For some time there have been rumours regarding Jonathan's health, I have been asked by his family to keep this secret but over the holidays they have allowed me to reveal the details and it is with great sadness that I have to reveal that Jonathan has been suffering from an aggressive form of Dementia for the past year.
For me Jonathan is not just an artist I have great admiration for, but also a great personal friend and this past year has been very difficult, witnessing the decline of this fine mind and talent and at the same time having to deflect questions regarding possible return to live performing...obviously there will be no more gigs.
When Jonathan knew things were getting bad he wrote me a lovely note regarding the friendship he felt for me, it is just one side of A5 notepaper but on the back his wife Lexi wrote that it had taken him several hours and 26 attempts, I read it with tears in my eyes and I will treasure it forever.
So where to we go from here? Well that's up to you his supporters and what you would like to happen? I have had several suggestions made to me over the years, such as regular conventions, a possible tribute concert and possibly a covers album, what do you think?
Unfortunately at the same time that Jonathan has been ill I'm also fighting my own battle against a serious health problem and I am unable to organise anything myself, so I wondered if anyone was interested in taking on any of these suggestions? If you do you can use this Facebook site to organise things among yourselves and I will try to oversee things as much as my health will allow. However organising such things will not be easy and will be time consuming so please do not offer and then back out and leave it in the lurch as people have done in the past, have a serious think about it and if such projects do go ahead let's do it right and give Jonathan something he so richly deserves.
Over the past year I also tried to get the BBC Folk Awards to give Jonathan an award, however I was bitterly disappointed to get a negative response. I believe Jonathan's contribution to the music industry and his influence on other musicians means he deserves better.
I am currently rebuilding the JK Website which I hope to get online in the near future. There will be a JK newsletter which will give far more detail than I can via Facebook. PLEASE NOTE. that several people already signed up to the newsletter have email addresses that are no longer working so if you have changed your email in the past couple of years, then please remember to send me your new email address. The JK newsletter is only used for news about Jonathan, I do not distribute or sell on any details, it is purely for JK news, so if you are not already signed up please do so by dropping me an email via the contact page on the JK Website www.jonathankelly.co.uk
More than half of the emails addresses for people who have signed up to the JK Newsletter are now bouncing back. If you have not received it, please let me have your current email address ASAP if you wish to continue receiving it.
This site is the copyright of Gerald Sables and nothing may be used or copied in whole or part without permission
With Christmas almost upon us I'm up to my neck in Kitchen rubble but I thought I would take a break and write a quick update to you all.
Firstly Jonathan's health...well as you are aware there can be no improvement in his health so any news cannot be good. Jonathan was moved to hospital as his condition worsened and I'm now informed that he has been moved to a specialist Dementia hospital where he can get the best care. I was contacted by a good friend of his who described Jonathan's condition to me. I'm ashamed to say that I'm pleased my health prevents me from visiting him because I could not face it, coming on top of my dear mother's death it would just be too hard to see him in his current state.
I am also of course concerned about his wife Alexis and his family and their financial position which is why I put forward the ideas of a benefit concert and a possible benefit album, but I'm sad to say that so far nobody who is qualified to do so has come forward to take on these projects so for the moment they are on hold.
I have also been concerned for a long time about the lack of any of Jonathan's material being available via download. His four RCA albums where released on cd by BGO, who currently only have the first two of these two albums available in their catalogue due to poor sales of the last two album release, (more about this later) BGO are not interested in downloads and only produce cds. They are of course perfectly within their rights not to do so but this means that Jonathan is missing out on royalties and although I'm a bit of an old dinosaur myself I understand that today downloads are more popular than cds. A few weeks ago I decided to look into this and contacted Sony who own the rights to Jonathan's RCA output after they took over RCA. I was put in contact with a really nice guy called Oli, who contacted me just a few days ago to say that he's hoping to be able to organise that all of Jonathan's RCA albums are available to download by January, so watch this space!
As I said above BGO is no longer selling Jonathan's last two alums 'Waiting On You' and 'Two Days in Winter' so it was a surprise to me to find 'Waiting on you' available on Ebay. It obviously wasn't the BGO release so I asked Sony if they had licensed it as I hadn't be told anything about it's release. It is apparently being sold from the USA and I suspect it is actually manufactured the the far east. Sony confirmed to me that they have not sanctioned this release and the have contacted the BPI fraud department. Please can I ask you not to buy this release as Jonathan gets nothing from it, neither does he get anything from another release originating in the far east, namely his first self-titled album, 'Jonathan Kelly' originally released on the Parlophone label. I hope to be able to organise a release of this album in the future which will include three bonus tracks, but at present EMI are uncommunicative.
As you know Jonathan is a Jehova Witness and therefore does not celebrate Christmas and out of respect to him and his family I don't mention it much on this site, however I know many of you do celebrate Christmas and I thought I would mention Jonathan's Christmas output.
As Jon Ledingham, Jonathan was very popular in his native Ireland with several artists covering his songs such as the song 'Walking out on foggy mornings' which the Johnstons recorded. Jonathan wrote a lovely little Christmas song called 'The Bells on Christmas Eve' which was recorded by Johnny McEvoy and released on his Christmas EP. Unfortunately there is no recorded version of Jonathan playing this song. There is one
song however that Jonathan wrote and did play and this was the hauntingly beautiful 'Timothy Simpson' Jonathan wrote this specially for his good friend Spike Milligan who his management shared the same building with. Spike was a big supporter of Jonathan as I have mentioned before. Spike was making a special Christmas Radio show called 'What The Dickens and asked Jonathan to appear in the show and sing something Christmassy, so Jonathan sat down and wrote Timothy Simpson specially for the show but he never intended to record it in the studio, so the only performance know was in that show. Unfortunately the BBC in it's wisdom deleted the show, however fortunately for us, somebody recorded it from radio at the time and it's a nice quality copy, so it's available to listen to on YouTube.
Johnny McEvoy 'The Bells On Christmas Eve' :https://youtu.be/mVp1exLeEkc
Jonathan Kelly 'Timothy Simpson' : https://youtu.be/kxcKs-eQF5I
Lastly can I say that I hope that however you celebrate the Holiday Season that you have a lovely time and that the New Year will bring you all Good Health and happiness. As my good friend Bill Smailes always used to urge me "be kind to each other"
All the best
Jonathan’s albums available as Digital Downloads for the first time!
From the 11th January Sony Music have agreed to make all of Jonathan’s four RCA albums available as digital downloads, the first time they have been available. It’s taken me a long time to organise this which I hope will make Jonathan’s music available to a wider audience. Below is a press release I have produced and sent out to BBC Folk websites, however I cannot reach everybody so if you know of any magazine, radio stations or websites that might be interested, please cut and paste the press release into an email and help spread the word.
Happy New Year
Jonathan Kelly Digital Downloads
It is with great pleasure that I can announce that as from 11th January all four of Jonathan Kelly's RCA albums, 'Twice Around The Houses', 'Wait Till They Change The Backdrop', 'Waiting On You' and 'Two Days In Winter' will be available as digital downloads.
Jonathan recorded five albums, none of his albums have ever been available as digital downloads before. The first on the Parlophone label only had a limited CD release in Japan & his four RCA albums were only available on CD via BGO records, who deleted the last two albums from their catalogue a few years ago. Bootleg versions of these albums have been appearing on ebay depriving Jonathan of much needed income. For this reason I increased my efforts to get these albums available as digital downloads. I have to thank Oli at Sony records for finally making this possible.
Jonathan Kelly (real name Jonathan Ledingham) was born in Ireland in 1947. He became a very popular singer songwriter in Ireland before moving to the UK where under the management of Colin and Joanne Petersen he changed his name to Kelly and became a very popular act, especially in the folk clubs of the early 1970's. His concerts were legendary and he stole the 1970 Cambridge Folk Festival after filling in whilst there was a PA problem. His released five albums, the most famous being the 1972 release 'Twice Around the Houses' also included his most famous song 'The Ballad Of cursed Anna' which is still being sung in folk clubs around the world to this day.
Jonathan retired from recording and performing in the late 1970's but came out of retirement in the early 2000's to perform a short UK tour in order to thank his many fans for their support. Sadly in the past few years he has suffered from Dementia and this is now at an advanced stage.
Jonathan Kelly Benefit
Jonathan made little from his career, he does not even own his own home and has little savings. I would like to see that he and his family get the best care possible in the future and to this end I thought it would be nice if a Benefit concert and a possible Tribute concert could be organised. Unfortunately I also suffer from a chronic health condition and I am unable to organise these and I have been looking to find a person who has the relevant skills and experience who is willing to take such projects on.
In the past people with the relevant skills have offered their help, but unfortunately since the Jonathan Kelly mailing list was started in 2004 almost 75% of the emails have changed and it is no longer possible for me to contact these people, so if they are listening or reading this, perhaps they could get in touch with their updated details. If there is anybody who would like to volunteer to take on these projects please can they contact me. I have several artists who are willing to participate if only I can find somebody to oversee the project.
If you can help me publicise this press release I would be most grateful. If I can be of any further help or assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.
Gerald R Sables
Manager and agent for Jonathan Kelly
Jonathan Kelly Facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jonathan-Kelly/179047564798
Jonathan Passes away after long illness
It is with great sadness that I have to announce that I received an email from Jonathan's son Greg to inform me that Jonathan passed away peacefully last night. Both Rosy and myself are devastated as I'm sure many of you will be, though of course the news was not totally unexpected I had not thought it would come this soon, my only consolation is that Jonathan is no longer suffering, how I wish I could have got him that radio 2 Folk Award that I tried so hard to obtain for him, he surely deserved it.
Perhaps it would be nice if you had a moment, to play one his songs tonight, God Bless you Jonathan, you were a true gentleman, a true friend and a really nice guy.
Love & Peace
If you could help me get the word around by contacting any Folk Chat boards, Folk magazines, Radio shows etc I would appreciate it, as you know I'm quite unwell at present and it would help to take some strain off me in the coming days.