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Patriot - 2009 Love Worth Defending

ARTIST: Patriot
ALBUM: Love Worth Defending
LABEL: Retrospect Records
YEAR: 2009
SPONSOR: Retrospect Records


LINEUP: John Thoennes - vocals, bass, guitars * Kevin Pederson - vocals, keyboards * David Levin - keyboards, keyboard bass * Mike 'Curly' Smith - drums

Additional Musicians: Peter Diggins - lead guitar * Bruce Kurnow - harmonica * Pat Makin - tenor sax * Todd Matheson - trumpet * Larry McCabe - trombone * Scott Nelson - congas * Rick O'Dell - alto and baritone sax

TRACK LISTING: 01 She Is The One * 02 Forever Together * 03 Arms Of A Stranger * 04 Melanie * 05 Photo Star * 06 Borderline * 07 I Can't Get Over You * 08 Unchained Love * 09 (My) Heart Won't Hide * 10 Lost And Found * 11 Love Worth Defending


On any given weekend throughout the USA, many bands will be plying their trade - playing clubs, bars, warehouses, outdoor venues etc. It's been this way for years, and Minnesota band Patriot was one such band that eeked out a living back in the late 70's and 80's doing just this. Formed as far back as 1977, the trio of John Thoennes, Kevin Pederson and David Levin have travelled all around the nation, giving punters a full dose of their west coast/AOR sound complete with two keyboard rigs. The band made do without a fulltime lead guitarist and drummer for awhile, though they did recruit Mike 'Curly' Smith two years prior to the release of their one off 1984 album 'Love Worth Defending', which was originally put out by Criminal Records (serial C-1013). Recently reissued by Retrospect Records with a different cover, this is another of those hard to find indies that has had justice given to it with a CD reissue.

The Songs
The interesting thing with this album is the use of traditional brass instruments on a couple of the tracks, which might suggest a Chicago comparison, but that's not the case. 'She Is The One' includes a smattering of aforementioned brass over the top of a typical AOR arrangement. 'Forever Together' is a fantastic track in the vein of debut album Foreigner, ripping off 'Feels Like The First Time' is some parts, but the rest is superb stuff. I wasn't too keen on the euro styled pop of 'Arms Of Stranger', there were some unusual passages apparent, the use of harmonica didn't quite work for me nor did the dinky drum patterns. The ballad 'Melanie' was just too melancholy in a Celestium sort of way. Much better is the bright 'Photo Star', taking a 70's British pop stance, this style definitely works for them! Changing direction once again, we get the 80's AOR of 'Borderline' which touches on the style/sound of guys like John O'Banion. Very cool indeed. 'I Can't Get Over You' is a singalong tune that sits smack in that crossover late 70's/early 80's period, somewhere between power pop and radio rock. Sorry to say 'My Heart Won't Hide' is insipid lounge bar fare, what were they thinking? 'Lost And Found' might confuse punters with its zany use of keys and sequencing, while the closing title track 'Love Worth Defending' is a mild mid-tempo workout, try combining 38 Special with Bob Seger and churn it through a Muscle Shoals production desk, and this is what it sounds like. Not great, but not a entire cop-out either.

In Summary
Some strange arrangements and use of instruments. The drums must have been recorded in the back parking lot because they are quite ineffectual here. There is good use of keyboards, and Patriot do seem to be a keyboard heavy band, but when you consider other 'similar' outfits of the day, and I'm talking the likes of Dakota and Beau Coup here, 'Love Worth Defending' is a bit behind in the quality stakes. To be fair, this was probably recorded on a limited budget and didn't have the sort of resources behind them that other bands did, so good on them for getting out there and doing it, when many others were only 'talking about it'. But because this album has two superb tracks in 'Forever Together' and 'Borderline', this band gets the GDAZE seal of approval!

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#1 | Eric on April 28 2010 13:27:47
I was shocked to see the Patriot stuff reissued. I saw 'em live once, thought they were a generic bar band (which they really were) and wasn't too impressed. Forgot about 'em until a couple years ago and saw the LP going for silly money.

You nailed thier sound above George. Not the best AOR the Twin Cities ever produced...
#2 | gdazegod on April 28 2010 13:58:52
I can imagine. The original production didn't help, plus a couple of naff tracks. 'Photo Star' and 'I Can't Get Over You' may be good tracks for your 70's oriented selected ears Eric. They are quite catchy for all those old 70's fans.. like tonissive for example..

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