måndag 12 december 2016

Patto - Hold Your Fire (Rare Progressive Rock UK 1971)

280:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition. Original Gimmick konvolut. Denna Mini LP Version gavs ut 2005 och är nu mycket svår att hitta.)

Patto was a progressive jazz-rock band formed in England in 1970 by vocalist Mike Patto with a lineup taken from Timebox consisting of vocalist Patto, drummer John Halsey, guitarist and vibraphone player Ollie Halsall and bassist Clive Griffiths.

Timebox developed from a complicated pedigree that included members of The Bo Street Runners, Patto's People and Chicago Blue Line. This soul psych pop combo, made two singles for Pye's label Piccadilly, before signing to Decca's Deram in 1967. They also recorded five singles for Deram between 1967 and 1969 and appeared on BBC radio shows such as Noise at Nine, Stuart Henry on Sunday and Jimmy Young. Keyboard player Chris Holmes left after their last single release and they began experimenting with progressive rock.

In 1970, Patto was formed by members of Timebox and signed to the newly formed Vertigo label. With Muff Winwood as producer, they recorded their first album live in the studio.

In December 1971, Patto entered the studio again to record their second album Hold Your Fire after which they were dropped from the Vertigo roster. Despite poor record sales, they were becoming known as an exciting live act. Through his connections in England Muff Winwood was able to have the band signed to Island, and they recorded the album Roll 'em Smoke 'em Put Another Line Out in 1972.

In 1973, the band began to record their fourth album. Mike Patto wrote songs that were less cynical than the usual Patto material and much more commercial. The ensuing album Monkey's Bum was not released. Without Halsall and with each member now involved in other projects, Mike Patto chose to disband Patto, going on to form Boxer with Halsall.

Patto's second album, "Hold Your Fire", presents a great collection of songs that explores somewhat more complex musical territory than the debut album, "Patto". There are still relatively straight-ahead songs like the title cut and "You, You Point Your Finger". But the album contains a lot more experimentation, with unusual time signature changes present in nearly all of the tunes. There's plenty of great rock, and the jazz influence still presents itself in many of the songs, particularly in Ollie's Air-Raid Shelter.

In just a year, Ollie's guitar playing improved incredibly since the debut album, having perfected his legato hammer-on/pull-off technique. His fast, fluid, and inventive playing is the star of this album. 

Nearly every track on "Hold Your Fire" includes extraordinary guitar playing that these words cannot possibly do justice to, and he had only been playing guitar for four years! If you are into great guitar playing and you haven't heard this album, you are urged to rectify that situation as soon as possible.

Muff Winwood's production on "Hold Your Fire" is not as minimalist or in-your-face as it is on "Patto". More time was spent on overdubs. John's drums have a fuller sound. Ollie's keyboards are more present throughout the album. There are also more backing vocals. "Hold Your Fire" is a fine sounding album with impressive songs and musicianship of an extraordinary caliber. It is a shame that it has not been discovered by more rock music and guitar enthusiasts.

Despite the relatively poor sales of the debut album, "Patto", Vertigo/Mercury did not skimp on the packaging for "Hold Your Fire".

The UK cover was designed by the band and was based on a game known as consequences. 

The game involved a group of people drawing characters - one draws the head, the next draws the body, etc. The band had created a bunch of their own consequences drawings and gave these to Roger Dean to use for the cover. Roger proceeded to lose them all and had to create his own for the album cover.

The front cover of the album is cut into three sections, allowing the flaps to be individually lifted up revealing parts of the three characters printed on the inside of the gatefold. Different combinations would produce up to 8 different sets of characters.

01. Hold Your Fire
02. You, You Point Your Finger
03. Hows Your Father
04. See You at the Dance Tonight
05. Give It All Away
06. Air Raid Shelter
07. Tell Me Where You've Been
08. Magic Door
09. Beat the Drum[Demo Version]

Bonus Tracks
10. Bad News [Demo Version]
11. Air Raid Shelter [Alternative Version]