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Ottilie Patterson query

24 Feb 03 - 01:20 PM (#897457)
Subject: Ottilie Patterson query
From: GUEST,Leonard

Ottilie Patterson, the fine Irish jazz & blues singer had, I believe,
three 7" vinyl 45rpm EP's issued in the UK on the Pye/Nixa label during the 1950's. One of them was "That Patterson Girl" Nixa NJE 1012 - does anyone know the titles of the other two, and the serial numbers? Does anyone have copies. Can you give track listings for these? She had other EP's,issued by UK Decca and Columbia, I know, but I'm not concerned about these. Your help is much appreciated.

24 Feb 03 - 01:45 PM (#897492)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query

I have 'Ottilie Swings the Irish' somewhere, I think.
Will try to find it.

24 Feb 03 - 01:57 PM (#897516)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: Sorcha

Google results for Ottilie Patterson Should help.

24 Feb 03 - 05:08 PM (#897672)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: RolyH

The five Pye singles I can find are

That Patterson Girl (NJE 1012) 1956
That Patterson Girl Volume 2 (NJE 1023) 1956
Jailhouse Blues (7NJ 2015) 1958
Kay Cee Rider (7NJ 2015)   1957
Trombone Cholly (7NJ 2025) 1958

Only the first two were EP's,the others being ordinary 45's.
The only other EP's I can find were released on Columbia (UK) and Decca

25 Feb 03 - 02:53 AM (#898039)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query

Thanks Roly. Can you give the names of the tracks on Patterson Girl Vol 2 please?
Guest, thanks, but "Ottilie Swings The Irish" is on the Columbia UK Label
Sorcha, thanks, - but I trawled exhaustively through Google prior to posting this thread but was unable to find the info I require.

25 Feb 03 - 08:05 AM (#898161)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: dermod in salisbury

I can't help you with your question, but can't resist mentioning the occasion I met Ottilie Patterson in the early 1960s. I was doing my usual Friday night hitch hike from Birmingham, where I was working, to London, where my parents lived, in order to eat enough to see me through the week before I could get back again. Ah, those impecunious days! A car stopped and lifted me the whole distance. Because it was dark, I didn't recognise the Northern Irish lady in the front passenger seat, which was shameful because I am Northern Irish myself. It was,of course, Ottilie Patterson, who had been singing at a gig in Birmingham. The driver, presumably, was a road manager,or musician friend. During the trip, the unknown lady asked me if I liked jazz, and did I like any bank in particular. I think I said Acker Bilk. At the London end, she asked me if I would like to stop off for a coffee. It was only when I was in the house, and greeted by her husband, Chris Barber, that I finally realised who she was. I remember they had an amazing collection of records. We all had a good laugh, and eventually, the driver ran me back almost to my front door.   How friendly people were. Sadly, today, you are probably more likely to get your throat cut as a hitch hiker.

25 Feb 03 - 12:14 PM (#898340)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: GUEST,Leonard

Dermod, fascinating stuff. I had a mail only today saying that Ottilie Paterson is living in Scotland now and sadly is in poor health
However, I don't know the accuracy of this. She would have had her 71st birthday on 31st of Jan this year. The mail also noted a CD called "Ottilie Sings The Irish" recorded in a pub in Newtownards or in Comber, her home town.(Apparently not to be confused with the 45rpm EP she did in 1959 called "Ottilie Swings the Irish"!)Well, bless her wherever she is, I don't think she really got anywhere as much credit as she deserves as a singer,but her singing certainly gave me a lot of pleasure.

26 Feb 03 - 05:14 AM (#898955)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: GUEST,Bystander

The second EP on Nixa (NJE1023)recorded July 9th 1956. had-
'Beale Street Blues', Jailhouse Blues', 'T'ain't No Sin', Shipwreck Blues'
Most of her Pye recordings can be found on Lake Records (Fellside's jazz label) CD-LAKE LACD30 (Ottilie Patterson with Chris Barber)

26 Feb 03 - 11:26 AM (#899166)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: GUEST,Leonard

Bystander - Many Thanks for this. Now... if someone out there can just give me details of that third EP...

10 Mar 23 - 03:29 PM (#4167279)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: Rain Dog

On BBC 4 this evening at 21.00
Also available now on the BBC player

My name is Ottilie

Soul singer Dana Masters traces the story of Ottilie Patterson, who for a dazzling few years in the late 1950s and early 1960s was a pioneer of British music.

One night in 1959, a 27-year-old female singer took to the stage at Muddy Waters' renowned blues club in Chicago.

After a stunning set, a member of the rapturous African American audience called out: 'Hey lady, you sing real pretty. How come you sing like one of us?'

The singer was Ottilie Patterson. And she wasn’t black. She wasn’t even American. She was from the small town of Comber, in County Down, just ten miles from Belfast. A rising star of British jazz and blues music, she was the acclaimed singer with the Chris Barber Band who paved the way for bands like The Rolling Stones and The Pretty Things, inspiring their passion for American blues.

Why did Ottilie, who became the UK’s first female blues singer to achieve near pop status and perform with legends like Muddy Waters, Ella Fitzgerald and Sister Rosetta Tharpe, disappear from the story of British music?

Singer-songwriter Dana Masters sees in Ottilie a woman whose story, in many respects, mirrors her own. Not just their shared love of jazz and blues, but how Ottilie travelled from Northern Ireland to find acceptance as a singer in black America, with Dana making the journey in reverse, to build a life and career in Ireland.

Featuring Jools Holland, Jacqui Dankworth, Dick Taylor (The Pretty Things), Stu Morrison (The Chris Barber Band), and blues musician Ronnie Greer, and a revealing, never-before-heard interview with Ottilie Patterson.

Dana discovers the challenges Ottilie faced as a woman in music in the late 1950s and 1960s, and the cost of a career devoted to performance, in a film which reclaims her rightful place in the history of British music.

10 Mar 23 - 06:48 PM (#4167299)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

I watched the programme and disagreed with some of the claims made.
Otillie was not the first female singer of blues in the UK. Neva Raphello preceded her as did Beryl Bryden.

I am also hard pressed to think of any British singers who were inspired by her.

I agree that many people enjoyed what she did but the Barber Band was one of the most popular and the longest enduring on the British and international jazz scene with or without Otillie.

16 Mar 23 - 05:30 AM (#4167686)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

I agree with the last post about Beryl Bryden but I also fondly remember one 100 club visit to see Chris B band after she'd left when Otillie turned up unexpectedly and did a set. Only Stu Morrison, the banjo player, remembered her repertoire straight away so it was a duet till the rest of the band caught up.

16 Mar 23 - 08:45 AM (#4167702)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query

I have in my collection an album on the budget Marble Arch label (Marble Arch – MALS 648) called Ottilie's irish Night The tracklist is -

A1                Accordion Medley
A2                Hello, Patsy Fagan
A3                Captain Fisher
A4                The Stack Of Barley
A5                The Colleen Dhas (Cailin Deas)
A6                The Magpie
A7                The Oul' Man From Killyburn Brae
B1                The Ould Lammas Fair
B2                Eileen O'Grady
B3                I Know My Love
B4                Let Him Go, Let Him Tarry
B5                The Inniskilling Dragoon
B6                Accordion Reels
B7                The Valley Of Knockanure

None of the musicians playing on the album are credited on the sleeve notes.

16 Mar 23 - 10:49 AM (#4167709)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: Rain Dog

Ottilie Patterson, Comber Lass


Towards the end of 1958 Ottilie had a notion to make an album of her own with some of her Irish friends. She had this to say at the time: "Some bright comedian once said that there were no Irish people left in Ireland anymore, that they were all abroad singing about it. While not actually true, such a statement is very near the truth, for after four years as a singer with Chris Barber's Jazz Band I myself began to feel the pull of "The Oul' Country". I just wanted to forgot jazz and city life for a while. and nave the pleasure of singing a few of the old songs that all Irish people like to sing when they get together, and also to sing one or two which might all too soon be forgotten."

          To enable her to make this record she sought the help of George Boyd back in Newtownards. "Ottilie was looking for a drummer and an accordionist. Although I was learning drums with the CLB Band I didn't think I was good enough. However, I did manage to get two musicians from Holywood, Norman Connor and Martin Fitzsimmons who went across to London." The LP was called Ottilie's Irish Night which includes such numbers as Hello Patsy Fagan, Inniskilling Dragoon and The Oul' Lammas Fair. George is pleased that his name is credited on the sieve of the LP.

          George Boyd of Glenbrook Road. Newtownards doesn't hand out musical plaudits readily However, make mention of Ottilie Patterson and the knowledgeable follower of traditional jazz music will credit her as having been one of the best in the business. "For me she was the epitome of female singers of her era. and her deep voice also enhanced the Barber Band to make a really good outfit."

These remarks arc borne out in a 1955 edition of the musical magazine Melody Maker which describes Ottilie as Britain's Bessie Smith (the great American blues singer who died following a road accident in 1937). while no less a person as Louis Armstrong is quoted as saying; "That gal puts me in min' of Bessie Smith."


16 Mar 23 - 11:46 AM (#4167716)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: Vic Smith

GUEST Date: 16 Mar 23 - 08:45 AM was me

16 Mar 23 - 01:25 PM (#4167727)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: Rain Dog


Notes by Ottilie Patterson

Some bright comedian once said that there were no Irish people left in Ireland any more, that they were all abroad singing about it. While not actually true, such a statement is very near the truth, for, after some years as a singer with Chris Barber's Jazz Band I myself began to feel the pull of "The Oul' Country". I just wanted to forget jazz and city life for a little while, and have the pleasure of singing a few of the old songs that all Irish people like to sing when they get together, and also to sing one or two which might all too soon be forgotten.

Once this idea got into my head, I was unable to think of anything else, and I eventually coaxed Denis Preston, my Recording Manager, to give me his support in the production of an Irish record. He agreed, or rather capitulated, submerged under the wave of my enthusiasm. Having now gained permission to go ahead with the plan, I found myself lacking in one thing -- the right kind of accompanying music; but after a distress signal to George Boyd (a trusty friend at home) I was able, on his recommendation, to obtain the services of an accordionist and a drummer -- Norman Connor, and Martin Fitzsimmons. These two courageous gentlemen agreed to free themselves from their commitments for two days, and set out for London to have a shot at recording with me. And they were courageous, too, as this was their first excursion beyond Ireland's shores, to the somewhat "Great Unknown".

Consequently, there I was, on a dull Thursday in November, at Euston station, looking for a man with an accordion case, for I had never before met either Norman or Martin. The instrument case was my only means of identifying them among the other passengers alighting from the "Shamrock Express". Well, I wasn't mistaken, I did find them; and that afternoon at my flat, when they first played to me, I discovered that my friend had not been mistaken about them either. He had found me two great musicians, who to me, were nostalgic reminders of Christmases and happy Saturday evenings spent with my whole family, in the little white-washed County Down farmhouse of my grandfather -- himself a skillful melodeonist and fifer.

My plans for recording were at first no more ambitious than to sing a few plain vocals with musical accompaniment, and to bring along my sister and two Irish friends, to help counteract the paralysing effect that the studio always has on "First-timers" and perpetually nervous people like myself. However, when I heard Norman's first few bars on the day of his arrival I knew that I couldn't let them go back to Ireland without giving a few more of my compatriots a musical treat. So, after some hurried last-minute telephoning, other friends were rounded up, and invited to join us the next evening in the studio.

At seven o'clock then, on Friday, we all trooped into a big bare studio, which seemed to us more like an operating theatre—just a handful of us, some microphones and a piano. It was enough to intimidate even the most blase professional. But the thoughtful Denis Preston, anticipating this, had kept something on hand for those of us who needed warming up, and for those others who "liked a wee taste" anyway.

Thus the evening began. The record apparatus was switched on and left to run without let or hindrance, for the next two hours, while we had a really "Irish-night", as it indeed turns out to be; for no sooner had the music struck up, than everyone immediately forgot to be overwhelmed by the disquieting atmosphere of a studio, and started to have some fun. I am glad to say that any spontaneity captured on this disc is completely genuine and we did not re-record things time and time again, in order to "get them right". Voices can be heard singing out of tune, and certainly my own voice could not have held out a minute longer than the time allotted to the recording, owing to all the singing, squawking and shouting I contributed during those two mad hours. Yes, there was plenty of hilarity with plenty of Irish rowdyism, and after all what could be more truly "Irish" than to start off the whole proceedings with a Scot's Tune!

NORMAN CONNOR, our 34-year-old accordionist comes from Holywood, Co. Down, and when at home is busy with his mobile grocery business by day, and quite a few evenings each week can be heard with his own six piece band, well known to dancers throughout many Counties.

MARTIN FITZSIMMONS, our drummer, a 23-year-old clerk in a Belfast shipping office, plays in Norman's band, and as well as playing in Irish traditional style is a jazz drummer besides. Indeed, we had some trouble to keep him and Chris Barber (our bass player for that evening) from breaking into jazz duets!

CHRIS BARBER was a last minute musician on this occasion, and turned up late (a personal idiosyncracy of his) through having had to dash across Town to borrow a double-bass. But we could not possibly refuse him admission to our party for, after all, his grandfather was a Monaghan man!

I don't really know how I got mixed up with playing the piano -- but anyhow I did, so that any heavy handed vamping on this record must be attributed to me. The evening started off with mostly accordion and vocals by myself, but as time passed a few guests became less self-conscious and "did their piece".

GEORGE CAMPBELL and GERARD DILLON are both well-known artists living in London, but as can be judged from this record painting is not their only accomplishment. Both have a natural unaffected style of singing with richly flavoured Irish voices, and also the faculty of producing very funny asides -- which unfortunately had to be left out of the finished record! Gerard, although known to me by name, I had not met until that night when he was brought along by George, his close friend. George, from Wicklow, I met one day nine years ago at a Belfast exhibition of his and Gerard's paintings. We chatted together for a while, but I never saw or heard from him again until one night last year when he was re-introduced to me by a reporter friend in a London jazz club. Gerard is also an excellent guitarist in the Spanish idiom, and he, accompanied by his wife Madge, spend six months each year in Spain painting and playing the guitar.

MADGE CAMPBELL and Gerard Dillon danced for us, and all the performers were encouraged and egged on further by my sister and two wild young Irishmen, RON CUNNINGHAM and WALTER "DIXIE" FISHER. Ron is a lorry driver, shortly to turn professional motor cyclist and "Dixie" at this moment is another unemployed Irishman with a capacity for loquaciousness and liquid intake equalled only by George Campbell!

All these people joined in the choruses, "yeeooghed" and yelled and whistled with characteristic Irish abandon, and one or two quiet English visitors who had dropped in soon crept off looking dazed and bewildered.

Not to be overlooked in the making of our record are the recording engineers who sat patiently working during our two hours of fun.

Well, that was our night out, and I hope you'll enjoy joining us.


19 Apr 23 - 02:30 PM (#4170301)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: Rain Dog

Article in The Guardian today

Ottilie Patterson, the forgotten first lady of British blues

19 Apr 23 - 04:18 PM (#4170306)
Subject: RE: Ottilie Patterson query
From: Felipa

today's article (link in previous message) and the Guardian obituary give somewhat different versions of how Otillie Patterson joined Chris Barber’s Jazz Band.