Following this, more turns of fate occurred, with ex-G.I. Henry being whipped back off to the U.S.A by officials and Dean going down with tuberculosis (a spooky repeat). That April, the strictly instrumental 45 "Soul Sauce"/"I Wish I Could Jerk Like My Uncle Cyril" showed the band walking similar lines to Manfred Mann: airing competence but little imagination. Mike Patto, who had played with the Bo Street Runners and the Chicago Line (along with ex-Pretty Thing Viv Prince), joined Timebox after a few illustrious jams and took on a prominent role as vocalist and songwriter. When yet another drummer (Foggerty) quit, things once again went astray; luckily, however, the stool was soon filled by ex-Felder's Orioles' drummer John Halsey. Peter Halsall (now commonly known as "Ollie") was displaying a high degree of aptitude on guitar, as well as regular diversions into the vibes. His trademark sound of both searing guitar and mellow vibes was to the fore in the ensuing records. Timebox soon became a hot live act. Many who saw them claimed Timebox to be one of the first rock bands in London to really explore jazz in a rock context. A wonderful performance at the Windsor Jazz Festival on August 12, 1967, caught the eye of Decca producer Gus Dudgeon, who immediately signed them to the label's subsidiary Deram. The first 45, a fantastic version of Tim Hardin's "Don't Make Promises," was backed by the even better Ollie original "Walking Through the Streets of My Mind," which combined sharp blue-eyed soul harmonies with a psychedelic arrangement. The follow-up -- again a classic example of British soul -- was a cover of the Four Seasons' "Beggin" and reached number 38 in the charts. At the sessions that produced the hit, a slew of unreleased material -- some of the band's best -- was also recorded and airs the beginning of the Patto/Halsall songwriting partnership. All of these unreleased songs are compiled on The Deram Anthology and are essential listening for anyone with the slightest interest in quality late-'60s rock. The problem was that even Deram viewed Timebox as a pop band, and so the more experimental songs were left in the can while the silly sing-a-long tune "Baked Jam Roll in Your Eye," written for fun when the band members were drunk, was the next release in March 1969. It's styling was a little too late for the era of novelty psychedelia, and of no interest to the more rock-oriented record buyer; the flip-side, the tough "Poor Little Heartbreaker," would have been a far better choice.
By the summer of 1969, things were turning sour. The final release, "Yellow Van," was a great record and polite enough for airplay, but was banned due to the nature of the lyrics. This really was the end of the road for Timebox who had had a hard time at the best of times. The nucleus of the band merged into Patto, who released three albums in the 1970s. ~ Jon "Mojo" Mills, Rovi