Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Paul Kelly is best known for the soul songs "Stealing in the Name of the Lord", which was a major hit in 1970, and "Hooked, Hogtied & Collared". He also wrote "Personally", which has been widely-covered, and was a hit for soul singer Jackie Moore, as well as country singers Karla Bonoff and Ronnie McDowell. Other songs have been covered by gospel artists, including the Mighty Clouds Of Joy and The Staple Singers.
Kelly was born in Overtown Miami, Florida, the fourth of six siblings. Kelly was brought up by his grandmother. In about 1956, Kelly's brother Henry formed a vocal group, with Paul as lead vocalist. It only lasted a few months, before Henry left Miami to go to college. Paul then formed a group with school friends from 20th Street School — The Spades, later known as The Valadeers. Another member was Jimmy Cherry, who later sang with The Fantastics.
In 1960, Kelly went left the group to go solo, recording the standard, "I'll String Along With You" for Dade Records, which was never released, following a dispute between Kelly and the label. A Miami-based singer/songwriter/producer, Clarence Reid (who would later perform as Blowfly), heard Kelly rehearse and asked him to fill in on lead vocals with his group, The Delmiros, whose lead singer had laryngitis. Kelly recorded a single, "Down With It, Can't Quit It"/"Sooner Or Later", which was released on Selma Records in 1963, under the name Clarence Reid & The Delmiros. Kelly began performing the song live in clubs and became associated with the song. Reid asked him to join The Delmiros on a permanent basis.
Kelly's official debut solo single appeared on the Lloyd label in 1965, and featured the classic soul tune "The Upset (inspired by the surprise boxing victory of Cassius Clay over Sonny Liston.) The track features big, dramatic horn stabs, chunky rhythm guitar, and a compelling, bold arrangement that make it a standout from that era.
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