NPR Story
6:35 am
Sat July 26, 2014

Bobby Patterson's 'Got More Soul,' Heart And Spirit

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 11:32 am

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Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

When it comes to music, Bobby Patterson is an old soul.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG, "I GOT MORE SOUL")

BOBBY PATTERSON: (Singing) Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Someone get the hose from Ms. Annie Rose because she's hotter than a $2 pistol.

SIMON: Bobby Patterson got his start in the 1960s at the height of soul and rhythm and blues. His new album is called "I Got More Soul."

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG, "I GOT MORE SOUL")

PATTERSON: (Singing) I got more soul. I got more soul. I got more soul.

SIMON: Bobby Patterson now joins us from the studios of KERA in Dallas. Thanks so much for being with us.

PATTERSON: Well, Scott, it's my pleasure to be here. I see you said I'm an old soul - threescore and teen and I'm still going to win.

SIMON: Threescore - that's 70 years old isn't it?

PATTERSON: There you go.

SIMON: I had to take off my shoes to add that one up. You don't sound 70.

PATTERSON: Why, thank you. I have a young heart and a young spirit. And I try to keep up with everything going.

SIMON: You have been a recording artist - obviously - performer, producer. You've been a DJ.

PATTERSON: Right.

SIMON: How does that all add together and make you the performer you are?

PATTERSON: Well, it all adds up into experience. You know, I've been behind the scenes as the A and R man, a writer, a producer, promotion man - everything that you can do on the flipside. And also, when I did the DJ thing, I tried to make people happy. This is a pleasure for me to do this at my age, you know? It's not so much of a business thin, you know. I get fun out of it. And it's a gift from God that I use wisely. I like for everybody that comes to see me - be around me - to have fun. Because, you know, a merry heart does good like a medicine. So I like, for, you know, to open up your ears and take your medicine.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOBBY PATTERSON SONG)

PATTERSON: (Singing) Because it's easy to get put out. But it's so hard, hard, hard to get back in.

SIMON: I like your medicine. Knowing music - being blessed enough to interview a lot of musicians over the years - let me see how to phrase this nicely. A lot of musicians don't get to 70, do they?

PATTERSON: Nope - most don't. And I'm a blessed person, you know, to still be around, and I give a lot of that credit to - first of all, God gets all the credit and then my mother, Dorothy Patterson, who kept a level head of me all my life, you know. I come from an environment of real strict on one side - on my mom's side - but my dad was loose, you know. When I started playing music, he had to go with me in the clubs and stuff because I was too young. I was taping a show one day. I think it was American Bandstand or something like that. It was a national TV show. And, you know, I was very excited. I was only like 16 or 17-years-old. And when I got through singing and all that, I asked my dad - I said, how did you like it? He said, when are you going to get a real job?

SIMON: Well, you were 16 or 17. And, I mean, yeah.

PATTERSON: (Laughing) That always kept a level head on me, you know. I keep it as a job and something that I enjoy doing. So whatever you enjoy doing, if you do your best, then that's all you can do.

SIMON: I want to listen to another of your songs, OK?

PATTERSON: OK.

SIMON: This is a cover of the Sly and the Family Stone original song called "Poet."

PATTERSON: Right.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "POET")

PATTERSON: (Singing) My only weapon is my pen and the frame of mind I'm in. I'm a songwriter. Yeah, I'm a songwriter.

I'm a songwriter.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "POET")

PATTERSON: (Singing) I'm a poet.

SIMON: I'm told, Mr. Patterson, you are a real hit at the South by Southwest Festival this year.

PATTERSON: Well, that's good to know.

SIMON: Well, here you are at the age of 70, and you're cutting-edge. You're with it. I mean, you're - you're what's new. That's kind of amazing.

PATTERSON: It's a good feeling to know, you know? But I can't get out the boat. I can't swim, but I can float.

SIMON: Well said, Mr. Patterson, well said. I wish I had your verbal skills, you know? I just sit there and go, oh, really.

PATTERSON: Well, it helps me to remember things. You know, I have so many lyrics to so many songs in my head over the years.

SIMON: Yeah

PATTERSON: And, you know, what I mean - getting off the stage and gaining knowledge of the business side of the record industry. Nowadays, you can cut a record in your bathroom on the cell phone. What kind of stuff is that, you know?

SIMON: And, you know, some of them are good, aren't they.

PATTERSON: Yeah, Yeah, you know there's a lot - there's a lot of good value in some of the newer stuff, but, you know, like, when we play overseas and stuff, they don't like mechanical drums, horns and stuff. They like everything original - Like to hear real people singing without the harmonizer and stuff like that. So we - this album, here - we tried to keep it real because, you know, when you accept this job, it's like any other job where you're in the spotlight. You are affecting the people that you perform for. So you need to control yourself as an entertainer and as an upright citizen. You know, I'm Doctor Patterson's pride and joy. I grew up on the corner of Spring and Troy.

SIMON: Can we ask you about another song?

PATTERSON: Come on, yeah.

SIMON: "Your Love Belongs Under a Rock."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOUR LOVE BELONGS UNDER A ROCK")

PATTERSON: (Singing) Your love belongs under a rock. I said, your love belongs under a rock. You're always trying to get the best of me - trying to make me feel small - didn't take me long to figure out you really didn't love me at all.

SIMON: It's not a love song exactly. But it is a song about life, isn't it? Let's put it that way.

PATTERSON: It sure is. I wrote lots of songs about life and I've written a lot of songs about paying attention - to love life. And some of these songs, if you really pay attention to them, they help your love life a lot.

SIMON: You do - and you bring a lot of love in life and into your music.

PATTERSON: I'm on a mission to raise your condition, not to be the cook, but own the kitchen.

SIMON: Bobby Patterson's album "I Got More Soul" - speaking with us from Dallas. You take care.

PATTERSON: Thank you. Thank you very much for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG, "I FEEL THE SAME WAY")

PATTERSON: (Singing) Well, I'm one- of-a-kind. And I'm here to shock your mind. Can you feel me? Can you feel me?

SIMON: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.