Thursday, 20 October 2016
Recognition/I See Red/Lowdown/Faster Than Light
Paul Maurice Kelly (born 13 January 1955) is an Australian rock music singer-songwriter, guitarist, and harmonica player. He has performed solo, and has led numerous groups, including the Dots, the Coloured Girls, and the Messengers. He has worked with other artists and groups, including associated projects Professor Ratbaggy and Stardust Five. Kelly's music style has ranged from bluegrass to studio-oriented dub reggae, but his core output straddles folk, rock, and country. His lyrics capture the vastness of the culture and landscape of Australia by chronicling life about him for over 30 years
While travelling around Australia, Paul Kelly made his first public performance in 1974 in Hobart.His first published song, "It's the Falling Apart that Makes You", was written after listening to Van Morrison's Astral Weeks at the age of 19, although in an interview with Drum Media he recalled writing his first unpublished song: "It was an open-tuning and had four lines about catching trains. I have got a recording of it somewhere. It was called 'Catching a Train'. I wrote a lot of songs about trains early on, trains and fires, and then I moved on to water". In 1976, Kelly appeared on Debutantes, a compilation album featuring various Melbourne-based artists, and joined pub-rockers The High Rise Bombers from 1977 to 1978. The High Rise Bombers included Kelly (vocals, guitar, songwriter), Martin Armiger (guitar, vocals, songwriter), Lee Cass (bass guitar), Chris Dyson (guitar), Sally Ford (saxophone, songwriter), John Lloyd (drums), and Keith Shadwick (saxophone). Chris Langman (guitar, vocals) replaced Dyson in early 1978. In August, after Armiger left for The Sports and Ford for The Kevins, Kelly formed Paul Kelly and the Dots with Langman and Lloyd. The High Rise Bombers recorded two tracks, "She's Got It" and "Domestic Criminal", which appeared on The Melbourne Club, a 1981 compilation by various artists on Missing Link Records.
Paul Kelly & the Dots' first charting single, "Billy Baxter", released in November 1980. Ahead of their debut 1981 album, Talk. It has a "delightful, ska-tinged" style.
Kelly had already established himself as a respected songwriter—other Melbourne musicians would go to see him on their nights off. Richard Guilliatt, writing for The Monthly, later described Kelly from a 1979 performance at Richmond's Kingston Hotel, the singer was "a skinny guy with a head of black curls framing a pale face and a bent nose... singing with his eyes closed, one arm outstretched and the other resting on the body of the Fender Telecaster". Kelly was introduced to Hilary Brown at one of the Dots' gigs and they later married – the relationship is described in "When I First Met Your Ma" (1992). Brown's father supplied Kelly with a gravy recipe – used on "How to Make Gravy" (1996). Their son, Declan, was born in 1980.
In an October 1982 interview with The Australian Women's Weekly, Kelly indicated he was more pleased with Manila than Talk as "It has more unity ... with this one we didn't have people dropping into the studio to play." Years later Kelly disavowed both Dots albums: "I wish I could grab the other two and put 'em in a big hole". The 1982 film, Starstruck, was directed by Gillian Armstrong and starred Jo Kennedy. Paul Kelly and the Dots supplied "Rocking Institution" for its soundtrack and Kelly added to the score. Kennedy released "Body and Soul", a cover of Split Enz' "She Got Body, She Got Soul" as a shared single with "Rocking Institution". Acting in a minor role in Starstruck was Kaarin Fairfax, who later became Kelly's second wife. Kelly was without a recording contract after the Dots folded in 1982.