Mike's disappointment in the sudden dissolution of Patto after six years of work was evident in the interviews after the breakup. But he expressed confidence in himself as a musician and as an improving songwriter/piano player. He took his role as a musician, and as a father of three, very seriously.
Mike and Ollie got involved in Steve York's "all-star" project called "Camelo Pardalis", which released an album titled "Manor Live" in the Summer of 1973 [Virgin Records cat. # V2003 (UK)]. As the title suggests, it was recorded at Richard Branson's recording studio, The Manor. Mike sang lead on three of the album's 11 tracks. Showing his versality, Mike belts out the raspy "Slidin' Sideways" and does a tender cover version of Randy Newman's "I'll Be Home". This project once again reunited Mike with Tim Hinkley from the Bo Street Runner/Chicago Line days. Also on the album were Boz Burrell, Graham Bond, Dave Brooks, Elkie Brooks, Ian Wallace, and many others.
Also that year, Mike guested on several albums as a backing vocalist: Alexis Korner's "Accidentally Born In New Orleans",
Ellis' "Why Not?", and Alvin Lee/Mylon LeFevre's "On The Road To
Freedom". There is television footage of Mike singing backups with
Alvin and Mylon on the Midnight Special concert program from November 30, 1973.
Some of this footage is available on You Tube:
|Rockin' Till The Sun Goes Down||http://youtube.com/watch?v=a-1eoueUtvo|
|Carry My Load||http://youtube.com/watch?v=Y5M-9_QrYbI|
|The World Is Changing||http://youtube.com/watch?v=U0nBm-St2AU|
|Note: these links were posted on
3/3/07. Please let me know if they are no longer working.
In 1973 Mike got involved with a jam band called Dick And The Firemen. The name was taken from dressing room graffiti at the Noriek club, where Timebox rehearsed. The band consisted of, among others, Mike; Ian Wallace and John Halsey on drums; Boz Burrell and Allen Spenner on bass; Zoot Money and Tim Hinkley on keyboards; and Mel Collins on saxophone. At one point, they had Eddie McHenry too for a total of three drummers!
Article: Sounds, 7-28-73 "The flame burns on"
According to John Halsey, Dick And The Firemen actually had their genesis circa 1971 when Patto had some gigs to fulfill while
Ollie was away for his father's funeral. It was John's idea to put
together the group of friends, and he continued to organize the
shows over the years. John Halsey lists this early
lineup as Alan Spenner, Elton Dean, Tim Hinkley, Boz, Marc Charig, and Bernie Holland. Mike
had a great time gigging with this outfit, and they continued to do occasional
gigs over the next several years, presumably with various personnel variations.
|In November of 1973, Mike accepted an offer to join Spooky Tooth. Within
just a few days of joining, he was on the road doing gigs. In 1974, Mike recorded
a great album with the band titled "The Mirror", on which he provided
vocals, electric piano, and percussion. He wrote the strong rocker called
"The Hoofer" and co-wrote several others. His vocal on
"Kyle" is particularly moving, and though he is not given credit, he
did help write the song according to his family. Some live tapes of Spooky Tooth
with Mike do exist with him delivering great lead vocals on songs like
"Cotton Growing Man" and the Beatles' "I Am The
Walrus". Mike started writing songs that didn't mesh with Gary
Wright's concept of the band, so they didn't get along very well. Before
he was with the band a full year, he was essentially fired in the Autumn of
Note: the Fantasy Satisfier picture sleeve to the right actually shows a unique live shot of Patto, not Spooky Tooth.
Article: Sounds, 1-26-74 LIVE SOUNDS
(Dick and the Firemen concert review)
Article: Sounds, 8-17-74 Singles Reviewed by ENO
Article: Sounds, 10-12-74 Back to the Drawing Board
Article: RockStock, 1974 Mike Patto's Patter
Article: NME, 12-14-74 "Tooth decay in faeces fjord"
Mike also did some sessions with Alexis Korner in 1974 playing piano. Late that year, broke and perhaps desperate for income, Mike took a job at Nigel Thomas' [Mike's manager] GoodEar record company. He was given the position of head of promotion for the USA. Mike admitted the following year that he was over his head and didn't really know what he was doing. During this time, Mike continued to do gigs with Dick and the Firemen.
|Here is a flyer from Dingwalls in London that lists the Dick and the Firemen show on January 15, 1975.|
In May of 1975, Mike, Ollie Halsall, Clive Griffiths, and John Halsey reunited to do several reunion gigs in London as Patto, the first being at Dingwalls on May 15. In July, they played at the Torrington. They were benefit shows for the family of one of their roadmen named Eric Swain, who was murdered in Pakistan. The gigs were a great success. At the Torrington gig, they packed the place and many fans had to settle for listening from outside.
Circa July 1975, Ollie Halsall and Tony Newman came to visit Mike at Good Ear and convinced him to form a new rock band. Mike and Ollie were writing together again, but this time they were doing straight-ahead rock. They had half an album written when they recruited Keith Ellis to play bass. The name "Boxer" came from Nigel Thomas. They recorded the "Below the Belt" album and began doing live shows. They worked hard, but once again Mike found himself in a great band that just couldn't break through to the record buying masses, despite a controversial nude LP cover that brought them a lot of publicity. They recorded a fantastic second album in 1976 called "Bloodletting". This album featured what I consider to be some of the best tunes that Mike wrote on his own. The album also contained some great cover versions of songs by The Beatles, Neil Young, and others. For some reason the album wasn't released until 1979. Sometime in later 1976, Ollie quit Boxer. See the Boxer section of this website for more information on the band.
Sometime during Boxer's 1976 tour of America came some terrible news.
Mike was feeling ill and in a lot of pain. Doctors discovered
tumors in his chest and throat. He went through major surgery and
radiation treatments. Dick and the Firemen, whose members joked that Mike
was the only one to ever play at his own benefit gig, played a special gig for Mike at
the Crystal Palace in August as described in the following blurb from the
October/November 1976 issue of Trouser Press:
|At the recent Crystal Palace Garden Party a band calling themselves Dick and the Firemen, consisting of Mel Collins, Neil Hubbard, Alan Spenner, Bob Tench, Tim Hinkley, Boz, Simon Kirke, John Halsey, Henry McCulloch and Mike Patto, played a one-off gig. They sounded not unlike Mad Dogs and Englishmen, which isn’t surprising really. The main reason for the get-together was to give Mike Patto a bit of fun before he goes into hospital for a cancer operation. (Don’t worry—it’ll be a successful one.)|
|Article: NME, 8-7-76
A Fireman Should Never Be Without His Hosepipe
Mike's surgery was successful, or so it seemed. At some point he was diagnosed with lymphatic leukemia, or cancer of the lymph glands. He fought against the cancer and played a lot of golf (an acquaintance of his at the time told me that Mike traveled everywhere with his golf clubs) to try and keep healthy.
He also did gigs
with another jam band
called Hinkley's Heroes, led by Tim Hinkley. Hinkley's Heroes was
basically Dick and the Firemen part two. John Halsey was too busy
to continue organizing the Dick and the Firemen gigs, and Tim Hinkley
stepped up to take over. Some of the other musicians involved included
John Halsey, Boz Burrell, Henry McCullough, Eric Burdon, Bobby Tench, Mick Ralphs, Roger Chapman, and Charlie Whitney. In late
December of 1976, they opened for Man at the band's farewell shows at
the Roundhouse in London as described in the following excerpt from the
February/March issue of Trouser Press magazine:
|The support band at (the Man farewell) gigs was Hinkley’s Heroes, an occasional aggregation featuring Tim Hinkley, Mike Patto, Poli Palmer, Mitch Mitchell, Henry McCulloch and Boz Burrell, who individually need no introduction. They have been playing together intermittently since the "Dick and the Firemen" bash at Crystal Palace last year. The sound was very loose, but varied and entertaining. The best songs were Freddie King’s "Tore Down," which Tim sang in great style, "John Henry" done in shuffling Ry Cooder fashion with Henry McCulloch singing, and a bouncy rocker called "Travellin Light" sung by Boz.|
In 1978, Mike was in a short-lived group called Rocks with John Halsey, Freddy Gandy (bass), Bernie Holland and Chris Stainton. Halsey said that they had put some good things together, but sadly (as with the Dick and the Firemen/Hinkley's Heroes gigs) no recordings seem to exist. They played only two shows, both in London. Mike was singing as good as ever.
Mike's cancer soon got worse, though, and he was in and out
of hospital. He lost his brave bout with cancer on March 4th, 1979.
||Michael Thomas McCarthy. He had a special voice. One that could leave you in awe of its sheer power but also deliver a moving ballad. It should have filled the ears and touched the hearts of many more people than fate allowed. A shooting star.|
Mike Patto's Discography
Supposedly Mike's very first single from 1964-1965, but no further information is available.
"Thinking of You"/"She will not care"
|Bo Street Runners:|
"Drive My Car"/"So Very Woman", 4/66 (Columbia DB 7901)
|Chicago Line Blues Band:|
"Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop"/"Jump Back", 1966 (Philips BF
|Mike Patto (Solo):|
"Can't Stop Talkin' About My Baby"/"Love", 12/66 (Columbia DB 8091)
(B-side is actually Bo Street Runners)
|"Sitting in the
Park"/"Get Up And Dig It", 1974 (Good Ear EAR
|"Septober Energy" 1971
Neon NE9 (UK), RCA CPL2-5042 (US, 1974)
|Steve York's Camelo Pardalis|
| "Manor Live" 1973 (Virgin V2003)
"The Mirror", 1974
"Hinkley's Heroes Volume One"
Alexis Korner and Snape "Accidentally Born
In New Orleans", 1973
[<= Return to Previous Page] [Return to Top of Page]
|Significant source references:
"Blues - The UK Connection", Bob Brunning, 1986 Blandford Press
"John Halsey and Patto", Ptolemaic Terrascope, 1992
"Zooming In On Boxer", Trouser Press, August/September 1976
"In This Corner...Boxer", Rock Around The World July, 1976
"New Rock Record", Terry Hounsome, 1983 Blandford Books
1964 Tour Program
Phil McCarthy, John Halsey