Bobby Valentino

'Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake'
Released by Handmade Music on 18th July 2011

Available to order at Amazon

Bobby Valentino’s new album, “Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake”, is Handmade Music in the true sense of the term. What you hear is what the musicians played and sung at the time: no computers, no synthesisers, no sampling, no auto-tune and no drum machines were used in any way. This more traditional approach adds liveliness and an organic heart that makes the music breath in a very natural way. It does exactly what it says on the tin.

"Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake" is a very individual album showcasing as it does a particular take on a very stylised series of songs. Bobby Valentino has co-written twelve of the fourteen songs on the album and is backed by a stellar band that also features cameos from Martin Belmont and B J Cole. The songs hark back to an era where swing held sway, suits were sharp and lyrics were too.

Nobody who has seen Bobby lead his Americana-style band, Los Pistoleros , will be surprised that he has moved from being a sideman and into the spotlight. On “Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake” it’s Bobby’s singing and song writing that comes to the fore. He’s definitely a born-again golden throated crooner in the Bing Crosby, Dean Martin vein giving it a lot of suave over tunes that evoke the pre-rock era and hint at the swing jazz of Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. Sixty years ago he would have been a huge star – “looks like Gable, sings like Crosby”.

Why is it called “Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake”? Bobby says “It’s a quote from The Road movies; with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, you know “The Road to Rio” or “…Morocco” etc. I wanted to call the album; Land of Hope and Crosby’ but that title has already been taken by Sid Griffin & The Coal Porters.

In the last few years Bobby has:
• written and recorded 2 albums (”Triggerhappy” & “Cult 45”), and toured, with his Americana style band, Los Pistoleros;
• recorded an album (“Eclectic”) and toured with Big Country;
• eaten in some of the world’s best restaurants with Mark Knopfler as well as playing many shows with him;
• played a few shows with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers;
• acted in a couple of movies and TV commercials.
• went all the way to the High Court to gain a writing credit on the Bluebells“Young At Heart”
(he wrote the violin hook-line);
• had some wonderful times with Rolf Harris;
• appeared on TOTP (sadly missed) a few more times as well as the usual round of TV shows.

Some of the tracks on “Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake” were released as part of “This is Murder” (another quote from the “Road” movies) in Japan in 2004 and did very well, this encouraged Bobby to organise a release in the UK and Europe.

Bobby wanted to release “Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake” in 2005 but an R’n’B performer stole his name - so the lawyers made some more money! Bobby Wilson (now known as Bobby V, so it’s Bobby Vee’s turn to have a go at him) is known as The Midget in R’n’B circles because he’s only 5’ 2” and since he wanted to be a heartthrob and needed a good name to make up for his lack of stature he presumably decided to ignored the results of a Google search and called himself Bobby Valentino. Cue another bonanza for the legal profession.

The real Bobby Valentino is from a musical family; his mother was a very good singer and violinist who would have become professional if WW2 hadn’t gotten in the way and his sister is the Oscar winning film score composer and arranger Anne Dudley. The only time they have collaborated was on the sound track of the Stephen Fry film “Bright Young Things” but the scene they worked on ended up on the cutting room floor.

He began his career in music in 1975 as a founder member of the Fabulous Poodles recording 3 albums with them and touring extensively in the US and Europe. The band had a great cult success in the UK but they were even bigger in America. As the Fab Poos shelf life came to an end Bobby began to be in demand as the session violinist - working with anyone who craved the sound of horsehair on catgut, including the likes of Haysi Fantayzee (“Shiny, Shiny”): the above mentioned Bluebells: Bronski Beat; Cliff Richard and the Young Ones; Red Box; Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; Bob Dylan; Mark Knopfler; Big Country; Sinead and Des O’Connor; The Christians; The Men They Couldn’t Hang; Bob Geldof; Billy Bragg; Alabama 3 and even ended up doing TOTP with The Woolpackers and B*witched.

We asked Bobby to say a few words about each track:

1. The Man Who Invented Jazz (Valentino/Birch)

Will Birch sent me the lyrics in the post and the letter arrived on a Saturday morning. The lyrics were so great that I had finished the song before I finished my first cup of tea of the day!
It's my attempt at writing a melody in the style of George Gershwin but we played it too fast for anyone to notice. In fact we were determined to make the record shorter than 2 minutes long and kept playing it faster and faster until it came in at 1:58. It’s packed with so much interest, though, that it seems longer”.

2. No Smoke Without Fire (Wangford/Valentino)

“I wrote this with Hank Wangford for a musical, C.H.A.P.S., which still holds the house record at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East.

I was accidentally “shot” during the show and had to act a totally over the top death scene. This wasn’t the first time I’d died on stage.

3. Sweet Temptation (Travis/Stone)

“Written and first recorded in 1946 by Merle Travis. This song has a history in both Country music and Rhythm & Blues, even Isaac Hayes recorded it in 1964.

It is one of the few songs published by Elvis Presley Music Inc.”

4. I Made My Excuses and Stayed (Valentino/Birch)

“Another Will Birch lyric that arrived by post but this time finding a melody took a little longer. When it did come, about 3 days later, it was all in one flow of inspiration - much to the annoyance of my long suffering girlfriend who was waiting for us to go out to dinner at the time”.

5. Pink City Boogie (Valentino)

“The third in a trilogy of Pink City songs: The Fabulous Poodles used to do the Pink City Twist and Los Pistoleros did Pink City Polka.

Pink City is a chemical plant in the desert of East California, and since it was impossible to disguise it or hide it they painted every part of it pink! Including the fences and a railway that runs around the edge, this even does tourist rides. We discovered it when touring with the Fab Poos in the late 1970s. That’s Martin Belmont on the twangy, surfy guitar”.

“I suppose it could also refer to Jaipur or Toulouse as they are both known as Pink City (from the colour of their soil and bricks respectively)”.

6. You’ll Be Sorry (Valentino/Birch)

“This came from hearing a child chant “You’ll be sorry” - in the sing-songy way that they do - and the rest of the tune just followed. But it took a few years to actually get it finished, with the help of Will”.

7. A Way With Women (Valentino/Birch)

“Another of Will’s witty lyrics that I had no trouble relating to and I had great fun recording”.

8. Is A Bluebird Blue? (Valentino/Birch)

“This is actually a 12 bar blues in the sense that it’s bluesy and the verse is 12 bars long but there are ½ bars all over the place to make the lyrics fit the melody”.

9. Walking After Midnite (Hecht/Block)

“I know of no version of this song sung by a man so I decided to put that right”

10. Fancy Meeting You Here (Valentino/Clark)

“This song is written about someone I know, but she’s still alive – just”

11. Every Now And Then (Valentino/Clark)

“Described as a “stiff upper lip heart-breaker” it’s about a girlfriend who is no longer on this mortal coil. It’s complete fiction”.

“The solo is from B J Cole showing us how versatile the pedal steel guitar can be”.

12. Just Good Friends (Valentino/Clark)

The song was inspired by Neil Kinnock; in the House of Commons when replying to
Maggie Thatcher he said “I refute and despise what the Prime Minister implies” so I wrote the tune with those words - before making them more acceptable for a song.

13. Guaran-damn-tee (Valentino/Clark)

“The title comes from a interview we did with the lead singer of a band called The Waggoneers for the Channel 4 TV series “Big, Big Country”. He said; “if you play Dwight Yokham on the sound system I'll “Guaran-damn-tee” you the dance floor will be full”. I couldn’t resist writing a song around that word”.

“This is the only track on the CD that could be considered “Country”. In fact, though, it is in a style called Western Swing which was very popular in the South Western states of the USA in the late 1940s and early 50s and became part of the DNA of Rock’n’Roll. Those guys were called “Jazzers in cowboy-suits” as they were playing similar music to the jazz on the East coast but using violins, steel guitars and accordions instead of brass”.

Gary Clark, my co-conspirator, recorded a version in a soul style to show the connections between the two types of music”.

14. The Man Who Invented Jazz – extended (Valentino/Birch)

“It was decided that the short version of this song was going to be a single so we recorded an extended version a couple of days later. We'd made the obligatory video and the director only realised that it was a different recording when he tried to edit a longer version of the promo to it and it didn’t match”.

The musicians who made “Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake” are:

Mark Flanagan (Jools Holland) – guitars
Richie Robertson (Fabulous Poodles) – bass
Jim Russell (Curved Air, Human League) – drums and percussion
Bobby Valentino: singing, violins, viola, mandolin and guitar


Martin Belmont (The Rumour, Nick Lowe) – Guitar on track 5.

B J Cole (Everybody) – Pedal Steel Guitar & Fender Stringmaster on tracks 11 & 13.

Alan Dunn (Rolf Harris, Bob Geldof) – Piano Accordion on track 12.

Engineered by George Shilling.

Produced by George Shilling and Bobby Valentino.

Recorded at Livingston Studios, Woodgreen and Gibson Wood Studios, Deptford.
Bobby Valentino and band will be playing a number of dates over the summer to help promote the release of "Pat-a-Cake,Pat-a-Cake," details will follow.

Available to order at Amazon