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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Kennedy, Ray - 1980 Ray Kennedy
Kennedy, Ray - 1980 Ray Kennedy

ARTIST: Kennedy, Ray
ALBUM: Ray Kennedy
LABEL: Columbia
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 2015, Real Gone Records, RGM-0324 (expanded version, 4 bonus tracks)


LINEUP: Ray Kennedy - vocals * Steve Lukather - guitars * Kim Kesterson, Mike Porcaro, Bob Glaub - bass * David Foster - piano, synthesizer and production * Jack Conrad, Jai Winding - piano * Ralph Dyck, Steve Porcaro - synthesizer programming * Rick Shlosser, Jeff Porcaro, Mike Baird - drums * Jerry Hey - horn arrangement * Bill Champlin, Jack Conrad, Tommy Funderburk, Tom Kelly, Vennette Gloud, Paulette Brown - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 It Never Crossed My Mind * 02 Isn't It Time * 03 Just For The Moment * 04 Can't Seem To Find The Time * 05 My Everlasting Love * 06 You Oughta Know By Now * 07 Sail On Sailor * 08 Starlight * 09 Let Me Sing You A Love Letter

Several years ago Eric reviewed the much maligned 'Motion' by 70's rockers KGB, a short lived outfit headlined by Carmine Appice and Ray Kennedy. While reading the review George suggested it was time for a crack at Kennedy's 1980 self-titled album, which rightfully takes its place among fellow AOR legends here. Kennedy was the perennial journeyman, traipsing around the music scene as a performer and songwriter during the late 60's and 70's, providing hits for various acts like The Beach Boys and The Babys, which you might have gathered scanning the tracklisting here. This was Kennedy's second solo album, his first coming way back in 1970 under the moniker 'Ray Louis Kennedy.' This time Kennedy had embraced the AOR/West Coast ethic, rounding up the cream of the crop to aid him on this magnificent album, one held in high esteem and deservedly so.

The Songs
Kennedy's vocal style is very powerful and it's easy to compare him to artists like Boz Scaggs and Frank Stallone when it comes to delivery. Kennedy tends to play a heavier style of hard rock and the opener 'It Never Crossed My Mind' is a storming cut, delivering in every aspect on the AOR front. This is an ideal way to begin the album and the familiar strains of 'Isn't It Time' follows up nicely. This will always be known as The Babys property, but as the writer of the track Kennedy gives it more vocal emphasis, the song a classic either way. Taking the West Coast route is 'Just For The Moment' with its orchestral synth moves and huge chorus, again bringing Boz Scaggs to mind, very similar to his great 1980 album which featured just about everyone playing here. This is true must-hear material. 'Can't Seem To Find The Time' is another bold rocker, huge on backing vocals and tough guitar work, showing Kennedy's great range. Another ballad follows, 'My Everlasting Love' another melodic standout and once again you'll be thinking Boz Scaggs. The guitar solo by Steve Lukather is one to look out for, another reminder of what a glorious time this was for the genre.

The blend of melody and heaviness is taken to the limit with 'You Oughta Know By Now' which is pure hard rock. It elevates the album to legendary levels, plain and simple. Somehow it reaches beyond the avenue of AOR, displaying muscular vocals by Kennedy and whatever he is passionately rallying about. It's worth noting David Foster co-wrote this and the previous track. 'Sail On Sailor' is the track Kennedy wrote for The Beach Boys some years earlier, but Kennedy adds compulsory 1980 AOR ingredients to the music, especially in the harmonies, giving it a new identity. 'Starlight' is an upbeat AOR cut, with generous helpings of horn work and less guitar, giving it a pop sheen, although it's still very much in melodic rock realms. The melancholy 'Let Me Sing You A Love Letter' isn't quite the ideal way to end the album, a straight ballad and probably the only track I'd classify as a letdown, which isn't an indictment on the song itself as it followed eight classics.

In Summary
Kennedy certainly redeemed himself after the KGB flop and this should have established him as a major player on the AOR scene. Mysteriously it didn't and he continued various pursuits through the decades, as a producer and performer, earning a great deal of respect in the industry. Sadly Kennedy passed away in 2014 at the age of 67, leaving behind a legacy most musicians would envy. This album is among the cream of the crop of the early 80's AOR boom and one which is readily available for anyone who somehow missed it.

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#1 | DEMONAOR on October 23 2015 01:56:16
Great album from a great songwriter/singer. A classic in the AOR/Westcoast genre.
#2 | gdazegod on October 23 2015 03:19:28
Still not out officially on CD, as far as I can see. Perhaps a Japanese company like Air Mail Recordings could do this one? fineprint
#3 | RobLynott on October 23 2015 11:40:42
Fortunately this great album was remastered and reissued a few months ago via the Real Gone label.

The sound is great as is the addition of 4 bonus tracks. The price is great, too!
#4 | code4 on October 23 2015 12:07:02
I never got into this album (I will have to listen again). However i had it on cd many years ago so it has definitely been on cd before. It was not even an expensive one to get. Looking on ebay there are both 1991 japan cd editions listed and the early 2000's re-issue (which i would imagine is the one i had). I will listen again to this album with itunes or elsewhere as everybody sure seems positive about it
#5 | gdazegod on October 23 2015 21:16:49
I stand corrected (thanks Rob ), now out on CD thanks to Real Gone Records. Might have to pick this up!
#6 | gerard on October 23 2015 21:18:01
Good album! I have it on cd, a Japanese Sony release.
#7 | melodiapositiva on January 21 2018 16:01:01
I hoped more from this album ,the harder songs are very good but then we have at least 3 ballads ,and they are not very good imo,a bit boring .
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