Born in 1949 in Kingston, Jamaica, HORATIO “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 and 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.
The late 1970’s and early 1980’s saw Kelly recording more regularly again, and he continued to record occasionally in the years that followed. Kelly, died 16 July following kidney failure.