Thursday, September 30, 2010

Before Too Long - Triple J's Tribute To Paul Kelly


I first heard about this by chance, as these days I spend very little time listening to the radio.  Ironic, given that my job is writing for radio, but the demands of this blog are such that my in-car time is either listening to albums I'm reviewing, or listening to talk radio for the news.  Anyway, I was happening past Triple J for some reason and heard one of the songs being covered, thought it sounded great, and was delighted to hear about the concert.  I then spent far too much time at work listening to the podcast.

So when I saw it had been released as an album, it was very quickly purchased.  We've spoken before about the abilities of Mr Kelly, who I think can wear the title of Australia's premier singer-songwriter (as described by the Sydney Festival) with ease.  Hearing favourites like From Saint Kilda To Kings Cross and the title tracks being performed by some of Australia's finest younger talents is a positive joy.

The only thing left to do is to buy the DVD.



Paul Kelly has the well-deserved privilege of being one of the very few artists to get multiple posts on this blog (and the only Australian).  I been effusive about the man before so I won't press my luck again.  If you interested, you see it here.  But I will say if you haven't heard anything of his, this is a great place to start. 

On this 3 disc collection, Kelly features on one of the discs doing his own versions of the songs covered, while the other two feature covers.  Triple J picked the cream of Australia's alternative talent to perform a variety of songs from Kelly's back catalog, with everyone from John Butler, nephew Dan Kelly, Clare Bowditch and Megan Washington.  There are some sterling renditions of Kelly classics, none more so than Ash Naylor's version of this compilation's titular track.  But my personal favourite is the raw, dirty version of Sweet Guy, as performed by Adalita of Magic Dirt.  The lyrics are made even more potent with her treatment.  It is pure rock awesomeness.

Have to thank Mine for adding this one to our collection.  It is a truly worthy addition to anyone's collection.


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  1. I've tried and maybe I should try again... but I just haven't been able to get into Kelly's work. It's not that I dislike it. It's just kind of "there" for me. It doesn't really grab me but it doesn't really inspire any negative emotions in me either.

    For that style of music, I prefer James Reyne's more recent acoustic oriented solo albums. I believe he did a cover of Kelly's How To Make Gravy that was somewhat enjoyable. I have and have evne reviewed both Reyne's ...and the horse you rode in on and Ghost Ships albums. I have a few of his other albums as well (Speedboats for Breakfast and Hard Reyne) but haven't had a chance to review those yet.

  2. Maybe it is because Kelly is quintessentially Australian that the cultural references we find so easily and comforting in him music don't exist for those who live outside Australia. We can fully understand this as there is a lot of Americana we just don't get.

  3. I get what you're saying about the cultural references... One of my favorite songwriters, Brian Vander Ark, is not only distinctly American in his songwriting references... he's also distinctly Midwestern. Many of his cutlural references are largely unique to the midwestern region of the United States that people from the south, west, or up and down the east coast might not "get" his work. While I was born and raised in the East... I've always been a Midwesterner at heart. So Vander Ark's lyrics really strike a chord with me. Incidentally, one of my other favorite singer/songwriters, Ben Folds, has actually recorded material in Australia and his references tend to be a bit more universal thus he's developed followings in both the US and Oz (btw, are you a fan of/have you ever listened to Folds work? I believe much of his Rockin' the Suburbs album was recorded in Oz).

  4. We have reviewed Ben Folds (see the review here: and are familiar with his work. He even lived in Australia for a while.