Welcome back, Patterson Barrett. His projects are few and far between and though he has been a constant on the Austin scene for years, we seldom hear his own projects. Let's see—there was the one Partners In Crime album some years back, a band which featured Patterson and Buddy and Julie Miller. Then there was the NewMatics, with whom he recorded one album, Up Popped Pancho!, in 2002. And now this, a bona fide Patterson Barrett solo album titled I Must Be Dreaming. Not that he hasn't been busy. Barrett has spent most of his musical life in studios and on the road with everyone from Lou Ann Barton to Jerry Jeff Walker to Chuck Berry and a plethora a top notch musicians in search of a solid utility infielder, which is precisely what he is. The man can play just about everything and play it well.
His time in Austin has served him well, but he is not all Texas here. She Won't Be Getting Any Sleep Tonight is shades of Grayson Hugh, who had this uncanny way of channeling Sam Cooke on certain of his best songs. Though Barrett does not toss in patented Cooke harmonies as does Hugh, he has that soulful way with melody and emotion. Ditto I've Been Loving You For Such a Long Time (Dana's Song), a sparse but excellent arrangement and superb resonator guitar (?) bringing out the love.
He rocks, too, or should we say, stomps. Take the Stage and Leap of Faith are as good country dance songs as I've heard in some time and Barrett brings Buddy Miller out for some classic dueling vocals (and guitar). It'll have some of us scrambling to find that rare Partners In Crime album, it's that good (it is rare, isn't it?).
Most of you won't know Denim, but in the seventies they owned a portion of Austin and it looked like they were about to bust out when—well, they didn't. A damn fine band, though, whose give away 45, Renegade, got them a major label contract (Epic) and is now a collector's item. Barrett, knowingly or not, captures their sound and feel on I Can't Have You, and why not, since Denim's Bill Browder wrote it. Barrett's version is good enough that I hopped on the search engine and scoped out Denim and, shock of shocks, they're still recording! An aside, but Barrett will appreciate it if only because he has enough class to include a Browder composition here.
He covers The Band's Sleeping with a real touch, too, and I Don't Want To Dream About You Anymore is a killer tearjerker (also having that Denim aura). And Back In My Heart has the Eagles' Witchy Woman guitar down. All good. All really good. But he shows us all where he can go with the almost Brit Pop/country hybrid "Somewhere Far Away", a light and bouncy tune of consequence (Deborah Holland hits the harmonies just right as well).
Okay. Let's tally up. He can write—exceptionally well. He can sing—pretty well. He can play-—man, he can play. Add the guests, the sound, the production, a big plus for the lyrics—minus three and multiply by five-eighths—hmmm... Yep. Damn fine stuff, this. Well worth checking out. So, what are you reading this drivel for? Do it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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