Paul Kelly, by Stuart Coupe

Paul Kelly, by Stuart CoupeQ: Is this worth buying?

A: Yes! 100%. Worth every penny.

I’m probably the ideal market for this book but that doesn’t mean I’m a pushover. On the contrary, because I am a Paul Kelly fan, because he is my contemporary, because I really liked Stuart Coupe‘s last book Roadies, because I’m an avid reader of rock bios … my expectations for this book were very, very high.

Luckily, Paul Kelly, The man, the music and the life in between is excellent! Perfect for a rainy weekend, it was genuinely hard to put down. I really enjoyed Coupe’s understated, journalistic style, relying on first hand accounts (including his own, when appropriate) to build up the picture. It’s also very well edited – you can always tell, when reaching the end of a chapter makes you want to start the next.

I’ve read a fair bit about and by the subject and I definitely found out a lot more from this book. It’s no hagiography, but it’s not a dirty-laundry expose, either. It does give considerable insight into how Kelly approached his craft and it goes a long way to explaining what a late 20th century songwriter did to make a 21st century career out of plying his trade.

Along the way, and especially toward the end, Coupe has some interesting things to say (or imply) about the music industry that alone are worth the price of admission. He also references my favourite Kris Kristofferson song (OK, maybe a tie with Billy Dee).

Highly recommended.

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