Born in 1949 in Kingston, Jamaica, Pat Kelly was one of the island's leading purveyors of the rocksteady genre. The Curtis Mayfield sound-alike took Slim Smith's place alongside Bruce Ruffin & Winston Riley in the Techniques around 1966. The group recorded some fine covers of soul music especially Impressions tunes. The new Technique lineup debuted with "You Don't Care" a remake of the Impressions' "You'll Want Me Back," which they later recorded under the correct title. "Minstrel & Queen," another Impressions oldie, followed, and the Techniques were rolling with chain of hits that included "My Girl" and "Love Is Not A Gamble."
Kelly went solo in 1968, debuting with yet another Curtis Mayfield song, "Little Boy Blue." With the Techniques out of the picture, the Uniques handled the backing vocals on a series of tracks that included remakes of "Daddy's Home," "I'm in the Mood for Love" and "You Are Not Mine."
The solo experiment lasted less than a year before he reunited with the Techniques, coming out strong with a shimmering remake of the Temptations' "I Wish It Would Rain," and other rocksteady ditties accompanied by Hopeton Lewis on some, and Winston Riley on others. In 1969 he decided to go solo again and came out with a reggae version of James Carr's "Dark End of the Street," then "Since You're Gone," and others including "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye." Kelly bounced around from studio to studio recording some tracks for Bunny Lee and some for Lee Perry.
All of his recordings did well in Jamaica, the surrounding islands, and the United Kingdom, especially "How Long Will It Take." A trip to the U.K. via the strength of "How Long..." resulted in a deal with Pama Records and the LP, Pat Kelly Sings. Most of his releases came out on Pama's subsidiary, Gas Records. Back in Jamaica he continued recording and released the Cool Breezing (Soulful Love) album, a collaboration with Phil Pratt.
Kelly stayed viable until 1978. When reggae changed from romantic love songs to the more contemporary, explicit expressions of younger Jamaicans, Kelly's career lost its luster. His best offerings are now readily available via the Internet on various CDs featuring Kelly only, and on some various artists compilations. ~ Andrew Hamilton