From Spivs to Jive Bomber Bad Boys

February 18, 2011

I recently sat down to watch a DVD of a British film called Spivs which means (a slick dressed man offering illegal goods at bargain prices) which was made in 2005 and stars Ken Booth who is probably more well~known for his recent TV series ‘Rebus‘. In this stylish comedy/drama Scott plays an upscale con~man who ends up looking after two Albanian children in London when one of his little scams going horribly wrong!                                          

In the film which I really enjoyed our hero arrives home after a particular bad rainy night of dodgy dealing in the underworld and pours himself a large brandy, but before sitting down to put his feet up he puts a 45 record on his turntable and boy what a record it is! An R&B classic that I had never heard before! WHO WAS IT I WONDERED!

When the credits rolled at the end of the film I froze the screen on the songs featured but as the songs where in the smallest of lettering it was hard to read what  the song title was and there was no performer listed, but the Beatmerchant was on the case!

The following day I searched for the song through Google on the internet and started with the many reviews of the movie, but not one of them mentioned any of the songs or the music from the film SPIVS and there was never a CD soundtrack released as there was only four songs featured in the film!

Finally after over 3 hours on the net I found the title of the song and it was called ‘Bad Boy’ and I checked the song on the allMusic site and there were over 800 versions of that song title listed including the Beatles, John Lee Hooker and Larry Williams to name but a few, but they weren’t the right versions. I narrowed it down to a good Mink DeVille version which was the right song but not the version from the film, but we were gettin’ on the right track baby! Next I turned to YouTube and put in the title ‘Bad Boy’ and there it was half way down the listings by a group called the Jive  Bombers a four piece vocal group from New Jersey on the Savoy label.          

I played it once and then over a dozen times and I was in 2 minutes and 53 seconds of Doo~Wop  Heaven!

Life is just a bowl of cherries!

Why did this superior version stand out so much even though it was not the version from the film, well the lead vocal by Clarence Palmer is outstanding as he uses his voice like an echo on this outstanding track ~ it’s sounds a bit like when a CD gets stuck on the same vocal part or a wah wah pedal which is used with a guitar but this reverb vocal effect is very distinctive and became their trademark sound on this record which scraped into the charts in 1957 as did their follow~up 45 ‘ Cherry‘. There is not much if anything available on CD by the Jive Bombers but I did discover that the song was used in the soundtrack to the John Waters film ‘Cry Baby’.

So check out the British filmSpivsDVD or the Jive Bombers on YouTube or the John Walters soundtrack CD and listen to the great Desert Island  Disc ‘BAD BOY’   

Footnote: The song ‘Bad Boy was written by Lil Armstrong wife of trumpet player Louis so that is my next little adventure! Stay Tuned!

Does anyone know who the version in the film is by!


The Story of Cap’n ‘P’ And The Attos

February 5, 2011

Whatever you do don’t make it sound like Sergio Mendes!                                      

I was lucky enough to see Patto play in the early 70’s on a double~bill with Argent. It was Argent who were the headlining act because of their current hit single ‘ Hold Your Head Up ‘ but it was Patto who stole the show for me even though they were plagued with a bad sound system on the night. The reason that they stole the show was because all members of the band were outstanding players with plenty of backbeat and they seemed to not take themselves too seriously on stage laughing and joking all the way through their performance. Their humour was to also come across on the vinyl releases.

The band put out three great albums which were ‘ Patto ‘ (1970) and ‘ Hold Your Fire ‘ (1971)  on the new Vertigo label and the classic ‘ Roll ’em Smoke ’em Put Another Line Out ‘ which was released on Island Records in 1972.                                              

Their producer on all three albums and a big supporter of the band was Muff Winwood, the brother of Stevie Winwood and the original bass player in the Spencer Davis Group who went on to be the head of A&R at Island Records and the producer of the first Dire Straits album. An all round music man.

In the late 60’s the band started out as a 5 piece named Timebox and dented the charts slightly with their single “Beggin” before dropping down to a 4 piece and changing their name to Patto after the singer’s name.

Their first self~titled album Patto starts off with the song “The Man” and straight away on the first track you know you are going to be in for something good as the song builds and then leads into a vibraphone solo from guitarist Ollie Halsall. This band can rock with a slightly jazzy feel and all four parts are equally brilliant! but in Ollie they had an outstanding guitar slinger who would be in my top ten all time favourites for sure ~ just listen to the solo on ” Red Glow ” and “Hold Me Back ‘ with the rest of the band pushing him along and also the great overlooked Mike Patto on vocals.

Sales were poor on the first album but they were back in the studio and on tour with Ten Years After so things looked rosy!. ” Hold Your Fire ” starts off with the eight minute epic title track with the band in great form but once again the sales were not there and as Muff Winwood became head of A&R at Island the boys moved to the label with him.

Roll ’em Smoke ’em was released in 72 and what an album it is with every track being great ~ slightly different from the previous two with Ollie playing more piano and keyboards on this one but this band had come of age and if you know any guitar players that are into metal or rock playing then I think they should have a listen to ” Loud Green Song ” on this album and then think again about what they are playing!  ROCK ON OLLIE!   

Sadly this was it for the band as their sound fell on deaf ears and the band turned turtle but they have left behind them three beauties and all of them are a valuable addition to any collection.

Members of the band were :

Mike Patto on Vocals : Mike went off to join Spooky Tooth after trying to hold Patto together for so long, then got back together with Ollie Halsall in Boxer before being diagnosed with Leukemia and this fighter passed away on the 4th of March 1979, and he is still singing the blues on red. A great loss!                                                        

Ollie Halsall on Guitar : Ollie played with Allan Holdsworth and Jon Hiseman in Tempest for a while before becoming  Kevin Ayers sidekick touring and playing some great guitar on his albums before moving to Spain where he passed away in 1992 from a heroin overdose. What a waste!

Clive Griffiths on Bass : I met Clive one evening at Kings Cross station in the mid 70’s and he was driving a taxi to make ends meet and was playing in Joe Brown’s band but tragedy was to strike the Patto’s again! Both Clive and drummer John were on their way home from a gig with Joe’s band~ one minute they were driving the next they were in intensive care. The driver of an on coming car had slipped into sleep and hit them head on with Clive now being paralysed and suffers from memory loss and can’t even remember the Patto’s.

John “Admiral” Halsey on Drums: After Patto John joined Neil Innes in Grimm’s before becoming a member of the highly successful Rutles project. John also along with Clive suffered bad injuries from the car accident but has recovered with his sense of humour intact

For flat footed women everywhere!


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