Sunday, 1 May 2011

Pray for Father Pat

The following album – yes, a whole album’s worth or terrible music – comes our way via long-time WWR contributor Ross Hamilton, who, by bringing one of the tracks to my attention recently, inspired me to search for the entire work. Thanks again, Ross, for your tireless work at the coalface of mediocrity.

Released on Glasgow Records (but not in Glasgow – I can just imagine how this rather bizarre preaching style would have gone down in the Gorbals), Father Pat Berkery appears to me to have been channelling the spirit of a not-quite-dead-yet Jim Morrison when he recorded his utterly peculiar 1969 album Prayers For a Noonday Church, reciting his cosmic, quasi-religious poetry over a trippy, psychedelic backing provided by a band named Spur. Father Berkery’s deadpan, some have called it ‘expressionless’, delivery adds to the absolute wrongness of the recording.

One of the six children of James and Mary Kelly Berkery, Patrick Berkery was born in Brooklyn, New York where he contracted polio at a very young age and was treated in and received his grade school education at St. Charles Hospital, in Port Jefferson, New York. The nuns who cared for him did such a great job that he was able to enter the seminary and pursue college and graduate studies. After ordination, Father Pat was sent to Rome to obtain his Doctorate in Philosophy. While there he majored in Scholastic Philosophy, and upon completion of his doctoral studies, returned to teach in the Connecticut seminary where he prepared for the priesthood. The author of more than 20 books on religion, he taught philosophy in various seminaries throughout the US and wrote extensively on the spiritual life before passing away in 2010, in Connecticut, at the age of 70 – his last year on God’s earth spent suing the Archdiocese for failing to pay him his pension.

Prayers For a Noonday Church was not Father Pat’s only foray into the recording studio: in 1974 he came up with the concept and was the principle researcher for the album The Rite of Exorcism (Crunch Records) although mercifully he seems to have kept his mouth shut this time during the recording process.



  1. OK, alright, I DO like this one. You have semi-redeemed the stains upon your soul, you lost lamb... Now, go forth into the froth & sin no more!

  2. This record is amazing. Just saying.

  3. Looks potentially jaw-dropping. Thanks


  4. Spur are an amazing backing band - from the country twang of "An Altar" to the swinging beat of "Baptism".

  5. Disagree. Fantastic record.


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