Here is a single that is highly sought after for the rather lightweight Northern soul of “Isn’t It Just A Shame” but which on the side features a real grower of a ballad I Can’t Stop. The first few times I heard this track I didn’t get it at all but then the subtlety of Wells’ vocals, particularly his timing and the occasional emphasis he lays on certain key words in the lyric really hit me. The doo-wopping background voices and the horn charts are beautifully done but the killer section is the chord change into a minor key for the bridge about 50 seconds in – just superb. A little known gem from Bob Crewe's Big Apple label but you have to persevere to get the most out of it. Anyone who likes this should also check out Duff Thurmond's excellent 45 here.
The funky Broach 45 is from Chicago so the "Kenneth Wells" who features as a singer on Paul "Guitar Red" John'son's "That I Love You" (Kellmac 1009) may well be the same guy. Can anybody confirm?
UPDATE ~ Dante carfagna writes to say to add the New Era and Black Hole 45s to the discography. He says that "Contagious" is an instrumental and was also used as the backing track for "Anna's Thang" by Anna Raye on Lock 724. Wells had his hand in a number of Chicago-area releases and later ran the Black Hole label that issued these 45s: 7240 Gadgets “Love’s Child/ You And I Together” (1979) K-7241 Gadgets “The Land Of Opportunity/ Twenty Years Of Funk” (1980).
I can’t stop / Isn’t it just a shame ~ NEW VOICE 812 (1966)
FURTHER UPDATE ~ Bob Abrahamian has written to say that the New York Kenny Wells and the Chicago Kenny Wells are not the same person. He kindly sent me the email address of the Windy City artist and Kenny himself has confirmed this. So this part of the page refers to the career of the Chicago Kenny Wells. Bob says that Kenny Wells had his own jazz combo, his band is the band playing on a lot of Kellmac 45s, you can see his name credits on the CODs, Combinations, etc. Kenny Wells was one of the owners of the Lock group of labels (e.g. Dream, Broach, Erica, etc.). Lock stood for: Lucky Cordell, Ed O'Kelley (who independently owned Teako), Clarence Johnson and Kenny Wells. He did run the Black Hole label on which there are actually 3 Gadgets 45s. I think he told me he wasn't a member of the Gadgets and just produced them. Kenny himself writes to say that he produced Denise Chansdler's "Love Is Tears" on Lock, Diane Cunningham's "Some Day Baby" on Broach, the Spoilers "Spoilers Rap" on Broach. Kenny also confirmed that he owned Black Hole records. He is still making music and is a DJ on WSSD.
I can't Believe it / I've never known ~ DEE DEE ? (1962)
Lots of love / Hoodoo man ~ BROACH 752
Contagious/ Angel Walk ~ NEW ERA 101
What You Got Left For Love/ Inst. ~ BLACK HOLE 2856 (1982)