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Fraternity bids farewell to singer Pat Kelly

BY KEDIESHA PERRY
Observer writer

Monday, August 19, 2019

Several members of the entertainment fraternity showed up at Boulevard Baptist Church in Kingston on Saturday to bid farewell to their colleague, reggae/rocksteady singer Pat Kelly.

In remembering Kelly, veteran singer Derrick Morgan — who said he spoke to Kelly shortly before his passing — reflected on their close friendship.

“He's the best friend I ever had. Pat is my good friend; even before he died, he was in (New) Jersey, I was in Florida, and we talk. He said he was coming down (to Jamaica) and so we planned to come down and meet up. He went down the day before me and I heard that he got sick again and went back for more dialysis, and he died. I have to remember him in every way because he and I always talk. Great man and quiet man,“ he told the Jamaica Observer.

Pat Kelly (given name Horatious Adolphus Kelly) died of kidney complications on July 16. He would have turned 75 on August 6.

Singer Hopeton James also spoke highly of the late singer's character and contribution to his career development.

“He's my mentor…he's my everything because I don't know, but we sound alike... It was a pleasure meeting him. I've known him for years and I never wanted to be in a funeral for him. Right now, I'm shaken,” James said.

Also in attendance were Ken Boothe, who gave a soulful tribute; percussionist Bongo Herman; Carlton Smith of the Tamlins Group; and founder of The Heptones, Earl Morgan.

Both Smith and Morgan agreed that Kelly was “has one of the best falsetto voices in history…”

Desmond McKenzie, Member of Parliament for the Kingston Western constituency, considers the late singer an asset to Jamaica's musical culture.

“Wherever in heaven Pat will be, the choir will be amazing. Can you imagine — John Holt, Alton Ellis and Pat Kelly singing together? Today, let us honour Pat Kelly, let us give him the respect and the honour he so richly deserves…he was a dominant force in music internationally,” he said.

In the eulogy, niece Jhannel Tomlinson remembered her uncle as having traits of great quality.

“He was very humble, intelligent, of outstanding character, and full of dignity…He was a man of optimism who not only loved the good parts of life, but also the challenges of the human spirit to withstand tragedy. This was evident in how he persevered despite ailment and remained positive throughout it all,” she said.

Kelly had 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.

Kelly went solo again in 1968 with the song Little Blue Boy. 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.

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 is survived by his wife Ingrid and his five children — Pamella, Sheryl, Padeane, Terriann, and Sean.

He was interred at Dovecot Memorial Park and Crematory in St Catherine.