neil innes

neil innes

Ollie Halsall- Airplane Food/Caves (1979)

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Liner notes With Timebox (which became Patto and later Boxer), Ollie gained a reputation as the most extraordinary guitarist of his time. He was in constant demand as a session musician for the likes of Jon Hiseman, Neil Innes (and The Rutles), Viv Stanshall, John Cale, Kevin Ayers and, of course, John Otway. 1979 found Ollie at a particularly low point following the death of his friend and musical soul-mate Mike Patto. Apparently living in abject poverty with neither electricity nor telephone, he somehow managed to concoct these demos on borrowed equipment. They are superbly produced multi-track stereo recordings featuring Ollie on vocals, piano, synthesiser, bass, drums and saxophone(!) as well as guitar. There are no great surprises in the keyboard department which is, perhaps, a shame because I have never heard him repeat the quite incredible piano technique displayed on Patto's 'Roll 'em Smoke 'em . . .' album. The drums were Ollie's first instrument and he plays in that distinctive 'non-drummer' style reminiscent of Paul McCartney. This is not a 'guitar album' - although it features many examples of his unique approach. It is more about Ollie the singer/songwriter. The original demos fall in such a perfect sequence it is hard to imagine them not being intended as a complete album, which is how they remain presented here. Barry Monks Authorised release 2007