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Bobby Patterson

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Biography

Like many other Dallas-based rhythm & blues musicians, Bobby Patterson is a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who continued the deep soul tradition of people like Otis Redding, Joe Tex, and Wilson Pickett. But unlike some of these other singers, Patterson has worked in all aspects of the record business: as a songwriter, producer, promotion man, and label owner. Patterson began performing when he was ten, playing guitar and drums. While still in his early teens, he formed a band called the Royal Rockers, who won talent contests in and around Dallas. In 1957, one of the talent contests led to a trip to California to track a single for Liberty Records, which was never released. Patterson then went on to nearby Arlington College, where one of his classmates was the son of a local record company owner. In 1962, Patterson recorded "You Just Got to Understand" for Abnak Records. The single wasn't terribly successful, but it convinced the label's owner, John Abnak, to start a soul division, called Jetstar Records. Patterson recorded for Jetstar for the next six years, becoming a talented songwriter, producer, and promotion man in the process. Patterson's regional hits, all self-penned, on the Jetstar label included "Let Them Talk" (also popularized by Little Willie John), "I'm Leroy, I'll Take Her" (an answer song to Joe Tex's "Skinny Legs and All"), "Broadway Ain't Funky No More," "T.C.B. or T.Y.A.," "My Thing Is Your Thing," "The Good Old Days," and "I'm in Love With You." In 1969, after a string of regional hits, Abnak Records folded and Patterson recorded his own self-produced album. Shortly after that, he quit recording under his own name to produce and promote records for other artists. As a producer, Patterson worked with Fontella Bass, Chuck Jackson, Ted Taylor, Shay Holiday, Roscoe Robinson, the Montclairs, Tommie Young, and Little Johnny Taylor. Patterson's songs have been recorded by Albert King ("That's What the Blues Is All About") and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, who scored a hit with his "How Do You Spell Love?" In 1995, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy gave Patterson's visibility a boost, recording his song "She Don't Have to See You (To See Through You)," on Down by the Old Mainstream, an album from his side project Golden Smog. A year later, Patterson hit the comeback trail as an artist, recording and releasing an album, Second Coming, for the soul revivalist label Ichiban. A second new album, I'd Rather Eat Soup, was released by Big Bidness Records in 1998, and while both new albums showed Patterson's voice and songwriting chops were in fine shape, they didn't do much business. But after appearances at several blues festivals and the annual vintage R&B and rock showcase the Ponderosa Stomp, Patterson's cult following grew, and in 2013 he teamed with producer Zach Ernst to cut a new album in the vintage soul style. In 2014, Patterson and Ernst struck a deal with Omnivore Recordings to release the album, and I Got More Soul! arrived in July 2014. ~ Richard Skelly
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