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Ottilie: Star of County Down Paperback – 1 Apr 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Broomfields Publishing (1 April 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0956810837
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956810830
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 15.2 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 650,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Born in Comber, a tiny Ulster town, Ottilie Patterson rose to be regarded as the greatest Blues singer to emerge outside America. So talented was she that she received acclaim and acceptance from American Blues audiences themselves, as well as audiences in Europe. This book traces her story from early days of performing in Ulster, through her Hollywood-style arrival on the jazz scene with the Chris Barber Jazz Band, to triumphant performances at all the main concert venues on both sides of the Atlantic. Her story is not without its unhappy, dark moments however, and follows the lines of the stories of many jazz greats. Persistent bad health, a failed marriage and the stress and strain of hectic touring schedules eventually caused Ottilie to withdraw from performing and spend the latter years of her life in the relative solitude and calm of Ayr in Scotland. Ottilie is a reminder to us that extraordinary things sometime come to us dressed in quite ordinary packaging, and is an encouragement for us to see what can be achieved through determination and strength of character. Additional Information Ron Cassidy lives in Manchester, England. He spends a good deal of his time as a retired Church of England clergyman writing about jazz, his life-long passion, as well as other subjects. He is a regular contributor to Just Jazz Magazine, as well as the author of Let the Good Times Roll: The Story of New Orleans.


Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first saw the Barber band in Cardiff in 1958. The singer that evening was Sister Rosette Tharpe. Sadly I never saw Ottilie perform live.
For me Ron Cassidy does a great service to a much admired singer. He describes the pros and cons of the history of Ottilie and the Barber band. The author highlights the changes in the history of Jazz in this period and gives thoughts for debate. I have been a fan of the band for many years and the book gives much information that I did not know. Ottilie's love for Chris never died despite their troubled relationship. This is well illustrated by her poem at the end of the book.
There was a strength and power in her voice which hid the frailty below the surface.
Ottilie remained true to her roots. If I had to choose one number that or me captures her longing it is 'If I h the wings of a swallow' I recognize that this is not the blues for which she was famous.
I recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
There had been no books about Ottilie Patterson before Ron Cassidy wrote Ottilie – Star Of County Down. Patterson came to fame in England when she emerged as a powerful blues singer (inspired by Bessie Smith) with Chris Barber’s trad band in the 1950s. The contrast between her slim frail appearance and her singing voice always amazed listeners who assumed from her recordings that she was a robust African-American rather than a lass from Ireland. While she recorded frequently with Barber (whom she married) for a decade and led a record as late as 1983, Ottilie Patterson was semi-retired by the late 1960s. Declining health, her divorce from Barber, depression, and years spent in self-isolation made the second half of her life anti-climatic and obscure. In his important book, Ron Cassidy unearths just about all of the information that could be found about the singer in interviews, by digging through newspapers and magazines, and adding his own observations. While there are questions that will never be answered about Ottilie Patterson, Cassidy does a masterful job of tying together all that could be found about the legendary singer, resulting in this very readable and intriguing book..
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Not a bad read, but a glaring error in the first page makes me wonder how many other inaccuracies there are. The author says that Ottilie's birthplace, Comber, is in the west of Northern Ireland. In fact, it's just a few miles from the east coast. Most "mainland" readers probably won't know - or care - anyway.
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Format: Paperback
The story told in the book is good and accurate. Unfortunately the publisher does not know about the conventions for publications. There are many examples of widow and orphan entries and some cases where section titles are on the bottom of one page with the section itself on the next.

The illustrations were mostly new to me and the discography was useful. I could have done without some of the wrtings of Ms Patterson although I understand the author's reasons for including them.
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Delivered very quickly and I read the book within one week. Excellent.
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