Four full albums from Patto – presented here in a complete box set! First up is the self-titled Patto – the debut album from a group who were never huge at the time, but who've gone onto become one of the best-remembered acts from the Vertigo
Records scene – thanks to the sound of this amazing debut! The record is extremely hard to peg – it's definitely got some jazz inspiration in the way the songs are put together – especially since group member Ollie Halsall uses some great vibes – but the whole thing's hardly a jazz rock set at all – as the tunes are maybe more open at times, or a bit gritty at others – always topped by the unique vocals of Mike Patto. The record is both freewheeling and down to earth at the same time – a hard thing to pull off – and titles include "The Man", "Hold Me Back", "Time To Die", "Red Glow", and "Government Man". Hold Your Fire is a really great second set from Patto – a record that maybe tips the balance more strongly towards guitar sounds than the previous, but one that still preserves all their really unique sense of arrangements and songwriting! Vocalist Mike Patto is kind of a lost legend from early 70s rock – a singer who might have given some of the bigger Brit names a run for their money, had he ever gotten a chance to really shine in the spotlight. But it's also that suppressed fame that makes his presence on this record so great – a completely unselfconscious approach that fits in both with the grittier numbers and some of the more open, chromatic tunes. Titles include "Hold Your Fire", "Give It All Away", "See You At The Dance Tonight", and "How's Your Father". Next is Roll Em Smoke Em – maybe the funkiest record ever cut by Mike Patto and crew – a set that's got a nicely loose, unbridled feel – and plenty of funky drums and percussion from John Halsey! The group have really hit their prime here – so much so, they almost don't need any larger concepts or ideas to guide them – and are just comfortable to get together and work out some nicely rough-edged ideas – with Patto himself sounding maybe a bit more blue-eyed soulful/
rocker, and Ollie Halsell kicking up his guitar with a lot more fuzz. Titles include "Flat Footed Woman", "Singing The Blues On Reds", "Loud Green Song", "Turn Turtle", and "Peter Abraham". Last up is Monkey's Bum – material that was intended to become the fourth album from Patto – an excellent UK group who never fully got their due! Patto have a great sound that's kind of like higher progressive rock ideas taken down into bluesier territory – with an earthiness that maybe a few key contemporaries got right – maybe Traffic or Procol Harum – and, like both of those groups, one that was capable of really hitting things right on the nose with a special sound that was all their own. Mike Patto only got better as a singer as the years went on, bringing more soulful phrasing into his lyrics – which is also echoed by some of the keyboard and rhythm work here, but never in a way that's too slavishly blues-rock or white boy soul, and certainly with the right sort of complexity to warrant the group's attention by Island in the early 70s. Titles include "Hedyob", "My Days Are Numbered", "Sugar Cube 1967", "I Need You", "Good Friend", and "Get Up & Dig It" – plus a great cover of "Last Night I Had A Dream". CD set features the bonus tracks "Beat The Drum", "Bad News", and "Hanging Rope".