"HOLD YOUR FIRE"

Released December, 1971

Vertigo Records
Vertigo 6360 032 (UK)
VEL-1008 (US)

Produced by Muff Winwood

        
SIDE A SIDE B
HOLD YOUR FIRE GIVE IT ALL AWAY
YOU, YOU POINT YOUR FINGER AIR-RAID SHELTER*
HOW'S YOUR FATHER* TELL ME WHERE YOU'VE BEEN
SEE YOU AT THE DANCE TONIGHT* MAGIC DOOR
Bonus track available on some reissues: 
BEAT THE DRUM**
BAD NEWS**
AIR-RAID SHELTER (Alt. Version)*
   
All Selections (Patto/Halsall) Except * (Halsall) Produced by Muff Winwood
and ** (Halsey/Griffiths/Patto/Halsall) Recorded at Island Studios
All Lyrics Copyright 1971
and Published by Blue Mountain Music
Engineers
Brian Humphries
Richard Digby Smith
U.S. Representative - Upfall Music, Corp. (ASCAP) Cover Designed by Patto 
Drawn by Roger Dean (UK)
Cover Illustration by John Youssi (US)
Our thanks to Keith

MIKE PATTO
LEAD VOCAL
JOHN HALSEY
DRUMS
PERCUSSION
OLLY HALSALL
GUITAR, PIANO
VIBES, ORGAN,
VOCALS
CLIVE GRIFFITHS
BASS
VOCALS

Patto's second album, "Hold Your Fire", presents a great collection of songs that explores somewhat more complex musical territory than the debut album, "Patto".  There are still relatively straight-ahead songs like the title cut and "You, You Point Your Finger".  But the album contains a lot more experimentation with unusual time signature changes present in nearly all of the tunes.  There's plenty of great rock, and the jazz influence still presents itself in many of the songs, particularly in Ollie's "Air-Raid Shelter."  

In just a year, Ollie's guitar playing improved incredibly since the debut album, having perfected his legato hammer-on/pull-off technique.  His fast, fluid, and inventive playing is the star of this album.  Nearly every track on "Hold Your Fire" includes extraordinary guitar playing, and he had only been playing guitar for four years.  If you are into great guitar playing and you haven't heard this album, you are urged to rectify that situation as soon as possible.

Muff Winwood's production on "Hold Your Fire" is not as minimalist or in-your-face as it is on "Patto".  More time was spent on overdubs.  John's drums have a fuller sound.  Ollie's keyboards are more present throughout the album.  There are also more backing vocals.  "Hold Your Fire" is a fine sounding album with impressive songs and musicianship of an extraordinary caliber.  It is a shame that it has not been discovered by more rock music and guitar enthusiasts.

Some early European pressings have some significant differences.  The title track is faded out, omitting roughly 90 seconds of Ollie's ending solo, and "See You at the Dance Tonight" is an alternate take that is a bit looser than the usual version.  This version of the LP was presumably issued by mistake.  Unfortunately, I have no additional details regarding which country or countries these alternate pressings were manufactured.

Reviews of the album:
     
Disc and Music Echo, December 18, 1971
Melody Maker, December 18, 1971
Fusion, July 1972
   


  
Despite the relatively poor sales of the debut album, "Patto", Vertigo/Mercury did not skimp on the packaging for "Hold Your Fire".  

The UK cover was designed by the band and was based on a game known as consequences.  The game involved a group of people drawing characters - one draws the head, the next draws the body, etc.  The band had created a bunch of their own consequences drawings and gave these to Roger Dean to use for the cover.  Roger proceeded to lose them all and had to create his own.

The front cover of the album was cut into three sections, allowing the flaps to be individually lifted up revealing parts of the three characters printed on the inside of the gatefold.  Different combinations would produce up to 8 different sets of characters.   

"Hold Your Fire" was marketed in the US with a radically changed cover design and artwork, perhaps to avoid the extra cost associated with the UK consequences cover.  Instead of using Roger Dean's artwork, John Youssi created a new cover based on Roger's alien character from the UK cover.  The inside of the US gatefold contained the lyrics and larger reproductions of the band photos.
Click on the thumbnail to the right to see a larger image of the US album cover. hyf-uscover.jpg (26333 bytes)
   
The album covers in both the US and UK provided the song lyrics, though they were not entirely accurate.  Click the hyperlink to the right to read the album's lyrics.   LYRICS
    

"Hold Your Fire" has been released on CD by a variety of labels in a variety of countries, and over the years I have lost track of what all is out there.  The earliest CDs from Repertoire did not have any of the three bonus tracks, which first appeared on Vertigo's 1995 repackage of the first two albums called "Sense of the Absurd".  Most reissues after 1995 include the bonus tracks.  I've seen some mini-LP cover editions out on eBay that have replicated the original consequences cover.
   



Various "Hold Your Fire" Items:

Click on the thumbnails to see larger images.
Labels from the US promotional and stock LPs.

   hyf-usstklbl.jpg (41767 bytes)

Labels from the stock UK issue (left) and the Australian stock issue (Australia did not use the Vertigo swirl for the Side A - both sides have track information).

  

Inside of US gatefold cover.

Inside of UK gatefold cover (left panel).

"Recommended Cuts" sticker from a US promo copy.  This came with a promo label LP.

In early November of 1971, ads like those to the right were placed in music papers like Melody Maker.

A funny full-page ad from the November 27, 1971 issue of Melody Maker.




For those who have not yet had the pleasure of hearing  this album:
Hold Your Fire The first cut is a straight-ahead rocker.  8+ minutes of groove.  Mike's lyrics are a somewhat humorous look at being a member of the counter-culture.  Great guitar soloing from Ollie throughout, with an extended solo at the end.
You, You Point Your Finger Though seemingly dated lyrically, it is a beautifully arranged, mellow retort to the judgmental older generation, reminding them that one day the generation they call "filth and scum" will be running things.   Careful inspection of the lyrics will reveal that the song is actually about a specific person.  A fine track with great vocals.  
How's Your Father A laid back number written by Ollie.  Perhaps not one of the album's stand-out tracks, but it features fine vocals and guitar from Mike and Ollie, respectively.
See You At The Dance Tonight A great up-tempo rocker with a unique chorus in terms of phrasing/time signature changes.  It is reminiscent of "San Antone" from the debut album in terms of energy and spirit.  Another strong vocal for Mike.  Great dual piano/guitar from Ollie, including a fantastic guitar solo.
Give It All Away A strong cut that features great guitar throughout and possibly one of the best guitar solos in rock music.  When talking about Ollie's great solos, this is the one that John Halsey is prone to cite.  The band really grooves together well in this tune.  There are a lot of time signature signature changes, yet they are effective and feel natural.
Air-Raid Shelter The jazziest cut on the album, also penned by Ollie.  The lyrics seem to be nonsense, but lots of great guitar and some fine jazzy moments from the entire band. 
Tell Me Where You've Been Apart from shifting back and forth between 4/4 and 6/4, this is a straight-ahead rock song.  The guitar playing is perhaps the most interesting part of this song, with lots of quirky phrases interjected between Mike's vocals.  
Magic Door Another slower tempo song with an interesting lyric about an obsession with someone (or some thing) that comes to visit in the middle of the night through a magic door.  The lead and backing vocals carry this tune.  This is the only track on this album to feature Ollie's vibes instead of guitar.
        

 

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