|Melody Maker January 16, 1971
PATTO are better than most rock bands for two reasons -- they play without any sense of snobbery (no boring ego jams), and secondly because in shy Ollie Halsall, Patto possess one of the most technically brilliant guitarists in the country.
At Londonís Speakeasy last week, Halsall delivered a couple of sets of such incredible playing, that even the brace of notable guitarists present nodded their heads with approval. Several did more than nod, they raved. Rightly so too, for Halsall proved that you don't have to follow well-worn cliches to play rock. Heís a flowering type of player -- the variety, intricacy, pace and fluency -- gobbling runs just ooze out.
His chord work is as efficient as youíd ever wish for, and in the age of the lead guitar break -- his are as ripe and crisp as youíll hear. To make you nod your head even more, Halsall just happens to be able to play delicate vibes as well. (I hear he can drum too!)
For the rest, well Patto rely on the sort of material that ainít going to set the world on fire. But itís the sort of material -- a collection of rock and the trimmings -- that didnít limp, didnít look tired and over-played. The vocal work of rogue-like Mike Patto is angry and powerful. He struts around a bit like Cocker, smacking his massive hands together when it all gets a little intense. Heís a bit of a character is Patto, always has been, and now seems happily at home with the sort of unit thatís going to gain a lot of friends in the months to come. Certainly Patto are an energy unit, and thatís good to see.
I just hope that the blasť ears of the majority of English audiences take time out to listen, and also snatch a glagger at Halsall, and donít dismiss him straight away -- Ďcause he doesnít have long hair, and doesnít jump around.
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