Soul Fantasy

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ron Kenoly

Ron Kenoly was born December 6, 1944 in Coffeyville, Kansas. Ron Kenoly is no other but Ron Keith. In fact, label executives changed his name to Ron Keith. After high school, Ron ventured to Hollywood. Faced with poor job prospects, he joined the Air Force in 1965. While in the military, Ron met and married his wife, Tavita. During this time he also joined the Mellow Fellows, a Top 40 cover band which toured military installations. In 1968 Ron left the Air Force and resettled in Los Angeles where he planned to seek his fortune in the music business. Over the next few years, Ron launched his career by singing demos of Jimmy Webb ("MacArthur Park") songs for the Audio Arts label. He also released his first single, "The Glory of Your Love (Mine Eyes Have Seen)," for the company.
Ron Kenoly and Candy were the first act signed to Semper's Inner City label. Their "Lovely Weekend" single was a massive success selling close to 200, 000 copies. "The two of them came and sang the song at my house and I knew straight away I wanted to sign them," explains Semper. "We recorded it at CBA (Clark Brown Audio) recording studio in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles in 1972.

Composed by Ron Kenoly and Arthur Woods. Arranged by Arthur Woods. Produced by George Sember.

However, it was at A&M Records that Ron had his greatest secular success. Label executives changed his name to Ron Keith. They thought an Italian last name would confuse the R&B marketplace. Simply entitled Ron Keith & the Ladys, the A&M album featured the R&B hit "I Betcha I'll Get Ya" and "Soul Vaccination" which was later covered by Tower of Power. Also he released some singles. One of them was entitled "I Can't Live Without You" on A&M Records in 1975. I have this of another label that was released later.

Produced by John Florez

Ron remained in R&B music another year to fulfill contractual commitments. When he left LA, he relocated to Oakland, CA.
Ron taught music and physical education at Alameda College from 1978 to 1982. Still, the fire to sing burned within him. Ron tried four years to get a gospel record deal to no avail.
"It was real low point," he recalls. "But as much as I loved music, I loved God more. I couldn't go back to secular music even if it meant never singing again."
Ron produced a custom-made album entitled "You Ought To Listen To This" in 1983 and sold it wherever he sang.

This album was recorded at Rainbow Sound Inc Dallas, Texas. The musicians were Whitey Thomas on keyboards, Brady Mosher and Jerry Matheny on guitars, Marc Jaco on bass and Mike Collier on drums. Arranged by Whitey Thomas and J.Daniel Smith. I have chosen two tracks entitled "I'm never gonna look back" and "Stop hauling water".

Soon, word of Ron's musical talents began to spread around the Oakland area, and he found himself invited to lead praise and worship at numerous churches.
"I didn't even think of myself as a praise and worship leader," Ron says. "All I knew was I would go and sing my songs and something special would happen."
Leading worship for high-profile pastors like Lester Sumerall and Jack Hayford brought Ron to the attention of evangelist Mario Murillo who commissioned Ron to lead worship at his crusades. Leading worship for high-profile pastors like Lester Sumerall and Jack Hayford brought Ron to the attention of evangelist Mario Murillo who commissioned Ron to lead worship at his crusades.
Through Murillo, Ron met Pastor Dick Bernal, who founded the Jubilee Christian Centre, a congregation in San Jose, CA.
Ron became the church's music minister in 1987 and was content to stay there without the thought of ever recording again.
The next year's Welcome Home album earned Ron his first Dove Award. His last recording was 2001's Dwell in the House, which was a first-round Grammy award nominee.

Note: The above posted tracks are not played in full

1 comment:

PhillyDave said...

"I can't live without you (sticks & stones)" is an all time favourite, as is his other A & M single in my collection "Gotta go by what you tell me"