Sunday, 26 October 2014

Kelly Groucutt - Kelly (1982)

Now, I know this album was released just outside the scope of this blog (usually late 60's to mid 70's), but, musically it fits right in and it's a little taster for my next Bite It Deep 1980's special mix coming in the next week or so.

Michael William Groucutt (aka Kelly) started his music career in 1960, aged 15 as a guitarist in a rock and roll group called Rikki Storm & The Falcons, playing parties, weddings and dances throughout the year. Now called Rikki Burns & The Vibras called it a day in 1961. Kelly Groucutt went on to play in numerous bands over the next decade including Greenwich Village, Marble Arch, Sight And Sound and Barefoot.

It was during his stint in Barefoot that he was noticed by fellow Midlander, Jeff Lynne who asked him to join the Electric Light Orchestra as a replacement for Mike de Albuquerque, who had just quit the band. Kelly would appear, as bass player and backing vocalist on the following ELO albums; Face The Music, New World Record, Out Of The Blue, Discovery, Xanadu and Time.

By 1980 Jeff Lynne was playing the bass parts on new ELO recordings himself, reducing Kelly's recorded input to merely backing vocals. By this time he'd learnt a trick or two about songwriting and with enough material for an album, Kelly went to Pasadena, California along with, Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy, Louis Clark and Mik Karminski to record and produce (executive producer, Peter Kuys) his solo album which sounds, not suprisingly like ELO!

The resulting album "Kelly" (released on RCA Records in 1982) isn't as well known as an ELO one, but it deserves to be. Every track here is a winner, loaded with lashings of melody, anthemic choruses and hooks a plenty. If Lynne would have allowed album opener "Am I A Dreamer" onto an ELO record it would have been a hit for sure, but without the familiar name on the sleeve, Groucutt's album fell by the wayside, known only to ELO die hards.

Groucutt remained a member of ELO until 1983 when he sued Jeff Lynne for £300,000 over unpaid royalties. When Lynne split the band in 1986 it was Kelly that kept the band going (under name variations like ELO Part II, The Orchestra etc) right up until his death in 2009 of a heart attack.

No comments:

Post a Comment