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Groucutt, Kelly - 1982 Kelly

ARTIST: Groucutt, Kelly
ALBUM: Kelly
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2009, Renaissance Records, RMED-258 (with bonus track)


LINEUP: Kelly Groucutt - lead vocals, bass, guitars * Bev Bevan - drums, percussion * Richard Tandy - keyboards * Mik Kaminski - violin * Louis Clark - orchestrations

TRACK LISTING: 01 Am I A Dreamer * 02 Oh Little Darling * 03 Dear Mama * 04 You Don't Need To Hold Me Tight * 05 Black Hearted Woman * 06 Midnight Train * 07 Don't Wanna Hear That Song Again * 08 Anything Goes With Me * 09 Can't Stand The Morning * 10 Old Rock & Roller * 11 You've Been Telling Lies * 12 Sea Of Dreams * 13 I'll Cry For You Tonight

Electric Light Orchestra bassist Kelly Groucutt can be first heard on the band's 1975 release 'Face The Music' and on songs like the classic 'Nightrider' as well as later gems 'Sweet Is The Night' and 'The Diary Of Horace Wimp', Groucutt left his unique vocal stamp, but how much of an influence he had in the songwriting process and ELO is questionable. He left the band during the 'Secret Messages' sessions not happy with his royalty payments, taking both Jeff Lynne and management company to court where he won a sizable sum, but was it enough? While Lynne is credited for creating the ELO sound, just how much the other members had a hand in its development is open for debate. For Groucutt, his tenure in the band clearly seemed to have had a major influence on his style, or was it something as darkly sinister as cashing in on his former employers coat tails?

The Songs
When this album came out, I was of the latter category believing this was just way too much ELO to be taken seriously. With 'Discovery', the 'Xanadu' soundtrack and 'Time' still fresh in the gray matter due to regular play on my old turntable, I tucked the album aside, arrogantly scoffing at this wanna-be Jeff Lynne. Of course, time changes everything and sometimes softens hearts. Years later and sometime after ELO had released the synth poppish 'Balance of Power', I pulled 'Kelly' out of the collection, dusted it off and was pleasantly surprised how good it was while reminiscing over how much I missed the ELO sound of old. Indeed, Groucutt follows the Jeff Lynne blueprint to a tee with no room for expansion whatsoever. With former band mates Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy, Mik Kaminski and strings provided by Louis Clark, I guess that wasn't the point and from opener and single pick 'Am I A Dreamer' to the country pickin' funk of 'Midnight Train' to the utterly charming 'Anything Goes With Me', Groucutt felt he was a big part of ELO's sound and this LP was Kelly Groucutt's moment to shine.

In Summary
I recall Groucutt lip-synching to 'Am I A Dreamer' on the 'Solid Gold' TV show, but I don't believe there was any sort of tour to back the album. A brief lull in activity lead to Electric Light Orchestra Part II and eventually The Orchestra, which came to an end following Kelly's death in 2009. The Renaissance label, in what appeared to be a total cash-in, reissued 'Kelly' later that year with horrendous sound quality and poor graphics. Avoid at all cost and search for an LP copy which I guarantee sounds better.

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#1 | jefflynnefan on August 19 2010 01:25:48
It really is a great album Eric! Kelly proves he can do it too. One of the great tracks on here is a bonus one called 'Black Hearted Woman' which isn't on the orginal USA album. I think every song on here is a good one. If you like the ELO sound buy this! Orkestra (KG's later band) is good too. They have a song called 'Some Kind Of Magic' that is a real winner as well. Thanks for reviewing this album it is so deserving IMHO.
#2 | Eric on August 19 2010 03:16:44
It's a keeper and from what I've seen, the original European cover was different too. Kelly self-released this on CD at one point as well with yet another variation on the cover art.

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