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JO ANN KELLY - Key To The Highway: Rare & Unissued Recordings 1968 - 1974 (1999) & Talkin' Low: Rare & Unissued Recordings 1966 - 1988, Volume 2 (2000)
Jo Ann Kelly (1944 — 1990) was an English blues singer and guitarist. "To many American performers", an obituarist wrote, "Jo Ann Kelly was the only British singer to earn their respect for her development of what they would be justified in thinking as 'their' genre. Kelly had a voice far bigger than her slight frame would sest; with a rich, deep, tonal quality that could easily have come from Dinah Washington or Sister Rosetta Tharpe. After establishing a musical partnership with the British blues musician Tony McPhee, Kelly appeared on two McPhee compiled albums for Liberty Records, Me and the Devil (1968) and I Asked for Water, She Gave Me Gasoline (1969). She also appeared on two John Dummer Band albums John Dummer Blues Band (1969) and Oobleedoobleejubilee (1973). At the end of the 1960s, with an album on a major record label in the United States, it seemed that she might be spirited away there and moulded into another Janis Joplin. Both Johnny Winter and Canned Heat tried to recruit Kelly into their ranks. However, her allegiance was to the United Kingdom and the nightclub scene, although, the 1970s and 1980s would fail to support her financially and so she took to the European circuit, latterly with the guitarist Pete Emery or in bands. Indeed, in the early 1980s, she was a member of the Terry Smith Blues Band.
In 1988, Kelly began to suffer from headaches. In 1989 she had an operation to remove a malignant brain tumour. She died in October 1990, at the age of 46.
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