Bobby Patterson: “I Got More Soul”

Befitting his outsized personality, Bobby Patterson has worked every angle in the music business: singer, songwriter, producer, DJ, and label owner. Patterson came up a teen sensation in Dallas, penning and scoring modest hits like “T.C.B. Or T.Y.A.” and “Let Them Talk.” His hard-edged soul drew comparisons to Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, but Patterson developed his own ear and feel for a variety of styles. In the ’70s, after self-producing his own work, he teamed up with Fontella Bass, Little Johnny Taylor, and dozens more. Bluesmen like Albert King and the Fabulous Thunderbirds covered his songs, and even Jeff Tweedy of Wilco lent his voice to a Patterson original with the alt-country supergroup Golden Smog in 1995.

A new generation of listeners found Patterson on the airwaves through another medium. For years, he spun classic R&B on the Dallas station KKDA, building a big following thanks to his outlandish stories and old-school DJ interjections. After being unceremoniously let go in 2012, Patterson got back to performing and recording, and he soon linked up with Zach Ernst, guitarist with Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears and the Relatives. Ernst and Patterson recorded an album together, but it sat on the shelf for sometime while Patterson negotiated a more favorable record deal. “I’m not gonna sell my soul over it,” he told The Dallas Morning News last year, speaking like a true veteran of an industry that hasn’t always been kind to him.

Yet Patterson is a veritable survivor; a remarkable SXSW performance in March led to a new contract, and now comes his latest comeback, I Got More Soul. Recorded with an ear for his past hits, the album finds Patterson undiminished in his fire or personality, despite his seventy years of age. That experience lends true personality to the title track, today’s song of the day.

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