One St. Stephen
Band members Related acts
- One St. Stephens (aka Don L. Patterson) -- vocals, guitar
- Charles Bleak -- bass
- Bill Blechschmid --
- none known
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Title: One St. Stephen
Company: none listed (Austrian bootleg)
Country/State: Cincinnati, Ohio
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: bootleg copy; price sticker residue on the cover; # 96 out of 385 pressing
Catalog ID: 1035
Don L. Patterson was the mastermind behind One St. Stephen. Interestingly, Patterson's original artistic focus wasn't music, rather film. Accordingly, the mid-'70s found him working on a film project
tentatively entitled "The Devil's Reservation". As part of the project in 1975 he went into
Columbus' Owl Studios, writing and recording an album's worth of material.
He also handled lead vocals, lead guitar, produced and designed the album
cover. Word of mouth interest led Patterson to finish the project and finance a limited pressing (reportedly some 2,000 copies) for friends and
acquaintances. Patterson's subsequently claimed that he made his money back within three months.
As a quick
postscript, this Austrian pressed bootleg included four bonus tracks that
weren't actually One St. Stephen material. All four bonus tracks were
supposedly tunes recorded by the Boston based '60s band The Front Porch
Review, or band member Steve Cataldo's subsequent Saint Steven album (so you
can see where the confusion may have originated).. 'Without You',
'Silver Children' and 'Valley of Eyes' were in Fact Front Page Review tunes,
but 'In Your Mind' is a mystery not showing up on either the Front Page
Review or Saint Steven LPs. Who knows.
oncoming storm, parking car, and opening door sound effects were a curious
way to start the song, but once 'November Edgar' got going it was worth the
wait. Clearly inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, the track had a
slightly ominous feel (it would be a great Halloween tune), this mid-tempo
rocker served as a wonderful showcase for Patterson's whispery vocals (which
reminded me a bit of an American version of Donovan) and first rate lead
guitar. Icing on the cake, you even got a short cheesy
synthesizer solo. rating:
was one of the tunes where I could kind of understand the Jim Morrison/Doors
comparisons. Musically the resemblance was vague, but Patterson's
gravelly vocal and hysterically pretentious lyrics actually did sound a bit
like the late Morrison. Docked a star since Morrison's always
irritated me. rating:
over a howling,
fuzz guitar powered melody, 'You Maybe Religious' was interesting for
Patterson's punkish vocal delivery - he didn't so much sing this one as
shout the lyrics out. This one should wake you up, though the 'welcome
to hell' ending might make you giggle.
rating: *** stars
Another track where Patterson's clipped delivery and floral lyrics recalled Morrison. Probably the album's prettiest melody, the song also boasted some of Patterson's best guitar work. The backwards tape segment wasn't really necessary. rating: **** stars
5.) Without You
As mentioned, the original release featured nine tunes, while the bootleg included four bonus tunes; none which were actually One St. Stephen compositions. Recorded by The Front Page Review, 'Without You' was a pretty, '60s tinged acoustic ballad that really didn't sound much like the earlier tunes, making you wonder how closely the compilers were paying attention to their work. For consistency, I won't rate any of the four bonus tracks.
6.) In You Mind
'In Your Mind' was an up-tempo, mildly lysergic-tinged number that again didn't sound anything like Patterson's work. Enjoyable enough performance with a cool, driving. '60s beat and lots of jangle guitar work. Shame it faded out just as it was beginning to jam.
the flute introduction, I can remember wondering if I'd slapped on a Jethro
Tull tune by mistake. The funny thing is this English folk-rock
flavored tune was actually one of the album's highlights. Amazingly
catchy tune and the flute solos are good too boot.
rating: **** stars
with his ravaged vocal delivery,
'Junkie's Lament' literally did sound like a strung out addict wailing away
on his last couple of breaths. Iggy Pop on steroids
? Seriously disturbing tune. rating:
album's most conventional rocker ? Nice wah wah guitar
throughout and I've always loved Patterson's breathless delivery on this
you've ever heard the late Root Boy Slim, 'Richer You Get' is liable to
strike a chord of familiarity. Like Root's best material, the
song was simultaneously tuneful (loved the horn arrangement) and funny as
all. Another album highlight. rating:
a sucker for sleazy '70s synthesizers which means 'Dash In the Rocks' won me
over from the opening. Patterson shows he can churn out pop as
easily as proto-punk, psych, or rock tunes. Probably my pick for
the album's best tune. rating:
Unlike the other three bonus tracks, 'Silver Children' can be tracked back to the band Front Page Review. This one was a pretty, harpsichord powered ballad with great, acid-tinged vocals and a wonderful fuzz guitar solo. Real charmer that makes me anxious to check out the rest of The Front Page Review catalog.
7.) Valley of Eyes
final bonus track and another Front Page Review performance, 'Valley of
Eyes' was an attractive, fuzz-powered heavy rocker. Only complaint
with this one was that it was simply too short.
Got this email related to the group:
Hello I don't know if you are interested but I played flute, piano, and blues harp (if there was any harp) on the One St. Stephen album way back then. A couple misprints on the website: The studio where we recorded (most of us are from the Columbus OH area) was Owl Studios in Columbus Ohio (not Cincinnati). It was located on Sunbury Rd. I believe the actual pressing of the album was done in Cincinnati. Charles Beak is misspelled. It should be "Bleak" (pronounced Blake). I'm still playing in a blue-jazz trio (or 4 piece) with some excellent musicians. Charles Bleak is also actively playing and writing some really good music. Thanks for keeping up the One St. Stephen site. Although the studio work was done over a very short period of time (just a day or 2 for me as I recall), I still like much of what was done.
Terry Finneran (January
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