Ottilie: Star of County Down Paperback – 1 Apr 2013
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.