The official discography reports the album "In the Heat of the Night" as the first Pat Benatar's record. Actually the first recording on vinyl dates back to 1974 with the single Day Gig.Released from Trace Records in the period when Pat lived in Virginia, Day Gig literally transudes the atmosphere of that time.
In the same year Pat will join Coxon's Army, a cabaret band on the Richmond (VA) club circuit. The evidence on vinyl about this cooperation is the "Live from Sam Miller's Exchange Cafe" album (1974) where Pat sings the following songs: Respect, If He Walked into my Life, Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man and the medley Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show/ Yes We Can Can.The destiny wanted that in Coxon's Army Pat met Roger Capps (at the right side of the picture) who played bass in the band for the first years of her extraordinary career.
All the songs that Pat sang at that time nothing had in common with the style that took her to success. That's why in "Synchronistic Wanderings (Recorded Anthology 1979-1999)" Pat and Neil, personally involved in the realization of the project, didn't include them in the compilation.
However the Pat's vocal endowments were already tangible and some sonority of that time, maybe unconsciously, will retake in "True Love" (1991).
Now if you desire to plunge into the past and hear Day Gig and it's B-side Last Saturday, click on http://www.benatar.it/ENG%20FOLDER/1974eng.htm . (It's necessary a high speed connection).
And finally we add an important witness from www.lindaronstadt.com:
This is a 1974 live LP recording made in conjunction with the broadcast of a
local PBS TV special. It features a performance by the band, Coxon's Army.
What makes it interesting is that one of the vocalists is a 21 year old Pat Benatar.
Coxon's Army (Phil Coxon) was the house band at Sam Miller Exchange Cafe, a rather
preppy establishment in Shockoe Slip, then a freshly renovated section of Richmond, Virginia.
Just looking at the song titles is enough to make most Benatar fans scratch their heads:
Theme From Shaft
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man
Theme And Variations Unfinished
If He Walked Into My Life
Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show/Yes We Can Can
Pat sings lead vocals on some, back-up on others, and a few are instrumentals.
I personally don't care much for this style of music, and I have never felt
comfortable at Sam Miller's, but I gotta give props for the inclusion of
the technical/recording details on the back cover:
For the technical freaks, all microphones used were Shure dynamics except top drums and
piano which were AKG or Neumann condenser types. The recording was made using
Dolby "A" noise reduction at standard level on Ampex 406 mastering tape. The tape was
recorded on a Scully 280 recorder.
The first generation master was edited and the master lacquers cut directly from it. This
resulted in a cleanliness only surpassed by direct recording on the disc. It was an
engineering pleasure...Nick Colleran
Album recorded live at Alpha Audio, Richmond, VA
Album Cover photograph:
Bruce Alan Breitstein
Graphic Design and Art Direction:
We were distributors for this album and a single containing different material. Most of the
copies that were actually sold went to people at their shows, but we stocked about 75 copies
of the 400-500 total pressed. We probably returned about 60 copies when we settled the
account. Six or seven copies filtered back to us from retail record shops after the account
was closed. IOW, for our efforts, we actually sold maybe 7 or 8 copies, and took a total loss
on almost that many....We lost a few bucks. We almost always did with local distribution.
We usually helped out local acts, by stocking their product. Dave Mathews Band, House Of
Freaks, Robbin Thompson, Ron Moody and The Centaurs, Steve Bassett, Fighting Gravity,
D'Angelo and even a young Pat Benatar were all local artists that we distributed...in addition
to all the countless other artists that I will never be able to remember.
Those 6 or 7 copies that we were stuck with, ended up in our cut-out room, where
we hoped to eventually get $1.00 or $1.25 for them. But they stayed there, unwanted
by any record shops for years. Then just before Pat's debut Chrysalis album was released,
I decided to round up the remaining ones, thinking we could finally sell them thanks to
all the "local girl makes good" news-buzz. The General Manager told me not to bother with
it. "Just sh*t-can that old junk...Nobody wants it". So that's how I ended up with 5 copies.
One of which had the Sam Miller label...indicating that it wasn't even from our pressing run
(which were all on Trace Records)....but was from the batch sold directly at their shows.
Over the next few years, I gave away 4 of my copies to friends that were Benatar fans.
Thirty years ago we couldn't even get a buck for these LP's. Now they sell
for $500. Why the heck was I giving my extras away?!?
I knew several people in the band. The drummer, Bobby Antonelli, I knew first, as
his wife (girlfriend back then) was the singer in another band that I was associated with.
Through Bobby I met Roger Capps. Roger and I had some common musical interests,
and he would hang out at my place and jam in the basement where I kept my drum kit.
Another bass player (Harvey...can't remember his last name) also lived there, and he
had his equipment in the basement as well. There was a homemade PA down there. Can't
remember if that belonged to Harvey or one of his other musical buddies. Roger and
Harvey already knew each other, and he would often use Harvey's bass amp.
There were always different people showing up to make noise in the basement, including
Pat on a few occasions. I remember she hated that PA, and was afraid of the scurrying
critters down there. Beyond that I have no particular memory of what she sang, ect.
She probably only came over 3 or 4 times, and only sang maybe once or twice. She was
still married to Dennis back then, and they lived only a few blocks from me in Richmond's
Fan District. Roger was the one who was always more interested in playing rock music,
it seemed...more so than Pat or any of the others in Coxon's Army. That may be far
from the actual facts, but it's the way I remember it from my limited perspective.
Roger hung out with us off and on for about 6 months I think. Don't know the exact
dates, but I moved from that house in the summer of 1975...and I'm sure none of them
ever came out to my new place in the country.
Roger Capps of course became one of the founding members in Pat's band when she
signed with Chrysalis, and remained her bass player and occasional songwriter for the
band until 1984. Phil Coxon went on to work with several big name artists. Mike Ess
played with the Canadian-based band Lighthouse before returning to Richmond as the
house guitarist for the same studio that recorded this album. In addition to teaching guitar,
he is the coordinator of Virginia Commonwealth University's jazz guitar performance program.
In an interview in the April 1999 issue of ICE Magazine, David Tedds, the Compilation
Producer for Benatar's Synchronistic Wanderings Anthology CD, said that the artist
requested that this material not be used...that "those songs were just so different."
Probably a good decision....