Comments

Dick Heath@ 10:56am 02-10-2012
I saw Timebox at the Tolworth Toby Jug a few months before the band split. The lingering memory is of Ollie trying to destroy his vibes ala Keith Moon at the end of the set!!

Always though there was an irony that Timebox split with an annoucement in Melody Maker, that went along the lines: "there is no call for jazz rock" - this about a fortnight before Jon Hiseman announced the formation of Colosseum and their version of a more successful jazz rock - to be honest I do believe we called Timebox's jazzy excursions 'rock jazz' at that time - rather than 'jazz-rock'.

Delighted that the Tempest Radio One In Concert gig has been officially released, at least in part. A rare example of guitar maestro Allan Holdsworth doing a guitar duo in real time, and being pushed very hard by Hassell (Brothers is a stormer)- Holdsworth should have done this more often since.
Doug Fisher @ 10:56am 02-10-2012
What a suprise to see the Sheffield Black Swan recording for sale, I was there ! and remember Ollie saying to a heckler, "just because you've got a mouth like a fireplace it doesn't mean to say you're great"(grate), and "stand beside the wall, that's plastered too". It was an excellent gig but the Tetley beer was undrinkable. Workington's John Peel Golden Bitter was my choice in those days.
Pekka Ranta@ 10:55am 02-10-2012
Great site! Lots of information about one of the masters. A big thank you.
Paul Quarry@ 10:55am 02-10-2012
What a great site! When I was at School in the 70s, a bunch of us were huge Ollie freaks. We played in school bands together and Ollie was God, basically. We were kind of snobs about it: The other guys at school would be into Clapton or Jimmy Page and we'd just laugh at them (I still think they are both wankers, sorry) and put on the solo from Give it All Away. It was just that casual brilliance of Ollie's playing, it just makes you laugh for some reason. We'd do call and response Patto lyrics on the bus ("We were told to start collecting names..."). There was no-body who could touch Ollie in our book. We knew the albums backwards. Sadly, most of us had missed seeing the band in its heyday, but we did go to the Torrington for that last gig. I remember Ollie playing his upside-down, one-horn-sawn-off Strat, the people hanging in through the windows who hadn't got in, Halsey's joke about the Elephant farting, etc. After, I tried to keep up with Ollie's stuff. I saw Tempest at the Marquee (where Ollie broke a string a did his famous strangers-in-the-night-in-five-four routine while fixing it : Strangers in the @#%$! night, exchanging @#%$! glances). The old attention wandered during Hiseman's 20 minute solo I must say, and I'm a drummer! Later, Boxer (at the Dominion, I think) - it was a quarter full and Ollie seemed very subdued. On vinyl, I was a big fan of Fatsticks, I reckon Ollie's use of detuning on thing like Kid and Black Bomber are brilliant. It was great to read Terry Stamps account of those sessions on his site. Never really liked Kevin Ayers I'm afraid. The last time I saw Ollie was at the Stanshall thing at the Bloomsbury, but he was just comping really. He died while I was travelling in the far east so I didn't find out till years later. I was pretty upset, he was part of school and growing up and my mates and the music we cared about. And of course he was a genius. I still play Ollie to guitarists who don't know him and watch their reactions. Always a laugh. Keep up the good work with this site, it brought a lot back.
Hank Howorth@ 10:54am 02-10-2012
What a wonderful site! Thanks so much, Barry, for all the hard work. I jumped out of my skin when I saw the video clips of Ollie playing live, having only seen him in still photographs up to this point in time. What a treat!

I came to know Ollie's fabulous music rather late in the game, having only heard Patto for the first time in 1997 when I relocated to England and was turned on to the band by a friend (fellow guest book signee Roger Kibble) who had seen them back in the early seventies.

Please indulge me, but this is worth a story: When I initially moved to England my first order of business was to purchase a decent car with an aim to getting something quintessentially "English." I ended up buying a fifteen year old Mini, equipped with a cheap radio/cassette deck and a single crappy cube speaker in the rear window. Frustrated after weeks of poor radio reception and static, I asked my friend if he had any cassette tapes laying around and after a great hunt he produced a thoroughly worn-looking, unmarked tape for my use in the car. Within minutes I was speeding along, the rivets in my old Mini ready to burst, as I was blown away by this incredible guitar playing--that is, when I could hear it, as my little single speaker "mono" system played only one channel of the music! I fell in love with the music instantly (which turned out to be "Patto" and "Hold Your Fire"), which, being my only tape, served as the soundtrack to my life in this new and foreign land. Ollie's guitar and vibes are now forever linked in my mind with many of my best times cruising the English countryside in rural Kent. Magic!

I've since worn to the grooves "Sense Of The Absurd" and managed to pick up vinyl copies (though American versions) of both Patto albums, as well as just about everything else I could lay my hands on that featured Ollie's playing--Timebox, Tempest, Boxer and all of Kevin Ayers' albums/cd's. I'd kill to hear the Patto stuff recorded by the BBC if it becomes available, but will continue to thoroughly enjoy "Warts And All" in the mean time.

Keep spreading the word! I've made fans out of loads of friends who had never even heard of Ollie Halsall, only to hear him play and have their jaws drop to the floor. He deserves to be spoken of in the same breath as all the other guitar legends and remains my personal favorite. Thanks again, Barry and crew!
Roger Kibble @ 10:53am 02-10-2012
Birmingham, 1972. I was persuaded to go to an outdoor "festival" in Kings Heath Park. It was wet and miserable and there were very few people there. A number of unknown bands played short sets alternately from the backs of two lorries. Patto were pretty much 'top of the bill' - I knew the name but had heard nothing of their music prior to seeing them that day. By the time they started playing I was feeling wet, miserable, and musically semi-comatose but the musical juices started to flow once they launched into the first song. My companion and I nodded to each other in silent appreciation. The guitarist didn't look like he could play, but he had a nice guitar (white SG) and he was left handed (which was 'unusual'). 30 seconds into his first solo I had modified my opinion slightly - he was undoubtedly the best guitarist I had ever seen -and I was totally transfixed!! At that time I would have thought of myself as a 'guitarist', but as quoted on your website, (Walter Becker), I was more realistically a "guitar owner", As a 'guitarist', I had come to the conclusion that what Ollie was doing was not only physically impossible;
- it was musically perfect! He was not just a young gun who had learnt to play "fast" - he knew his part in the group and he played to it.
I bought "Hold your Fire" the next day and played it constantly.
I inadvertantly sold my vinyl copy of "Hold your File" as a job lot many years ago but much later discovered "Sense of the Absurd" and felt "complete" once again. Having just discovered this website, I am now feeling totally excited again about Ollie and his music. Many thanks for the work you have put into it - I look forward to finding ways of downloading and "sharing" the audio and visual files you have uncovered!!
Steve Boyce@ 10:52am 02-10-2012
Only saw Patto at the re-union gig at the Torrington. Amazing! Also saw Tempest at the Greyhound, Croydon. I have in my posession a recording of that gig made by a friend on a cheap cassette recorder. I own a small recording studio so I'm going to do some tweaking and I'll run it onto CD.
Also, I met Ollie once. It was at a charity football match in Beddington, Surrey behind Paynes Poppett factory. It was Monty Python XI vs Grimms. Everybody chased after John Cleese and Keith Moon (who was in goal) after the game, but I made a bee line for Ollie who was obviously bemused by this 14 year old asking about his amplification.
Patto / Tempest / Boxer were a product of their time. It's a time that can never be re-created because the music industry has become just that...an industry. This is a great shame because musicians of this calibre will probably never light up our lives again.
Chris Winter(Lead Gu@ 10:52am 02-10-2012
Having supported Patto and Boxer with the band Blizzard in the those halcyon days at the Greyhound,Marquee, Winning Post etc,etc, i now currently live in Mallorca and have only just realised that Ollie was buried somewhere in Deya. I would dearly love to pay my respects to , as you rightly say, THE most underated guitarist ever. Can you please send me details as to where he is buried.

Still singing the Blues on Reds
Respectfully yours

Chris(Gibson S.G Les Paul Custom 1966, with all the trimmings....and fondest memories of a truly great gutarist!!
Andrea Botti@ 10:51am 02-10-2012
Thank you for the new downloadable mp3!
WWWWWWWWWW OLLIE
Elwood@ 10:50am 02-10-2012
Thank you very very much for the new downloadable mp3!
Keep up the good work
Elwood
Jose Aragon@ 10:49am 02-10-2012
Turn off your TV and keep the true masters alive. Thanks for this great site. And hats off to Ollie.
david templeton @ 10:48am 02-10-2012
I'm lead singer with Pa amb oli band. Ollie played drums with us from '84 to'89 ? ( somewhere around there ) & we jammed a lot with Kevin & Archie Legget & got pretty wasted together over an 8 year period . He was a close friend- more like a brother . We shared a similar background/ musical appreciation/ & humour. I'm still not over the shock of him 'leaving the scene so abruptly' & I'd be happy to share my precious memories with any 'aficionado' out there .
David P. Cole @ 10:47am 02-10-2012
Ollie was an amazing player and he was
way ahead of his time.

His death, as well as those of other
innovators, have caused modern rock
'n' roll to become a joke.
Lucy Piller @ 10:46am 02-10-2012
I grew up in London and was fortunate to have met Patto on many occasions opening up for FREE. The band PATTO remain one of my all time favorite 70s band. I am shortly adding Patto to my website for younger guitarists to read about. I think the website you have made is brilliant, I did take many photos of Patto , sadly only found one now in good condition which is posted on the Patto link on your site.
Long live the 70s music
Lucy Piller
www.allrightnow.com
Edwin Nettleton @ 10:46am 02-10-2012
Ollie is one of my favorites, along with Buzzy Feiten. They both can solo around the melody like no others. Thanx for the great web site, videos, and overall tribute to the great Ollie Halsall. Any live Ollie or Buzz for trade anyone ??

Thanks

EN

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