PATAKAS – When You’re Ready (WildGoose WGS441CD)

When You're ReadyWith stunningly unfortunate timing When You’re Ready arrived the day after we put this month’s Singles Bar to bed. A day earlier and it would have taken pride of place so in the circumstances we had to break a few rules. The circumstances are that Patakas are Joe Sartin and his brother Will, sons of the late, much lamented Paul Sartin and the fact that the EP is already in circulation and wouldn’t wait another month.

This isn’t a vanity project, despite the fact that the producer, Doug Bailey, is the boys’ grandfather. In fact, it’s a surprise that they haven’t recorded before now. The opening track is the well-known ‘Spanish Ladies’ given an earthiness by Joe’s vocal performance. I’m guessing that it’s guitarist Joe singing lead while Will decorates their music with sparkling mandolin. Of course I could be wrong. They follow that with a pair of jigs, ‘Horizonto’ and ‘Mystery Inch’.

‘Country Carrier’ is a song that I was sure was contained in Folk Songs Of Old Hampshire but I was wrong. It was actually written by music hall performer, Harry Clifton, which makes it probably the best fake folk song you’ll ever hear. To it is added a tune written by Will. It was once recorded by a band that included another Sartin relative, The Yetties. ‘Thresherman’ is also known as ‘The Nobleman And The Thresherman’ and ‘Honest Labourer’ and has been recorded by The Copper Family, Peter Bellamy, Belshazzar’s Feast and Faustus who rewrote it in a minor key. Patakas perform it in this way with ringing mandolin by Will.

‘Temperly Hornpipe’ is another tune pinched from Faustus and it is paired with ‘Bye A While’ which Will learned from his band, Out Of Hand. Finally we have ‘American Stranger’, a song with a Scottish background that pre-dates the American revolution which explains the stranger identifying himself as “royal”, presumably meaning royalist. Versions were collected and compiled in Hampshire, hence its appearance in the Sartin repertoire. It’s paired with Paul’s ‘Princess Waltz’.

As a debut recording, When You’re Ready is a very fine piece of work and if you ever worry that the folk movement may be running out of steam I urge you to listen to Joe and Will.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website:

‘Horizonto/Mystery Inch’ – live:

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