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Paul Kelly: A To Z In 1,2,3

Maximum Performance

Anyone who'd like to delve into the career of Australia's highly acclaimed Paul Kelly--an award-winning singer-songwriter with a massive catalog of superb songs--but does not know where to start: You're in luck.

Kelly's best work is being now being released in the States in two convenient formats: Large and Extra-Large. And it's all extraordinarily good.

In the course of more than 30 years--since his 1981 debut album Talk--Kelly has been garnering acclaim as a masterful singer and songwriter with an uncanny knack for writing catchy songs of surprising personal depth. When A&M Records released his album Gossip in the U.S. in 1987 and introduced the singer to American audiences, it started a chain reaction of critical appreciation that's never really died down since. And the albums kept on coming.

If you'd like to make sense of it all, Songs From The South (Volumes 1 & 2) may be the best place to start. A two-disc collection of many of the singer's finest songs--from early track "From St. Kilda To Kings Cross" to album closer "Shane Warne"--it offers up the original recordings and a healthy variety of musical approaches encompassing rock, folk and intriguing regions in between. With a generous supply of 40 tracks, it's a lengthy but always fully enjoyable listen.

Did somebody say lengthy? You may, when you get a load of Kelly's The A-Z Recordings--an 8-CD, 105-song live box set that captures a stunning array of the singer's best songs, captured on the road and presented--as he did in concert--in alphabetical order, from "Adelaide" to "Zoe." What may be most notable for a collection of this magnitude: There's no sense of repetition whatsoever. A master craftsman, Kelly writes songs that go all over the place musically and lyrically, and the sheer musical variety on display on The A-Z Recordings never fails to impress.

We at Y! Music were thrilled when Kelly took the time to drop by our studio for an intimate performance of three tracks to be found on both of these new collections--and we suspect you're going to enjoy them very much. Give a listen to one of the finest singer-songwriters we've got!

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