How to Make Gravy

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How to Make Gravy
A picture of a 300 mL bottle of White Crow tomato sauce is shown on the left. The artist's name is on the right with the album's title below it. To the right of the word "to' is a floral leaf.
EP by Paul Kelly
Released 4 November 1996 (1996-11-04)
Recorded 1996
Genre Rock, pop
Length 15:02
Label White
Producer Paul Kelly, Simon Polinski
Paul Kelly chronology
How to Make Gravy (1996) Roll on Summer (2000)
Music sample
A sepia coloured image of a woman presenting a platter containing a large roast bird (possibly a turkey). Her smiling face is visible beyond the bird, her fingers appear below the platter. The background is red. A strand of coloured Christmas lights stretches across the top of the image. The artist’s name is located to the left of the woman’s head and the words, Christmas Single, are to her right. The title of the single is written over the image of the roast bird.
US (Vanguard Records) release

How to Make Gravy is a four-track EP by Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly and was originally released on 4 November 1996 on White Label Records in Australia. The title track was written by Kelly and earned him a 'Song of the Year' nomination at the 1998 Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) Music Awards. It tells the story of a newly imprisoned man writing a letter to his brother, in which the prisoner laments that he will be missing the family's Christmas celebrations. The same character appears in Kelly's earlier songs, "To Her Door" (1987) and "Love Never Runs on Time" (1994). The gravy recipe is genuine – Kelly learnt it from his first father-in-law. It was covered by James Reyne on the 2003 tribute album, Stories of Me: A Songwriter's Tribute to Paul Kelly and on Reyne's 2005 acoustic album ...And the Horse You Rode in On. It has also been covered by David Miles, From Nowhere, Semicolon, Ghostwriters, Karl Broadie and Lawrence Agar. In September 2010, Kelly titled his memoirs, How to Make Gravy. On 29 September 2012 Kelly performed "How to Make Gravy" and "Leaps and Bounds" at the 2012 AFL Grand Final.

Background[edit]

Paul Kelly's album, Wanted Man, was released in 1994 and reached No. 11 on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Albums Chart.[1] Kelly also composed music for the 1994 film Everynight ... Everynight, directed by Alkinos Tsilimidos, it is set in the notorious H division of Victoria's Pentridge Prison.[2] Kelly's next solo releases were Deeper Water in 1995 and Live at the Continental and the Esplanade in 1996.[3] Between March and May 1995 Kelly undertook a seven-week tour of North America, appearing on several dates with Liz Phair and Joe Jackson.[4]

By 1996, Paul Kelly Band members were Stephen Hadley (bass guitar, ex-Black Sorrows), Bruce Haymes (keyboards), Peter Luscombe (drums, ex-Black Sorrows) and Shane O'Mara (guitar).[3] Spencer P. Jones (guitar, Beasts of Bourbon) guested on some performances.[5] This line-up issued the CD-EP, How to Make Gravy, with the title track earning Kelly a 'Song of the Year' nomination at the 1998 Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) Music Awards.[6] In August 1996 Kelly performed the song at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, with O'Mara on slide guitar, which was included on Edmonton Folk Festival Compilation Album (1996).[7] The song was included in 1998 as an extra track on the US release of Words and Music by Vanguard Records. That year, "How to Make Gray" was also issued as a US single but with a different cover: it depicts a roasted fowl on a serving tray held by a smiling woman with the words 'Christmas Single' included. Kelly and his nephew Dan Kelly recorded the song as part of Kelly's A – Z Tours from 2004 to 2010, it was issued on the 8× CD album, The A – Z Recordings (2010).[8]

Composition[edit]

"How to Make Gravy" is a song with a length of five minutes and ten seconds.[9] The song is set in the key of E major and has a medium tempo with a piano range of B1–E5 and a vocal range of B3–E5.[10] Kelly is credited with both lyrics and music.[11] The lyrics tell the story of a newly imprisoned man writing a letter to his brother, in which the prisoner laments that he will be missing the family's Christmas celebrations.[8] The same character is the protagonist in earlier songs by Kelly, "To Her Door" (1987) and "Love Never Runs on Time" (1994).[12] All three tracks appear on Kelly's live 8× CD boxed set, The A – Z Recordings (2010).[13]

In 1996 Kelly was approached by Lindsay Fields, the guitarist and backing vocalist for John Farnham, to perform a Christmas-themed song or carol for a various artists charity record, The Spirit of Christmas, to raise money for the Salvation Army.[8] Kelly originally selected "Christmas Must Be Tonight" by Robbie Robertson (The Band) however that had already been performed by James Blundell on The Spirit of Christmas 1994, so he told Fields that he would have a go at writing one instead.[8] Kelly later recalled, "I had a rough tune I'd been kicking around with the band at sound check, but was having trouble getting started on the words.[8] Kelly's inspiration for the lyrics was subsequently drawn from Irving Berlin's White Christmas, where "Irving intensifies the feeling of Christmas by not being there".[8] He advised Fields, "I have a Christmas song but it doesn't have a chorus and it's set in a prison".[8] Fields was overcome with emotion when he first heard it and convinced the Salvation Army's selection group to accept it for the collection.[8]

The gravy recipe is genuine – Kelly learnt it from his father-in-law: "Just add flour, salt, a little red wine and don't forget a dollop of tomato sauce".[8] In the late 1970s, Kelly met his future wife, Hilary Brown, at one of his early gigs – the relationship is described in the 1992 song, "When I First Met Your Ma", written for their son, Declan (born 1980).[8][14] In 1984 Brown and Kelly divorced.

Cover versions[edit]

It was covered by James Reyne on the 2003 tribute album, Stories of Me: A Songwriter's Tribute to Paul Kelly and on Reyne's 2005 acoustic album ...And the Horse You Rode in On.[11][15] It has also been covered by David Miles, From Nowhere, Semicolon, Ghostwriters, Karl Broadie and Lawrence Agar.[11][16] John Butler performed the song at a Kelly tribute show which was recorded on the related triple album, Before Too Long (2010).[17]

Reception[edit]

"How to Make Gravy" was nominated as 'Song of the Year' at the 1997 Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) Awards,[18] which was won by Savage Garden's "Truly Madly Deeply". Kelly was also nominated and won 'Best Male Artist' at that year's ARIA Awards on the success of the song.[19] It was also nominated as 'Song of the Year' at the 1998 Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) Music Awards,[11] which was won by Leonardo's Bride's "Even When I’m Sleeping".

Allmusic's Tom Hallet praised the track in his review of the US version of Words & Music, "cult maestro Kelly draws on a rich tapestry of characters and true to life situations, and has his finger firmly planted on the universal heartbeat with loose, catchy yarns ... [including one on] Christmas in jail".[20]

In 2008 John Butler selected the song as his favourite Australian song of the last 20 years:[21]

I just reacquainted myself with the lyrics online and I have to say it brought tears to my eyes again. What a wordsmith! This song is the perfect example of what we as artists try to do – to explain and convey the very emotion and feeling of a situation and setting in just a few words. It is an art and there is something divine about the process, and Paul has that gift. This song is steeped in modern Australian culture. How is it that I feel like I know Dan, Rita, Frank, Dolly and the kids? I can smell the roast and see the cars parked in the front yard. The stubby holders, piles of wrapping paper, the heat rippling up from the road and the camaraderie in the busy kitchen. I’ve been at that Christmas … or have I? Either way, after hearing, feeling, experiencing that song, I have now.

On 29 September 2012 Kelly performed "How to Make Gravy" and "Leaps and Bounds" at the 2012 AFL Grand Final although most of the performance was not broadcast on Seven Network's pre-game segment.[22] Nui Te Koha of Sunday Herald Sun declared "Kelly, an integral part of Melbourne folklore and its music scene, and a noted footy tragic, deserved his place on the Grand Final stage – which has been long overdue ... broadcaster Seven's refusal to show Kelly's performance, except the last verse of 'Leaps and Bounds', was no laughing matter".[22]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Paul Kelly[11][23][24][25]

How to Make Gravy
No. Title Length
1. "How to Make Gravy"   5:10
2. "I'd Rather Go Blind (Than See You with Another Guy)"   3:12
3. "I'll Be Your Lover Now"   3:50
4. "Glory Be to God"   2:50

Releases[edit]

Format Country Label Catalogue No. Year
EP AUS White Label D1513 1996
CD single US Vanguard (promotional release) 740-2 1998

Personnel[edit]

Paul Kelly Band members

  • Stephen Hadley – bass guitar ("How to Make Gravy", "I'd Rather Go Blind Than See You with Another Guy")
  • Bruce Haymes – keyboard
  • Spencer P. Jones – guitar ("How to Make Gravy", "I'd Rather Go Blind Than See You with Another Guy", "Glory Be to God")
  • Paul Kelly – guitar, vocals
  • Peter Luscombe – drums
  • Shane O'Mara – guitar ("How to Make Gravy", "I'd Rather Go Blind Than See You with Another Guy", "I'll Be Your Lover Now")
  • Bill MacDonald – bass guitar ("I'll Be Your Lover Now", "Glory Be to God")

Recording details

  • Oscar Gaona – Mastering
  • Victor Van Vugt – Mix Engineer ("I'd Rather Go Blind Than See You with Another Guy", "I'll be Your Lover Now", "Glory Be to God")
  • Simon Polinski – Sound Engineer ("How to Make Gravy", "I'd Rather Go Blind Than See You with Another Guy"), Producer ("How to Make Gravy")
  • Paul Kelly – Producer ("How to Make Gravy", "I'd Rather Go Blind Than See You with Another Guy", "I'll be Your Lover Now", "Glory Be to God")

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Discography Paul Kelly". Australian charts portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 March 2010.  Note: based on information supplied by ARIA.
  2. ^ "Everynight... Everynight". National Film and Sound Archive. Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Holmgren, Magnus. "Paul Kelly". Australian Rock Database. Passagen.se (Magnus Holmgren). Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "Paul Kelly Past Tour Dates (March – May 1995)". Australian Music Web Site. Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  5. ^ McFarlane, 'Paul Kelly' entry. Archived from the original on 20 September 2004, retrieved 14 March 2010.
  6. ^ "1998 Music Awards Nominations". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  7. ^ Blanda, Eva (2007). "Paul Kelly – Discography – Part III – Everything Else". Other People's Houses (Eva Blanda). Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kelly, Paul (21 September 2010). How to Make Gravy. Camberwell, Vic: Penguin Books (Australia). pp. 202–206, 281–282. ISBN 978-1-926428-22-2. 
  9. ^ Blanda, Eva (2007). "Paul Kelly – Discography – Part IIa – The Recordings of Paul Kelly as a Solo Artist". Other People's Houses (Eva Blanda). Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Paul Kelly – 'How to Make Gravy' Sheet Music – Product Information". Musicnotes, Inc. (Kathleen Marsh). Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "'How to Make Gravy' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  12. ^ Kruger, Debbie (December 2002). "Paul Kelly Words Are Never Enough". APRAP (Australasian Performing Right Association). Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "The A – Z Recordings". iTunes. Apple Inc. 24 September 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  14. ^ "Paul Kelly Reveals the Stories Behind the Songs". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). 24 September 2010. ISSN 0312-6315. OCLC 226369741. Archived from the original on 18 May 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  15. ^ "James Reyne - ...And The Horse You Rode In On". Liberation Blue Acoustic series. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  16. ^ "Karl Broadie Discography". Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  17. ^ "Before Too Long". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  18. ^ "ARIA Awards: History: Winners by Award: Song of the Year". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  19. ^ "ARIA Awards: History: Winners by Award: Best Male Artist". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  20. ^ Hallet, Tome. "Words & Music – Paul Kelly – Review". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  21. ^ Shedden, Iain (20 September 2008). "Your Songs". The Australian. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  22. ^ a b Te Koha, Nui (30 September 2012). "Tim Rogers, Paul Kelly and Temper Trap Owned the Stage for AFL Grand Final Entertainment". Sunday Herald Sun (News Corporation). Retrieved 1 October 2012. 
  23. ^ "'I'd Rather Go Blind Than See You with Another Guy' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  24. ^ "'I'll Be Your Lover Now' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  25. ^ "'Glory Be to God' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 28 March 2010. 

External links[edit]