ALBUM PREMIERE: KELLY FINNIGAN ‘THE TALES PEOPLE TELL’
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Monophonics frontman/keyboardist Kelly Finnigan is just about to release his solo debut The Tales People Tell on the storied Colemine label, and it’s immersed in late 60s/early 70s soul—especially the kind of heartrending ballads and sweet soul b-sides that sound best when its just you and the record and the thoughts in your head. (Although he does include the cheerfully unexpected Northern-style uptempo track “I Called You Back,” just to make sure things don’t get too overwhelming.) The production and performances here are beyond impeccable, with intricate and imaginative arrangements that make Finnigan’s vocals cut deeper and hit harder. He’s got a versatile verging on chameleonic style, and Mayfield and Marvin must have both been inspirations here—especially the opening of “Since I Don’t Have You Anymore,” or the heavy “What’s Goin On” vibes on closer “Can’t Let Him Down”—but you might think of Darondo when you hear that falsetto on “Catch Me I’m Falling,” too.
It’s an impressive release, more so for Finnigan playing a lot of the instruments himself, although he did get able help from his Monophonics comrades as well as legendary drummer James Gadson (who started with the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band and never stopped) and his longtime sessioneer/sideman father Mike Finnigan. Says Kelly, who grew up in L.A., although he works out of the Bay Area now: “I’m so proud of this record. In terms of pure soul music, this feels like one of the best soul albums to come out of California in a very, very long time. I’m happy to carry the west coast soul torch forward!”