Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Currently listening to: Missy Higgins singing Paul Kelly

Most musical tribute albums turn out disappointing, but as a fan of Paul Kelly's music I hoped the Triple J tribute album Before Too Long  might be different. 

The 3 CD set include two CD's of live covers of twenty Paul Kelly songs performed by younger Australian artists including Clare Bowdith, Bob Evans, John Butler, Missy Higgins, Dan Kelly, Katy Steel and Dan Sultan to name a few. The third CD, which includes original versions of the same songs by Paul Kelly himself, is  a reminder of the richness, diversity and brilliance of Australia's finest musical craftsman.

But I was disappointed with many of the live performances, one exception being Missy Higgins, who delivers a startling performance of two of my favourite Paul Kelly songs- You Can Put your shoes under my bed and If I could start today again. Sung solo with just piano and a subdued acoustic guitar accompaniment Higgins brings a profound emotionality and stark beauty to these songs. Hers is without doubt one performance that really does justice to the brilliance and power of Kelly's songs.

The CD is still worth having, if just for Missy Higgins remarkable performance and the 20 original Paul Kelly versions.

Paul Kelly has a book of memoirs How to Make Gravy due out at the end of September, along with  an 8 CD box set collection of live recordings of all his songs.

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