Week 49: Positively Paul

By: Lafayette

Dec 05 2009

Tags: ,

Category: 1977


Welcome back for another week’s worth of the good music!

Week 49’s post will be all about one of our favourite male vocalists, Paul Kelly. Initially it was our long-time follower and collaborator Ricardo who re-sparked our interest by contributing a rip of Paul’s 1974 album “Hooked, Hogtied And Collared”, posted in August last year on the old 4BB blog (you’ll find it reposted right here as well, go check out our Week 1 post)! About a month after that, thanks to our buddy Paros, we posted another Paul Kelly gem – “Don’t Burn Me” from 1973. So when I stumbled upon a just good-enough copy of Paul Kelly’s 1977 release “Stand On The Positive Side” on my latest trip to my favourite vinyl shop – this week’s post was a given! Especially after realizing that this album also is the perfect comeback to the recently posted Gene Page album (Week 39) – since Gene co-produced, arranged and conducted all tracks on “Stand On The Positive Side”! Can’t really miss an opportunity like this, right?!

Conveniently, the liner notes proved to be the perfect source for the write-up…check out Joe McEwen’s perfect “beginners guide” to Paul Kelly briefing:


Saying that Paul Kelly is the Von Freeman of soul music probably won’t mean much to a lot of people (Laf’s edit: Check this!). But the comparison is a compliment of the highest sort. Kelly, like the highly regarded Chicago tenor saxophonist, is something of a cult figure – a man whose body of recorded work for almost a decade has been laudably consistent, personal and cliché free.

Paul Kelly is a Southern singer and songwriter in the classic mold. A product of the intensely competitive Miami soul arena, Kelly’s style was honed singing with local groups like the Del-Mires, an outfit fronted by Miami stalwart Clarence Reid (Laf’s edit: To most, Reid’s alter ego Blowfly is more well-known). As a solo singer, Kelly continued his association with Reid who wrote and produced Paul’s first chart success, “Chills and Fever,” in 1968. It was also Reid who introduced Kelly to Buddy Killen (Laf’s edit: For more info on Buddy’s work, check this!), a Nashville country producer who was responsible for producing all of Joe Tex’s soul hits. Under Killen’s direction, Paul recorded for Dial and Phillips (including a little known gem called “Cryin’ For My Baby”), but it was a record on Buddy’s Happy Tiger label that made a lot of people aware of Paul Kelly. Conceived while listening to a preacher evangelize on the radio, “Stealin’ in the Name of the Lord” provided a potent message for listeners:

People I tell you what I see

A parasite is he

Ain’t much difference in what he’s doin’

Than B and E, that’s breaking and entering

That man is stealin’ in the name of the Lord

The song created a furor among many members of the black church who didn’t take kindly to Kelly’s wry observations. But the single hit home with an audience who recognized the type. A subsequent album, reissued on Warners as “Dirt,” offered a further glimpse of Paul Kelly’s considerable skills as a writer. “Poor But Proud,” “Hangin’ on in There” and “509” are effective and poignant narratives, heightened by some moody, understated gospel-soul arrangements. Though Paul worked effectively in the traditional soul vein, he explored other avenues as well: “Soul Flow,” for one, is an ambitious concoction of busy rock guitar and stormy, Southern funk that some aspiring band would do well to cover.

Since “Dirt,” two more albums have been released – “Don’t Burn Me” and “Hooked, Hogtied and Collared.” Both are more seamless than “Dirt,” with rough edges still intact; both were recorded in Nashville with Buddy Killen. More recently, Kelly released a rocking, iconoclastic single called “Get Sexy” that, sadly, barely dented the bottom of the soul charts.

“Stand On The Positive Side” is the first Paul Kelly record to be recorded outside Nashville in almost a decade. Smoother and more stylized than past efforts.

“Stand” still finds Paul Kelly deeply immersed in gospel and soul rootsiness… Fans of his previous albums will find “Feather In The Wind” and “God Can” much to their liking, while hopefully a new audience will be proselytized by songs like “To The Bone, Get It On” and “Ain’t Nothin’ Better.” Get positive.


If you need a more comprehensive bio, go check out Wikipedia’s entry on Paul right here!

Now, have a quick listen to one of my favourite tracks on the LP, the title cut “Stand On the Positive Side”:

To lay your hands on a copy of “Stand On The Positive Side” on precious vinyl, click here!

To support Paul and his music, please consider buying one of his later albums – like this one, available both on CD and as digital download!

Paul Kelly – 4BB salutes you! Thank you for all the fantastic music!

(Ps. By the way, I happened to mention to Paros that I was going to post this album next, and he e-mailed me back directly with a batch of Paul’s earlier work, including some of the 45’s mentioned in the liner notes…like “Chills and Fever” and “Cryin For My Baby” – I’ll be including them all in bonus link in the comments to the post!)

25 comments on “Week 49: Positively Paul”

  1. Mad props to the wonderful Paul Kelly! And please remember to leave a comment on the post – you know we love them! Now…listen up!

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  2. Many Thanks


  3. […] This post was Twitted by Lafay1 […]

  4. I miss this one my friend. I am sure it gonna make this rainy day much better. Many thanks.

    • Nikos! Nice to have you over for a visit…you’ve been posting some real treats lately, thanks! And hey, don’t miss out on Paros wicked bonus tracks!


  5. thanks for this bad LP again!

  6. Got very excited when I saw this posted – many thanks (again and again)!

  7. Sweet, another Paul Kelly record! Man I was just listening to ‘Hooked, Hogtied And Collared’ the other day. I know this one is gonna be hot too. Many thanks Laf you guys are the s*** and much appreciation to Paros on the bonus tracks.

  8. Playing catch-up here… thanks for the heads up Laf, and to you Paros for the 45’s. Boy I sure miss your old blog 😦

    And yes Laf, i am getting my N drive in order as we speak 😀

    Peace and blessings.

  9. The title track’s one of my favourite soul cuts of all time. I remember playing this on my radio show in the late 1970s, and it still gets regular play in the wallofsound listening room today. Everyone needs to give it a spin (as we used to say).

  10. Thanks so much. Can’t wait to check it out.

  11. Paul Kelly – now you just KNOW I’m gonna love this dont ‘cha! I still just can’t understand how this guy slipped under everybody’s radar. All who picked up Hooked, hogtied and Collared all those weeks ago were just that – hooked.
    It just goes to show how important blogs like this are in keeping this timeless stuff alive.
    Maximum thanx to Laf and the guys for all their hard work.

  12. There was a ‘Best Of’ CD release of Paul Kelly few years back that I snapped up – but missed many key tracks. Your pages have been a real blessing to fill in these gaps and further appreciate the true talent that is Mr Kelly. Many thanks to Laf and Paros for these treasures.

  13. Great stuff. Thanks to Laf & Paros. Keep the fire burnin.

  14. Seasons greetings & nuff thanks guys. Really appreciate your efforts.

  15. Hey Lafayette you mentioned Paul Kelly’s album “Don’t burn me” was posted as well but I don’t see a link. Could you give me link where I can download it cause I have the album on vinyl but wanna get it on my mp3 as well. Thanks!! Greetings,

  16. Great post!! Much thanks Laf and Paros!!

  17. Thanks for this one!!! I can’t get enough of his album “Don’t burn me” thanks for hookin me up with another, lookin forward to hearin it!

  18. Thank you,i love the work you do

  19. thanx for the record

  20. thanx for the download

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