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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
Carry My Load
The World Is Changing
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 1974.

Note: the Fantasy Satisfier picture sleeve to the right actually shows a unique live shot of Patto, not Spooky Tooth.

Article: Sounds, 12-8-73
  Poco or Patto?

Article: Sounds, 1-26-74  LIVE SOUNDS (Dick and the Firemen concert review)
In 1974, Mike released a solo single on the GoodEar label (EAR 106) using members of the Dick And The Firemen band.  "Sitting In The Park" was a reggae-style cover version of a Billy Stewart tune, also done by Georgie Fame in 1966.  The flipside, "Get Up and Dig It",  was a Mike Patto original that was originally recorded by the band Patto for the unreleased "Monkey's Bum" album.

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 1977, Mike put together a new lineup of Boxer and recorded what would become his final release, titled "Absolutely".  The new lineup was Mike, Chris Stainton on keyboards, Tim Bogert on bass/vocals, Adrian Fisher on guitar, and Eddie Tuduri on drums.  The album is a bit slicker than the earlier Boxer albums in terms of production and musicianship.  Mike's vocals throughout the album are outstanding, as usual.  Unfortunately, this album received even less attention than the earlier Boxer LPs.

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
Recordings beyond Patto, Timebox, and Boxer.
All releases are UK unless specified otherwise.

Mike Patto
"Oh, Duchess" 
     Supposedly Mike's very first single from 1964-1965, but no further information is available.

"Thinking of You"/"She will not care"
Supposed single reported in a 1965 news article.  The McCarthy family owns an acetate of Mike singing "Thinking of You", but nobody is sure if this single was actually released.  
No other information available.

Bo Street Runners:
"Drive My Car"/"So Very Woman", 4/66 (Columbia DB 7901) (A-side only)
Chicago Line Blues Band:
"Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop"/"Jump Back", 1966 (Philips BF 1488)
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 106)
"Septober Energy" 1971
Neon NE9 (UK), RCA CPL2-5042 (US, 1974)
Steve York's Camelo Pardalis
"Manor Live" 1973 (Virgin V2003)

Spooky Tooth

"The Mirror", 1974
Good Ear EARL 2000 (UK), Island 9292 (US)

Hinkley's Heroes

"Hinkley's Heroes Volume One"
AKARMA AK 080 (Italy)

Guest Appearances
(Backing vocals, keyboards, percussion)

Alexis Korner and Snape "Accidentally Born In New Orleans", 1973
(Transatlantic TRA 269 (UK), Warner Bros. WB 2647 (US))
Ellis "Why Not?", 1973 (Epic EPC 65650)
Alvin Lee and Mylon LeFevre "On the Road to Freedom", 1973
(Chrysalis CHR 1054 (UK), Columbia 32739 (US))
Alexis Korner "Alexis Korner", 1974 (Polydor 2374 (Germany))
Alexis Korner "Mr. Blues", 1974 (Toadstool 35434)
Alexis Korner "Snape Live on Tour", 1974 (Brain 2/1039 (Germany))

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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