Monday, December 27, 2021

Jonathan Kelly - Two Days in Winter (1975 ireland, wonderful soulful folkish jazzy silky rock, 2004 remaster)

By the time of Jonathan's last album " Two Days In Winter" in 1975 Jonathan's behavior was losing him friends and his judgment was so badly impaired that he was easy meat for those who wished to exploit him. This last album sold steadily but by no means in the number that TATH or WTTCTB did. Jonathan says, "Towards the end, my girlfriend and I were breakin' up, I was doin' loads of dope, I was canvassing for the Workers Revolutionary Party, 'n gigs were goin' crazy, I was fallin' off stages an people were laffin' on echo."

Left with no money after a series of bad business decisions Jonathan was in a bad way, in fact many people didn't expect him to live very long, but something happened which saved Jonathan's life, he recalls "A man came to my door and said "I'm looking to talk with people who'll like to see a change in the world. What I mean is, an end to war and poverty and hunger. Do those things concern you?" I said, "Come in." "And now 30 years later I'm still a very busy member of a very active Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses where I live. You see when you find the answer to all your questions, why go on searching anymore? I have a beautiful wife, two big sons, and two beautiful grandchildren."

Jonathan had at last found something more important to him than fame and fortune. He settled in the countryside and started his own small carpet cleaning business, he lived in an area where nobody knew Jonathan Kelly, he was just plain Jonathan Ledingham, local nice guy. There the story would have ended but his fans had not forgotten him and Gerald Sables who knew Jonathan from his countless appearances in Doncaster tried to find him over the years, "Nobody knew what had happened to him, it was as if he had disappeared off the planet" said Gerald. " I heard many different stories including people who could tell me in detail that he was dead and how and where he died, including a car crash in London". Gerald decided in 1996 to start looking for Jonathan via the internet, he made many friends along his journey to Jonathan, occasionally he would hear tales of people seeing Jonathan perform in folk clubs in the 1980's. One thing was for certain, Jonathan had at least survived into the late 80's and hopefully beyond.

In 2002 Gerald contacted several web chat boards and also a few record companies, but nothing much happened until BGO records decided to release two of Jonathan's albums as a double CD 'Twice Around The Houses' & 'Wait Till They Change The Backdrop' perhaps all the messages on chat boards had made somebody remember Jonathan at BGO? Gerald wrote to BGO plus several journalists hoping to track Jonathan down, the sleeve notes for the CD release said that Jonathan was alive and well.

All Gerald's enquiries came to nothing and the trail went cold and then in late 2002 Gerald received out of the blue an email from Jonathan's son Greg, saying that Jonathan was going to write to him. Several months passed without any message arriving and Gerald could only wait. Then finally Jonathan wrote and they struck up a correspondence via email.

Gerald was able to put Jonathan in touch with many of his old friends including John Leonard who used to run the Bay Horse Folk Club near Doncaster and now runs a successful TV production company, He also put Jonathan in touch with Eddie Armstrong and Ivan Hill, Jonathan's old school friends and members of his first band the 'Saracens'. He has also managed to put Jonathan in touch with Tim Staffell. As a thank you to Gerald and his other friends in Doncaster Jonathan came out of retirement to perform a one-off gig at the Rockingham Arms Folk Club near Rotherham on January 9th 2004, he was nervous as he hadn't performed in 30 years and so wouldn't let his appearance be announced. He started off nervously but soon found his confidence amongst the warm applause and it was an evening to remember for all who were fortunate to be there.

Gerald and Jonathan met up again in April 2004 at Jonathan's home and Gerald discussed the subject of Jonathan having an official website, Jonathan agreed for Gerald to do this and loaned him many items from his personal archive for the site.

What the future holds for Jonathan nobody knows, but hopefully it will be a bright future. His friends and family are trying to encourage him to perform some more concerts and Jonathan is keen to produce a new album, he says "I write as much now, if not more, than I ever wrote before. I can't help it. I've got music in my mind everywhere I go. Songs come to visit and if I'm quick and copy them down before they leave, then I can play them to someone else. Many times they just come and stay a while and then slip out the back door never to be heard of again. It don't worry me, it was just nice to have them around for a while.

Jonathan certainly wasn't the rich person you would expect him to be, you would think that after all his success and years in the music business that he would have a few bob stored away, but sadly he made little from his music career and today lives in very modest surroundings, he says "I never earned a penny from the music business. Many of those around me were crooks and I was always stoned, more fool me. See, I hated Capitalism. How could an artist do his work for monetary reward? Art is unselfish and seeks no reward save the joy of creating works of art that are honest and innocent of greed and done only to add beauty and reason to our beautiful earthly home.
by Gerald Sables
1. Baby Child - 5:25
2. Only Your Love - 4:17
3. Is It Not A Lovely Day - 2:58
4. Living Together - 6:59
5. Reaching For A Star - 5:17
6. Now Is The Time - 2:57
7. Mary Jane - 4:03
8. Never Do That To Anyone - 3:57
9. Rush On Time - 3:20
10.Rabbit Face - 2:49
11.What Can I Do Now - 4:48
12.Minstrel Tramp - 3:14
13.One More Kiss - 3:48
All compositions by Jonathan Kelly

*Jonathan Kelly - Guitar, Piano, Percussion, Vocals
*Dave Sheen - Drums, Guitar, Percussion
*Kuma Harada - Bass Guitar, Lead Guitar