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Friday, 31 January 2014

Ottilie Patterson born 31 January 1932

Ottilie Patterson (31 January 1932 – 20 June 2011) was a Northern Irish blues singer best known for her performances and recordings with the Chris Barber Jazz Band in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Anna Ottilie Patterson was born in Comber, County Down, Northern Ireland, on 31 January 1932. She was the youngest child of four. Her father, Joseph Patterson, was from Northern Ireland, and her mother, Jūlija Jēgers, was from Latvia. They met in southern Russia. Ottilie's name is an Anglicised form of the Latvian name "Ottilja". Both sides of the family were musical, and Ottilie trained as a classical pianist from the age of eleven, but never received any formal training as a singer.

In 1949 Ottilie went to study art at Belfast College of Technology, where a fellow student introduced her to the music of Bessie Smith, Jelly Roll Morton, and Meade Lux Lewis. In 1951, she began singing with Jimmy Compton's Jazz Band, and in August 1952 she formed the Muskrat Ramblers with Al Watt and Derek Martin. In the summer of 1954, while holidaying in London, Ottilie met Beryl Bryden, who introduced her to the Chris Barber Jazz Band.

She joined the Barber band full-time on 28 December 1954, and her first public appearance was at the Royal Festival Hall on January 9, 1955. Between 1955 and 1962 Ottilie toured extensively with the Chris Barber Jazz Band and issued many recordings: those featuring her on every track include the EPs Blues (1955), That Patterson Girl (1955), That Patterson Girl Volume 2 (1956), Ottilie (1959), and the LP Chris Barber's Blues Book (1961); she also appeared on numerous Chris Barber records. She and Barber were married in 1959.

Here's ' Ottilie singing "I Can’t Give You Anything But Love" from above album.

From 1963 or so, she began to suffer throat problems and ceased to appear and record regularly with Chris Barber, officially retiring from the band in 1973. During this period she recorded some non-jazz/blues material such as settings of Shakespeare (with Chris Barber) and in 1969 issued a solo LP 3000 years with Ottilie which is now much sought by collectors.

She divorced Chris Barber in 1981. In early 1983 she made a comeback. Ottilie and Chris Barber gave a series of concerts around London, which were recorded for the LP Madame Blues and Doctor Jazz (1984). She sang her last engagement in the spring of 1991. Although another tour was arranged, Ottilie decided to quit as the travelling involved was too exhausting. Erratic health has kept her off the scene since that time, living quietly in St Albans before relocating to Ayr in Scotland, where she spent her final years in Rozelle Holm Farm Care Home in Ayr where she lived in anonymity until her death on 20 June 2011.

Ottilie is buried in Movilla Abbey Cemetery, Newtonards, Northern Ireland in the Patterson family grave. Her gravestone, marked Ottilia Anna Barber, is by the wall adjacent to the car park.
In Feb 2012 a plaque marking her birthplace in a terrced house in Comber was unveiled and the same evening a sell-out musical Tribute was performed at the La Mon Hotel, Comber.  (Info edited from mainly Wikipedia)


boppinbob said...

For Ottilie Patterson with Chris Barber’s Jazzband – 1955-1958 go here:

01. Poor Man’s Blues (3:26)
02. Make Me A Pallet On The Floor (3:35)
03. Trouble In Mind (3:22)
04. Careless Love (3:31)
05. I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate (2:02)
06. Ugly Child (2:50)
07. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love (3:54)
08. New St. Louis Blues (5:08)
09. Beale St. Blues (2:13)
10. ‘Taint No Sin (2:31)
11. Jailhouse Blues (4:13)
12. Shipwreck Blues (3:45)
13. Lowland Blues (4:46)
14. I Love My Baby (2:17)
15. Kay Cee Rider (2:08)
16. Just A Closer Walk With Thee (6:11)
17. Trombone Cholly (2:41)
18. Lawdy Lawdy Blues (2:53)

boppinbob said...

Amendment: It seems the last link I used for Ottilie was corrupt.

I used an Uploaded Files link which appears to have been hijacked and re-routed to adware sites. This has now been deleted and replaced.

Unfortunately it seems that if you use any free downloads the odd pop-up does appear.

If I find a current link for an album I will test it and forward it, if there isn't I usually upload to Mega where there seems to be no pop-ups at all.

Donald Sevier said...

Hi Bruv Thanks for the advice re the Ottilie Patterson LP. I have it all sorted now. Don