Pat Kelly

How has it taken us this long to get around to speaking on the iconic Pat Kelly? That’s a question you’ve probably asked yourself and one we’ve certainly asked ourselves. The man is one of the greatest ever vocalists in Jamaican music. He had to be really. His first gig was stepping into the shoes of Slim Smith when Slim left The Techniques in 1967. There isn’t many who’ve had to fill a bigger role in music history. Sure there’s Dennis Edwards trying to replace David Ruffin in The Temptations. But Edwards had already been recording at Motown with The Contours for years. But that’s a story for another day. Not only did Kelly fill the shoes of Slim, he threw those fuckers out and decided he saw a nicer pair, ones which fit him perfectly. As good as The Techniques were during their Slim Smith led days, they reached their recording pinnacle while fronted by Pat Kelly. Guided by Duke Reid, and recording out of his Treasure Isle studio, The Techniques released such classics as “Run Come Celebrate”, “Queen Majesty” and “You Don’t Care” over the course of the next year. Most groups would be lucky to have that kind of output in their entire career. Kelly realized the affect his vocals were having on the success of the group so in ‘68 he decided to branch out and he needed a new producer, what with the infamous temper of Duke Reid to contend with after leaving The Techniques. Bunny Lee was that new producer. Now if you’ve read this website for a bit, you may know we’re sort of fans of Mr. Lee. If you didn’t happen to know that, you have some reading to do. Lee and Kelly had a special connection that led to some of the best tunes ever put out in the rocksteady and reggae eras. Much like Leslie Kong and Desmond Dekker, the two simply clicked with one another and produced some magic. The “Pat Kelly Sings” LP put out by Pama is in our top 3 greatest reggae LPs of all time. You’d do well to find many albums of vocal reggae that are any better. Let’s just put it in perspective: “How Long Will It Take” (if you haven’t heard it, what’s wrong with you?) was the biggest selling Jamaican single of 1969. Now think how many classics came out that year. Makes sense now?

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