Jamaican Soul


2010 release. Pat Kelly possesses one of the great soul voices to come out of Jamaica. Influenced by the fantastic American singer Sam Cooke, Pat Kelly could ride over any tune that came his way and with his outstanding falsetto voice, always added a little magic to each recording. Pat Kelly (born 1949, Kingston, Jamaica) began his singing career in 1967 when he replaced Slim Smith as lead singer of The Techniques, his voice working so well with the impeccable harmonies of Winston Riley and Bruce Ruffin. Their first hit for the mighty Duke Reid stable was a version of Curtis Mayfield's tune "You'll Want Me Back" re-titled "You Don't Care," which held the #1 position in Jamaica for six weeks. Their next hit was another Curtis Mayfield cover of The Impressions' "Minstrel and Queen" again re-titled for the Jamaican market as "Queen Minstrel." Further hits followed with such cuts as "My Girl" and "Love is Not a Gamble" before Kelly, in 1968, decided to become a solo artist and hooked up with producer Bunny Lee. Bunny decided not to break the tried-and-tested formula and put Kelly on another Curtis Mayfield track, "Little Boy Blue," a style that suited his voice so well. This paid dividends and was followed with "How Long (Will I Love You)," which gave them the biggest-selling Jamaican hit of 1969. This track broke the mold in that often-used tradition where Jamaican tracks are sweetened for the foreign markets by adding string arrangements. This was reversed on this occasion, as the tune had already been released in the UK and dubbed over with strings, so it came back to the Jamaican shores and was released there. Another one of Pat Kelly's attributes was his engineering skills. Having already spent a year in America studying electronics, he put this to good use and became little-known to many as one of the chief engineers at Channel One Studios in the late 1970s and early 1980s. For this release, Kingston Sounds have focused on the fabulous singing skills of Mr. Kelly and have compiled some of his finest recording moments for your listening pleasure. The aforementioned timeless cuts of "How Long (Will I Love You)" and "Little Boy Blue" are set alongside some other killer lost classics, such as opener "It's a Good Day," "Somebody's Baby," "Give Love a Try," and "I'm in the Mood for Love." His version of "Twelfth of Never" in a rocksteady style sounds as good now as it did then. The label has also included his interpretation of the James Carr soul-hit "Dark End of the Street" which has Pat Kelly working over the same rhythm as "How Long," but giving it a different slant with these fresh lyrics. A fine set from one of the island's finest.