Pat Kelly stays current

Sunday, August 19, 2018

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Pat Kelly is wary of tags. He dislikes being called an “oldies” or “vintage” artiste, and refuses to be boxed in the eras that made him famous.

“Let me say this, come to my shows and you'll see that's it mainly young people in the audience — that's been going on for the last 20 years,” said the singer. “That happens abroad 'cause if yuh sey the name Pat Kelly in Jamaica, many people don't know is who.”

Kelly, who is in his 70s, has been recording since the mid-1960s. His career started as a solo act for his schoolmate and producer, Bunny Lee, but his first taste of success came as a member of rocksteady group The Techniques for producer Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label.

With The Techniques, he sang lead on hit songs like I Wish it Would Rain and Love Is Not A Gamble.

During the 1970s Kelly had several hit songs including Talk About Love and Night And Day. In the 1990s, he was part of a revived Techniques alongside former members Johnny Johnson and Lloyd Parks, who helped spark a rocksteady renaissance.

Kelly cut back on live dates last year due to illness, but recently returned to the stage at one of reggae's biggest festivals.

“I was on the (Reggae) Geel Festival, which was fabulous. I took some time off to recover from illness so it was really great to get back on track again,” he said.

His comeback continues on August 24 at San Diego City Soul Club in San Diego, California, where he is headliner of a show that also has the Night Doctors and Mochilero All stars on the card.

The following day, he is scheduled to perform at Los Globos in Los Angeles with The Scratch Outs and The Cap Souls.

Though he is best-known as a Curtis Mayfield-inspired vocalist, Kelly also holds a degree in audio electronics from Massachusetts College of Technology. He has worked as an audio engineer on recording sessions for Gregory Isaacs, Delroy Wilson and Johnny Clarke.

— Howard Campbell

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