Patton, Robbie - 1982 Orders From Headquarters

richardbrichardb Poole, Dorset

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ARTIST: Patton, Robbie
ALBUM: Orders From Headquarters
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 80006-1
YEAR: 1982

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Robbie Patton - lead vocals * David Adelstein - keyboards * Robin Sylvester - bass * Kirk Arthur - drums * Joey Brasler - guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 Victim Of Your Love * 02 Louise * 03 It's Your Heart * 04 Lonely Nights * 05 Feel The Flow * 06 Orders From Headquarters * 07 Tell Her Goodbye * 08 Smiling Islands * 09 All Because Of You * 10 Look Away

Background

Originally from England, Robbie Patton's first big break came as Fleetwood Mac opening act on their 1979 tour in support of their 'Tusk' album.

His debut 'Baby Do You Wanna' released that same year and the follow up 'Distant Shores' failed to set the US charts alight, but the latter did spawn the US top 40 hit 'Don't Give It Up'.

'Distant Shores', although well crafted, I found to be just a little too bland and inoffensive, even for my mellow tastes.

'Orders From Headquarters' on the other hand, rocks harder thanks to the presence of seasoned guitarist Joey Brasler who's racked up an impressive CV over the years (Boz Scaggs, Cher), one that Steve Lukather would be proud of.

There was also a distinguished supporting cast on this album which includes Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac together with Timothy B Schmit of the Eagles.

The Songs

Those listeners seeking to supplement a healthy diet of West Coast AOR will find this very satisfying, particularly if they have a penchant for singer-songwriters such as David Roberts, John O'Banion et al.

The opener 'Victim Of Your Love' is just what the doctor ordered, plenty of delicate tasteful keyboards, with tons of melody. If that wasn't enough, Joey Brasler's guitar fills and power chords ape Steve Lukather for all his worth - I ask you, what more could the average Toto fan wish for?

The upbeat 'Louise' raises the bar even further, with it's pumping bass and solid guitar/keyboard interplay swelling into a memorable chorus which remains buried in your consciousness for days afterwards. It's firmly elevated to 'classic' status by Robbie Patton's impassioned vocal performance, whoever you are Louise, I hope you heard this song.

'It's Your Heart' is a more lightweight poppy affair though no less appealing for it. Whereas 'Lonely Nights' is slow burning fare with some powerful guitar work from Joey Brasler chucked into the mix.

Side one closer 'Feel The Flow' raises the tempo again and is a glorious rollicking, hard rocking affair, which gives Joey Brasler a chance to cut loose by way of some serious fret board action. Now where did I put my air guitar? Onto side two.

The title track musically is a majestic affair, all strutting guitar and keyboards, but ironically, similar pomp is not displayed within the lyrical content. The song bemoans the downtrodden position of Mr Patton and the difficulties he endures from the high maintenance lady in his life who calls all the shots. Indeed the album cover implies that he's enduring a verbal tongue-lashing from the missus, well he should've remembered to put the toilet seat down then shouldn't he? (or maybe she's suggesting he should find a new stylist).

'Tell Her Goodbye' is more subdued with plenty of brooding atmospheric keyboards though Joey Brasler's guitar packs a punch on the chorus.

Stevie Nicks duets on the ballad 'Smiling Islands' which, thanks to the strength of the vocal performances comes across as poignant rather than maudlin.

'All Because Of You', is musically at least, more upbeat with Robin Arthur's synths adding a touch of quirkiness to its pop/rock sensibilities.

Proceedings are brought to an end, not with a bang, but rather with a whimper 'Look Away' is just a little on the wrong side of bland.

In Summary

A subsequent album 'No Problem' released in 1984 also failed to make a dent in the US charts, despite the appearance of legendary axe man Dan Huff.

Presumably time and patience was running out with the suits at Atlantic and thus Robbie Patton's brief flirtation with AOR came to an end.


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