Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1973)
- Tony Kenny -- vocals
line up 2 (1974-)
NEW - Chris Lacklison -- keyboards
NEW - Ross Pringle -- vocals, guitar
NEW - Yan Styles (ka Ian Styles) -- lead guitar
NEW - Chris Redburn -- vocals, bass
NEW - Andy Walton -- drums, percussion
line up 3 (1974-77)
NEW - Rick Driscoll -- vocals, guitar (replaced Ross Pringle)
- Chris Lacklison -- keyboards
- Yan Styles (aka Ian Styles) -- lead guitar
- Chris Redburn -- vocals, bass
- Andy Walton -- drums, percussion
line up 4 (1977-79)
NEW - David Bowker -- bass (replaced Chris Redburn)
NEW - Ian Culey -- keyboards (replaced Chris Laklison)
- Rick Driscoll -- vocals, guitar (replaced Ross Pringle)
- Yan Styles (aka Ian Styles) -- lead guitar
- Andy Walton -- drums, percussion
- ABC (David Bowker)
- Rick Driscoll (solo efforts)
- Eclection (David Bowker)
- Limey ( David Bowker)
- O'Hara's Playboys ( David Bowker)
- Swampfox ( David Bowker)
Title: The Sound of Super K
1C 062-97 139
Country/State: Enfield, Middlesex, UK
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: German pressing; minor water wavyess top right corner
Catalog ID: 3536
Kenny were part of a short-lived wave of English pop-glam bands that were ultimately responsible for spawned the likes of The Bay City Rollers. I'm guessing few American have ever heard of Kenny. If you're in that crowd, judging by their debut album, you really didn't miss much.
So, if you were wondering, there actually was a Kenny, though he had no direct connection with what became the band Kenny. Kenny was Irish singer Tony Kenny. Kenny had been a member of the band The Sands and The Vampires. In 1973 he was signed by Mickie Most's RAK label, enjoying a pair of minor hits under the name Kenny
- 1973's 'Heart of Stone' b/w 'Buttons' (RAK catalog number RAK 144)
- 1973's 'Give It To Me Now' b/w 'Rollin'' (RAK catalog number RAK 153)
With Kenny having returned to Ireland, songwriters Bill Martin and Phil Coulter brought in a bunch of studio musicians and re-recorded a tune they'd written and recorded with The Bay City Rollers. Released as a single credited to Kenny, the song became a fluke hit through Europe:
- 1974's 'The Bump' b/w ' Forget the Janes, the Jeans and the Might Have Beens' (UK catalog 5N 4549032) # 3 UK pop charts
Interested in riding the Kenny gravy train, label owner Most decided to hire the London based band Chuff to tour and record under the name Kenny. Chuff lead singer Pringle was quickly fired and when former child actor Keith Chegwin declined an opportunity to participate in the project, singer/guitarist Rick Driscoll was recruited to fill the gap, leaving Chuff-nee-Kenny with a line-up featuring keyboardist Chris Lacklison, lead guitarist Yan Styles, bassist Chris Redburn and drummer Andy Walton.
Released in 1975, the Martin and Coulter produced "The Sound of Super K" packed the hit single 'The Bump' with a sound-alike collection of pop and glam-pop numbers. Musically it was pretty easy to draw musical comparisons to the likes of Black Lace, Mud, Slik, and The Bay City Rollers with a touch of mindless mid-'70s UK rockers like Slade and Status Quo thrown in. Perhaps an English version of American bubblegum pop wouldn't be a totally invalid comparison. I guess what I'm trying to say if that if you were looking for musical sophistication, these twelve songs weren't the place to be looking. Martin and Coulter were responsible for eight of the tracks, while Driscoll and Style contributed four songs. From a technical standpoint I guess there was a certain degree of skill in crafting highly commercial, if mindless material like 'Julie Ann' and 'Fancy Pants'. Was it art? Certainly not. This was music as a cold blood commercial enterprise meant to separate consumers from their paychecks. In fact, the more I hear this album, the more I dislike it., though I have to admire the fact these guys could put together some impressive melodies and arrangements - check out the Phil Spector-ish-styled 'For Ever and Ever' and the pretty ballad 'Long Lost Summers'.
While the band enjoyed significant sales with their UK singles, things didn't go as well on the business side of the house. Unhappy with their management team and Martin and Coulter, the band went into court in an effort to severe ties with RAK. They ultimately succeeded, but it basically cost them their career. The managed to record a 1976 follow-up "Ricochet", but it only saw limited release in Germany. Enduring several personnel changes, the band managed to survive until 1979.
of Super K" track listing:
1.) The Bump (Bill Martin - Phil Coulter) - rating: ** stars
As mentioned above, 'The Bump' originally appeared as a Bay City Rollers "B" side. Songwriters Martin and Coulter rerecorded the track with sessions players, enjoying a hit with it prior to recruiting members of the London band Chuff to record and tour as Kenny. By their nature, "dance" themed songs are doing to be particularly inspirational and 'The Bump' may have his a nadir in terms of the genre. In this case anyone under the impression all glam rock was worth hearing, might want to steer clear of this one. The Bay City Rollers version was pretty bad, as was a cover of the songr by Black Lace. If you expected this version to be any better; it wasn't.
2.) Hey! Mr. Dream Seller (Rick Driscoll - Yan Style) rating: **** stars
Other than the fact it sound like they'd recorded it in an echo chamber and bassist Redburn's irritating bass vocals, 'Hey! Mr. Dream Seller' was a bad slice of '50s--tinged pop. There was certainly a top-40 potential in this one.
3.) For Ever and Ever (Bill Martin - Phil Coulter) - rating: **** stars
Opening up with a bit of church organ and some Gregorian chanting, 'For Ever and Ever' was a modest change of pace for the group. Once it got going it was still rather bubblegum pop-flavored, but a nice change of pace for the group. The English band Slik subsequently re-record the song, enjoying a modest hit with their cover.
4.) Baby I Love You OK! (Bill Martin - Phil Coulter) - rating: **** stars
Imagine the simplicity of a good Slade song had they decided their future lay in a more bubblegum-ish direction ... That'll give you a feel for the pop-rocker 'Baby I Love You OK!'. Never quite figured out why they had to tag 'OK' to the end of the song. This was mindless top-40 fodder, but there was something fascinating about how dumb it was. Another track tapped as a single in the UK, Germany, and Spain:
- 1975's 'Baby I Love You OK!' b/w 'The Sound of Super K' (RAK catalog number RAK 207) # 12 UK pop charts
- 1975's 'Baby I Love You OK!' b/w 'The Sound of Super K' (RAK catalog number RAK 1-C 006-96 702)
5.) Memories (Rick Driscoll - Yan Style) rating: **** stars
The songwriter team of Martin and Coulter provided the majority of material on this album, but judging by the sweet ballad 'Memories' band members Driscol and Style were every bit as capable when it came to crafting top-40 material. Add to that, the song sported a stunningly pretty Styles guitar solo. This iis probably one of the tunes I would have picked as a single.
6.) Julie Anne (Bill Martin - Phil Coulter) - rating: ** stars
And if you under wondered why this particular musical genre had such a short run, then check out the appalling 'Julie Anne'. One of those songs that was clearly written for maximum radio exposure, it mixed Beach Boys harmonies with one of the most nauseating hooks you've ever heard. An uncredited Chris Spedding reportedly played on the song. Yeah, it was a British hit, but that doesn't excuse how bad this one was.
- 1975's 'Julie Anne' b/w 'Dancin' Feet (RAK catalog number RAK 214) # 10 UK pop charts
YouTube has a clip of an August 1975 appearance on the BBC's Top of the Pops television program. They're clearly lip synching their way through the tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zug_7XPQ89k
1.) Nice To Have You Home (Bill Martin - Phil Coulter) - rating: **** stars
Released as the fifth single on the album, I'll grudgingly admit 'Nice To Have You Home' had a certain degree of charm. Nah, not anything great, but the melody was pretty good and the band's snarling, juvenile attitude wasn't nearly a prominent on this one.
- 1975's 'Nice To Have You Home' b/w 'Happiness Melissa' (RAK catalog number RAK 225) No idea where it was filmed, but YouTube has a clip of the band lip-synching the tune for a television audience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjHCEUY59yc
2.) Glad, Glad, Glad (Rick Driscoll - Yan Style) - rating: **** stars
One of four Driscoll - Style originals, 'Glad Glad Glad' found the band toughening up their sound. The lyrics remained sophomoric, but sporting some cheesy '7-s synthesizer washes, this one reflected a touch of Slade aggression. It made for one of the album's better performances.
3.) Little Darlin' (Maurice Williams) - rating: * star
Sadly the lone outside cover was a hideous effort to emulate Frankie Valli and the four Season. The spoken word segment was hysterically bad,
4.) Long Lost Summers (Rick Driscoll - Yan Style) rating: *** stars
'Long Lost Summers' was another surprisingly enjoyable adult contemporary ballad. Nothing like the soccer hooligan stomps that their male fans would have appreciated, but again quite commercial.
5.) Just a Word Away (Bill Martin - Phil Coulter) - rating: * star
Showcasing bassist Chris Redburn on lead vocals, the best way to describe the ballad 'Just a Word Away' was hideous. In addition to handling bass, Redburn was responsible for the bass register vocals on many of their songs. Hearing this you'll quickly understand why he didn't get much time in the sporlight.
6.) Fancy Pants (Bill Martin - Phil Coulter) - rating: * star
Maybe I'm just getting old and cynical, but the more I hear 'Fancy Pants' the more I hate it. The simplistic boogie moves; the dumb as sh*t lyrics; even Reburn's deep vocals - it all irritates me. Released as a single, it went top-10 throughout much of Europe. Luckily, American audiences were seemingly spared.
- 1975's 'Fancy Pants' b/w 'I'm a Witness' (RAK catalog number RAK 195) # 4 UK pop charts
For anyone curious, YouTube has a clip of the band lip-synching the tune on a March, 1975 episode of the BBC's Top of the Pops television show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh3KatjXGr4 Again, be warned, they come off as pretty obnoxious prats - matching outfits; mile wide bell bottoms; juvenile delinquent sneers ... The audience looked totally bored.
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