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Through The Cracks
Clouds | Danny Gatton | Roy Buchanan | TimeBox - Patto | Joe Stanley

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 In the music business there are many factors that define the razor edge between the "'Legends' and the Lost". The right sound, at the right time, in the right place are foremost on the list, but are not the only factors that will determine the placement of any musician in the history books. The pages are also subject to edit by record companies and producers, the fickle nature of fans, the general acceptance and understanding of your work by other musicians, and, of course, "Luck".
  The Musicians profiled in "Through The Cracks" are those who, whether by chance or choice, never received their just due for the contributions they have made to the progression of music. The nature of this section, being on the obscurities of the music world, guarantees difficulty in obtaining adequate and accurate info, so feel free to add, correct, or debate the contents herein.  Submission/comment

TimeBox / Patto

TimeBox, whose name is derived from a slang jazz term meaning prison, was formed in Southport, Lancashire in the late '60s and was composed of members coming from several different bands that existed at the time ,"Take 5", the "Bo Street Runners", "Patto's People", and the "Chicago Blue Line". They were a singles band, meaning that they released only singles, and only after changing their name to Patto, were their songs compiled and released as an album. Two singles were released on Pye's Piccadilly label and they recorded five singles for Deram between 1967 and 1969. Members of TimeBox were: Chris Holmes - keyboards; Clive Griffiths - bass; Ollie Halsall - guitar, vibes, vocal; John Halsey - drums, percussion; and front man Mike Patto - lead vocals. TimeBox made appearances on BBC shows such as Noise at Nine, Stuart Henry on Sunday and Jimmy Young, but after the failure of their last single to garner any notice, and the loss of keyboardist Chris Holmes, who left the band, the remaining members continued under the name Patto and moved on to the burgeoning progressive scene.

   Timebox originally started at an art college in Southport when Peter Halsall, Clive Griffiths and Chris Holmes decided to swap their art for music. After trying out several vocalists, all of whom proved unsuitable, John Gee, manager of London’s famous Marquee Club, recommended, Mike Patto who was singing with the London Youth Jam Orchestra, a 24-piece big band at the club. Supposedly, Mike was asked to join the group after a jam session at the Playboy Club. Mike accepted the offer and started working with the band in mid 1967. They quickly became know as a "groups group", and their stage act garnered admiration from many of their contemporary musicians, who for obvious reasons are always the hardest to impress. This alone should attest to the musical skill and unique sound of the band's live performances.

  Timebox spent the majority of their short lived history searching for the right sound, and hoping for that one single that would propel them from relative obscurity into the international spotlight. They experimented with American pop, R&B, Rock, and Psychedelic, all of which may have aided their eventual failure to achieve stardom. Their sound was made unique by the use of a vibraphone played by Ollie Halsall, and perhaps if they built upon that, instead of the constant change up in styles, the results would have been much different, as there was definitely no lack of talent in the band. They did received a fair amount of airplay from the UK radio stations for their releases, especially their cover of the Four Seasons song "Beggin'".

   In their live shows TimeBox leaned more heavily towards a Jazz/Rock Fusion sound, and this too may have aided their downfall, as audiences came expecting the pop/rock radio sound they were familiar with, only to be confronted with what was probably TimeBox's true calling. Finally after nearly three years of failing to make the charts, an unfinished album, Chris Holmes' leaving, a name change to Patto, and no longer hindered by their quest for the elusive hit single, they began recording more experimental albums that were indicative of the unique Jazz/Rock Fusion that they played in their live shows.  

  Patto was formed in 1970 consisting of the remaining members of TimeBox; Mike Patto (vocals), John Halsey (drums), Ollie Halsall (guitars and vibes), and Clive Griffiths (bass), and was signed to the newly formed Vertigo label. With producer Muff Winwood they recorded their first album live in studio. Winwood felt that this was the best way to capture the raw virtuosity of Halsall's guitar playing and Mike Patto's soulful voice. The album "Patto", although not a commercial success, is thought by some to be an important contribution to prog rock. In December 1971 Patto entered the studio again to record their second album "Hold Your Fire". Again the sales were poor and they were dropped from Vertigo. Even tough commercial success seemed elusive, the band was becoming known as one of the most exciting live acts of their time and was developing a substantial cult following.

  Winwood was able to get the band signed to Island Records for the recording of their third album "Roll 'em Smoke 'em Put Another Line Out", which, unfortunately, also fell short of expected sales. For their next release in 1973, Mike Patto wanted to use more material that was less cynical than the usual Patto songs and more commercially viable. Halsall's guitar work on this album was lackadaisical at best, (particularly on the tracks he did not help compose), and when his co-members called him on it, he left the band. The following attempted album was entitled "Monkey's Bum", but this was also rejected by Island Records. Even with Mike's outstanding vocals, and the excellent musicianship of the remaining members, the band felt it could go on without their virtuoso guitarist, so Patto chose to call it quits with each member moving on to other projects.

  Approximately two years after the breakup of Patto, Mike Patto and Ollie Halsall reunited in 1975 to form Boxer along with Keith Ellis on bass and Tony Newman on drums . Keith and Mike were in Spooky Tooth together, (Mike having done a short stint after the breakup of Patto). Playing straight ahead rock little remained of their original sound  as Timebox/Patto. The band released it's first album, "Below The Belt", in 1975. "All The Time In The World" was released as a single with a great non-LP B-side titled "Don't Wait". They recorded a second album called "Bloodletting" that would for some reason not be released until 1979. Very little of the Boxer story seems to be documented, especially about the breakup of the original lineup. Sometime in late 1976, Halsall is said to have quit the band. Mike put together a new lineup of the band to record one more Boxer album in 1977 called "Absolutely". The new lineup band consisted of Mike, Chris Stainton on keyboards, Tim Bogert on bass/vocals, Adrian Fisher on guitar, and Eddie Tuduri on drums. This album would be Mike's final release before passing away in 1979 with lymphatic leukemia

Discography: TimeBox
The Singles, 1967 - 1969 - Deram Records
"The Original Moose on the Loose" - 1976 compilation of the Deram UK singles
"The Deram Anthology" - 1998 compilation of the Deram recordings, many previously unreleased

 

Discography: Patto
"Patto" (1970)
"Hold Your Fire" (1971)
"Roll 'Em Smoke 'Em Put Another Line Out" (1972)
Monkey's Bum (1973 - no official release)
Sense of the Absurd (1995)- Repackage of "Patto" and "Hold Your Fire" w/Bonus Tracks
Warts and All - Patto Live at the Black Swan, Sheffield (1999)

Discography: Boxer
Below The Belt (1975)
Bloodletting (1976)
Absolutely (1977)

 

 

 

 

TimeBox Discography
TimeBox Discography
Patto Discography

 

 

 

 

                       

 

Through The Cracks
Clouds | Danny Gatton | Roy Buchanan | TimeBox - Patto | Joe Stanley

On The Boards
The Beatles
| Pink Floyd | Fleetwood Mac | Moody Blues | Jethro Tull | Les Paul | Tina Turner | Cyndi Lauper

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