John Kennedy and the New Originals - John Kennedy and the New Originals (Foghorn/MGM)
Brisbane-raised English expatriate John Kennedy patented the Urban and Western genre after he transplanted himself to Sydney 40-something years ago and found underground success. It’s been a long (and winding) road since.
There’s been a decade living overseas in Los Angeles, Berlin, London, Holland and Hong Kong. Kennedy on paper’s had what appears to be a revolving cast of backing bands - J.F.K. And The Cuban Crisis, John Kennedy And The Honeymooners, John Kennedy's '68 Comeback Specialand John Kennedy's Love Gone Wrong.
Reality is that there’s been an intermingling of players in those bands and the line-up’s been stable in recent years, but perseverance has been a by-word.
It’s a brilliant idea so why didn’t someone do it before?
What’s that? you say. Record a bunch of iconic, mostly Sydney, underground songs in a way that honours the originals but makes them their own – at least for a few minutes.
UK-born, Brisbane-bred John Kennedy became a fixture on Sydney inner-city scene in the 1980s after cutting his musical teeth in his hometown. His distinctive “urban western” songs, and his bands JFK and The Cuban Crisis and John Kennedy’s Love Gone Wrong, earned him a healthy niche in a city that back then was groaning with musical talent.
John Kennedy was always backed by excellent bands and inevitably joined his peers in spreading their versions of the word on the national touring circuit, before moving overseas for a time. He and various line-ups of his John Kennedy’s ‘68 Comeback Special have been kicking around the now skeletal Sydney scene (read: Inner-Western Delta) for the last decade or so.