Timebox


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1966) as Take Five

- Jeff Dean -- drums, percussion

- Frank DIxon -- vocals

- Kevan Foggerty -- vocals, guitar

- Clive Griffiths -- bass

- Peter "Ollie" Halsall -- vibes)

- Chris Holmes -- keyboards

 

  line up 2 (1966-67)

- Geoffrey 'Jeff' Dean -- drums, percussion

NEW - John Henry -- vocals (replaced Frank Dixon)

- Kevan Foggerty -- vocals, guitar

- Clive Griffiths -- bass

- Peter "Ollie" Halsall -- vibes)

- Chris Holmes -- keyboards

 

  line up 3 (1967)

- Kevan Foggerty -- vocals, guitar

- Clive Griffiths -- bass

- Peter "Ollie" Halsall -- vibes)

- Chris Holmes -- keyboards

NEW - Ronnie Verrell -- drums, percussion

 

  line up 4 (1967)

- Kevan Foggerty -- vocals, guitar

- Clive Griffiths -- bass

- Peter "Ollie" Halsall -- vibes)

- Chris Holmes -- keyboards

NEW - Mike Patto -- vocals (replaced John Henry)

 

  line up 5 (1967-69)

- Clive Griffiths -- bass, backing vocals

- Ollie Halsall (RIP 1992) -- guitar, vibes, vocals

NEW - John Halsey (aka Barry Wom) -- drums, backing vocals

   (replaced Jeff Dean)

- Chris Holmes -- keyboards

NEW - Mike Patto (RIP 1979) -- vocals (replaced John Henry)

 

  line up 6 (1969)

- Clive Griffiths -- bass, backing vocals

- Ollie Halsall (RIP 1992) -- vibes, guitar, vocals

- John Halsey (aka Barry Wom) -- drums, backing vocals

NEW - Merwyn Winwood -- keyboards (replaced Chris Holmes)

- Mike Patto (RIP 1979) -- vocals

 

  

 

Babe Ruth (Chris Homes)

- The Bluebottles (Mike Patto)

- Blues Traffs (Ollie Halsall)

- Bo Street Runners (Mike Patto) 

- Boxer (Mike Patto)

- Camelo Pardalis

- Centepede (MIke Patto)

- The Chicago Lines Blues Band (Mike Patto)

- Decameron

- Dick and the Firemen (Mike Patto)

- Felder's Orioles (John Halsey)

- The Gunslingers (Peter Halsall)

- Ollie Halsall (solo efforts)

- The Music Students (Peter Halsall)

- Patto (Clive Griffiths, John Halsey, Ollie Halsall, and Mike Patto)

- Patto's People (Mike Patto)

- The Rutles (John Halsey)

- Spooky Tooth (Mike Patto)

- Take 5 (Kevin Foggerty, Peter Halsall, Chris Holmes, and 

   Clive Griffiths)

- The Teenbeats (Kevan Foggerty)

- Tempest (Peter Halsall)

- The Zig-Zag Band (John Henry)

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  The Original Moose On the Loose

Company: Peters International Catalog: CCLPS 9016
Year:
 1977

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring and edge wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 15190

Price: $125.00

 

Showcasing the talents of the late Ollie Halsall and Mike Patto, Timebox (how could you not love a band that took their name for the slang word for a prison cell), is one of those bands that should have been major stars, but somehow managed to get lost in the mid and late-'60s onslaught of talented (and not-so-talented) British bands.

 

promo photo left to right:  Chris Holmes - Clive Griffiths - Ollie Halsall - John Halsey 

front Mike Patto

 

For a band that only released eight singles during their two year recording career, 1977's posthumous "The Original Moose On the Loose" served as a decent, if limited career oversight.   Missing in action were their first two singles for the Picadilly label, as well as material the band recorded  for a planned album tentatively entitled "Moose On The Loose".  The LP project was shelved though many of the tracks finally saw the light of day on 1998's "Timebox: The Deram Anthology" (Deram catalog Deram 844 607-2).   Produced by Halsall and Patto, the compilation was apparently intended to take advantage of the success Boxer (Halsall and Patto's post-Timebox project was expected to enjoy.   Naturally Boxer tanked and by the time folks realized the band was a failure it was apparently too late to kill this project.  Released by the Cosmos Collection label in the UK and Peters International in the States, the compilation pulled together ten tracks representing a mixture of 'A' and 'B' side singles.  The album's first side featured band originals (penned by Halsall and Patto), while the flip side collected various cover tunes the band released over their four year career.    I'm guessing the fact Patto wasn't a member of the band for the first two Picadilly singles probably explained why they weren't included on the retrospective.  For hardcore fans, American Army deserter John Henry handled the debut single 'I'll Always Love You' (originally recorded by The Spinners), and after his arrest and detention by US military police, the band opted to record a vibe-heavy instrumental 'Soul Sauce' for their second single.

 

By the way, for anyone interested, here's the band's original 45 discography:

 

 

- 1967's 'I'll Always Love You' b/w 'Save Your Love' (instrumental) (Picadilly catalog number 7N 35369)
- 1967's 'Soul Sauce' (instrumental) b/w 'I Wish I Could Jerk Like My Uncle Cyril' (instrumental) (Picadilly catalog number 7N 35379)
- 1967's ' Don't Make Promises' b/w 'Walking Through the Streets of My Mind' (Deram catalog number DM 153 )
- 1968's  'Beggin' b/w 'A Woman That's Waiting' (Deram catalog number DM 194)
- 1968's  'Girl Don't Make Me Wait' b/w 'Gone Is the Sad Man' (Deram catalog number DM 219)
- 1969's  'Baked Jam Roll in Your Eye' b/w 'Poor Little Heartbreaker' (Deram catalog number DM 246
- 1969's  'Yellow Van' b/w 'You've Got the Chance' (Deram catalog number DM 271)

 

There's also a French only 45:

 

- 1968's 'Come On Up' b/w 'A Woman That's Waiting' (Deram catalog number DR 41826)

 

Anyhow, rather than waste a lot of time, I'll just regurgitate the band's history as reflected on the album line notes:

 

Mike Patto and Ollie Halsall, the mere mention of these names strike fear into the hearts of British musicians. Patto and Halsall have experienced a glorious and varied musical history; some names may ring a bell: Boxer, Patto, The Bluebottles, Spooky Tooth, Tempest, Kevin Ayers, The Gunslingers and innumerable others. However, it was with Timebox that Patto and Halsall first recorded. Little is known of the pre-Timebox histories of Holmes, Griffiths or Halsey. Mike Patto, however, turned ‘pro’ in the early 60’s with The Bluebottles, an R&B outfit whose main claim to fame was backing the late organist Graham Bond. The Bluebottles eventually split and Patto left Norfolk for London in search of the big time. Mike (get a whiff on this) emceed for a British tour package (Moody Blues, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Powell’s Five Dimensions, Long John Baldry’s Hoochie Coochie Men and The Graham Bond Organisation) and opened each show with his own three tunes backed by the Dimensions group.

After a short stint with The Bo Street Runners with Tim Hinkley (later to go on to greater fame with Jody Grind, Vinegar Joe, Humble Pie, and Dick & The Firemen), Patto joined up with Viv Prince (Pretty Things) to form Patto’s People (later to be renamed The Chicago Line Blues Band) with Louis Cennamo (Renaissance). A short period with The London Youth Jam Orchestra (24 piece big band) ensued with Patto crooning Sinatra and the like. It was with this ensemble that Time-box first caught Mike ‘live’ and immediately asked him to join the then existing version of Timebox.

Peter "Ollie" Halsall got his initial break with the Take Five from near Liverpool, after participating in such varied and sundry groups like Pete and The Pawnees (in which Ollie drummed), The Gunslingers, The Music Students (!), and R&B, Inc. Clive Griffiths, the Timebox bassist asked Ollie to learn vibes and then to join Timebox. In the first version of Timebox Ollie played vibes and sang.

Timebox went on for just over two years. The released sum of Timebox recordings was 5 singles on the British Deram label, a most revolutionary UK label with a remarkable degree of foresight in its heyday. Timebox never had an LP issued anywhere in the world! The band released an exceptionally produced and immaculately orchestrated version of the Four Seasons’ tune "Beggin" which then became a moderate UK chart single. "Beggin’ was not exactly Timebox’s bag and there was no way that the band could or would reproduce that sound on stage, hence, they did not perform much of their pop material live, but concentrated on their heavier progressive rock and jazz. This caused a great deal of consternation amongst bookers who found audiences coming along to view Timebox mainly for their singles sounds. Finally, after enduring this situation, Holmes split and Ace British bassist/producer Mervyn Winwood (Steves brother) dubbed the four as Patto. This tremendous lineup recorded four utterly fantastic elpees (one unissued at this date) and were known for their eccentricities: weird lyrics, golfing, soiled spoons, and some of the best uniquely-arranged rock and jazz of all time. After this band’s lamented demise, Patto did some solo recording (how many of you have a copy of his "Get Up and Get With It’ punk single?), gigged with Dick and The Firemen, a part-time superstar party band, did a stint as a recording company executive, and then to Boxer. Ollie did such live work as with Tempest, Kevin Ayers, Grimms etc. while venturing into the studio for recordings with Neil Innes and The Jesus Christ Superstar piece (note: Ollie takes pains to hide the fact that he played guitar on Petula Clarks ‘Downtown’ sessions) and then to Boxer. The material from the Timebox era, compiled on this album, remains as the spark of creativity which the world now knows as The Original Moose on the Loose.

In hindsight, based on the five singles collected in the package, it wasn't hard to see why the band never garnered much commercial success. Their earliest material lacked anything even remotely original and was a perfect example of a band looking to latch on to a successful formula in an effort to score a hit. Pop, soul, psych, English music hall, jazz - it's all in the mix. The fact they had a lead vibe player and a penchant for the weird (check out their Martians attack song 'Baked Jam Roll In Your Eye'), also served to underscore the band's quirky side which didn't necessarily equate to massive commercial appeal. On the other hand, there was something fascinating in the band's quirky image and hearing them undergo massive changes in a two year period was amazing. By the time they got to the rocker 'Poor Little Heartbreaker' you got a clear taste for the direction they'd be going with Patto and Boxer

"The Original Moose On the Loose" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Poor Little Heartbreaker   (Ollie Halsall - Mike Patto) - 

I've always found it hard to believe 'Poor Little Heartbreaker' was relegated to a 'B' side.   Kicked along by Halsall's screaming guitar, this was a killer rocker with a slightly West Coast psych-ish feel.   The liner notes describe it as "Definitely a late Timebox track, Halsall having switched to electric guitar/this early "punk" track closest to Boxer sound."    Not sure I agree with the punk description - yeah it had that angry edge, but the sound was simply too sophisticated to be considered punkish.    rating: ***** stars

2.) Gone Is the Sad Man   (Ollie Halsall - Mike Patto) - 

'Gone Is the Sad Man' was another track hidden away as a 'B' side - in this case it backed 1968's 'Girl Don't Make Me Wait'.   A near perfect mixture of psychedelia and pop moves (you got the impression they'd been listening to some Four Seasons along the way), this is the kind of tune The Small Faces would have sacrificed one of their members to have written and recorded.  Halsall's end-of-song solo was fantastic.  And now you know where XTC borrowed half of their influences from.   ("An early-era Barrett/Beatles-type ditty featuring some good harmony work/not Ollie's searing solo work.rating: ***** stars

3.) Yellow Van   (Ollie Halsall - Mike Patto) - 

"Yellow Van" was the band's seventh and final single and found the band dabbling in Beatles-styled rock.  Complete with tasteful, punchy horns, the track had a highly commercial melody; great Patto vocals and a hysterical lyric that seems totally innocuous today, but managed to get it banned by the BBC.    "An out and out rock 'n' roller with horns.  An early box-rock tune about a  travelingsalesman who runs a stud service on the side.  Patto portrays a 'hard sellin', soft lovin', woman crazy salesman perfectly/originally banned by the BBC."   rating: **** stars

4.) Baked Jam Roll In Your Eye   (Ollie Halsall - Mike Patto) - 

Their first stab at self-production (it was apparently written in the midst of a drinking binge), 1969's 'Baked Jam Roll In Your Eye' was the band's sixth single and was just too strange to even begin describing ...  Imagine The Move at their strangest and then soak them overnight in LSD.  Released in 1969 it sure had a 1967 feel which may explain why audiences ignored it.   To my ears that very strangeness is what makes it so cool.   "An early track in the classic space-bubblegum vein with Ollie on guitar.  Leader Klaus and his Martian band shooting at everyone with baked jam rolls.  Are you trying to kill or feed me?  The lads must have been fired up for this doozy as Griffiths hits a bum bass note about halfway through just before the piano solo.  . Ends with an ELO feel with sweeping cellos."   rating: **** stars

5.) You've Got the Chance   (Ollie Halsall - Mike Patto) -   

"Interesting song construction an dchanges with Ollie on guitar.  Excellent mix of clavient and chords.  Most striking original on this album."   And I'd agree with those comments 100%.   Totally unlike anything else on side one, 'You've Got the Chance' found the band taking a stab at blues.   The fact Patto had a voice that was well suited for the genre certainly didn't hurt, nor the fact they came up with a wonder, pseudo-Gospel-tinged melody with Halsall turning in some Stax-styled chops thatwould have made Steve Cropper proud.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) A Woman That's Waiting   (Ivan Zagin - McCarthy) - 

"Early big production number with orchestration.  Ollie on vibes.  Features cellos and French horns.  Ends with Femme Choir and Patto wailing."  Another description that was right on the mark - not particularly memorable which probably explains why it got dumped on the 'B' side to their fourth single.   For some reason Patto co-wrote the track under the pseudonym McCarthy.   rating: *** stars

2.) Girl, Don't Make Me Wait   (Leon Huff) - 

The band's fifth single found them taking a stab at American soul - in this case a cover of Leon Huff's 'Girl, Don't Make Me Wait' which had been a minor hit for Bunny Sigler.  I love Sigller's version, but have to admit this cover isn't half bad.  "The Huff-Philly sound classic in an excellent interpretation .  Huge orchestration sound with Ollie on vibes  Griffins flubs another bass note near the end just before the fadeout."   rating: *** stars

3.) Don't Make Promises   (Tim Hardin) - 

A measured and slightly ominous sounding cover of Tim Hardin's 'Don't Make Promises' served as the band's third single.  Having been spotted playing the Windsor Jazz Festival by producer Gus Dudgeon, it marked their debut for Deram, and introduced new singer Mike Patto (replacing American John Henry)  The tune was fantastic - a near perfect mixture of pop and psych influences.  Kudos to John Halsey on drums, Halsall on vibes (quite funky) and of course Patto's blue-eyed soul lead vocals.  "Sitars, vibes, and zooming {Bill] Wyman bass make for an interesting mix - Femme choir dadedout added plus."   rating: **** stars

4.) Walking Through the Streets of My Mind   (Milrose - Hess) - 

Buried as the 'B' side for their third single, 'Walking Through the Streets of My Mind' captured the group at their most conventional - decent pop tune with the title making for a nice refrain.  Halsall handled the lead vocal.  rating: *** stars

5.) Beggin'   (Farina - Bob Gaudio) - 

Given an American-ized blue-eyed soul feel and arrangement (it's always reminded me of something The Young Rascals might have done), Timebox's cover of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons 'Beggin'' was another highlight.   Thankfully YouTube has a clip of one of the few live Timebox performances - in this case a black and white performance apparently from a French television appearance:   Love the silk outfits and you get to see Halsall playing vibes.  .   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ_QW3m_YO8    Fascinating !      rating: **** stars

 

 

 

 

 

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