Music

Bobby Patterson Gets the 'Real Gone' Reissue Treatment

In 1972, journeyman soul singer Bobby Patterson released a minor soul classic, It's Just a Matter of Time, to little acclaim. With a first-ever vinyl reissue on Real Gone Music, it's just a matter of time before Patterson's album finds a new audience.

It's Just a Matter of Time
Bobby Patterson

Real Gone Music

31 January 2020

Here's an idea for the next big jukebox musical: the various illicit romantic entanglements of the residents of a small town in the American south, circa 1975. The musical backdrop for this tragicomedy would be a fine selection of vintage 1970s cheating songs straight out of the soul and country genres. Some of the tunes on the soul side of the equation would include, but not be limited to, the Soul Children's "The Other Woman", Shirley Brown's "Woman to Woman", Barbara Mason's answer song, "From His Woman to You", and more than half the songs on Bobby Patterson's 1972 album, It's Just a Matter of Time.

Wait, you say you've never heard of Bobby Patterson or It's Just a Matter of Time? Well, it's time you did, and thanks to a just-released reissue – which includes the album's first-ever vinyl reissue – now you can.

Bobby Patterson is the ultimate journeyman soul artist. Based in Dallas, Texas, Patterson began releasing singles during the 1960s. The singles weren't hits, but they allowed Patterson to learn all about the music industry, leading to a career that has included songwriting, production, promotion, label ownership, and radio work.

Patterson's musical versatility can be heard all over It's Just a Matter of Time, which demonstrates his knack for writing catchy songs and his appealing vocals. Sharp production and playing combine with the great songs and singing to make It's Just a Matter of Time a minor classic of '70s soul.

Please note that "minor" isn't a bad word here. During the early 1970s, artists like Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, and others were redefining "soul" with each new release. It's Just a Matter of Time wasn't innovative like that, and maybe that's why it didn't rocket up the charts, or maybe there were other reasons. However, It's Just a Matter of Time is a wonderful compendium of soul styles from funky workouts to pretty ballads to socially conscious anthems to mildly psychedelic soul-rock, all tied together by Patterson's personality and sharp musicianship.

Patterson opens the album with "If You Took a Survey", a song that suggests that if you did take a survey, you'd discover that every man involved in a relationship was slipping around with one or more other women and that women weren't much better at being faithful.

Besides being a fine, funky opener, "If You Took a Survey" sets Patterson up to expound on various cheating situations throughout the rest of the album. Sometimes, the narrator feels remorseful when rumors turn out to be false, as on "Take Time to Know the Truth". Sometimes, the guy is oblivious to the woman knowing all about his faithlessness, as on "She Don't Have to See You (to See Through You)". It's a song whose country-soul excellence was so apparent to Wilco's Jeff Tweedy that he covered it on one of the Golden Smog albums.

On the blues-inflected "It Takes Two to Do Wrong", a couple argues over whether a witnessed event was an act of infidelity or a sexual assault. Lyrics like, "you jumped up and said he was taking advantage of you / but from the sounds that you were making / you were doing what you wanted to do" might sound provocative now, but such lyrics may have very well escaped notice in 1972.

Elsewhere, Patterson offers cheerful advice to guys who think they're players ("Make Sure You Can Handle It") and asks, "How Do Spell Love?" (answer: "M-O-N-E-Y").

It's Just a Matter of Time isn't all about the foibles of romance and sex though. "I Get My Groove from You" is a delightful love song that might remind listeners of some combination of the Delfonics, the Stylistics, and the Chi-Lites, without sounding overly derivative of any of them. Meanwhile, Patterson expresses idealism in the breezy "Recipe for Peace", while also noting warily that "This Whole Funky World is a Ghetto" on the album's psych-rock closing track.

Two caveats about It's Just a Matter of Time. This has strictly been a review of the music contained on the album, not the vinyl record itself. But hopefully, the vinyl sounds fantastic, as the music deserves it. While this is being called a reissue of It's Just a Matter of Time, it would appear from online photos of the original album cover that the tracklisting is slightly different from that of the original album. A song on the original, "Quiet! Do Not Disturb", does not appear on the reissue, which contains two songs – "Take Time to Know the Truth" and "It Takes Two to Do Wrong" — that were not on the original album.

Since many people will be hearing It's Just a Matter of Time for the first time, this song discrepancy is not an issue; in fact, the infidelity theme is even more explicit on the reissue. However, original fans of the album, if any happen to be out there, ought to know that what they're getting now is slightly different from what they might remember.

But these are tiny details. Anyone who loves 1970s soul music needs to hear It's Just a Matter of Time, and maybe even dig a little deeper into Patterson's discography, which stretches back to that series of small-label singles Patterson recorded in the 1960s, through to at least 2014, when he released I Got More Soul! – clearly, truth in album titling.

8
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

The 60 Best Albums of 2007

From tech house to Radiohead and Americana to indie and everything in between, the 60 best albums of 2007 included many of the 2000s' best albums.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Solitude Stands in the Window: Thoreau's 'Walden'

Henry David Thoreau's Walden as a 19th century model for 21st century COVID-19 quarantine.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Will COVID-19 Kill Movie Theaters?

Streaming services and large TV screens have really hurt movie theaters and now the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered multiplexes and arthouses. The author of The Perils of Moviegoing in America, however, is optimistic.

Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D
Television

Fleabag's Hot Priest and Love as Longing

In season two of Fleabag, The Priest's inaccessibility turns him into a sort of god, powerful enough for Fleabag to suddenly find herself spending hours in church with no religious motivation.

Music

Annabelle's Curse's 'Vast Oceans' Meditates on a Groundswell of Human Emotions (premiere)

Inspired by love and life, and of persistent present-day issues, indie folk band Annabelle's Curse expand their sound while keeping the emotive core of their work with Vast Oceans.

Music

Americana's Sarah Peacock Finds Beauty Beneath Surface With "Mojave" (premiere + interview)

Born from personal pain, "Mojave" is evidence of Sarah Peacock's perseverance and resilience. "When we go through some of the dry seasons in our life, when we do the most growing, is often when we're in pain. It's a reminder of how alive you really are", she says.

Television

Power Struggle in Beauty Pageants: On 'Mrs. America' and 'Miss Americana'

Television min-series Mrs. America and Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana make vivid how beauty pageants are more multi-dimensional than many assume, offering a platform to some (attractive) women to pursue higher education, politics, and more.

Hilary Levey Friedman
Music

Pere Ubu 'Comes Alive' on Their New, Live Album

David Thomas guides another version of Pere Ubu through a selection of material from their early years, dusting off the "hits" and throwing new light on some forgotten gems.

Music

Woods Explore Darkness on 'Strange to Explain'

Folk rock's Woods create a superb new album, Strange to Explain, that mines the subconscious in search of answers to life's unsettling realities.

Music

The 1975's 'Notes on a Conditional Form' Is Laudably Thought-Provoking and Thrilling

The 1975 follow A Brief Inquiry... with an even more intriguing, sprawling, and chameleonic song suite. Notes on a Conditional Form shows a level of unquenchable ambition, creativity, and outspoken curiosity that's rarely felt in popular music today.

Music

Dustbowl Revival's "Queen Quarantine (A Home Recording)" Is a Cheeky Reproach of COVID-19 (premiere)

Inspired by John Prine, Dustbowl Revival's latest single, "Queen Quarantine (A Home Recording)", approaches the COVID-19 pandemic with wit and good humor.

Books

The 2020 US Presidential Election Is Going to Be Wild but We've Seen Wild Before

Americans are approaching a historical US presidential election in unprecedented times. Or are they? Chris Barsanti's The Ballot Box: 10 Presidential Elections That Changed American History gives us a brief historical perspective.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.