Groomed for success rather than manufactured, Kenny were plucked from obscurity as the latest vehicle for the songs of professional songwriters, Bill Martin and Phil Coulter. These two had been it at for years, numbering Cliff Richard's Eurovision hit, 'Congratulations' among their hits. At the time they worked with Kenny, however, they were supplying lucrative hits to The Bay City Rollers, which explains why the backing on some of these songs is similar. Whether it's true or not, this adds fuel to the rumour that the Rollers didn't play on some of their records. Probably, both bands had assistance from the same pool of session players.
Though hard-headed business was behind the sense of carefree innocence on Kenny's records, something that no one seems to capture on disc these days, the means justified the ends. The formula was to focus on one gimmick or catchphrase and wrap it in a simple, memorable melody. After that, you could get away with lyrics like 'Hi ho hi de hi.'
As with other bands driving down a similar route (e.g. Mud, The Sweet, The Rubettes), Kenny also recorded some of their own songs. None were hard-hitting enough to have been hits, but several are included here and, on the whole, are pretty decent. Apart from 'The Bump,' the song they are best remembered for, Kenny had big hits with 'Fancy Pants,' 'Baby I Love You OK' and the rousing 'Julie Anne.' These singles are included with their b-sides and these are generally enjoyable too.
Of the non-hits, 'Nice To Have You Home' is catchy too, but not quite as youthful, while the band's own 'Hey Mr Dream Seller' and the acoustic-based 'Happiness Melissa' are highlights. By the time of the later tracks, the sound has drifted into relative anonymity.
Martin and Coulter weren't averse to recycling material either. It turns out that 'The Bump' was a Rollers a-side and they used the same backing track on Kenny's version. Meanwhile, the original version of 'Forever and Ever,' a number one for the songwriters' later proteges, Slik, is included here.
The one strange moment here is the second track, 'Forget the Janes...' which sounds more like Kenny Rogers than Kenny. The b-side to 'The Bump,' this may well be a recording by the previous 'Kenny,' an Irish singer with whom the band are sometimes confused, and who had just finished his career with Martin and Coulter.
You won't expect much from this collection and you shouldn't. It's somewhere between 3 and 4 stars from me. But for people of a certain age of teen nostalgia, this is an enjoyable romp. Love those harmonies.
on 31 January 2010
Kenny's star shone brightly for less than a year between late 1974 and August/September 1975.
4 vibrant hard pop singles, "The Bump","Fancy Pants", the underrated "Baby I Love You Ok" and "Julie Anne" all had a bit of a rock edge compared to the mega-group of the time, The Bay City Rollers. The similarity with BCR was the same songwriting team of Bill Martin and Phil Coulter who also wrote 2 earlier hits for an Irish singer under the "Kenny" monicker !!!
"Nice To Have You Home", a later hit for the New Seekers, ended the run of hit singles and, if my memory serves me well, there were problems with "the management". As often happens when artists bite the hand that feeds and they split from their hitmakers (Bay City Rollers; Mud; Sweet from that era) the hits dry up. Although in fairness to Sweet they were unlucky as they wrote some excellent self-penned songs and albums, but that's another story !
"Hot Lips" was a fair stab at the charts, but tried too hard to be "Fancy Pants" and was let down by the chorus.Again, the memory's a bit clouded, but I think that they sang "Hot Lips" on a "Jim'll Fix It" show in 1976 which was the last time, apart from shows like TOTP2, that I saw Kenny on TV.
What else do you get on this CD ? Well, all the B-sides are here, the majority of which aren't at all bad and compliment their respective A-sides. "I'm A Winner", "Dancin Feet" and "Happiness Melissa", the latter 2 being written by members of the band, could be classed as "hidden gems".
There is another compilation called "The Best of Kenny" which is, well, best avoided - excuse the pun. It contains the hits (no B-sides) and around a dozen songs that are very sub-standard. Stick with "The Singles Collection Plus...", re-live your teenybop days and enjoy !!!!!
on 8 March 2013
This best by Kenny is good because he included the hits singles and there B Side. But I think is not a good compilation of singles. First : the songs Forever And Ever, Hey Mr Dream Seller and Glad Glad Glad are tracks of Sound Of Super K album and didn't released in single (Slik cover Forever And Ever for a number 1 hit). Higher And Higher is only an extra of Ricochet. Why didn't released the two Kenny albums in CD ?
Second : This compilation is not complete for the singles because two singles are forgotten : Old Songs Never Die / Don't Hold On and Reach Out (I'll Be There) / Time Is The Healer.
I think the second is the best cover of Reach Out and it included Chris Redburn rare lead vocal and inclusion of David Booker on bass and Ian Kewley on keyboards.
First line up :
Rick Driscoll : vocals, guitar
Chris Redburn : vocals, bass
Yan Stile : vocals, guitar
Andrew Walton : drums
Chris Lacklison : keyboards
Second line up :
Chris Redburn : vocals, guitar
David Booker : vocals, bass
Yan Stile : vocals, synthesizer
Andrew Walton : drums
Ian Kewley : vocals, keyboards
PS : sorry for my english, but I'm French