band decided to call it quits.


Keyboardist Preveti passed on in 2013.