Same Old Blues: Patti Lynn, Part Two

From the time she started singing in public, Patti Lynn’s vocal abilities and charm attracted the support of Detroit musicians and bandleaders such as Ford Nix, Eddie Jackson, Billy Martin, and Frankie Meadows. Click here to see Part One of the story of her music career.

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Lynn met her first husband when she performed at a Detroit car dealership. “He said, ‘I know a guy you gotta meet. His name is Eddie Jackson — a good friend of mine.’ He took me over to where Eddie was playing and he told Eddie, ‘You gotta listen to this girl sing.’ (You know, acting like a typical salesman.) … I started working with Eddie. Those were probably some of the best years of my life, ’cause Eddie was a great guy with an excellent sense of humor. And he just always had a good crowd around him. He was a lot of fun to work for.” [1]

Patti Lynn, ca. 1963, Detroit. Source: Craig Maki, courtesy Patti Lynn

Patti Lynn, ca. 1963, Detroit. Source: Craig Maki, courtesy Patti Lynn

According to Lynn, Jackson and his band worked forty-five minutes on stage and took fifteen-minute breaks all night long. Lynn sang three or four songs per set, and mingled with the crowd.

Back then, we used to party a lot after we got off work at the bar. And some of the parties would go all weekend. My ex-husband had a way of saying, “I’m gonna go to the store and I’ll be back in a few minutes,” and he might show up three days later. He was always running into somebody he knew, so he’d keep on partying. One time he called me and said, “Honey, put me on a steak. I’m on my way home.” And he called me three days later from Chicago! I can remember looking at Eddie saying, “Same old room, same old window, same old blues.”

We used to jam a lot. We’d start Saturday night, after the bar closed, and we might be jammin’ come Monday morning. I can remember one club I worked where some of the musicians were … in the back room, on cases of beer taking a nap! [laughs]

Lynn’s comment about the “same old blues” caught Jackson’s ear and he wrote “Blues I Can’t Hide.” “I’d write a line here and put away the sheet of paper until the next time something hit me,” said Jackson. It took a while to complete, but when it was done, he and his band the Swingsters cut it for the B-side of their Detroit hit “I’m Learning” in 1963. [2]

In 1964 Lynn’s husband set up a session for her at Fortune Records. “Oddly enough, [he] used to date Skeeter Davis. So he knew of this place [the Fortune studio], and of course Eddie knew of it,” she said. “They put their heads together and decided that’s where I ought to go to cut this record. They kind of made the arrangements. I was so green, I had no idea what was going on. I’d never been to a recording studio in my life.

"Don't Hang Around My Door" by Patti Lynn

“It was just a little home studio. I think that they were getting a good sound in there, compared to some of the other studios I’ve cut in since — even much higher-tech studios. I’m really amazed at the sound quality they got in there. I think Devora [a.k.a. Dorothy] Brown was onto something,” she said.

At the Fortune studio, Lynn sang as piano, steel, and guitar expertly traded solos. “Same Old Blues” backed with “One Faded Rose” was pressed on Fortune subsidiary label Hi-Q (no. 23). A disk jockey at WEXL started spinning the record, and Lynn said it reached the top of the station’s country music charts. “I was totally surprised that the record was being played,” she said. Lynn’s dissatisfaction with her vocal performances kept her from promoting the record, and it ran its course within a year.

Lynn soon joined Frankie Meadows and his band at the Wayside Bowling Lounge in Hazel Park. Lynn worked with Meadows when she cut “Don’t Hang Around My Door” b/w “The Mirror Behind The Bar” for the Glenn label (no. 3450). [3] She also sang a dab on other Glenn singles, including Frankie Meadows’ “Six Steps” (Glenn 3001) and WEXL disk jockey Jim Mitchell’s “Fillin’ In” (Glenn 3400).

Listen to: Don’t Hang Around My Door – Patti Lynn

Meadows and the band appeared on WKBD-TV Channel 50 every Saturday, around that time. “A lot of things were happening back then,” said Lynn. “We started playing bills with ‘Opry’ acts in town. We were busy. After that, a fella by the name of Paul Wade started booking me and I started doing some tours down in Virginia, Pennsylvania, [and] Ohio. I was on the road for a while.”

"Fillin' In" by Jim Mitchell and Patti Lynn

Lynn divorced her husband and moved out West. When she returned to the Detroit area a few years later, she changed her stage name to Kelly Roberts. “After I moved back to Michigan, … an old friend looked me up. Buddy Childers had been in the business back when I was Patti Lynn. I met him when I started. He came over and told me, ‘You need to get back in the business.’ And I said, ‘No, no, no.’ He kept after me,” said Lynn. “We’d go out and do benefits and jamborees with guys like Jimmy Williams. … All the musicians would go to jamborees and jam all day. Practically every Sunday afternoon there would be a big jamboree going on someplace.

“In the seventies, I started working with Roy Sparks who bought the Moon Supper Club and turned it into Nashville North. … Another local group, Country’s Pride, was hired to play there, too. Debbie Grosse of the band had an opportunity to work with Charlie Louvin, so she left Country’s Pride and the guys got a-hold of me. I worked with them for quite a while,” she said.

She remarried, and formed a band called Kelly and Country with two old friends, Chuck Neely and Jay Preston. While Lynn held down a full-time job, the group worked nightly. “[After] I moved out to Clarkston, I was coming home from Port Huron every night, six nights a week — and I had to be at my job at seven in the morning — I was so tired, I ran off the road,” she said. “I was about an inch from a big sign on the expressway, and I thought, ‘I either have to get into the business and stay in it, or work a job. I can’t run on three hour’s sleep at night.’ … Jay moved to Tennessee, and I continued with my day job. I slid back, away from the music business, and that’s where I am today. I miss it. It’s never far from my mind.”

Lynn continued to sit in with friends once in a while.After retiring from her job, she bred Ragdoll show cats. “I’m at the point where it’s all nice memories,” she said.
 
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Notes

  1. Patti Lynn interviewed by Craig Maki in 1995
  2. Eddie Jackson interviewed by Craig Maki in 1995, 1996.
  3. Mona Kerry of Shreveport, Louisiana, cut “Don’t Hang Around My Door,” also for the Glenn label (Glenn 1501).

One Comment to "Same Old Blues: Patti Lynn, Part Two"

  • Lynn Best
    July 27, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    I had to have run across her in those days. My memory just won’t connect. I worked with Chuck Neely for a while. We had a country female singer named “Sharon Lee”

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