October 14, 2006

Further Adventures In Spelling

"How Do You Spell Love" (M. Boxley, J. Strickland, B. Patterson)
Bobby Patterson. Paula 458, 198? (1972)

Although this is a 1980s re-issue of the original 1972 single (#362), with a different flip (“Recipe For Peace”), I was still glad to have found a copy of it while digging the piles down here last year. The only version I had prior to that was Margie Joseph’s great cover on her eponymous first Atlantic LP from 1973. Of course, some of you may know this song too from the Fabulous Thunderbirds’ blues version in the early 1980’s. As a matter of fact, Paula 458 may have been re-issued because of the attention the T-Birds brought to the song.

I am fairly certain that
Bobby Patterson cut “How Do You Spell Love” at Sound City studio in Shreveport (northwestern Louisiana) using the fine house band, who could throw down some serious funk at a moment’s notice and were led by Tunisian-born bassist Louis Villery. Originally based in Dallas, TX, Patterson had signed with Stan Lewis’ Jewel/Paula family of labels in Shreveport about a year prior to this release. There he teamed up with Jerry Strickland on various songwriting and production projects. Besides recording his own Paula material, which included the 1972 LP, It’s Just A Matter Of Time, he and Strickland, worked with many other artists during the 1970’s. In 1972, they also started the off-shoot label, Soul Power, which issued some classic sides of original material by the Sound City studio band, recording as the African Music Machine. The duo also wrote, produced and recorded the remarkable female soul singer, Tommie Young (who Patterson had discovered in Dallas), as well as Baton Rouge vocalist George Perkins.

As others have remarked, “How Do You Spell Love” has a feel similar to what was getting cut at Malaco in Jackson at the time, particularly King Floyd’s sides arranged by Waredell Quezergue with their syncopated interplay of instruments; but, funky as this track is, the drumming doesn’t quite match the grooves dished by Malaco’s James Stroud (who was originally from the Shreveport area, by the way). Still, this is a good ‘un', with a central guitar riff that sinks its hook in early. Patterson sounds totally inspired, too, letting rip some intense screams, particularly the spine-tingling one at the bridge about 1:35 into the song. On the basis of that one, you could almost rename the song, “How Do you Spell

I’ve been seeking out other examples of tracks cut at Sound City from the early to mid-1970s, and will be bringing you more of the ones with a decent funk quotient later on. But, for now, get to work on your lesson – listen and repeat until you’ve got it learned.

Note: Patterson's pre-Paula material can be found on CD here and several examples can be heard at the Soul Club.

Your spelling instructor, Mr. Patterson


Blogger Larry Grogan said...

Another great one Dan, This was issued in the UK in the early/mid 70's on the Mojo label.

3:31 PM, October 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the Thunderbirds LP with this song at that time it was quite a big hit. The sound of Jimmie Vaughan is exceellent on that one a unique blend of leslie cabin hooked to a Super Reverb amp.

The original version by Patterson is very nice, that's great to discover the original of song that you like
Great feature Dan Thanks !

I received saturday my DVD From Big Easy to Big Apple and was quite dissapointed by the content. To little funky stuff on that one there is some good moments but not really as funkier as I expected, still a good thing to buy it anyway !

3:36 AM, October 18, 2006  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Glad you liked hearing the original, Jipes.

About the 'Big Apple...Big Easy' DVD and show. I hope I didn't imply in my review that this show was an all-out funkfest. I don't think I did. Not all New Orleans music is funky in the strict sense (if there even is one) of the term, anyway. That's just the element that I (and you, and most of the rest of us here) seek out and respond to the strongest.
But, even without it, much New Orleans music is high quality, moving, and infused with great spirit. This show, featuring many non-New Orleans acts, was a tribute to that spirit, an outlet for some of the displaced artists, and a way to raise funds for the relief effort. That's why I talked it up. As you say, it is worth having anyway, just for that.

Stay tuned, I'm going to be talking about some funkier new releases and re-issues coming up.

10:05 AM, October 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dan
the T-Birds recorded it Twice

1 on T-Birds Rhythm produced by Nick Lowe 1982
2 on HOT Numbers produced by Dave Edmunds 1987

thank you for this great blog

11:47 AM, October 18, 2006  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Thanks for that T-Birds update, bbb. The song's so nice, they recorded it twice!

Good to hear from you.

4:08 PM, October 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No worries Dan, you explained it very nicely but still I was a bit left with my hunger I was hoping something different.

I like very much the Dixie Cups that was the first time that I saw them, and also Dave Bartolomew with the Dirty Dozen and Elvis Costello rendition of The monkey was great

For sure it's a great footage and I understand that the first goal was to get some fund raising no problem !

I'm waiting for your new post with a lot of pleasure ;o)

By the way do you like John Mooney ? I'm a big fan of his music it's raw delta mixed with the new orleans second line rythmn it's fantastic

3:21 AM, October 19, 2006  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Yeah, jipes, John Mooney is great. He's really got a sound all his own and can groove. He's my second favorite slide player after Sonny Landreth; but their styles are different - one's not really better than the other. I've seen him live many times and interviewed him on my old radio show back in the 1990's.

9:49 AM, October 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to hear Dan, it's another common ground between us beside the New Orleans funk ;o)

4:08 AM, October 20, 2006  

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