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Benjy says...

Hi everyone,

I always thought that the Blue Oyster Cult was a very strange name, even for a rock group but there was nothing strange about their music - straight ahead rock 'n roll with off-the-wall sci-fi lyrics played with an intensity that even for the 70's was ... well very intense!

For those who have yet to discover them I can highly recommend the second album "Tyranny and Mutation", which comfortably makes my Top 100 Rock Albums list. As you know I was away for about 10 days, up visiting family in Kuwait and Dubai which as you would imagine is the most unlikely place for rock and roll .... NOT! There is a healthy underground metal scene in Kuwait City although listening to the stuff they seem to be firmly rooted in the 'old skool' Metallica/Priest/Saxon fold (not a bad thing I guess). I made contact with a couple of them and hopefully will be able to play a tune or two in the not too distant future.

The point that I'm trying to make is that 'our rock' is indeed universal in it's appeal, from all points of the compass groups and artists are continuing to keep the flame burning and most importantly create new rock for us to devour with passion ... from Italy there is Lacuna Coil, from the US rockers Fireball Ministry keep the amps on 11, in Holland, Within Temptation are fusing hardcore symphonic strings with metal and here at home artists like The Mochines, Jo Day, The Hellphones, Taxi Violence and Jim Neversink fly the rock flag proudly ... and loudly.

Rock of Ages is not only about 60's, 70's and 80's classic rock ... the Sabs, Zep, Jimi, Cream, Free, The Who and all the other timeless pioneers who are the soundtrack to our lives .... it's also but about playing new rock, discovering the candles in the darkness of mediocre music and bringing them to the light, for all of us to embrace. Artists like Porcupine Tree, Dream Theatre, Kelly Joe Phelps, The Steepwater Band and the like are the next generation of classic rock ............ Now as you know I like to, from time to time, have guests on the show. In the past we have had Dave Ornellas from the legendary afro-rock band Hawk, Falling Mirror and Jack Hammer to mention a few - artists who have and continue to make relevant music. None more so than my guest this coming Thursday - guitarist, writer and singer, Robin Auld. We'll be playing some songs from his new album "Jungle of One" plus chatting about his influences, performing and rock in general pull in ~

This coming Thursday's special will be UK 70's rockers PATTO, featuring one of my favourite guitarists of all time ... Ollie Halsall.


Criminally underrated at the time (and sadly still so) they made three great albums in a short period including "Hold your fire", an album that is featured regularly on Rock of Ages. Ollie was one of those rare players who blazed a new frontier in guitar playing, unlike many of his contemporaries intent on volume and power to overwhelm the listener, he meshed elements of free form be bop jazz with rock to create a fluid unique style that still amazes and thrills me to this day (he played great piano and vibes too) ... I hope you enjoy the music of Patto ..... Mike Patto (real name Michael Patrick McGarth) first came to light as the vocalist in a Norwich R&B outfit called Mike Patto and The Breakaways. After several line-up changes, The Breakaways became The Bluebottles, but soon after Patto headed for London to join The National Youth Jazz Orchestra. At the same time he had a spell with The Bo Street Runners and the Chicago Line Blues Band in 1966 before forming Timebox, which eventually evolved into Patto. Timebox made two singles for Pye's Piccadilly subsidiary as a six-piece, before signing to Decca's Deram label in 1967 with the line-up of Mike Patto on vocals, Pete 'Ollie' Halsall on guitar and vibes, Chris Holmes on piano, Clive Griffiths on bass and John Halsey on drums. This line-up recorded five singles for Deram between '67 and '69, none of which troubled the compilers of the Hit Parade, despite the excellent musicianship that allowed them to encompass several genres of music in their output In 1969, after their last single "Yellow Van" failed, and Chris Holmes departed, they decided that their future lay in the burgeoning progressive movement, which in itself was born of the freedom from instant commercialism that the better musicians of the psychedelic flowering had forged. And thus Patto (the group) was born.


Lucky enough to be signed to the recently created Vertigo label, soon to become home of many progressive rock classics, Patto went into the studio with Muff Winwood in the producer's chair. Winwood had left the Spencer Davis Group shortly after his brother's departure in 1967, in order to take up the job as the head of A&R at Chris Blackwell's Island Records . Perhaps as a reaction to the complicated sound of the Timebox records, Winwood decided to record Patto with a 'live-in-the studio' feel, though the result still showcased Ollie Halsall's guitar virtuosity. The imaginatively-titled "Patto" was released in November of 1970, and whilst the album demonstrated the band's expert handling of tricky time signatures and jazz changes (applauded by the critics and fellow musicians), their efforts were not rewarded with substantial sales. Criminally underrated at the time, but borne into legend by the unspeakable tragedies that awaited its makers, the album can safely be described among the finest jazz-rock fusion albums ever cut by a British band. Mike Patto's vocals certainly match that billing, a throaty, emotive sound that puts one in mind of the effect that Steve Winwood spent much of his career pursuing, while first lieutenant Ollie Halsall's reputation as one of the era's hottest guitars is revealed as only one of the strings to his bow -- early into the opening "The Man," he unleashes a mean vibraphone solo as well. However, "Hold Me Back" quickly restates his lead duty and, though the song itself is little more than a crude rewrite of the Rolling Stones' "Stray Cat Blues," the riffs that scythe through the brew are sparkling enough to camouflage any lyrical redundancies. "Money Bag," too, offers up a showcase that is difficult to shake, dueling with a scat rhythm section that is tasteful enough to eat, but never overwhelming the mood. The passing of time has not preserved all of Patto's joys -- like so much of the fusion of the age, there are elements that sound preposterously overwrought today. At its best, however, it re-establishes all the glories for which Patto was renowned at the time; at its very best, it occasionally even overpowers the group

Patto A second album, "Hold Your Fire", issued a year later, contained many of the same ingredients, and resulted in similarly disappointing sales and Vertigo dropped the band. Ignore the fact that the opening title track sounds almost exactly like the intro to Neil Young's "Ohio," and Patto's second album kicks into gear from the moment the needle strikes vinyl. A driving fiesta of good-time bluesy-rock, Hold Your Fire retains just enough of its predecessor's jazz fusion sensibilities to ensure that you're never sure what will happen next, but similarly imbibes sufficient oxygen from elsewhere in the early-'70s British rock underground to line up alongside any other primal gem of the age. Certainly producer Muff Winwood seems considerably more at ease than he did his last time around, hauling Ollie Halsall's tuneful soloing high up in the mix and framing the album's best tracks -- the melancholy "You, You Point Your Finger" among them -- within some breathtakingly lovely arrangements. Another highlight, the funky Faces -like "See You at the Dance Tonight," almost single-handedly blueprints the best of the still-unborn pub rock boom, while Halsall's playful "Air Raid Shelter" would not have been out of place on Hold Your Fire, which further proves that not all of Patto's early instincts have been suppressed. Neither do the surprises stop with the music. Hold Your Fire was released in positively the most un-Roger Dean-like sleeve design to which Dean ever put his name. There again, vast spacescapes filled with floating islands and flying elephants were never really the band's forte -- not when the alternative offers barefoot cops, scantily clad damsels, and hippies bearing colorful mushrooms.


Muff Winwood's connections got them a new deal at Island Records, and they returned to the studio with Winwood to record "Roll 'Em Smoke 'Em Put Another Line Out", released in 1972. As is plainly audible, the ramshackle element of their live act is well to the fore, along with elongated examples of the band's humour. The outstanding musicianship can still be heard on songs like "Loud Green Song" and "Singing The Blues On Reds", and contains some of Patto's finest moments,it was apparently regarded by the group as their best album.Despite internal friction, the band recorded the fourth album in 1973. With a title like "Monkey's Bum", it's a fair bet that it was pretty much more of the same, and Island Records rejected it. The group disintegrated after playing their last gig that April. Patto himself joined Spooky Tooth for their last album "The Mirror" (1974), Clive Griffiths played in CCS before resurfacing in Joe Brown's band, and John Halsey played drums for Joan Armatrading and the Scaffold/Liverpool Scene/Bonzos aggregation, Grimms (now available on Edsel EDCD 370) as well as starring in the role of Barry Wom in "The Rutles". Ollie Halsall joined Jon Hiseman's power trio Tempest for the latter of their two albums, "Living in fear" before he and Patto formed Boxer in 1975, their first album being better remembered for its cover than its contents. Sadly, the Patto story is full of tragedy. Mike lost his fight with lymphatic leukemia in 1979. Ollie died from a drug-related heart attack in 1992. Clive was left paralyzed and without any memory of his days with Patto in an auto accident. John, though left with a bit of a limp from the same car accident, is alive and well and owns a great pub. John still drums a bit for special occasions. Also sad is the fact that Patto has retained its relatively unknown status, even in musicians' circles.


Patto produced some absolutely fantastic music -- an interesting mix of catchy rock riffs, unusual time signature changes, incredible guitar solos, ass-kicking vocals, jazz workouts, and humor. For one reason or another, however, it never earned them the recognition many feel they deserved.Ollie was a particularly outstanding guitarist. From a technical standpoint, he was doing things back in 1970 that were way ahead of their time. His approach to soloing in particular was very creative -- stepping out of the typical scalar patterns and formulas and making it work like few others could. If you love rock and/or jazz guitarists and haven't heard Ollie yet, finding copies of the Patto albums and checking out Ollie's incredible playing is very highly recommended.A great guitarist does not make a band, however, and the rest of Patto's members were exceptional musicians as well. Mike's striking voice could go from smooth and soulful to a blistering scream. And John and Clive provided a top-notch rhythm section ........ Hopefully someday more people will have Patto in their ears!

Patto Information & pics courtesy of the Patto Fan Site and

For more information on the incredible Ollie Halsall visit

Patto: Mike Patto - vocals, occasional piano; Ollie Halsall - guitars, keyboards, vibes, vocals; Clive Griffiths - bass, vocals; John Halsey - drums

"Patto" (1970) *
"Hold your fire" (1971) **
"Roll 'em,smoke 'em put another line out" (1972) *
"Monkey's Bum " (1973 - no official release)
"Sense of the absurd" (1995-repackage of "Hold your fire " and "Patto")
"Live at the Black Swan, Sheffield" (1999)

* recommended
** Essential

Rock of Ages's recommendations

Ian Gillan

He may be, in the words of Baldrick, "three score years and more m'lud", and his vocal range may have diminished a tad over time but Ian Gillan still knows how to rock. His new album, "Gillan's Inn" *** is a virtual 'who's who' of great classic rock guests including contributions by the likes of Joe Satriani, Uli Jon Roth, Ronnie James Dio, Jeff Healey, Joe Elliott and Purple bandmates Steve Morse, Jon Lord, Ian Paice and Roger Glover. Ian and Co riff hard and heavy on songs like "Day late and a dollar short", Unchain your brain" and he's on top vocal form with "Bluesy Blue Sea" whilst "Trashed", featuring the Sab's Tony Iommi, reeks of menace.

Ian has also redone versions of the Purp's "Smoke on the water", "When a blind man cries" and "Speed King" and although production wise it kicks ass my feeling is that the originals are, and will always be, the definitive versions ..... "Gillan's Inn" comes as a 2 sided disc, one side the cd and the other a dvd featuring a making of video, the 'Bootleg Basement' segment which contains amateur audience shot footage from 1984 (featuring Sat on guitar), photos and more. Plus the album comes in conventional stereo or 5.1 surround sound ... and ... wait for this ..... you can choose your own mix of "Smoke on the water" featuring either Satriani, Morse or Healey!!!! How cool is that .........

***** Volcanic....not to be missed.
**** Seismic....highly it!
*** Aftershock....solid effort.
** Xmas cracker...Pooof!
* Do I need to explain this?

Catch you every Thursday 8 to Midnight ...


Contact Rock of Ages

Email: click here
Snail mail:
PO Box 782022, Sandton 2146
Studio phone: 089-1102003

The views, opinions, rants, raves and ramblings expressed on this website are the author's own and in no way reflect the views of Radio 2000 or the SABC.

Latest Playlist
News from the
World of Rock
New albums and DVD's on the way
.......expect some 'pearlers' from some of the biggest names in classic rock over the coming weeks including Bob Dylan's "Modern Times", his first new studio album in five years will actually premiere the day before on XM satellite radio, where the artist has been hosting a show since May ..... Sam Moore's "Overnite Sensational", classic rockers collaborating with the "soul man" on his first album in 24 years: Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Queen's Paul Rodgers, ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Sting, and the late Billy Preston ... Pete Townshend's expanded edition solo album reissues come just ahead of The Who's North American tour and the long awaited release of their new album, Who II. Most of the reissues -- several of which haven't been available for a while -- will include previously unreleased "bonus" tracks .... Bob Seger's "Face the promise" is his first new studio album in 11 years and will come in two versions -- one including a bonus career retrospective DVD .... Legendary seminal rock 'n roller Jerry Lee Lewis's Last Man Standing features duet partners and accompanists including John Fogerty, Jimmy Page, Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ron Woods, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Don Henley, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart and Ringo Starr .... Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose is the third installment in the franchise and comes nearly 30 years after the first album. Featured collaborators will include Brian May, Steve Vai and Todd Rundgren ... John Lennon's "The US vs. John Lennon" soundtrack features two previously unreleased tracks are featured -- a 1971 live performance of "Attica State" and an instrumental version of "How Do You Sleep." Finally ... Rod Stewart returns to rock after four consecutive albums of older pop standards with "Still The Same ... Great Rock Classics of Our Time". Covers include Dylan's "If Not For You," John Fogerty's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" and Bob Seger's "Still the Same." ... on the music DVD front you can salivate with Blind Faith's London Hyde Park 1969 concert. It provides a rare glimpse at a fleeting, but highly significant chapter in the history of rock's evolution. Only one Blind Faith performance was ever filmed, a free concert in London's Hyde Park in June 1969. That performance, plus archival footage of the band's members in their earlier incarnations, is being released by Sanctuary Records on DVD September 19 .... courtesy of About Classic Rock

Arthur Lee Dies
Arthur Lee, one of the most influential and best loved figures from the original psychedelic era, has died at the age of 61, after a battle against leukemia. He made his name with Love, one of the most acclaimed of all West Coast bands from that era. In recent years, he's enjoyed a major musical renaissance, after spending time in jail during the '90s for illegal possession of a firearm.

Plant For Sunflower Jam
Robert Plant, Ian Paice and Jon Lord are among those artists who'll be playing the Sunflower Jam at the Porchester Halls in London on September 14. This is to raise money in support of 'complementary health therapies', such as reflexology.

Another one bites the (rehab) dust
Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins has checked into a rehab clinic. As a result, the band have cancelled all planned shows for the near future. However, The Darkness have denied they are about to be dropped by their label, Atlantic.
Short Cuts
Ex Jane's Addiction/RHCP guitarist Dave Navarro and his wife and sometime uber-babe Carmen Electra are the latest celebrity couple to split up. The latter has filed for divorce, citing 'irreconcilable differences' ... Mountain are currently working on a new album, which is said to be a Bob Dylan tribute album. Expect guest appearances from Ozzy, the Allman Brothers and Government Mule ... Iron Maiden have posted another track online from upcoming album 'A Matter Of Life And Death'. The song's 'Brighter Than A Thousand Suns'. Hear it at ... In 1968, Led Zeppelin supported Vanilla Fudge on their first American tour. Now, the Fudge are recording an album of Zeppelin covers. This is likely to be called 'The Song Almost Remains The Same' ... The Eagles are now planning to release their new, as yet untitled album in the first part of '07. This will be the legendary band's first studio record in 28 years ... The re-united Smashing Pumpkins are to work with famed Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker on their comeback album.

More rock on Radio 2000...
Suffering from Rock withdrawal symptoms on a Tuesday night? Well then tune the dial el pronto to Barney Simon's show between 8 and midnight every Tuesday on Radio 2000 (or R2K as Barney calls it) for the best in South African rock plus gig guide,albums reviews, demos, new releases, news from around the country and much more ...... Unmissable! .... Also don't forget to catch Michelle Constant between 1pm and 3pm Monday-Friday for news, music, interviews and loads of cool stuff .... and of course .... Mo G on the morning drive, weekdays 8-10am ... Exclusively on Radio 2000.
Live Gigs
Nu Folk featuring Paul E. Flynn, Jim Neversink, Josie Field, Laurie Levine & Silent Running
27th August Back 2 Basix, Westdene

Red House 25th August @ the Jazz and Popular Music Centre.University of KZN,Durban

Robin Auld
20th August (Sunday) Green Dolphin 8pm

Southern Cross Festival
22-25th August featuring Lark, Dan Patlansky, The New Academics, Butter, Harris Tweed, Simon van Gend, DNA Strings, Verismo , Undersound, Richard Walne & Tjorb, Celtis, Thursdays Child , Rebus, Ryan Calder, Salty Dog, Will's Blues Band, Zephyr, Hairy Legged's, Steve and Tara Fataar, White Chapel, Bobby and the Dynamites and loads more.

For updates and artist information, please visit

White Mountain Folk Festival
22-25 September Giants Castle Kwa Zulu Natal

Friday - Starplayer, Thirty Three, Movie55, SpoonFeedas
Saturday - Fox Fyre, Zoe, Fiona Tozer, Laurie Levine, Guy Buttery, Shomon, Nibs van der Spuy, Farryl Purkiss, Rory Eliot (Plush), Jim Neversink
Sunday - Krane, Jason Glover, Melody Kaye, Cubic Inch, Quark, Ménage à Trois, Sitter, Karen Zoid

Jack Hammer
24th Steak & Ale, Pretoria
25th August Café Barcelona, Pretoria
26th Blue Moon, Nelspruit
1st September Bertie's Mooring, Gordon's Bay
3rd Lord Nelson Hotel, Simonstown
6th Durbanville KunsKafee
7th Bohemia, Stellenbosch
11th Dorp Street, Stellenbosch
22nd Steak & Ale, Pretoria
23rd SinkShack, Bronkhorstspruit

Lancaster Band

2nd September Zula Bar, Long Street - new ep and DVD release.

Rock Evolutions - V & A Waterfront's Theatre @ The Pavilion 21st July to 27th August (Thurs, Fri & Sat evenings only)
(Show chronicles the development of rock music in all shapes and forms... starting with the 50s' pioneering days of blues and 12-bar rock 'n roll and concluding with the current heavily-amplified nu-metal rock. There are visits along the way to the British Invasion & Psychedelic Rock of the 60s, the theatrical Stadium rock of the 70s, the glam and hard rock of the 80s and the 90s grunge & alternative revolution).
You say it's your birthday...
August 17
Sib Hashian - Boston - 1949
August 18
Dennis Elliot - Foreigner - 1950
August 19
Ginger Baker - Cream - 1939
Ian Gillan - Deep Purple - 1945
John Deacon - Queen - 1951
August 20
Robert Plant - Led Zeppelin - 1948
James Pankow - Chicago - 1947
Isaac Hayes - 1942
Phil Lynott - Thin Lizzy - 1949
August 21
Glenn Hughes - Deep Purple - 1952
Joe Strummer (John Graham Mellor) - The Clash - 1952
August 23
Keith Moon - The Who - 1947
Steve Clark - Def Leppard - 1960
Rick Springfield - 1949
August 24
John Cipollina - Quicksilver Messenger Service - 1943
Ken Hensley - Uriah Heep - 1945
Mike DeRosier - Heart - 1951
Malcolm Duncan - Average White Band - 1945
Jim Capaldi - Traffic - 1944

Courtesy of About ClassicRock

Birthday archives


"Benjy says..." Archive

Stay tuned every Thursday 8-12pm for the best in classic rock on RADIO 2000.

Your Host

Benjy Mudie
Benjy Mudie with Void in the late 70's Benjy Mudie 2004
Then Now

Of Scottish origin, Benjy Mudie started out in the music industry working in record shops. He later became the A&R man for WEA records, signing such luminaries as Lesley Rae Dowling, Baxtop and Falling Mirror. He has ventured briefly into the realms of songwriting, getting co-writing credit for Little Sister's song 'You Got My Heart', but it is mainly for his running of record labels, notably Tusk and more recently Fresh and Retro Fresh that he is honoured. With these labels he has tirelessly dedicated himself to putting South African music out there, showing an unshaking belief in the quality of SA music.


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