P.C. Kent


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1970) as P.C. Kent

- Paul (P.C.) Kent -- vocals, keyboards

- David Richards -- vocals, keyboards, guitar 

- John Ward -- drums 

- Gavin Spencer-Watson -- lead guitar, bass, backing vocals

 

  line up 2 (1971) as Paul Kent

- Paul (P.C.) Kent -- vocals, keyboards

 

  supporting musicians (1971)

- Gerry Conway -- drums 

- Pat Donaldson -- bass 

- Kathy Kissoon -- backing vocals

- Mac Kissoon -- backing vocals 

- Roger Powell - drums 

- Tony Reeves -- bass 

- Tim Renwick -- guitar 

- Andy Roberts -- guitar 

- Chris Turner -- harmonica

- Ray Warleigh -- sax, clarinet 

- Gavin Spencer-Watson -- lead guitar, bass, backing vocals

 

 

 

 

- BlooBlo (John Ward)

- The Johnstons (Gavin (Spencer) Watson)

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Upstairs Coming Down

Catalog: SF 8083

Year: 1970

Country/State: London, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor hiss in places; UK pressing with neatly taped seam and numerous creases on the sleeve (thin laminated UK cover)

Available: SOLD 

Catalog ID: SOLD 5157

Price: SOLD $120.00

 

It took me a couple of spins to warm up to this early-1970s obscurity and even longer to track down any information on the band.  

 

 

In spite of the name, these guys were apparently a full fledged band showcasing the talents of namesake singer/keyboardist Paul Kent, multi-instrumentalists David Richards and Gavin (Spencer) Watson, and drummer John Ward.  The four apparently met while attending school in London, somehow attracting the attention of Sandy Robertson of RCA Victor.

 

 

 

                                                                                                    1970 British newspaper ad for the debut LP

 

Produced by Sandy Robertson, 1970's "Upstairs Coming Down" featured all original material; Kent, Richards and Spencer-Watson responsible for penning all eleven tracks.  Musically the set was quite an early-1970s timepiece, bouncing all over the musical spectrum.   As lead singer Kent had a likable and versatile voice, that displayed a bit more Cockney accent than normally encountered on Brit LPs.  That Brit sense of humor was best displayed on the wild 'drunk driving' ode 'One for the Road'.   In spite of the clumsy title 'Little Baby Won't You Please Come Home Honey Child Won't You Just Allow Me One More Chance, Please' started the set off on a commercial high note.  A killer melody and performance would have made this a dandy single.  Similarly, 'Sweet Suzie Brown Boots', 'I'm Hanging On' and 'After Dark' all had commercial potential.  Like any early-1970s outfit these guys also felt the need to show off their blues chops.  Judging by 'Please Please Time' and 'Blues Railway Field' the results were competent, though nowhere near as impressive as their pop moves.   Elsewhere the weird hybrid of English music hall and experimental sound collage moves on 'We Are the Police' would not have sounded out of place on The Beatles' "White Album".  Obscure yet commercial and strange enough that this one should appeal to quite a few folks ...  The album was packaged in a neat cover courtesy of  Tony Bond.  

 

"P.C.Kent" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Little Baby Won't You Please Come Home Honey Child Won't You Just Allow Me One More Chance, Please  (David Richards - Paul Kent - Gavin Watson) - 2:32   rating: **** stars

In spite of the clumsy title, 'Little Baby Won't You Please Come Home Honey Child Won't You Just Allow Me One More Chance, Please' was a catchy pop-rocker.  Kicked along by Kent's barrel house piano and tuba (?), the track had a nice hook quotient.   Kudos to Gavin Spencer-Watson for the concise and tasty lead guitar.

2.) Sweet Suzie Brown Boots   (Paul Kent) - 3:13  rating: *** stars

I'm a sap for harpsichord so the ballad 'Sweet Suzie Brown Boot' instantly nailed me.  Lovely harmonies with Spencer-Watson turning in a nice jazzy guitar solo. The lyrics were a little disturbing ...  

3.) Broadened (instrumental)   (David Richards - Gavin Watson) - 1:36  rating: *** stars

The instrumental 'Broadening' turned the spotlight on Spencer-Watson's sizzling acoustic guitar work.  Very pretty, though it felt a little out of place on the album.  Too short ...

4.) Please Please Time  (Paul Kent) - 3:29   rating: ** stars

'Please Please Time' found the band dipping their feet into conventional electric blues.  You've heard dozens of bands working in this genre - some doing it better; some doing it worse.

5.) I'm Hanging On   (Paul Kent) - 3:03  rating: *** stars

Full of interesting time changes, 'I'm Hanging On' offered up a cool mash-up of pop and jazzy influences.  Really hard to describe, the track showcased their sweet harmony vocals, some Kent scatting and a set of goofy early-'70s lyrics ("my wife can bury me in style").  

6.) We Are the Police   (David Richards - Paul Kent) - 5:04  rating: *** stars

While it wasn't saying much, but 'We Are the Police' was the album's best known track and the album's strangest performance.  Complete with sound effects the track featured the band speaking/singing the lyrics in heavy Cockney accents.  It ultimately descended into a discordant collage of sound efforts.  Hard to know what to make of it.

 

(side 2)
1.) Prelude To Brighton  (instrumental)  (Paul Kent) - 1:33
  rating: *** stars

Pretty Kent instrumental, but clocking in under two minutes it was more of a song fragment than anything.

2.) One for the Road   (Paul Kent) - 2:01  rating: *** stars

It started out sound like something from a Gilbert and Sullivan opera with dry lyrics recalling the life of a friend (?) who lost his life while driving under the influence in a Jaguar E-Type

3.) Suzy   (David Richards) - 3:35  rating: *** stars

With a "precious" feeling, the piano-powered ballad 'Suzy' has always reminded me of an English version of The Left Banke.  Spencer-Watson also got a little time in the spotlight, showcasing his acoustic guitar licks.

4.) After Dark   (David Richards - Paul Kent) - 2:37   rating: **** stars

Another "fey" ballad, the harpsichord powered 'After Dark' was the second tune that recalled The Left Banke.  This time Kent and company nailed the Baroque-pop feel that Michael Brown and company patented.

5.) Blues Railway Field (instrumental)   (David Richards - Gavin Watson) - 3:23   rating: **** stars

It started out as a tasty and tuneful acoustic blues instrumental that recalled Hot Tuna.

6.) Plastic Wedding   (David Richards - Paul Kent) - 4:18  rating: *** stars

Shifting gears again, the Dee Palmer arranged 'Plastic Wedding' featured a classical feel.  It won;t do much for pop and rock fans, but I quite enjoyed the pretty melody.

 

 

Unexpectedly this email showed up:

 

Hi there:

I was poking around your website the other day and came across  [your website].
 
I am the Gavin Watson (now Spencer for reasons I wont bore you with) in this band.

My question to you is this: How on earth did you mange to come up with the little 
bit of biographical information you have there? It's correct (except that John Ward wasn't
a school mate), but I am amazed you were able to find out anything at all!  How on earth 
did you do it?

How funny to think that this stuff is still floating around in the cosmos, after all these 
years. Glad you enjoyed it.

Yours sincerely,
Gavin Spencer
July 2011

Richardson and Ward continued on as studio musicians.
 
Spencer-Watson went into photography and design, including designing album covers.
 
 



Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Paul Kent

Company: Philips

Catalog: 6303 045

Year: 1971

Country/State: Holland

Grade (cover/record): VG/ VG+

Comments: Dutch pressing with promo sticker on inner labels

Available: SOLD 

Catalog ID: SOLD 5162

Price: SOLD  $80.00

 

Credited to Paul Kent (as opposed to P.C. Kent), 1971's "Paul Kent" was released on the small British B&C label, with Philips releasing the album in Holland and the rest of Europe.  Backed by an all-star cast of players, including drummer Roger Powell, bassist Tony Reeves, and guitarist Tim Renwick, the set featured ten Kent originals.  Musically the album marked a minor change in direction from earlier efforts with most of the album displaying a sensitive singer/songwriter feel. That genre certainly won't appeal to everyone, but given a chance it was one of those fun spot-the-influence albums variously recalling the likes of Nick Drake ('Don't Seduce Your Best Friend's Wife'), Elton John ('Cool Surprise'), an English version of Billy Joel ('Upstairs Coming Down') and Gilbert O'Sullivan ('Crying In the Aisles').  Kent certainly had a nice voice and the album was never less than tasteful.  Unfortunately while the individual performances were all pretty strong, stretched out over two sides the singer/songwriter sound started to suffer from the it-all-sounds-similar flaw. Personal highlights included the rocking 'Soulful Soldier', the Caribbean flavored 'Song of Songs' and the single 'Do You'.  

 

Anyhow, these two LPs and the one single appear to be Kent's entire catalog.  Love to know what happened to him - probably became a software mogul ...

 

"Paul Kent" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) All Across the Night   (Paul Kent) - 4:26  rating: ** stars

Showcasing Kent's croaking voice, 'All Across the Night' started out as an extremely stark, keyboard-powered ballad.  Things looked up a little bit when the tune exploded into a full fledged band arrangement.  The tune would have been netter without Chris Turner's irritating harmonica.

2.) Do You   (Paul Kent) - 3:23  rating: *** stars

To my ears the breezy ballad 'Do You' was easily the album's most commercial and radio friendly performance.  Kent seemed to be channeling a little bit of Gilbert O'Sullivan.  The song was tapped as an obscure 45:

 

 

 

 

-1971's 'Do You' b/w 'Helpless Harry'' (B&C catalog number CB-165)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Don't Seduce Your Best Friend's Wife   (Paul Kent) -     rating: **** stars

Starting out with just Kent and acoustic guitar, 'Don't Seduce Your Best Friend's Wife' slowly added backing accompaniment while picking up speed and energy.  Nice performance with some sage advice for the listener ...   To my ears it had kind of a Nick Drake earnestness to it.  You can only hope this wasn't an autobiographical number.  Shame it faded out so quickly.

4.) Cool Surprise   (Paul Kent) -     rating: *** stars

Another keyboard power ballad that was pleasant, but really didn't do much for me until the electric guitar solos kicked in.

5.) Soulful Soldier   (Paul Kent) - 3:03    rating: **** stars

Sporting one of the album's few full band arrangements, 'Soulful Soldier' was also an album highlight.  Apparently autobiographical, the song had a great melody; nice melodies and was funny too boot.  Read the emails below to see how on target Kent's comments were.

 

(side 2)
1.) Upstairs Coming Down   (Paul Kent) - 3:24
   rating: *** stars

And at the start of side two the sensitive singer/songwriter sound started to wear out it's welcome. It was nice to hear Kent toughening up his voice and Tim Renwick's choppy lead guitar helped a little bit, but this one begged for a stronger melody.  Another track that faded out just as the guitarist was starting to get some momentum.

2.) Rainy Day   (Paul Kent) - 2:00    rating: **** stars

'Rainy Day' sported another full band arrangement with a nice melody, nice vocal and served as another album highlight.  

3.) Song of Songs   (Paul Kent) - 2:14    rating: **** stars

Unlike anything else on the album, pushed along by some tasty percussion, the chanting 'Song of Songs' reflected an interesting Caribbean flavor.  Shame it ended so soon.

4.) Crying In the Aisles   (Paul Kent) - 3:59   rating: *** stars

'Crying In the Aisles' found Kent back to acoustic singer/songwriter territory.  And like many of this other songs it slowly build up to a full band arrangement; culminating it something sounding like a Gerry Rafferty track (complete with Ray Warleigh sax solo).

5.) Helpless Harry   (Paul Kent) - 3:52  rating: ** stars

Sporting a country-influence and plenty of pedal steel guitar, 'Helpless Harry' was at least funny.

 

 

 

And the power of the internet shows itself once again ...

 

Hi there,

I currently work with a guy who claimed to have had a record deal. Truth is, he did.  I didn't know... I'm far too young to have been around at the time.

I've been looking for a copy of his album for a while, as I wanted to surprise him with one.  He says he hasn't seen one in over twenty years.

His name is Paul Kent, and was signed to B & C records.  I found a copy of his album on GEMM, which is how I found you.  So, you want to know what happened to him?

He lives and works in Buckinghamshire, England as a marketing and communications director.  He has his own company, Performance Communications, which is very successful, and makes his living in television advertising, conferencing and seminars, as well as events planning and production.  He also provides voice-over services, and sound production - general studio work, really.  Some of his latest clients include the Honda F1 Team, Seiko Watches and specialists in the aerospace industry.

He is not a software mogul..... that's my job!!!  ;-)

He was very surprised to see "Paul Kent" on sale for over $80, and wouldn't mind a cut!!!

As far as I am aware, Paul's catalog is 2 albums and 1 single. Commercially, he was never very successful.  He reckons he made more money from a radio jingle one year, than he did from all of his record sales combined!  Mind you, he's a very laid-back guy and seems to have enjoyed what little time he had in the spotlight.

James Wood

April 2007

 

 

 

 

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