Self styled ‘stompblues’- man Patterson sets Razum Frazum through three suites (Ra Bonez, Ra Blubberz and Ra Bollox). Acoustic blues that works best when chronicling life close to home on the streets of his native Edinburgh. Ed Hammill meets Irvine Welsh. ‘Diddie Wah Diddie’ is a clever re- write of the Chuck Berry classic ‘My Ding A Ling’ & ‘You’ll Dae’ is a magnificent ballad delivered in the Scottish vernacular that is the real triumph of this set. With the largely acoustic format, fifteen tracks can make the record feel a little protracted but contains some great ideas throughout. Patterson, whose live shows are becoming infamous affairs, has an aggressive, gutsy style that continues to win him fans & awards all over Scotland. Razum Frazum could just be his ticket to a wider audience. –Americana UK
The Grinder's Monkey
Bloody (a)typical Its about time Sod’s Law was repealed from the statute book. I mean, you re on the ball and get sorted out with your top ten records of the year nice and early and boxed off then along comes something like this. Typical… …except this record is anything but typical. Granted a bare bones description of the music on offer doesn t, on the face of it, sound too inspiring. A singer/songwriter (ten-a-penny), strumming acoustic guitar (stop yawning over there) plays a sort of folky-blues (no, stay with me), sometimes a punky-folk (honestly, it ll be worth it) and sometimes a folky-punk-blues (no, I promise…). But we ve yet to mention the fact that on occasion he eschews the guitar completely and makes do with a mad tambourine and voice stomp ( Passenger ) and if the tambourine is too much for you then there s the voice and washboard minimalist reworking of classic Delta blues ( Your Close Friend ) or at least it would be if Lee Patterson weren t more at home gazing across the Firth of Forth than the Mississippi. There are more delights on offer: some Caledonian zydeco ( Papa Jacques ), a trip across the windswept dustbowl via Waverly Station ( Esther ) and a sort of Jake Thackery meets Mojo Nixon drinking song ( The Grinder s Monkey). There is never any sense of pastiche though Patterson takes musical stylings and bends them to his own will and the whole exercise is infused with a literate, amusing and heart-felt sense of the trials and tribulations of an ordinary, working man. No where is this better evidenced than in the hauntingly beautiful Jock Tamson in which gently plucked guitar, xylophone and bowed-string provide the perfect backing to some of the most poignant words this reviewer has heard this year. A sample: You say I ve got a nerve/and woman you d be right/you ve been getting on it every day and every night/and there s just no way a man like me could ever win/see you in another life and We line up our pints and we cuddle them like lovers/We tell each other lies and we re laughing like brothers/and there s just no way that guys like us will ever lose/like me and you and more The pensioners at Ladbrokes at the foot of the walk/they re huddling together for company and warmth/and there s just no way them old boys are gonna lose/like me and you . Of the ten tracks presented here its very difficult to pick a stand-out understated production, accomplished musicianship, literate word-smithery and an absolute sense of conviction mean that they all standout. A joy to listen to and an absolutely mouthwatering prospect live. –Americana UK
Stella Maris from Lee Patterson is focused fully on the songwriters craft covering the themes of loss, homecoming and quiet redemption.
Good things to come out of Edinburgh? To tell the truth, there’s a few and one of them is singer songwriter Lee Patterson. Finding a new album by him in a record shop in the aforementioned city was therefore the cause of much excitement.
As a live performer, Lee Patterson is dynamic and entrancing, behaving as if he is exorcising his demons using only his voice and guitar. Conversely, this album finds him in a more reflective, almost melancholy, mood. Oddly enough, this is not in the least depressing as he finds grace, honour and beauty in the subjects of his songs. Looking at life as a man who understands that for happiness to exist there must also be pain, he uses a paintbrush full of sentimentality to illustrate that journey through life. Love, redemption and death may be common themes for a songwriter but rarely are they dealt with as well as they are here with “Mary Queen of Scotch” having a particular resonance for me.
The thing I found most interesting about this album was how well it held up to repeated listening. There is little in the way of complexity in the arrangements or indeed the performance but with each listen I got more from it and perhaps even understood our Mr Patterson’s intentions a bit better. “Stella Maris” is an album of maturity but, due that underlying sentimentality, it is also a very human album and that’s an increasingly rare thing. I raise my glass to Lee Patterson. Thank you.
“Stella Maris” was Bluesbunny’s Album of the Year for 2009.