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
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