45 Friday: KEY And CLEARY – A Man


By ‘Bob The Record Guy’ Paxon

Here’s a 45 for today, and an unhappy announcement.

The announcement is this: for the time being, I wouldn’t be able to do 45 Friday articles. There’s several reasons, but taken all together, I simply don’t have time right now to do what needs to be done to do them the way I think they should be done.

There’s some more stories that need to be told, and someday they will be told. There’s some local musicians who’ve contacted me and I’m waiting to interview them. There’s music which needs to be recorded and uploaded to YouTube. But I can’t do those things right now. The only alternative is to just post songs but after almost 150 articles I’ve exhausted the available stuff. Without uploading more music, we won’t be covering any new ground. So I’m taking a break for awhile. Hopefully I’ll come back with more and better articles before too long.

For today, here’s Key And Cleary – Buffalo’s greatest duo of community activist musicians! Someday we’ll cover their story. Suffice to say, they made a lot of music (among other things) and a fair amount or records- all singles, as far as I know.

“A Man” b/w “There Are Troubles” came out on local Mark Records around 1975. It has an interesting mix of Soul with Folk and Jazz influences. Like a lot of their musical efforts, I believe this one uses a drum machine for the percussion sounds and home-recording technology.

Jessie F. Key and Sylvester ‘Syl’ Cleary had a confusing discography. Besides this Mark release they 45s also on Amherst,  Gold Plate and Buffalo’s Reflection – at least. And one or more as the Chosen Few Band, or with the Chosen Few Band. Some of these contain the same songs but may be different versions. These are all local labels except Gold Plate which is affiliated with a local label (Amherst).

Years later a reissue came out on the mysterious Original Gold label which seems to mainly be reissues of local WNY sides including The Invictas, The Seven, and The Rockin’ Rebels. On it, “A Man” was backed with Bob & Earl’ famous hit “Harlem Shuffle”. As good as it it, I can’t imagine a lot of people were clamoring for a reissue of the Key and Cleary track since it seems to have not been a good seller even when it was released!

Enjoy! and keep spinning those little record with the big hole in the middle.

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