Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Kenny - Singles collection plus...( 1973-1976 )

One of the many bands thrust onto the British glam scene as it approached its end in the mid-'70s, Kenny was generally regarded, alongside the Bay City Rollers and Slik, as simply another in a long line of acts created by master songwriters Bill Martin and Phil Coulter. In fact, although the five-piece group's best-known material was indeed the work of that pair, Kenny's Rick Driscoll and Yan Stile were also very competent songwriters in their own right, as the group's final few releases proved. 

Indeed, the group had already existed for some three years before Martin and Coulter first encountered them. Under the name Chufff..
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01 The Bump
02 Forget The Janes The Jeans and The Jeans and The Might Have Beens
03 Fancy Pants
04 I'm a Winner
05 Baby, I Love You O.K!
06 Sound of Super K
07 Julie Anne
08 Dancin' Feet
09 Nice to Have You Home
10 Happiness Melissa
11 Forever and Ever
12 Hey Mr. Dream Seller
13 Glad Glad Glad
14 Hot Lips
15 Bangin' My Head Against a Brick Wall
16 Red Headed Lady
17 Alone Together
18 (Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher
For a band whose hitmaking career ran to no more than 12 minutes worth of music, this is an awful lot of Kenny. Four tracks -- "The Bump," "Fancy Pants," "Baby I Love You OK," and "Julie Ann" -- round up all that history recalls as classic Kenny; respectively, they reached number three, number four, number 12, and number ten on the British chart during 1974-75, after which the band lapsed into an almost deafening commercial silence. But if Collection has one mission in mind, it is to prove that it wasn't strictly a fate they deserved. The band's Sound of Super K album, included in its entirety, indicates a pop sensibility which was at least on a par with the contemporary Mud and Rubettes, and, while that isn't necessarily a recommendation, it shouldn't have been a death sentence either. The problem, of course, was timing. By the time Kenny made their breakthrough, both the pop and glam veins which they were mining had hit on very hard times, indeed, while songwriters Bill Martin and Phil Coulter were still reeling from their dismissal from the Bay City Rollers camp. It would be another year before the pair truly regained their equilibrium, by which time they had already transferred their affections to another band entirely, the young Midge Ure's Slik. Indeed, Kenny's status as a kind of noble no-man's-land between those two giants is only reinforced by the two best cuts on this entire collection: "The Bump," which had already seen service on a Rollers B-side; and "Forever and Ever," which would become Slik's debut hit. For the remainder, The Kenny Collection Plus slips blithely between punchy glam pop and dreamy teen ballads, a few high-tempo dancefloor crashers and a surprisingly mature rendition of "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher." Nothing, however, is more memorable than it needs to be, and, ultimately, nothing is anything more than perfunctory. A greatest hits EP would probably have served Kenny far better.
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