Patto

Patto was an English rock band that released the 1970–71 Vertigo albums Patto and Hold Your Fire and the 1972 Island title Roll ’em Smoke ’em Put Another Line Out. They evolved from soul-psych legends Timebox. Singer Mike Patto and guitarist Ollie Halsall teamed a third time in Boxer.

Members: Mike Patto (vocals), Ollie Halsall (guitar, piano, vibraphone, vocals), “Admiral” John Halsey [Barry Wom] (drums, vocals), Clive Griffiths (bass)


Background

Patto evolved from Timebox, a soul-psych band that released eight singles between February 1967 and October 1969. By the time of their 1968 fourth single “Come On Up,” the lineup stabilized with singer Mike Patto (real name Michael McCarthy), guitarist–vibraohonist Ollie Halsall, drummer John Halsey, bassist Clive Griffiths, and keyboardust Chris Holmes.

Timebox scored a moderate hit with the Four Seasons cover “Beggin'” and psychedelic whimsy “Baked Jam Roll In Your Eye,” their first of two straight singles written by the Patto–Halsall partnership. They recorded an unreleased album and embraced a rockier sound on “Yellow Van,” their final single with Holmes (who later surfaced in Babe Ruth.)

The now four-piece band developed a new repetoire ill-suited to the Timebox audience. They brainstormed possible new names, including Tarzan, Nazrat, and Little Nesbit & The Bootleg Parfilly Five. At the suggestion of Island A&R and soundman Muff Winwood (Steve‘s brother and fellow Spencer Davis Group alumni), they settled on Mike’s adopted surname, Patto. 


Patto

Patto released their self-titled debut album in November 1970 on the Vertigo “swirl” label.

Side One contains four group-credited songs, including “Hold Me Back” and “Time to Die.” Side Two gathers four numbers co-written by Mike Patto and Ollie Halsall, including “Government Man” and the ten-minute “Money Bag.”

Halsall plays all guitars (electric, lead, acoustic) in addition to piano and vibraphone. Musically, Patto feeds blues-rock riffs and rustic licks through open-ended structures, overlaid with Halsall’s legato runs and occasional mallet flourishes.

A1. “The Man” (6:12)
A2. “Hold Me Back” (4:40)
A3. “Time to Die” (2:54)
A4. “Red Glow” (5:15)
B1. “San Antone” (3:07)
B2. “Government Man” (4:20)
B3. “Money Bag” (10:04)
B4. “Sittin’ Back Easy” (3:42)

Muff Winwood produced Patto, which soundman Brian Humphries engineered amid 1970 titles by Black Sabbath (Paranoid), Bronco, McDonald and Giles, Spooky Tooth, and Traffic (John Barleycorn Must Die). Patto was the first full album produced by Winwood, who became one of the decade’s more prolific English soundmen.

New Musical Express cartoonist Tony Benyon illustrated the Patto gatefold, a yellow-backed line sketch of an eyeless, disembodied head with the nameplate as teeth and hair critters woven out the window (back). Benyon distinct style also appears on the two Vertigo albums by the powertrio May Blitz.

The inner-gate features shaded two-tone member pics and the following liner notes: “Jazz fused with rock is not new. Most bands say it with brass sections. Not Patto. They are four and use the rhythm section for variants of feel and its subtleties of time and key changes.”


Hold Your Fire

Patto released their second album, Hold Your Fire, in 1971 on Vertigo.

Ollie Halsall wrote three songs: “Air Raid Shelter,” “How’s Your Father,” and “See You at the Dance Tonight.” Mike Patto co-wrote the remaining five, including “Magic Door,” “Tell Me Where You’ve Been,” and “You, You Point Your Finger.”

1. “Hold Your Fire” (8:03)
2. “You, You Point Your Finger” (3:47)
3. “How’s Your Father” (4:47)
4. “See You at the Dance Tonight” (4:55)
5. “Give It All Away” (4:12)
6. “Air Raid Shelter” (7:08)
7. “Tell Me Where You’ve Been” (3:48)
8. “Magic Door” (4:23)

Winwood produced Hold Your Fire at Island Studios, where Humphries engineered the album with assistance by Richard Digby Smith, a soundman on 1971 titles by Dr. Z, Gordon Haskell, Mott the Hoople, and Spooky Tooth frontman Mike Harrison.

Patto designed the Hold Your Fire cover: a three-flap design that shows three characters on the outer flaps (hunter, alien, cop) and the under-side (semi-nude woman, gargoyle, hippie). The flaps give owners eight potential variations. English artist Roger Dean illustrated the two images in a style far removed from his signature visuals on 1970–71 covers for Atomic Rooster, Dr. Strangely Strange, Earth and Fire, Midnight Sun, Nucleus, Osibisa, Ramases, and Yes.

Hold Me Back” appears on Do It Rock On Vertigo, a 1971 two-record label comp with cuts by Affinity, Gentle Giant, Gracious, Graham Bond, Gravy Train, Keith Tippett, Rod Stewart, and Warhorse.


Roll ’em Smoke ’em Put Another Line Out

Patto released their third album, Roll ’em Smoke ’em Put Another Line Out, in October 1972 on Island.

Roll ’em features one song by Mike Patto (“I Got Rhythm”), two by Ollie Halsall (“Mummy,” “Peter Abraham”), and five Patto–Halsall co-writes, including Turn Turtle,” “Loud Green Song,” and “Singing the Blues on Reds.”

John Halsey provides vocal dialogue “Mummy” and “Cap’n ‘P’ and the Atto’s (Sea Biscuits Parts 1 & 2).” Mike Patto plays electric piano on “I Got Rhythm” and upright on “Peter Abraham,” which features Ollie on vocals.

1. “Flat Footed Woman” (8:02)
2. “Singing the Blues on Reds” (4:56)
3. “Mummy” (2:18)
4. “Loud Green Song” (3:51)
5. “Turn Turtle” (6:07)
6. “I Got Rhythm” (4:46)
7. “Peter Abraham” (6:14)
8. “Cap’n ‘P’ and the Attos” (5:32)

Sessions took place at Island Studios, where Muff Winwood produced the album amid 1972 Island titles by the Sutherland Brothers and Hackensack. Digby Smith co-engineered Roll ’em with Tony Platt, a soundman for Habibiyya, Quintessence, and Sharks.

The cover features a live photo surrounded by red fonts, courtesy of Visualeyes, a design firm also credited on 1971–72 releases by Amazing Blondel, Claire Hamill, Frankie Miller, Heads Hands & Feet, John Martyn, Tír na nÓgVinegar Joe, Wild Turkey, and Tír na nÓg.


Monkey’s Bum

In 1973, Patto recorded 10 songs for a new album that was ultimately shelved. The tracks were finally released 22 years later on the CD Monkey’s Bum. The decidedly tighter set includes “Sugar Cube 1967,” “Get Up and Do It,” “Hedyob,” “Good Friend,” and “My Days are Numbered.”

1. “My Days Are Numbered” (5:11)
2. “The Dream I Had Last Night” (1:50)
3. “Sugar Cube 1967” (4:06)
4. “I Need You” (3:28)
5. “Good Friend” (3:43)
6. “Get Up and Do It” (3:08)
7. “Sausages” (4:12)
8. “Hedyob” (5:08)
9. “Pick Up the Phone” (3:12)
10. “General Custer” (3:19)

The original pressing on Audio Archives features a screen-enboxed band photo in green and black versions. Later pressings on Arkama (Italy) and Dogtoire (Russia) use an engraved leather image.


Post-Patto

By 1974, the members had drifted into other projects. Mike Patto replaced singer Mike Harrison in Spooky Tooth for the 1974 release The Mirror. Halsall replaced Allan Holdsworth in Tempest, playing on the album Living in Fear. Patto and Halsall regrouped the following year in Boxer, which recorded two albums for Virgin in 1975–76 and a third with a revised, Ollie-less lineup.

Over the years, Patto drummer John Halsey cut a 1974 one-off single as Rusty Strings and notched credits on albums by Lou Reed (Transformer), Joan Armatrading, Annette Peacock, and Roger Chapman. During the mid-70s, he cut two albums with folk-rockers Decameron. In 1977, he joined Roy Harper‘s backing band Chips.

Patto died of lymphatic leukemia on March 4, 1979, aged 36. Halsall passed from a drug-induced heart attack on May 29, 1992, aged 43.


Discography:

  • Patto (1970)
  • Hold Your Fire (1971)
  • Roll ’em Smoke ’em Put Another Line Out (1972)
  • Monkey’s Bum (1995, recorded 1973)

Sources:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *