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Patto - Patto CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.79 | 55 ratings

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5 stars The band Patto sprung from the ashes of sixties band Timebox who's soul tinged pop/rock was to find them little commercial success. After the departure of keyboard player Chris Holmes the remaining members took the surname of vocalist Mike Patto as the new name for the band and continued in an altogether different direction.

Although Timebox had shown signs towards the end of a more adventurous direction there was no mistaking it with Patto. They were much more of a rock band fusing powerful (sometimes) heavy rock with a good dose of jazz and a sprinkling of blues into songs with inventive structures and extended guitar workouts courtesy of their trump card, the brilliant Ollie Halsall, surely one of the most underrated guitar players to have come out of the UK. On drums John Halsey and bassist Clive Griffiths made up a fine rhythm section that could play it straight in the more rocky moments or follow the subtle twists and turns of Halsall's complex jazz excursions with ease. On top of this they had the benefit of the powerful and gritty vocals of Mike Patto who was an excellent vocalist in the classic rock tradition; another under appreciated talent.

The production of the album, courtesy of Muff Winwood is very bare and spacious and really captures the band in the raw allowing the listener to hear every little nuance.

The album gets off to a great start with the slow build of The Man. From restrained beginnings it gradually increases in intensity into a powerhouse of a song and also introduces one of Halsall's other talents; playing vibes. Hold Me Back is a much more straightforward rock song but certainly not ordinary as Halsall's fluent guitar playing weaves as it fluctuates between riffs, licks and lead runs with few overdubs with a superb solo. Time To Die sees the band in a more mellow mood. Acoustic guitar and delicate work from the rhythm section underline a fine vocal performance. Red Glow is an album highlight and another powerful rock moment. It features perhaps Halsall's greatest solo on the album which really burns.

San Antone is a lighter but more uptempo moment which really swings with jazzy overtones and Government Man is another moment of subtle restraint; both great songs. Money Bag captures the band jamming in jazz mode, Patto's vocals not arriving until late and closing track Sittin' Back Easy is another gem moving from delicately picked guitar to a powerhouse of a riff.

Patto were also known for the humour they injected in their performances, something that doesn't really come across on this album or follow up Hold Your Fire. For that you'd need to investigate their third album Roll'Em, Smoke 'Em, Put Another Line Out which however is musically inferior to this gem of a debut and its follow up. They were never a band blessed with luck either with poor album sales, Patto died of cancer in 1979, Halsall died of a drug overdose in 1992 and Griffith and Halsey were involved in a serious car crash while touring with Joe Brown which left Griffith paralysed down one side and no memory of the Patto days apparently. A truly sad story but at least we have this startlingly good debut and even better follow up to remind us what a fantastic and undiscovered gem of a band Patto were.

Nightfly | 5/5 |


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