The Patron Saints, creators of the legendary 1969 LP Fohhoh Bohob, had a long-anticipated reunion in 2000. That event sparked a strong desire to go into the studio and record a brand new Patron Saints album, and the following crew happily signed on for the project: Eric Bergman (original member), John Doerschuk and Kirk Foster (from the Latimer Sessions period), Jeff Alfaro (original Patron Saint drummer before Paul D'Alton on Fohhoh Bohob), and Roy Ellingsen (guitarist from the group Garrison, which was basically a re-named Patron Saints, 1978-1980), so it truly was to be a real Patron Saints album.
They decided to revisit a couple of songs from the Latimer Sessions, Fly Away and In The Mourning, both of which they felt deserved a rethinking from a "grown-up" perspective, Good Friday, an old live favorite from the '70s which was never recorded in the studio, a few from the '80s which had never been recorded, and some brand new songs. As a special treat for Fohhoh/Proto Bohob fans, there's also an early '70s demo recording by original Patron Saint and Fohhoh Bohob co-writer, the late Jon Tuttle, which was given the "Beatles-Free As A Bird" treatment, i.e., other instruments were added to Jon's demo to make it a finished production.
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It's a rare thing when the debut album by a group and its follow-up effort are separated by decades rather than by months or even a few years — but even rarer still when that second effort turns out to be just as enjoyable as the first. Thus the case with Time and Place, the engaging release by the reunited Patron Saints that appeared in 2005, 36 years after their cult classic Fohhoh Bohob. Wisely, the group — centered around the stalwart Eric Bergman but featuring many fellow veterans of both the original Patron Saints and its follow-up group Garrison, all of whom appear in the liner notes in then-and-now photo sets — don't aim to recreate Fohhoh and its air of rushed, precocious joy and reflection. This isn't the music of young teens with dreams, but of older musicians confident in their own style and content to do just what they want to, and like that first effort released by themselves, do-it-yourself to the end, though now with a much fuller sound thanks to studio recording rather than an informal home setup. So much for the circumstances of its creation but the music itself? It's downright engaging to hear the band surge confidently from the start with the glistening charge of "Don't Turn Away," as engagingly inventive a pop-rock creation as any with its sweet spiral of guitar and John Doerschuk's keyboards, Bergman's steady delivery and the final drum break from A. Jeffrey Alfaro. From there the quintet kicks up a gently inspired storm, from the garagey sass of "You're Dangerous" to the beautiful meditations of "Fly Away" and the epic scope of "In the Mourning" (though perhaps the echo on the vocals is a bit melodramatic!). Bergman's songs themselves date from 1970 to the present, making the album feel like a time capsule that deftly encompasses multiple experiences and approaches. One track deserves particular mention — "Home," featuring original Patron Saints bandmate and songwriter Jon Tuttle, who also took the striking cover photo. Recorded circa 1971 as a demo, his dreamlike performance gets a deft, elegant backing from the reunited band — allowing him a rightful spot on an album he never had the chance to hear, having sadly passed on in 1994. It's a fitting acknowledgement of his role in this band's remarkable story, one that hopefully has not yet concluded.