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Patto - Monkey's Bum CD (album) cover

MONKEY'S BUM

Patto

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Sean Trane
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Prog Folk
3 stars After their ill-reputed album (unconfirmed by this writer, since I've never heard it) Roll 'Em (which does give a hint of the group's pre-occupations), the group was o the verge of a break- up, but managed to record a fourth album, but since the group was on ots last stand, it never saw the light of day until the mid-90's, when Audio Archives chose to publish it from a fairly bad tape, which means that you shouldn't expect great sounds. In either case, AA does pull a very interesting recording into the sunlight, much like it had done with fantasy's second album. On the downside, they used a fairly crummy partial artwork of one of their previous album's covers.

Basically the music stays relatively close to the jazz-influenced blues rock developed in the first two albums, giving it a prog edge at times! While the opening tracks suffers from the tape's condition, it convinces us that Patto might have had still something to say and if not the group, at least Halsall when he's pulling a great jazz-tinged solo from a hard-edged rocker. The following Dream starts on en electric piano from Olie, then dubbing himself with another cool guitar part. Not everything is good with this album and tracks like Sugar Cube come with a horn section, others like I Need You are just plain going-thru-the-motions (too fast), and many less-inspired tracks. Patto's raspy voice is a cross of Rod Stewart and Paul Rodgers, but history will retain he could not fit in the niche between those two. Halsall's always excellent guitar always manage to salvage something, even in the worst like Good Friend. Most of what would've been the flipside is made of boogie-blues-rock that will certainly not revolutionize you're your world, let alone shake it a tiny bit. Hedyob is the only track managing some (enough) interest to match the album's first two, with its superb guitar solo.

Patto would go on to form Boxer (you know the naked woman with the boxing glove), a group with impressive people going through: Patto, Halsall, Boz Burrell (Crimson), Newman (May blitz), Tim Bogert (Fudge) and a few Beck collabs from the second group; but that's another story. This fourth album should have the right to sit on your shelves with the three historical releases, and is certainly as good as the first two.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#261689)
Posted Wednesday, January 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Monkey's Bum is the fourth Patto studio album but never received an official release at the time. While being a vast improvement on the sillyness of Roll 'Em, Smoke 'Em, Put Another Line Out it's not quite up to the excellence of their first two albums.

Where their eponymous debut and Hold Your Fire were mainly a powerful blend of rock and jazz, Monkey's Bum while having some of those elements has a more songwriterly approach, mainly down to vocalist Mike Patto having a higher profile in the writing. Be warned however that the sound quality is not great. Whether it comes from a deteriorated master tape or other sources I don't know but it does have a bit of a muffled sound and some dropouts.

The band play well and it's great to see more of Ollie Halsall's inventive guitar playing than on the previous album. My Days Are Numbered makes a great opener. A mid paced rocker with some tastefully picked guitar from Halsall as well as some nice jazzy fender Rhodes. Last Night I Had A Dream is a cover of a Randy Newman song, once again there's some nice electric piano. Sugar Cube 1967 is light weight rock which uses a brass section and is fairly average. Better is the uptempo I Need You with some fine fluent guitar work and Clive Griffith and John Halsey provide a strong rhythm section.

Good Friend is a really lovely song with a strong melody played with subtle restraint. One of the album highlights. Get Up And Dig It is another uptempo song with lots of electric piano and sax with Mel Collins guesting. Sausages also has a good helping of electric piano as well as some tasty slide guitar work. Another uptempo number Halsall takes over from Patto for lead vocal duties. Hedyob has an offbeat feel and one of the quirkier songs here. It slips into straight time later for a superb Halsall solo which totally burns. Pick Up The Phone is weaker and is a piano led mid paced light rock song. Closing the album is the rockier General Custer; not bad but unexceptional.

It's a shame this album didn't receive better treatment at the time and received an official release as it's a strong record. Then we may have a better representation of it than the substandard tapes being used for the current release. Nevertheless, if not for the casual listener, essential listening for Patto fans who'll find much to enjoy here. 3 stars.

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Send comments to Nightfly (BETA) | Report this review (#264589)
Posted Saturday, February 06, 2010 | Review Permalink

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