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Paul Kelly Unveils 'People,' A New Album About Real-life Characters Including PM Paul Keating

24 February 2023 | 9:41 am | Mary Varvaris

The fourth ‘mixtape’ focuses on real people. Well, mostly.

(Pic by Michael Hili)

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Paul Kelly is back with People, his fourth album in a series of mixtapes that follow a theme. Check out the song Light On A Hill below.

The first mixtape, released in June 2022, centred around Time, while the second traversed through Rivers And Rain a month later.

Kelly said about Rivers And Rain at the time, "When I’m travelling and visiting new cities, I always look for the water, be it a river, a lake, a canal, the sea or a swimming pool. If I were to make a compilation of all my ‘water’ songs, the tracklist would be overflowing! So for the second instalment in this themed series, I’ve decided to narrow the channel to Rivers and Rain." 

The third mixtape, Drinking, was released in September 2022. Kelly wrote, "The best description of a hangover I’ve ever read is by Kingsley Amis in his novel Lucky Jim."

Kelly recites, "'Dixon was alive again. Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection. He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider crab on the tarry shingle of the morning…'

"Poor Dixon. I’ve felt like him, and I never want to feel like that again. But I’m a drinker. For me, it is one of the great pleasures of life. A glass of wine or two with dinner, the first beer after hard physical work or sport, a dark ale and a whisky on a cold night. The beaded bubbles winking at the brim of the glass on the surf club balcony looking out over the sea. A little buzz on. The camaraderie of family and friends. Farewells and welcomes and ceremonies."

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Today, Kelly returns with People. Going through his expansive catalogue, he chose 18 tracks that best represent the chosen theme. He also introduced three fictional characters - Anastasia, Desdemona and Josephina - to accompany the real larger-than-life characters such as Ned Kelly.

People arrives with two new songs, Light On The Hill from the musical Keating! and Laughing Boy, based on the Irish writer Brendan Behan, and two recent live renditions of the classics, Our Sunshine and From Little Things, Big Things Grow.

Kelly explains the new mixtape, "The fourth ‘mixtape’ focuses on real people. Well, mostly. Three fictional characters have made the list by virtue of their names being song titles – Anastasia, Desdemona and Josephina. And Arthur McBride inhabits the borderland between legend and history. All the rest have definitively walked this earth or still do, and all are truly remarkable."

People also follows the lives of Shane Warne and Donald Bradman.

Save/pre-order People here. All CD copies of the mixtapes will be shipped on 26 February.