Paul Kelly – 1973 – Don’t Burn Me

Review and research by Raggedy

Rip, posting and additional info’s by Nikos

Paul Kelly was born June 19th, 1940 in Miami, Florida. Before he joined Clarence Reid’s Del-Mires  in the early 60’s, Paul Kelly had already had his own — albeit short-lived — group. In 1956, Paul’s brother Henry asked him to join his own group, The Superiors. That came as a “super-surprise” to Paul who said in an interview with the Basement magazine that  Henry had told him he couldn’t sing and that he “never was going to be a singer.” Henry’s Superiors, however, didn’t stay together for very long either because Henry left Miami to go to college. The rest of the group formed first the Spades and later the Valadeers. In 1960 Paul eventually went solo. His first recording attempt for the Dade label resulted in a disagreement over money, and the record was not released.
His debut single for the small Lloyd label “The Upset” b/w “It’s My Baby” (1965), co-written by Clarence Reid was, compared to his later recordings, a typical middle-of-the-road 60’s release. As was his rather successful “Chills and Fever” — another Northern Soul title that did not even come close to doing justice to the artist’s talent. “Sweet Sweet Lovin,” written by Kelly himself and released in 1967 for the Philips label, came much closer to showcasing the full potential of Paul’s vocal abilities. Compared to this release, his 1965 releases sounded feeble and uninspired.
The 60‘s were over, and with the start of the new decade, it seemed, Paul Kelly had found his artistic identity. In 1970, he released the song that would forever be tied to his name: “Stealing In The Name Of The Lord” (Happy Tiger).  The song pilloried the hypocrisy of dubious preacher tactics to swindle their faithful followers out of their money. Paul Kelly wrote the song for Sam and Dave. But Sam Moore, it is said, found the theme objectionable.

It almost. Obviously, at the start of the new decade, Paul’s music had begun to change. The aggressive anti-church-corruption song had started a blaze within Paul Kelly. A new kind of urgency and passion pervaded both his compositions and deliveries.

Come Lay Some Lovin’ On Me 3:41
(You Bring Me) Joy 2:57
I Wanna Get Next To You 3:20
I Could Never Love Nobody Like I’m Lovin’ You 3:21
Come With Me 2:30
Love Me Now 3:22
Wrapped Up In Your Love 4:21
Sweetness 3:24
Come By Here 3:26
My Love For You Won’t Die 3:20
I’d Be Satisfied 2:41
Don’t Burn Me 2:55

When Happy Tiger records closed shop in 1971, Warner Bros. signed him up. Between 1972 and 1977 he released 4 LP’s for the new label.

Although “Dirt”, his first album, probably got the lion’s share of attention, his second album, in my opinion, deserves a closer look. “Don’t Burn Me”, was released simultaneously in the U.S. and Great Britain. All 12 songs are written by Paul Kelly himself and produced by Buddy Killen whose heavy slant towards country music becomes quite noticeable in some of the recordings. Nevertheless, the album offers an astonishing variety of musical arrangements and is inspired by various musical genres.

Nothing  is left to be desired on this album. From the the singing and lyrics to the participation of such choice musicians as Chip Moman and Reggie Young, everything provides a pleasant experience. Both the strings and horn sections are nothing short of superb. Paul Kelly’s singing has matured from the early, rather streamlined approach to  his idiosyncratic style. His sings with genuine passion, emotes without theatrics. The rawness of 60’s Soul is still present; the roughest edges, though have been smoothed out.

The album balances more or less upbeat titles with slower ones. There are no unwelcome surprises having you wonder how they ended up on an otherwise wonderfully balanced, harmonious selection of songs.

The songs on the upbeat side “Come Lay Some Loving On Me,” “I Could Never Love Nobody Like I’m Loving You,” “You Bring Me Joy,” and the title song “Don’t Burn Me” have all made it into the favorites section of my i-tunes library.  

The opening song,”Come Lay Some Lovin’ On Me” utilizes a generous dash of psychedelic sound and leans heavily to the funky side. The emphasis on the bass as well as the interaction of guitar- and horn parts give the title a well-rounded sound. For those who love some nice drum work: Hayward Bishop is cited as being on the drums.

On “I Could Never Love Nobody Like I’m Loving You” the theme is joy and happiness. Hearing the unburdened organ, easy-going drums, dancing guitar, and smiling strings, I feel like greeting spring after a long and dull winter. Flamboyant and invigorating, this song never fails to induce a surge of endorphins.

You Bring Me Joy”  and  “I’d Be Satisfied” keep the guitarists busy. You will love the bass guitar on both songs. Paul, so tot speak, joins Juanita Rogers in the background vocals. On these two titles, the horn section and strings remain in the background, providing  the canvas on which Paul’s vocals splashes the colors.
His ability to express and evoke emotions shows again — and best — in the slower titles like, for instance, “I Wanna Get Close To You” and “Come With Me”.  These songs also impress with the muted, understated horn section. Paul shows his expertise in switching from soft and silky-romantic yearning to excited and impatient passion. “Come With Me” is reminiscent of 60’s folk music.  

Wrapped Up In Your Love”, “Sweetness” and “My Love For You Won’t Die” are simply beautiful and deserve to join the ranks of classic soul songs. They incorporate a moderate amount of both country and deep southern soul.

Now, the big surprise to me was “Love Me Now”.  I only knew Johnny Adams’s version before I came across “Don’t Burn Me.” This title owes much of its hauntingly beauty to the sophisticated instrumentation — especially the almost etherial strings. They seem to be meant to be felt, not heard. The horns are swaying like gentle waves that carry you to a place where nothing but bliss and joy do rule. I can’t get enough of that song. If you know the passionate version of Johnny Adams, it may take a few listenings to fully appreciate the understated sensuous quality in Paul’s version. It’s like comparing two different lovers: one whose fire might burn you, the other one whose longing envelopes you with the warmest glow … This song is a gem.

All in all, “Don’t Burn Me” is an album of a homogeneously high quality. You will enjoy it.


Buy the AlbumPaul Kelly – 1973 – Don’t Burn Me


Conversation for album: Paul Kelly – 1973 – Don’t Burn Me

  • mike
    Posted at 11:55h, 06 November 2012 Reply

    Perfect. Thank you both.

  • Nino
    Posted at 20:57h, 06 November 2012 Reply

    Just amazing! :)

  • rich
    Posted at 21:04h, 06 November 2012 Reply

    sounds groovey nikos. thanx! do u have other albums of his?

  • psoundz
    Posted at 00:30h, 07 November 2012 Reply

    thanks so much. i just love me some soul!

  • Nikos
    Posted at 10:32h, 07 November 2012 Reply

    rich, yes we have. if you need another just let me know

  • SIK
    Posted at 00:23h, 08 November 2012 Reply

    Sounds really nice so far. Haven’t been around for a while, but I#m glad my favourite blog still amazes me with every visit.

  • T-Swift
    Posted at 05:07h, 08 November 2012 Reply

    I would love to see the dirt album as that is the only one I’ve never heard.

  • Nemesis
    Posted at 13:34h, 08 November 2012 Reply

    Nice so very nice…not familiar with this artist.

  • rich
    Posted at 21:28h, 08 November 2012 Reply

    would love to hear his other stuff if u dont mind posting it

  • pedro
    Posted at 14:50h, 09 November 2012 Reply

    great singer song wrighter love the title track

  • Aloizio
    Posted at 21:10h, 09 November 2012 Reply

    You have class taste in quality soul music.

  • Anne
    Posted at 21:13h, 09 November 2012 Reply

    Mmm my mother used to love this song. 

  • Zelabal
    Posted at 17:30h, 10 November 2012 Reply

    this is beautiful music. goodness gracious…

  • Agno8
    Posted at 17:32h, 10 November 2012 Reply

    this is my first time hearing this track…shit, this is dope!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tony
    Posted at 02:58h, 11 November 2012 Reply

    Hi Nikos, I’ve only recently discovered this blog. It’s astounding! Great reviews, great LP cover shots…and great music. Have now spent several days going back through the archives and discovering many amazing gems. Forgive me if I don’t comment very often, but be assured your efforts are appreciated.

  • Christof
    Posted at 15:02h, 12 November 2012 Reply

    Excellent choice again. what a great collection of almbums. Keep on man.

  • Edd Hurt
    Posted at 21:26h, 12 November 2012 Reply

    Hi, Nikos. We’d talked earlier about my helping out with the website–maybe it was about Howard Tate. I apologize for not getting back to you on that; I’ve just been slammed with work, life, etc. maybe I could still help you out by posting and writing about the Tate records I have (all of them). Let me know, and I will make time to do it. As always, your site is amazing, and we must be in sync, since I have just been listening to Paul Kelly’s Happy Tiger LP and the WB version of it, “Dirt,” along with a few other things from his WB years. If you do have “Dirt” or the original Happy Tiger LP titled “Paul Kelly” (the one with “Strealing in the Name of the Lord,” those would be great to post. I could even contribute the writeup for that record, since I’ve been so into the guy lately, since his death this August, and since he has such strong ties to my home, Nashville, Tenn. Again, thank you, sir.

  • Edd Hurt
    Posted at 21:31h, 12 November 2012 Reply

    btw, it is “Chips” Moman. Nikos, I interviewed Chips recently for the Nashville Scene. He came to town and appeared in public, a rare event. You can find the interview at the Nashville Scene’s “Nashville Cream” music blog, from a couple of months ago, under my name.


  • Nikos
    Posted at 22:15h, 12 November 2012 Reply

    Edd, I’d love you to review any of Howard Tate’s recordings. Please go on. We’ll be in touch through email.

  • vire
    Posted at 12:16h, 13 November 2012 Reply

    Can’t wait to get it! Thanks.

  • Emil
    Posted at 13:36h, 13 November 2012 Reply

    such a soulful sound, fantastic meaning in his voice… soul at its best, thanks for the post

  • horstenpeter
    Posted at 22:27h, 03 December 2012 Reply

    thank you!

  • brotherpete
    Posted at 03:24h, 02 January 2013 Reply

    thank you Nikos !!!

  • Strange Visitor
    Posted at 04:53h, 14 January 2013 Reply

    Thank you!

  • thraka
    Posted at 12:33h, 25 January 2013 Reply

    I discoverd this very nice Blog a few days ago – and will not miss it! Thanx for the great informations, cover sleeves and the sound.
    (sorry for my bad english)

  • Topaz Bon
    Posted at 02:18h, 06 March 2016 Reply

    Thanks for making Paul Kelly’s music available, first class!

  • Psychfan
    Posted at 03:21h, 07 June 2018 Reply

    High quality stuff. Thank you!

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