“Hello, music lovers…”
Since the critically acclaimed 1976 debut album featuring his own brand of high quality seventies guitar rock and roll, Pat Travers has gone on to deliver melodic eighties rock, a blues period throughout most of the nineties, noted performances with various power trio’s during the first few years of the new Millennium, and a full blooded return to the trademark Pat Travers Band sound as he entered his fifth performing and recording decade.
But we’re those five decades ahead of ourselves…
“From the streets of Toronto…”
Patrick Henry Travers was thirteen when he saw Jimi Hendrix play live in Ottawa in 1968, and by fourteen the Toronto native was playing guitar with a competence that belied his age.
By fifteen he was playing in his first group, Red Hot, before Merge then featured the teenage Travers.
Pat then grabbed the opportunity to play with rock and roll/ rockabilly artist Ronnie Hawkins, a move that allowed him to gain valuable touring experience.
However in the seventies the other side of the Atlantic was the place to be for any budding rock musician, and in May 1975 Pat left his homeland for London, with not much more than his guitar and a change of clothes…
“To the streets of London…”
A successful demo led to a recording contract with Polydor Records and that eponymous 1976 debut release, with the album featuring right-hand man Peter ‘Mars’ Cowling on bass (an ever present for nearly three decades) and Roy Dyke on drums.
That same year Pat and band toured the U.K. in support of the album, and an appearance at the Reading Festival certainly did no harm as regards musical exposure.
The ‘Pat Travers’ album proved this was no one-dimensional rock musician, featuring tracks such as the heavy rock of fan favourite ‘Makes No Difference’, his interpretation of J.J. Cale’s ‘Magnolia’, and the song now most associated with Pat – the old rocking blues standard ‘Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights)’.
‘Makin’ Magic’ and ‘Putting it Straight’ followed in quick succession in 1977, with Nico McBrain replacing Ron Dyke (drummer Clive Edwards and guitarist Mick Dyche also had stints in the 1977 touring band). Not only is Pat’s sophomore release a classic Travers album, it’s a classic rock album, period. Highlights include the Hendrix-esque title track, ‘Rock and Roll Suzie’, a smokin’ cover of Willie McTell’s ‘Statesboro’ Blues’, and the powerful ‘Stevie’.
‘Putting it Straight’ added further Travers textures with more keyboard work and even some saxophone, and the ‘bookend’ tracks deserve special mention – ‘Life in London’ opened proceedings with a vibrant energy, while ‘Dedication’, a beautifully crafted seven minute studio piece complete with groovin’ Hammond organ intro (and this writer’s favourite all-time piece of music) closed out the album.
The move to London some two years prior had been a good move for Pat Travers, but when punk reared its safety pinned head in the U.K. the Maple Leaf musician knew it was time to relocate, and headed for the heat of the Florida streets.
“Now, here to kick your ass…”
The Pat Travers Band.