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Patto - Hold Your Fire CD (album) cover

HOLD YOUR FIRE

Patto

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Patto's second album, Hold Your Fire album comes with two artworks, the one you're seeing here and a green & purple artwork but both are ugly anyway. This second effort may strike as straighter rock than their JR/F debut, but when listened to carefully it still comes with plenty of with plenty of jazz vibes.

Compared with the debut album, Mike Patto's voice is more dominant in this album as his raspy Stewart/Rodgers vocals were often what the RnR crowds were looking for. Starting with the rolling title track, somewhere between a Rolling Stone romp (circa Sticky Fingers) and a Jeff Beck Group (with Cozy Powell on drums), it gives the tone of the album. If it wasn't for Halsall's expert guitars, we could often be on a Stones or Faces album. BUT there is Halsall's masterful guitars that makes the difference, even when the man is also playing piano on the same track. The following Point Your Finger is a much quieter affair, even if the lyrics are definitely setting points to detractors. Around the same sonic point, we're dealing with the blues & jazz-inflected guitar of Olie on How's Your Father, where both his piano (sometimes resembling Nicky Hopkins') and guitars shine out over a fairly average songwriting effort. The side-closing See You At The Dance is a good ol' rnr track where Patto's voice dominates.

The flipside's opener is mo less a rocking Give It Al Away and the midway solo reminds me of Jeff Beck's group (Middleton-Powell), with Griffith's inspired bass work in the semi-funky mode Where You've been is again right in the Stones/Free/JBG/Faces area. Only Air Raid Shelter differs quite a it and takes a careless Hendrix twist, but once the track gets going, the improvs are definitely veering into jazz frames. Being the longest track of the album with its 7-minutes, it is also the track that lets the instruments at their freest, while the closing Magic Door starts out very jazzy, but the chorus is actually quite annoying, some finding it maybe a good hook, but this writer finding it plain boring. Halsall's vibe playing saves this track and gives it its much-needed jazz flavour.

Almost as good as the debut album, but minus the surprise of the debut, HYF is an interesting album for those wanting to hear raw guitar jams with raw accompaniment, but I wouldn't call this album anymore essential than its predecessor.

Report this review (#258799)
Posted Friday, January 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Hold Your Fire, Patto's second album is not a radical departure from the style of the first one but it does have a bit more finesse and not such a bare exposing warts and all production. There is more complexity but it's still the powerful mix of rock and jazz they blended so successfully on that previous album.

Things get off to a great start with the title track; a song that all would be guitarists should listen too. It's not a complex song but Ollie Halsall's fluent guitar work is stunning as he weaves and bobs with a style that sounds like he's almost soloing through the entire piece. The mellower You, You Point Your Finger follows and is a lovely piece with a excellent vocal performance from Mike Patto and suitably subtle playing from the rest of the band. How's Your Father is another mellow song and along with Halsall's fluent guitar work he also adds piano. It seems he could play any instrument he turned his mind to. See You At The Dance Tonight is more of a straight ahead rock song, or as straight as Patto ever played them, once again Halsall turning in a fine inventive performance including a fantastic solo.

Side 2 of the original vinyl version opened with another rocking song Give It All Away which is played with a swing feel and at the risk of sounding repetitive another great guitar solo. Air Raid Shelter is the band in jazz mode with a strong and dynamic performance from drummer John Halsey and bassist Clive Griffith's who really take off when Halsall goes into solo mode. Tell Me Where You've Been subtly shifts the time around yet still retains a solid rhythm and is another inventive track; wonderful stuff. The album closes with Magic Door and Halsall lets his guitar take a back seat in favour of piano and vibes. Another laid back tune, it's played extremely well and a great way to end.

Patto never managed to get the success they deserved but Hold Your Fire and their eponymous debut are two early seventies gems that fans of great guitar playing in particular should check out. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#264569)
Posted Saturday, February 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Another one of rock 'n' roll's great ironies - the highly-collectible record that musically-speaking isn't particularly good - Patto's second album is apparently almost as rare as it's superior, textured-covered predecessor, making original vinyl copies extremely hot property for serious record collectors and rock geeks. Released in 1971, 'Hold Your Fire' would sadly fail to build on the promise of 'Patto', featuring a dispiriting pop edge that jars badly with the groups trademark, vibraphone-inflected jazz-rock sound. Whilst the first album was fresh and different, 'Hold Your Fire' seems lightweight and unfocused, made up mainly of short, uninspired numbers that fail to properly utilise the considerable talents of criminally-underrated guitarist Ollie Halsall or even Mike Patto's husky vocals. The creative juices that flowed in such a carefree fashion on such nuggets as 'Government Man' and 'Hold Me Back' have here simply run dry, leading to a dull collection that falls somewhere between weak psychedelic pop and ballroom jazz - a definite backward step. For a group this talented, 'Hold Your Fire' is a serious disappointment.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

Report this review (#640652)
Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 | Review Permalink

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