Paul Kelly Mix-Tape

17 August 2017 Michael Epis

Paul Kelly Mix-Tape

Classics, obscurities and The Don… this is Mick’s tape of Paul Kelly’s ever-growing songlist. Which 10 tunes would you include?

‘You Can Put Your Shoes Under My Bed’ (Post, 1985)
A gorgeous piano intro, a salty sax line. Whenever you fall, you can put your shoes under my bed/Any time, any time you’re passing by/This way. People fell in love with it straightaway. Still do.

‘Maralinga (Rainy Land)’ (Gossip, 1986)
From the minor key strum, through the opening slash of guitar, then the chant: This is a rainy land/This is a rainy land/No thunder in our sky/No trees stretching high/But this is a rainy land – intent is clear. Many people first learned of Britain detonating 12 atomic bombs in Australia via this song. The album houses 21 songs, many just as powerful.

‘White Trash’ (Professor Ratbaggy, 1999)
Random spoken word (“People keep asking me, where’s your brother”), blaring microphone shouts (“White trash”), cacophonous screaming, dance drums etched with electronic glitches – hardly sounds like Paul Kelly. It’s dub, rip-roaring rock dub.

‘To Her Door’ (Under the Sun, 1987) 
He got married early/Never had much money. Who doesn’t know this one? Everyone recognises it first time they hear it. It got Kelly recognised.

‘Little Bit o’ Sugar’ (Ways & Means, 2004)
This is like one extended note becoming a chord, one lazy summery afternoon stretching into evening. Dreamy intoxication, pleasurable desire. “I want some of your sugar now.” A beat, just; a pulse, barely. But it moves.

‘Our Sunshine’ (Smoke, 1999)
Big artists take on the big national motifs, and there’s none bigger than Ned Kelly. Well there came a man/On a stolen horse/And he rode right onto the page. The banjo rocks, care of bluegrass buddies Uncle Bill. A song grandparents and grandchildren like. I dare you not to sing along. 

‘Reckless’ (Hidden Things, 1992)
The deep mystery, profound majesty and haunting unintelligibility of this Aussie Crawl classic fully realised.

‘Bradman’ (Hidden Things, 1992)
It goes on and on, just like The Don.

‘Wintercoat’ (Live, May 1992)
Young lovers, cold winters and old memories of a cherished gift.

‘Glory Be to God’ (How to Make Gravy EP, 1996)
A spirit-raising paean to one’s love. Glorious.           

by Michael (Mick) Epis

This article first appeared in Ed#543 of The Big Issue. For our full interview with Paul Kelly, buy a copy from your vendor today.