Bobby Paterson

Bassist with Love and Money
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Robert Armstrong Paterson, bassist, songwriter and hotelier: born Glasgow 15 June 1956; married 1983 Anna Liberti (marriage dissolved); died Glasgow 23 July 2006.

In the first half of the 1980s, all eyes were focused on the Scottish music scene, and Glasgow in particular. Following on from Simple Minds' international breakthrough and Alan Horne's influential Postcard label, which launched Orange Juice and Aztec Camera, major record companies went north and signed Altered Images, the Bluebells, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions and Friends Again.

The bassist Bobby Paterson was a friend of all four bands and a member of Set the Tone, a four-piece group which scored a couple of club hits with "Dance Sucker" and "Rap Your Love" on Island Records in 1983. Two years later, Paterson joined the guitarist, vocalist and songwriter James Grant, drummer Stuart Kerr and keyboard-player Paul McGeechan - three ex-members of Friends Again - to form Love and Money. The group signed to Mercury Records and went on to have six Top 75 singles, including the edgy "Candybar Express" (1986), the soulful "Hallelujah Man" (1988) and the moody "Jocelyn Square" (1989).

They worked with the producers Tom Dowd, of Atlantic Records fame, and Gary Katz, Steely Dan's right-hand man, and released three acclaimed albums, the last of which, Dogs in the Traffic (1991), made No 30 in the Top 100 Scottish Pop and Rock albums of all time published by The Scotsman newspaper in 2004.

After his departure from Love and Money in the early Nineties, Paterson ran several bars and clubs and subsequently opened Saint Jude's, the first boutique hotel in Glasgow. He became such a ubiquitous presence on that city's scene that he was nicknamed "The Lord Provost" by his friends Ewan McGregor, Bobby Bluebell and Lloyd Cole, like him a keen golfer.

Born in the Carntyne area of Glasgow in 1956, Bobby Paterson showed musical promise as a member of the Smithycroft School Band. As a teenager, he wrote for the school magazine and succeeded in blagging an interview with Status Quo, one of his favourite bands. By the late Seventies, he was playing bass with Cado Belle - a group which featured Maggie Riley on lead vocals - and several other bands, though he only set foot in the recording studio with Sandy McClellan and the Backline and then Set the Tone in the early Eighties.

Paterson loved the work of the US producer Shep Pettibone and the remix of Set the Tone's "Dance Sucker" by the New York club DJ Francois Kevorkian. He took a keen interest in the recording process and began working as an engineer at Park Lane Studios, helping out the original line-up of Primal Scream. When Grant, Kerr and McGeechan came in to demo their Love and Money material, the Friends Again bassist Neil Cunningham was originally involved. When he dropped out, Paterson took some persuading but agreed to join the group.

An early version of the funky, groovy "Candybar Express", recorded in 1985, created some record-company interest and the group signed to Mercury and re-recorded the track, with the Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor producing. Sadly, by the time the new version of "Candybar Express" appeared in May 1986, Love and Money's sound had already moved on and, despite the best efforts of Tom Dowd, All You Need is Love and Money proved a disappointing début. In September 1986, I saw the group play an Artists Against Apartheid concert at Barrowlands, in Glasgow, where they shared the bill with the Big Dish and Billy Bragg and more than held their own with the headliners, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions.

Mercury certainly seemed to believe in Love and Money and gave them the opportunity to go and record with Gary Katz in New York. "We wanted to do something that was really classy-sounding," said Paterson, whose inventive and fluent bass-playing proved one of the highlights of a fraught recording. Strange Kind of Love, the resulting album, was eventually issued in October 1988 but Love and Money were already being eclipsed as the next big thing from Glasgow by their label-mates Wet Wet Wet and Texas. With constant touring, including dates in Japan and the United States, and thanks to the turntable hits "Strange Kind of Love" and "Jocelyn Square", Love and Money's second album did sell 250,000 copies - but it was nowhere near enough to cover the cost of the sessions. The drummer Stuart Kerr left and the powers that be at Mercury hated the follow-up, the dark and moody Dogs in the Traffic, which nevertheless made the Top Forty listings in 1991 and has become something of a cult classic.

Paterson bailed out before Love and Money's fourth album, Little Death (1994), and concentrated on managing the Tunnel, Expo, Universe and Volcano bars and night-clubs for the Big Beat group in Glasgow. Having sold his interest in Saint Jude's, Paterson had formed a new band called the Poems with the Bluebells' main man, Bobby Bluebell, who said of his late friend: "He was the most beautiful person I'd ever met in my whole life."

Pierre Perrone

Comments