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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Patriarch - 1983 First Hand [ep]
Patriarch - 1983 First Hand [ep]

ARTIST: Patriarch
ALBUM: First Hand [ep]
LABEL: Ted Records
YEAR: 1983


LINEUP: Gregg Anderson - guitars, violin, vocals * Chuck Huels - keyboards, percussion, vocals * Mike Maxwell - guitars, bass, vocals * Jeff Carroll - bass, vocals * Steve Kuker - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Two Steps Away * 02 You Fool * 03 Ten Years Ago * 04 Elysium

This is one band that should have been recognised so much earlier than now. From Kansas, Patriarch have been mentioned on our sister sites like AOR-FM, Strutter, but have only come to light thanks to some of the good folk in blogspot land. I doubt you'll ever see this on CD anytime soon - originally, 'First Hand' came out as an indie only vinyl EP with four tracks only, it was financed by the band and related family members, namely Mike Maxwell's dad Ted, for whom the record label is named after. Formed in 1981 on the campus of Kansas University, Patriarch were mainly a studio band, though they did play a handful of gigs with some of the leading lights of the Kansas City scene back in the day.

The Songs
The 'First Hand' material was recorded in Gary West's home studio. West of course was one of the leading players for local heroes Shooting Star, so you can imagine that there is some reference to both them and Kansas. I'd mention Morningstar too, but I think Patriarch are just a touch heavier. So what of the four tracks? 'Two Steps Away' is a mainly guitar based affair, certainly a rockier affair than their pre-destined prog/pomp pedigree. The expected synths arrive on 'You Fool' though only fleetingly. Again, the guitars tend to dominate, but when the sound quietens down, you can hear the ivories through the mix. This one has a tight sound, think Rush, Zebra.. That sort of thing. 'Ten Years Ago' has a more symphonic style to it, the violins and pianos can be heard, and overall this is probably what Patriarch are all about. For me though, the best track is left till last. The bombastic 'Elysium' is just fantastic. Lots of staccato passages, and that organ sound is just perfect.

In Summary
According to the Strutter interview that Gabor conducted with the band, this was the only high quality release put out by the band. At one point, Patriarch came close to snaring a deal with RCA, and also had Atlantic Records sniffing around, but nothing was signed and sealed with either of them. The band parted ways in 1986, though by all accounts still keep in touch, and with today's technology being what it is, who knows, we may yet see some progress in the Patriarch camp. Certainly classic rock is alive and well, and it would be nice to see a bit of Kansas related musical history come back to life.

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#1 | richardb on August 20 2009 08:47:49
An excellent EP - a copy has recently sold for an eye-watering $368 on Ebay recently. So much for a economic recession eh?!

Richard B
#2 | gdazegod on August 20 2009 14:47:40
That works out at a grand sum of $92 per track. One very expensive purchase. Seems there is still life in olde vinyl.. shop
#3 | PAUL7 on January 03 2012 18:40:16
Killer four-tracker.
#4 | super80boy on May 25 2013 16:25:20
Finally after many years of searching for a mint vinyl copy of this, I was able to score it about 3 months ago. Fortunately i did not pay that 2009 price point, but it still goes for good three figure money. This is a great rarity of pomp rock with top musicianship and production.
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