One St. Stephen (1975)

"Don L. Patterson was the mastermind behind One St. Stephen. Interestingly, Patterson's original artistic focus wasn't music, rather film. Accordingly, the mid-'70s found him working on a film project tentatively entitled "The Devil's Reservation". As part of the project in 1975 he went into Cincinnati's Owl Studios, writing and recording an album's worth of material (he also handled lead vocals, lead guitar, produced and designed the album cover). Word of mouth interest led Patterson to finish the project and finance a limited pressing (reportedly some 2,000 copies) for friends and acquaintances. Patterson's subsequently claimed that he made his money back within three months.

So tell us about this sought after classic ... First off, lots of reference works draw comparisons between Patterson and Jim Morrison and the Doors. Unfortunately, if you're looking for The Doors, "One St. Stephen" probably won't do much for you. True, on a couple of tracks ("November" and "Nightly Drift"). Patterson's mannered vocals bore a mild comparison to Morrison, but that was pretty much where the comparison stopped. Exemplified by original material such as "November Edgar", "Without You" and "In Your Mind" most of the album had a fairly mainstream rock sound. Blessed with an attractive and versatile voice (check out the second side where he displays his versatility), Patterson also proved an impressive guitarist and synth player. Personal favorites, the proto-punkish "You Maybe Religious" and the psych-influenced ballad "Silver Children". Unlike many rarities, this one clearly lives up to the hype (though you may not want to shell out $600-$700 for an original copy). Consistently appealing, the album also exhibits a level of production that is far above most contemporary independent sets. The album achieved considerable attention throughout Ohio and the Midwest leading to a contract offer from at least one major label. Interested in painting and film, Patterson reportedly turned the offer down." (thanks, Bad Cat Records)


dave said...

One of the all time greats!

Snuff Rider said...

Ha! I found an autographed copy of this in a Columbus, OH, thriftstore for 50 cents! (OWL Studios was based in Columbus, btw.)

It is really good, especially "November"-- pretty much Poe's "The Raven" set to "Riders on the Storm".

Crotchbat said...

Nice score!