4

Livin' in the 1960s

Bobby Patterson played the Sons of Hermann Hall Saturday night. And he wore this jacket.
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A few random notes from a rare Saturday night out. The family went to dinner in Preston Royal, and when we emerged round about 7:30, the sunset sky was filled with the sounds of..."Livin' in the U.S.A." by the Steve Miller Band. "Oh, yeah," said the missus, "there's that St. Mark's Centennial thing going on," and sure enough, the former Marksman was running through a best-of on the athletic field for the low, low price of $100 a pop. So we piled in the Family Truckster, pulled around back and found us a nice public-school-attending cheap seat directly behind the stage. Woulda stayed too -- if we'd had a fresh pack of smokes and a sixer...and if, right as we parked, Miller hadn't launched into "Abracadabra." That song's magic, all right, because we promptly disappeared.

A couple hours later, we polished off more golden oldies and headed over to the Sons of Hermann Hall, where soul legend and KKDA-AM deejay Bobby Patterson played his 1960s and '70s hits like he'd just cut the songs day before yesterday. He's more than a great. The man's the greatest.

With Shibboleth as his backing band -- the M.G.'s, as it were, to his Booker T. -- and a few horn players and backup singers by his side, the 63-year-old Patterson sang the ever-lovin' shit out of all the songs that made him less famous than he oughta be: "T.C.B. or T.Y.A." (given a little blaxploitation-soundtrack edge, to boot), "She Don't Have to See You (To See Through You)," "Soul Is Our Music," "How Do You Spell Love?," "I Get My Groove From You" and more, more, more. And, good God, they whipped out the greatest song you've never heard: Patterson's "Don't Be So Mean," which is dying for a redo. Damned thing's almost as punk as Iggy Pop.

Initially the gig was to be a one-off, but we hear there'll be another show in the summer -- and, who knows, maybe even an album on which Patterson and his new friends (among them Kim Pendleton, who joined Bobby for a song) recast Patterson's old songs as young comers. Till then, here's "Don't Be So Mean," released on Dallas' Jetstar label in 1968. Oh, and Patterson also proved one thing: He can fit into the same jacket he's wearing on this album cover. Only difference: the double-breasted coat had to be recut as a single-breasted. --Robert Wilonsky

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