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Articles Home » 1975 Articles » Boxer - 1975 Below The Belt
Boxer - 1975 Below The Belt

ALBUM: Below The Belt
LABEL: Virgin
SERIAL: V 2049
YEAR: 1975
CD REISSUE: 1997, Virgin (UK), 7243 8 44342 2 9


LINEUP: Mike Patto - lead vocals, keyboards * Ollie Halsall- guitar, keyboards * Keith Ellis - bass * Tony Newman - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Shooting Star * 02 All The Time In The World * 03 California Calling * 04 Hip Kiss * 05 More Than Meets The Eye * 06 Waiting For A Miracle * 07 Loony Ali * 08 Save Me * 09 Gonna Work Out Fine * 10 Town Drunk

Featuring one of the more infamous album covers of the 1970's, Boxer were a British super group with a lot of potential and relatively little success. A quick rundown; Mike Patto spent some time with Spooky Tooth and fronting the self named Patto with guitarist extraordinaire Ollie Halsall who could previously heard with Timebox, Kevin Ayers and Tempest. Drummer Tony Newman's extensive background included Jeff Beck, David Bowie and May Blitz while bass player Keith Ellis weaved his way through forgotten hard rockers Juicy Lucy and dark prog favourites Van Der Graaf Generator. Impressed? The British press certainly was when Patto announced the formation of Boxer and with resumes as thick as a bible, how could they fail?

The Songs
Let me say first that I do like this band. Boxer played a high powered blues based hard rock that sounds fantastic cranked up to eleven even with a questionable mix. Patto, one of the great, yet sadly forgotten vocalists of the 70's sounded like a cross between Paul Rodgers and Ian Lloyd which combined with Halsall's clever guitar licks was a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, with the exception of the wonderful 'Waiting For A Miracle' which was a reworked Tempest tune, there are no surprises on 'Below The Belt'. It's all very standard rock, well done but lacking anything original. 'More Than Meets The Eye', the single 'All The Time In The World' and 'Loony Ali' are just basic tunes with stellar talent. The Faces and Free did this type of thing so much better, yet despite Boxer's failings there is something about this band and album that leads me to give it a spin every so often, naturally with beer in hand.

In Summary
Boxer would tour Britain extensively with Ace, Brand X, Widowmaker and others as well as record another album 'Bloodletting' which strangely wouldn't see release until 1979. With a new line-up including early Steve Perry supporter and former Vanilla Fudge and later Pipedream bassist Tim Bogert, the group released 'Absolutely' in 1977 followed by a three band UK tour headlined by Boxer with Crawler and Moon. Obviously it was not enough to hold the group together and the band split a short time later. For those of you looking for the original album with the cover shown above, good luck since it's very difficult to find these days. In the U.S. 'Below The Belt' featured a rather awful picture of the band on the cover and the stateside version of 'Absolutely' with a coloured eyeball was altered substandard in comparison as well which I will never understand. What fun is that?

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#1 | jeffduran on June 03 2008 16:15:43
Another example of how U.S. labels have to alter a cover - even in 1975 no less! Thanks for the info! Never heard these cats!
#2 | reyno-roxx on June 03 2008 19:46:56
I'm amazed at the censorship that, even today, exists due to puritanical US retailers within a country with the biggest porn industry in the world.
The only time I can really think of a cover being censored in the UK was when W.H. Smith (back then well known as a leading retailer of records alongside their main newsagent and stationery departments which the supermarkets have now replaced) objected to the smoking cherub on Van Halen's '1984' and had the cigarette covered with a sticker.
#3 | Harvey Mettle on June 06 2008 16:58:05
Ther's two versions of the cover shown too! One slightly more risque than the other. Also, the Bloodletting album was withdrawn on release, hence it's rarity!
#4 | jeffrey343 on June 06 2008 21:42:26
Is this the more risque version? I can barely imagine anything more over the top than this yummy
#5 | trillion1999 on October 07 2011 23:24:48
There allegedly is an even riskier version with the gloves off.Stephanie Marrian have never looked cuter IMHO.Bush and all.I hope someone finds it and upload it for everyone to admire.rolleyes
#6 | rkbluez on June 16 2012 03:05:43
Another band I'd like to see join the CD realm...hard to believe no one has done this on CD yet...or maybe I just missed it.
#7 | englandashes on August 27 2012 17:11:43
This and Bloodletting are about to be re-issued on CD (3 September), picked up Absolutely recently on vinyl and it is well worth a listen.
#8 | super80boy on April 20 2013 16:03:43
Enjoyable listen with 'All The Time In The World' being the standout. There are some other good tunes - the funky 'Hip Kiss' and the charging 'Gonna Work It Out Fine'.
#9 | gdazegod on August 19 2016 01:51:44
I had to change the cover today, due to a Google notice issued to me. Have put the non-risque cover up instead.
#10 | reyno-roxx on August 19 2016 18:23:24
Fucking hell, when did Google become the lords to be obeyed of the Internet?
#11 | gdazegod on August 19 2016 21:55:13
It's because we have a Google AdSense program running on GDM. It's a condition of service apparently. The same can be said for the 1990 Hurricane album, Scorpions 'Virgin Killer' and a few others from the 70's. Apparently the world is easily offended Dave.. lol!
#12 | reyno-roxx on August 19 2016 22:44:40
Hilarious. Well, it looks like they have a long way to go before they can completely protect the world against that image from their own search engine.
#13 | Explorer on August 20 2016 00:33:02
So Spinal Tap's 'Smell the Glove' is off my to do list then!
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