The Patron Saints' Latimer Sessions CD.
For decades it seemed like the only recorded evidence of the Patron Saints' earliest years would be Fohhoh Bohob itself, but first Proto Bohob documented songs prior to that enjoyable cult album, then The Latimer Sessions picked up the story in the years immediately afterward. So called due to the help of a friend of the band, Lynn Latimer, who was able to offer her family home's basement as a place to rehearse and record in 1971, The Latimer Sessions touches on everything from demo tracks with a five-person line-up to 1973 cuts done in a reunion a year after the initial band's dissolution, plus an engaging set of live performances from 1971. Unlike Fohhoh Bohob, whose songs were split between Eric Bergman and Jon Tuttle, nearly everything on these two discs is a Bergman effort, as Tuttle had left the group shortly before the main recordings began. The style of jaunty then reflective singing and melodies, sometimes in the same song, that had been established on Fohhoh Bohob continued on these recordings, but there's a clear difference on the technical end thanks to a different, improved recording setup. This can most readily be heard in the rerecording of four Fohhoh songs, including "White Light" and "Do You Think About Me?," but it's also evident in the elegant blend of Bergman and John Doerschuk's acoustic guitars on the instrumental "Fall Back." Particular attention should be given to Bergman's two lengthy, straight-up solo pieces, "Andrea" and "Valiant Attempts," which show that he could have just as easily taken a folk-inspired path as much as a rock one. The feeling often (but by no means entirely) is a little less fragile and unique than Fohhoh, but if songs like the boogie rave-up of "Doin' It All Myself" are a touch more conventional then they're no less amiable, and overall the feeling is one of good times and private dedication to making the best performances possible in an era when home recording was practically unheard of. Bergman's enjoyable liner notes provide all the details one could want, plus plenty of photos from the time. Best random bit in all the songs — Bergman's banjo break playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on "When My Ship Comes In."
Here's one of the reviews of The Latimer Sessions, written by the respected rock critic Clark Faville, along with his comments on Fohhoh Bohob and Proto Bohob:
The Patron Saints:
Eric Bergman: guitar, bass, percussion, vocals (ABC)
Jonathan Tuttle: guitar, piano, bass, vocals (AB)
Paul D’Alton: drums, percussion (A)
Joe Ivins: drums, percussion, vocals (BC)
John Doerschuk: guitar, piano, vocals (BC)
Kirk Foster: bass, guitar, vocals (BC)
Album: 1 (A) Fohhoh Bohob (Patron Saint Records, JT-1001) 1969 R4/R5
NB: (1) Originally issued in thick white sleeve with front and rear paper slicks glued on by hand. Some copies [all actually; many were lost over the years] came with booklet (R5). Bootleg in Austria in 1994 (300 copies with photocopied booklet), and in 1997, an official reissue was produced from the master tapes by Eric Bergman and American Sound Records (106202-3), 500 numbered copies with booklet and bonus 7” single of unreleased material. In addition, Fohhoh Bohob has been made available on CD with three bonus tracks (Patron Saint PSCD-101), 1997 and more recently, two compilations of unreleased recordings have appeared: Proto Bohob (Patron Saint PSCD-104), 1999, consisting of early demos from 1969, and The Latimer Sessions (Patron Saint PSCD-105/106), 2000, which is unreleased material from 1970-1973 by lineups (B) and (C) listed above.
“American Sound” [in collaboration with Patron Saint Records] is an appropriate label for the reissue of this rare New York album, ’cause records like this don’t exist anywhere else on Earth. Exactly why the “do it yourself” approach to record making is (nearly) wholly an American phenomenon isn’t clear, but it is undeniably what keeps collectors on the hunt. (It’s probably why you’re reading this review!). When someone assembles a list of records from Europe, for example, that were made for reasons other than commercial enterprise, very few trees will die to publish it.
Considering that they named their album “Fohhoh Bohob” (Patron Saints slang term for what is currently known as a “lewinsky”), we know that the band had no delusions of rock stardom*. They probably never dreamed that the album they recorded in their parents’ living room would be worth a thousand bucks someday either, but it is in this arena that they have bitch-slapped their top-40 contemporaries and pushed ’em down the stairs!
Fohhoh Bohob was produced by the band over the course of a few weeks in the summer of 1969, and it doesn’t sound too much like anything else. There are moments where it could be The Velvet Underground, perhaps Pearls Before Swine, maybe Sidetrack or even Faine Jade influencing them, but one gets the impression that these guys made their own maps. There are a few places where the band seems to flounder, but they are overwhelmed by other passages where their ability to impress is apparent and effective. It’s not a masterpiece, but it is a very unique and unusual record, and many collectors rate it very highly as a result. As only 100 were originally pressed, don’t wait for one to pop up...grab the reissue which has much better sound anyway; the original isn’t the best pressing.
Of the two compilations of unreleased material, The Latimer Sessions (a double CD release) is highly recommended. While Proto Bohob is what one would expect after hearing their 1969 album, this double CD of later recordings is a real revelation. The Patron Saints definitely got better and better over the next few years-the quirky, underground vision is still there, but their ability to render the ideas as a band is markedly improved. With well over two hours of material to offer, this is remarkably consistent throughout. Incidentally, in case you figured the band was moving up in stature during this period, perish the thought! They were actually demoted from the living room to the basement!
Eric Bergman also issued two solo albums that fall outside the scope of this particular review: Modern Phonography (Patron Saint PS-1), 1978, and Sending Out Signals (Patron Saint PS-2), 1982. Both albums have been compiled on CD with bonus material (Patron Saint PSCD-102/103), 1998.
Jon Tuttle passed away in 1994.
The Patron Saints’ Reflections On A Warm Day can be found on Love, Peace and Poetry, Volume 1.
* we did actually, in an obviously deluded and naïve manner!
Here's another one...
PATRON SAINTS - The Latimer sessions
2-CD. Unreleased sessions from folk hippie psych American group with freaky songs, close to childish. Can imagine these dropping mushrooms and having a good time. Includes loads of rare tracks, demos etc...