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Jonathan Kelly - Waiting On You / Two Days In Winter

Review No: 273
Added 21st April 2006


Jonathan Kelly’s Outside
Jon Ledingham:
Vocals, Guitar, and Piano
Trevor Williams:
Chas Jankel:
David Sheen:
Snowy White:
Peter Wood:
Two Days In Winter
“This is what it says on the album cover, which perhaps says more than anything else.”
Jonathan Kelly (That’s right, back to Kelly again):
Guitars, Pianos, Percussion, and Vocals
Kum Harada:
Bass guitar, Lead Guitar, Confidence Brewer, Percussion
Dave Sheen:
Drums, Guitar, Percussion
Darry Le Que:
Roger Rettig:
Pedal Steel Guitar
The Pizza Quartet + Chako:
Brian Gascoigne:

Jonathan Kelly was one of the great Cats of the early Seventies, which let’s face it was one of the most prolific ages of music. Jonathan Kelly only released five albums, but quickly built up a huge reputation on the musical scene. Jonathan Kelly’s first album release ‘Jonathan Kelly’ (1970) was not so much an album release as it was more a collection of Jonathan Kelly’s attempts at having a hit single, which makes it a bit unfair to include in his album collection.

But with the release of ‘Twice Around The Houses’ (1972) Jonathan Kelly released his Tour De Force, including many songs that bring a smile to the face now, about love, happiness, fairy tales, protest, home, personnel foibles and the odd rock ‘n’ roll song about talking geraniums! Conquering appearances at British festivals and on TV followed. Superstardom seemed assured. But life is never that easy, is it?

The follow up album was a much punchier affair: ‘Wait Till They Change The Backdrop’, but the lyrics had become much heavier and scepticism was creeping into the young man’s mind. By the time of ‘...Waiting On You’, Jonathan Kelly’s love affair with the world was temporarily over.

By now Jonathan Kelly had been on the rock ‘n’ roll road for over three years, and had more or less given up his folk music roots and plunged head first into the world of rock music. If you are going to do that, you might as well go the whole hog, which our subject did, surrounding himself with the top musicians around at the time.

Firstly there was the duel guitar threat of Snowy White (later of Pink Floyd and Thin Lizzy, as well as a very successful solo career, stand up all of you who can remember Snowy’s album ‘White Flames’ coupled with the hit single ‘Birds Of Paradise’) and Chas Jankel (later of Ian Dury and The Blockheads). Back this up with the bass playing skills of ex-Audience man Trevor Williams (who in 2004 reformed Audience with two other original members Howard Werth and Keith Gemmil, but that is a story for another day) and the young drumming skills of David Sheen, with the addition of Peter Wood (ex-Sutherland Brothers and Quiver) on keyboards when required, you certainly had a good pedigree.

‘...Waiting On You’ is definitely Jonathan Kelly’s rock album (credited to Jonathan Kelly’s Outside) with the guys swaggering into such songs as ‘Great Northern Railroad’ and ‘Tempest’, whilst final track ‘Tell Me People’ fairly smoulders along from the start before burning up the grooves to reach a rockin’ climax.


Disc One
Making It Lonely
Sensation Street
Great Northern Railroad
I’ll Never Find Another Love
Yesterday’s Promises
Tell Me People.

Disc Two
Baby Child
Only Your Love
Is It Not A Lovely Day
Living Together
Reaching For A Star
Now Is The Time
Mary Jane
Never Do That To Anyone
Rush On Time
Rabbit Face
What Can I Do Now
Minstrel Tramp
One More Kiss

Due to Jonathan Kelly’s rock ‘n’ roll excesses his mood had changed quite dramatically since the carefree days of yore, so although the musical chops were definitely still there, the timbre of the songs had changed somewhat. This is easily established by just reading the title of first song up, simply called ‘Misery’. Not exactly the most uplifting of beginnings, and by the time you reach fourth song in ‘Sensation Street’ you kind of feel that perhaps journalists are not at the top of Jonathan Kelly’s Christmas shopping lists - hit lists possibly, but certainly nothing nice.

Whereas on ‘Twice Around The Houses’, released only two years beforehand, had included a couple of protest songs ‘We’re All Right Till Then’ sticking up for the farming community, and his rallying call to the masses ‘We Are The People’, Jonathan Kelly was protesting for the people in songs. Now with songs like ‘Tell Me People’ and ‘Great Northern Railroad’ he was protesting at the people, a great difference.

It was also strange that although the band was still called Jonathan Kelly’s Outside, the man himself had shed his stage persona, and gone back to his real name, calling himself Jon Ledingham. Weird.

But if you agree with his sentiments this is still a very fine recording, which has travelled over the years with no notice of dating, but easy listening it is not.

Due mostly to Jonathan Ledingham / Kelly’s unpredictability and mood swings, the band soon splintered, leaving Jon Ledingham to record one more album under the Jonathan Kelly banner with only David Sheen remaining from Outside days. But this album, ‘Two Days in Winter’ (1975), certainly lyrically you have to be in a very stable mind frame to listen to. If you played ‘Never Do That to Anyone’ or ‘What Can I Do Now’ to anyone who was in the middle of a relationship breaking up, you would have a real problem on your hands.

Fortunately Jonathan Ledingham / Kelly was able to see a way out, and was able to walk away from the music business before it did his head any more damage, a lot stronger than many of his contemporaries. The story has a happy ending with Jonathan starting a new life with a new family, and a new business in the Welsh valleys.

In 2001 good ole’ BGO Records released a double CD collection of ‘Twice Around The Houses’ and ‘Wait Till They Change The Backdrop’. Great value and a real treat to the ears. In 2005, due to public demand, the next two albums were also released as a twofer. Still great value for money and a real insight into what a singer/songwriter should really be all about. But of the four albums available now I would start at the beginning and work your way through.

With the release of these albums Jonathan Kelly is making a modest comeback with occasional charity appearances, where he is going down the proverbial storm, and now there is even talk of a comeback CD, thirty years after his last album. The website will give you all the information you could possibly want at http://home.freakfreeuk.net/jonthanled/ There you can get the rest of the griff on this great personality that has not already been ripped off, unaccredited by some unscrupulous journalist (Maybe ‘Sensation Street’ had it’s points!) that is printed in the cover of the second collection.

Mott the Dog resides at Jameson's the Irish Pub