Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Non Traditional Punk

Less sardonic or sarky than John Cooper Clarke; without the wit of Attila or the vitriol of the Poisons; lacking the antagonism of Crass or the spite of Mark Astronaut, Patrik Fitzgerald soon found himself occupying a more Romantic position within the world of punk poetry.

Daubed the 'New Dylan' by certain rags - the reality couldn't have been further from the truth; for Patrik's music was as British as you could get.

Bowie's influence is obvious, you can hear it throughout the vocal delivery (he even name checks him during 'Live Out My Stars'); but there was enough difference in Fitzgerald's voice to prevent him from being a mere imitator.
Besides, his subject matter was a world away from Bowie's; gravitating more towards traditional late seventies' fare: paranoia, mental illness, decay and poverty (in an introduction to one of his songs he complains that his hands are 'so cold': he's recording in his bedroom).

So no big production here, just Patrik and his guitar.
And personally I prefer the Bedroom Tapes tracks (1977, originally side B of the vinyl release) to those tracks recorded at Redwood Studios in '78; the lo-fi, demo-like, hissy home-made recordings suit the songs so well; authentically capturing Patrik in the raw: adding enormously to the poignancy and mood of the songs.

(I love his little preamble to 'George', a song about George Davis, a celebrity-type bank robber who was the focus of the 'Free George Davis' campaign; capturing Patrik debating whether Davis is innocent or not; deciding that because Sham had recorded 'George Davis is Innocent' he probably wasn't. Aah, the naïveté.)

Listening to this album now, three decades beyond punk, Patrik Fitzgerald's music stands up better than ever (compare this to artists such as Devendra Banhart or Jeffrey Lewis).

Free of the shackles of the zeitgeist in which it was made, his recordings can now be seen and understood as belonging firmly to the English balladeer tradition.

Patrik Fitzgerald - The Paranoid Ward (1978)

Side A - The Paranoid Ward

Irrelevant Battles
Cruellest Crime
The Paranoid Ward
The Bingo Crowd

Side B - The Bedroom Tapes

Life at the Top
Ragged Generation For Real
Live Out My Stars

Excellent vinyl rip @320kbs
Share life with Patrik here

Much of Patrik's recorded music is long deleted, but if you like these early recordings it may well be worth checking out his only available product: The Very Best of Patrik Fitzgerald: Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart


john said...

Thanks for this - brilliant stuff.

But "the naïveté"?? as subsequent developments proved, George Davis was certainly NOT innocent ...

Mona said...

saw yr comment over at YMT... can upload early stuff for you but there is a torrent floating around TPB that has everything he has done in it!

roy rocket said...

Hey Mona. Thanks for bothering.
I'm not a big fan of torrents, so tend not to use them...
So, if you get the time, and it's really not too much trouble, I'd love to take up your offer...
But no mad rush: whenever.
BIG thanks, roy

Mona said...

This is for you!

roy rocket said...

Sweet, Mona!
Much appreciated. Lovin it...
Shanti, roy