Year of Release: 1966
"I just come up from Hades/ To mingle all among you ladies/ Shake hands with the devil..."
There's an attention grabbing first line for a single if ever I've heard one. By 1966 the music buying public had already been treated to a wide variety of artistes using diabolical imagery to turn heads, so this single won't have been anything new - but I'd be willing to bet that it still upset some folks in certain quarters.
There again, perhaps it was actually just largely ignored by the radio DJs for other reasons, but I find that staggeringly hard to believe for a single so good. "Shake Hands With The Devil" is a piece of mod soul which seems from the very first play as if you've known it all your life - and whilst this may be because it falls back on a few cliched riffs here and there (the "Mustang Sally" descend, for example) it also swings thrillingly. The organ screeches, the vocalists scream, whilst beneath a steady, nagging rhythm maintains law and order. It's the kind of raw and dancefloor friendly sound you'd expect from a single emerging from the USA at this time, but amazingly Patterson's People actually stemmed from the incredibly dull Aylesbury, whose only real claim to fame to this day is being Bill Drummond's retirement town.
The B-side "Deadly Nightshade" has been given rather more attention by compilers of sixties rarities compilations over the last ten years or so, which is baffling as it doesn't sound like anything particularly special to me. It does admittedly have a slightly more psychedelic sound, however, which may add to its appeal to collectors of that genre.
As for Patterson's People, this was their only single. If anyone saw them play at the time or knows what became of them, please feel free to enlighten me and the other readers - certainly, of the British acts I've heard doing material of this style from this period, this record makes them sound like they would have been a very convincing live proposition.
Sorry for the pops and crackles at the start of "Shake Hands With The Devil", by the way. They do clear up after the first few seconds.
(This blog entry was originally uploaded in February 2012. Since then, we've found out that the group contained David Wenden among their personnel, who eventually moved to South Africa to continue as a folk musician, sadly passing away in 1980 at the age of 37. Other members included Patsy Archer and brother Art Archer, with Jim Alabaster on bass guitar. Regretfully, Art Archer also died in Aylesbury in 1988).