Burnin' the Candle
Sherman Kelly\'s Biography (According to Sherman) I was born in 1943 in Washington DC but grew up outside of Boston. My father was a professor of city planning at MIT. I had two brothers and two sisters. The Kelly household was constantly filled with music. Everyone played the piano and some played other instruments. We were fortunate to be influenced by a rich and eclectic mixture of music, including jazz, calypso, blues, Afro-Cuban, European and Eastern European, South American, South African, and a wide range of classical music. My mother studied piano at the New England Conservatory and wanted me to study classical piano She started to give me lessons but when I was six years old she discovered that I was pretending to read music but was really playing by ear. We had a major disagreement and I quit the piano. At age 15, a friend taught me some blues and boogie woogie and I have been playing ever since. When I was an undergraduate at Cornell University, I joined a great rock and roll band called the Oz & Ends. We played every weekend at fraternity parties and at bars around Ithaca, NY. Dave Robinson, who later sang the hit version of my song \'Dancin in the Moonlight\' for King Harvest was the lead vocalist and played bass in the band. Eddie Tuleja, the guitarist, also went on to play with King Harvest.I graduated from Cornell in 1967. In 1969 I played in the band Chin, with Dave Robinson, Eddie Tuleja, Jim Tunick and my brother Wells. Our manager and close friend Alex Brooks opened a nightclub in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands where we played for months. We were the first amplified band to play on the island of Tortola in the British Virgins. On a trip to St. Croix in 1969, I was attacked and beaten by a gang who later went on to murder three American tourists. I suffered multiple facial fractures and other wounds and was left for dead. While I was recovering, I wrote \'Dancin in the Moonlight\' in which I envisioned an alternate scenario of a peaceful and joyful celebration of life. I recorded the song later that year with the band Boffalongo featuring Larry Hoppen on guitar, Dave Robinson on bass, Pete Giansante on drums, Wells Kelly on Timbales and me on keyboard and lead vocal. Boffalongo hit the charts with \'Dancin in the Moonlight\' and toured extensively. In 1971, Alex Brooks set up another nightclub in St. Thomas called The Grass Shack. Larry Hoppen, Bob Leinbach, Milton Jay, Wells Kelly, Paul Lisseck and Bobby Simone, the former road manager for The Mama\'s & The Papa\'s, and a host of other friends made the club a big success. Boffalongo continued to play in the Caribbean. In 1972 Wells and Larry joined John Hall to form the band Orleans. I moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts where I scored educational films. In 1973, while meditating with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at a teacher training course in Spain, I was notified that my old friends Dave Robinson, Eddie Tuleja, Rod Novak and Ron Altbach of the band King Harvest had a big hit with \'Dancin in the Moonlight\'. They invited me to join the group and tour in support of the hit record. We released an album called \'King Harvest\' that year. Later that year we recorded an album that was finally released in 2007 entitled \'King Harvest: The Lost Tapes\'. After touring with King Harvest, I continued to write songs, frequently with my brother Wells, who was a brilliant musician. Wells performed and recorded with many great musicians including Al Kooper, The Beach Boys, Bonnie Raitt and many others. He played, toured and recorded with Orleans for many years. During Wells\'s tenure with that band I also co-wrote several songs for Orleans. After Wells\'s tragic death in 1984, I found it too painful to work on music for many years. After working in several professions, and living in various locations I returned to the Ithaca area where I have been living with my partner Judy Abrams since 1991. I had become interested in social work, so I returned to school and received a Masters Degree in Social Work in 1994. I have been employed as a social worker/psychotherapist ever since. In recent years, my interest in songwriting has been rekindled. My old friend Paul Lisseck, a wonderful creative spirit, sent some lyrics, which inspired two of the songs on my new CD, \'Burnin the Candle\'. I decided to complete some of the unfinished works that Wells and I had written together and add them to the CD along with some other new songs. I have also collaborated with other friends including David Kent, Harley Campbell, Judy Abrams and Alex Brooks on many of these songs. Much of the credit for this effort belongs to Charlie Shew, my brother\'s protégé and a superb musician and recording engineer, who encouraged me to undertake this project. Without Charlie\'s inspiration and encouragement the CD would not have been completed. Al Grunwell of Fingerlakes Recording has been of invaluable assistance in the recording and mastering of this CD. Larry Hoppen played outrageous guitar on \'Jumby Queen\'. Pat Driscoll played excellent guitar on all of the other songs, and helped with some of the arrangements. The Burns Sisters, Annie, Marie, and Jeannie sang great back up vocals as did Karen Lonsky. Elisa Sciscioli and Pat Driscoll. My partner Judy Abrams in addition to collaborating on several of these songs has provided encouragement, support and love throughout this project.