Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Legend, Not A Star

Phil here, sneaking in one last post before Clea returns.

Paul Kelly is an Australian singer-songwriter who, despite his legendary status down under, remains almost unknown in the rest of the world. His 30-year career has resulted in a stunning string of songs that combine poetic storytelling with melodic pop/folk/country hooks. David Fricke, of Rolling Stone magazine, called Kelly "one of the finest songwriters I have ever heard, Australian or otherwise."

I could compile several discs of his songs for my kids. His style is so accessible, and his lyrics so full of intelligence and beauty, we never tire of listening to him.

Here's just a taste of Paul Kelly:

"You Can't Take It With You" - from 1989's So Much Water, So Close To Home... Probably my favorite PK song.

"Madeleine" - from 1995's Deeper Water... Written for Paul's young daughter, this "acoustic" version is actually from an out-of-print Australian children's compilation.

"Dumb Things" - from 1987's Under The Sun... One of his biggest hits, it even showed up during the taxi chase in the John Travolta movie Look Who's Talking.

"From Little Things Big Things Grow" - from 1991's Comedy... The tale of aboriginal rights activist Vincent Lingiari and the Wave Hill Walk-Off.

"If I Could Start Today Again" - from 2001's Nothing But A Dream... Gorgeous song about second chances.

"Whistling Bird" - from 1999's Smoke, a collaboration with bluegrass band Uncle Bill.

"Melting" - from 1998's Words & Music... Beautiful duet with Monique Brumby. This song is summer to me.

"Love Letter" - from 1999's Professor Ratbaggy... An experiment with reggae, dub, and funk.

"Hey Boys" - a duet with Mark Seymour, from the 1992 film Garbo.

Paul Kelly is one of those singers who has almost immediate appeal. It doesn't take very much effort to dive in to his catalog. If you want to get one CD to start off with, I suggest trying his "Best Of" collection, Songs From The South. Amazon has new and used copies for under $10.

Thanks, Clea, for letting me guest-blog here. It was fun!


Anonymous said...

I adore Paul Kelly. Thank you for sharing his music with others!!