A-Side: 1. The Babysitter (Tippy Toe Music)
2. Irrelevant Battles
3. The Cruellest Crime
4. The Paranoid Ward
5. The Bingo Crowd (instrumental)
B-Side: 1. Ragged Generation For Real
2. Live Out My Stars
(Small Wonder 1978)
My good friend Jex introduced me to Patrik Fitzgerald sometime in the early 80's, and this was the first record of his that I ever heard. Jex copied it onto a mix tape for me (which I still have somewhere), but after years of searching I found a copy of my very own in a charity shop.
This as you can see is a full blown E.P. and not your bog-standard 4 track affair, but 8 whole tracks of lo-fi goodness. It list 9 tracks on the cover, but if you look at the sticker in the bottom right of the sleeve, they couldn't fit one track on! I'm not going to go into every track on this record, click on the Youtube link for Babysitter, then look up the other tracks.
The whole thing sounds a little bit ramshackle and spur of the moment, but it works wonderfully. Most of the tracks feature Patrik singing out his polemic over an acoustic guitar strumming catchy tunes and rhythms. The exceptions to this are The Paranoid Ward which is spoken word piece, and the seaside organ instrumental of The Bingo Crowd. Both The Paranoid Ward and Babysitter are little odd thoughts that might catch you unawares, whilst most of the rest of the record deals with political and social issues. Patrik doesn't have many solutions, but is interested in speaking his thoughts, which while they may not be revelatory or new, they are sincere and occasionally witty.
Live Out My Stars is less about politics and a much more personal and plaintive song about dreams and ambition. The whole thing probably feels a bit shambolic, take for example when Patrik introduces George by saying "It was called George Davis is innocent, until Sham brought out a record called that, (and also somebody said that he wasn't, so...)" but that just adds to the charm of the record.
I'm never going to convince anyone that this is a great records, especially if you don't like the low-key approach combined with the Patrik Firzgerald's unique singing voice, but I like it and I'm glad that we've got a favourite of mine early on in this experiment - it encourages me to go onwards. If and when I get a fantastic record player that is capable of converting vinyl to MP3 - this will be one of the first records I convert.
Next time we go full out Goth!