"The Original Moose on the Loose"
Peters International/Cosmos Collector
|SIDE A||SIDE B|
|POOR LITTLE HEARTBREAKER||A WOMAN THAT'S WAITING|
|GONE IS THE SAD MAN||GIRL, DON'T MAKE ME WAIT|
|YELLOW VAN||DON'T MAKE PROMISES|
|BAKED JAM ROLL IN YOUR EYE||WALKING THROUGH THE STREETS OF MY MIND|
|YOU'VE GOT THE CHANCE||BEGGIN'|
|Refer to the "The Singles, 1967 - 1969" page for song writing and production credits.|
|Mike "Ducks in Flight" Patto - Vocals||John Halsey - Drums|
|Peter "Ollie" Halsall - Vibraphone, Guitar||Chris Holmes - Keyboards|
|Clive Griffiths - Bass|
|A&R Coordination USA -
Neil Kempfer Stocker
|Album Design & Moose Photos
|This LP is a compilation of Timebox's five singles released in the UK. The LP was at one time bootlegged for a CD release.|
Here are the labels for the US stock issue and the US test pressing [according to Neil Stocker, only 6 copies of the test pressing were made].
Mike Patto and Ollie Halsall, the mere mention of these names strike fear into the hearts of British musicians. Patto and Halsall have experienced a glorious and varied musical history; some names may ring a bell: Boxer, Patto, The Bluebottles, Spooky Tooth, Tempest, Kevin Ayers, The Gunslingers and innumerable others. However, it was with Timebox that Patto and Halsall first recorded. Little is known of the pre-Timebox histories of Holmes, Griffiths or Halsey. Mike Patto, however, turned ‘pro’ in the early 60’s with The Bluebottles, an R&B outfit whose main claim to fame was backing the late organist Graham Bond. The Bluebottles eventually split and Patto left Norfolk for London in search of the big time. Mike (get a whiff on this) emceed for a British tour package (Moody Blues, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Powell’s Five Dimensions, Long John Baldry’s Hoochie Coochie Men and The Graham Bond Organisation) and opened each show with his own three tunes backed by the Dimensions group.
After a short stint with The Bo Street Runners with Tim Hinkley (later to go on to greater fame with Jody Grind, Vinegar Joe, Humble Pie, and Dick & The Firemen), Patto joined up with Viv Prince (Pretty Things) to form Patto’s People (later to be renamed The Chicago Line Blues Band) with Louis Cennamo (Renaissance). A short period with The London Youth Jam Orchestra (24 piece big band) ensued with Patto crooning Sinatra and the like. It was with this ensemble that Time-box first caught Mike ‘live’ and immediately asked him to join the then existing version of Timebox.
Peter "Ollie" Halsall got his initial break with the Take
Five from near Liverpool, after participating in such varied and sundry
groups like Pete and The Pawnees (in which Ollie drummed), The
Gunslingers, The Music Students (!), and R&B, Inc. Clive Griffiths,
the Timebox bassist asked Ollie to learn vibes and then to join Timebox.
In the first version of Timebox Ollie played vibes and sang.
Timebox went on for just over two years. The released sum of Timebox
recordings was 5 singles on the British Deram label, a most
revolutionary UK label with a remarkable degree of foresight in its
heyday. Timebox never had an LP issued anywhere in the world! The band
released an exceptionally produced and immaculately orchestrated version
of the Four Seasons’ tune "Beggin" which then became a
moderate UK chart single. "Beggin’ was not exactly Timebox’s
bag and there was no way that the band could or would reproduce that
sound on stage, hence, they did not perform much of their pop material
live, but concentrated on their heavier progressive rock and jazz. This
caused a great deal of consternation amongst bookers who found audiences
coming along to view Timebox mainly for their singles sounds. Finally,
after enduring this situation, Holmes split and Ace British
bassist/producer Mervyn Winwood (Steves brother) dubbed the four as
Patto. This tremendous lineup recorded four utterly fantastic elpees
(one unissued at this date) and were known for their eccentricities:
weird lyrics, golfing, soiled spoons, and some of the best
uniquely-arranged rock and jazz of all time. After this band’s
lamented demise, Patto did some solo recording (how many of you have a
copy of his "Get Up and Get With It’ punk single?), gigged with
Dick and The Firemen, a part-time superstar party band, did a stint as a
recording company executive, and then to Boxer. Ollie did such live work
as with Tempest, Kevin Ayers, Grimms etc. while venturing into the
studio for recordings with Neil Innes and The Jesus Christ Superstar
piece (note: Ollie takes pains to hide the fact that he played guitar on
Petula Clarks ‘Downtown’ sessions) and then to Boxer. The material
from the Timebox era, compiled on this album, remains as the spark of
creativity which the world now knows as The Original Moose on the Loose.
The Original Moose on the Loose
By John Swenson
SANDPAPER-VOICED Mike Patto and his equally abrasive guitar-playing partner, Ollie Halsall, became avant-garde cult heroes in England with their madhouse late-Sixties space-rock outfit, Patto, before switching to a straight-ahead hard-rock band called Boxer. This collection documents the earliest Patto/Halsall collaboration, Timebox, a band that made a handful of singles and eventually became Patto.
The originals on side one show that Patto’s notorious weirdness was not a sudden development. "Yellow Van" presents Patto as a traveling salesman who makes most of his pitches in bed, while ‘Baked Jam Roll in Your Eye" is about a Martian invasion force that can’t understand why the humanoids don’t seem to mind being gunned down with pastries. The playing and arrangements are pretty unusual for mid-Sixties pop songs, at times approximating the Move.
Side two is comprised of R&B covers that show the band strongly under the Motown production influence. But the performances, particularly Patto’s singing and Halsall’s vibraphone playing, are so idiosyncratic that they defy formularization. The album closes with a spectacular version of the Four Seasons’ "Beggin’" that turns this throwaway into an R&B classic.
Judging by the title, this invaluable collectors’ collection of tracks was planned to tie in with the expected success of Boxer last year. Unfortunately, Boxer cashed it in before the plastic could cool off enough to wrap, so the timing/title appears awkward. OMOL consists of Timebox’s five extant singles before the group’s transmutation into Patto (see the Boxer interview in TP 15, which forms the uncredited basis for the liner notes of this package).
As strange a band as Patto was, Timebox was weirder. Decca apparently believed them to be potential Top Forty, while the group itself was happy to experiment recklessly with all sorts of not-so-obviously-commercial ploys, following the brilliant musical nose of Ollie Halsall, whose quiet presence -- vibes, guitar, and co-production -- gave Timebox the range that brought it from Four Seasons covers to 1910 Spacegum Company ridiculousness. The loose sense of morals that made Patto heir to the NatLamp gross award at times is evident in several songs whose lyrics defy description. Suffice it to say that Mike Patto has always exhibited a very strange sense of humor in his song writing. Coupled with Ollie’s incredible musicianship, Timebox became one of those groups that collectors relish while the world wallows in ignorance. Far from being garbage with no broad appeal, Timebox were merely ahead of their time. So was Patto. And so, it appears, was Boxer. What next guys? Will success ever catch up with Mike Patto and Ollie Halsall? Tune in next year
-- Ira Robbins
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