Christmas at the Patti is a live album, recorded at Man's Christmas party, held at the Patti Pavilion, Swansea, on 19 December 1972. 'The album features Man and Help Yourself with guests Deke Leonard, Dave Edmunds and B J Cole, together with appearances by Ducks Deluxe, The Jets, The Flying Aces and Plum Crazy.
The concert started at 6.00 PM and was closed by the police at midnight, so Man's set was truncated and, despite being the hosts, they have only 11'30" on the album, compared to Help Yourself's 24'. The six bands appearing on the album, were all linked in some way, and several performers appeared in more than one band, some of which were old bands, reformed just for the night. Those appearing on the album were all "conveniently" UA labelmates.
Originally released as a limited edition double 10" album, with a recommended retail price of £1.43, this topped the budget album chart. It was subsequently released on CD, and, unusually, re-released on 10" vinyl in Italy in 2001The Flying Aces
Martin and George Ace, a husband and wife duo, backed by members of Help Yourself. Martin Ace had previously played in Dream and Man with Deke Leonard, who had been playing with Help Yourself since he had been fired by Man earlier in the year. The song had been written earlier that day, and was only performed on this one night. Although opening the album, they were the penultimate act on the night.
The first recording of pub rock band Ducks Deluxe ever released. The band had been formed earlier in the year by former Help Yourself roadie Sean Tyla, and bassist Ken Whaley. Whaley had already left by the time of this recording and would rejoin Help Yourself about 6 weeks later.
There have been numerous bands called The Jets. This version had been a Swansea band 1964-65, and was later known as "The Smokeless Zone" who had played the Top Ten Club in Hamburg where Tony Sheridan played with them. Having had minimal rehearsal time, they chose two standards.
Plum Crazy with Dave Edmunds
Plum Crazy were a later (1968–69) reincarnation of the Jets, with Mickey Gee replacing Leonard. They were joined by Dave Edmunds. Because of the fluidity of groups in South Wales, this line up could equally have been called Love Sculpture with Plum Hollis.
Help Yourself with Deke Leonard and BJ Cole
Help Yourself had toured with Man on the Good Clean Fun tour. When Man fired Leonard, earlier in the year, he moved into Help Yourself's house, and they played on his first solo album Iceberg. Malcolm Morley then suffered depression, so Leonard temporarily joined, as a replacement, but stayed when Morley returned. On this evening, they were joined by legendary pedal steel guitar player B J Cole. The two tracks are "testament to the band's own magnificent powers of improvisation, too seldom heard on its regular albums".
Man's line up had recently undergone a major upheaval. After the successful Greasy Truckers Party (Recorded February 1972) and Live at the Padget Rooms, Penarth (Recorded April 1972) Martin Ace had left and Deke Leonard had been fired (although both were invited to this party). Clive John had rejoined, bringing with him Phil Ryan and Will Youatt, who had been playing together as Iorwerth Pritchard and the Neutrons. This new line up had just released Be Good to Yourself at Least Once a Day, and were joined by Dave Edmunds and Stan Phifer. (wikipedia)
A magnificent rendering of Man's 1972 Christmas party staged at Swansea's Patti Pavilion, Christmas at the Patti was released as a limited-edition budget-priced double-10" vinyl package, its gatefold packed with party pics and its grooves bristling with some remarkable music. No simple Man gig this -- no less than the mighty underground gatherings convened at such legendary London holes as Dingwalls and the Roundhouse, Christmas at the Patti was to be a celebration of southern Welsh rock in as many guises as they could fit in. But, whereas the result is usually filed alongside those other live remembrances of early-'70s British rock Glastonbury Fayre and Greasy Truckers, the reality is far more cohesive and, ultimately, far more enjoyable. The Jets and Plum Crazy, long dead heroes of the local scene, both re-formed for the evening, turning in singalong sets as joyous and relaxed as any music their main members went on to create -- Man men Deke Leonard and Martin Ace were members of the Jets, but you've probably never heard them play "Jambalaya" before; the great Dave Edmunds guests with Plum Crazy, and lets rip with a signature slam through "Run, Run, Rudolph."
Help Yourself, longtime friends of the headliners, also boast a couple of guests -- Leonard again plus pedal steel whiz B.J. Cole. Two lengthy tracks, a hypnotic "Mona" and their own marathon "Eddie Waring," are preserved here, and bear gripping testament to the band's own magnificent powers of improvisation, too seldom heard on its regular albums but looming larger than life in concert. Ducks Deluxe, newcomers to the scene in 1972, make their recorded debut by turning in a growling "Boogaloo Babe," while another previously unheard band, Martin Ace's the Flying Aces, are introduced via their first ever show; they open the album with the absolutely fitting "Welcome to the Party," although at the show itself the Flying Aces were the next-to-last band of the evening -- the last, of course, being Man itself. Joined by vocalist Stan Phifer and a returning Dave Edmunds, the group turns in just two songs, "Life on the Road" and "Shuffle," but both rank high in any pantheon of all-time great Man performances. Indeed, if there's any downside to the entire Patti experience, it's that the rest of the evening -- including performances from three other bands (Wally Hot Stuff, the League of Charlies, and Eyes of Blue) -- has remained unreleased for so long. After all, listeners have had multi-disc extended versions of Woodstock, Monterey, and Isle of Wight. Why not Christmas at the Patti as well? --- Dave Thompson