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Paul Kelly today releases Paul Kelly’s Christmas Train, an extraordinary 22-song double album which travels across the centuries, from a Latin hymn to well-known carols, from a traditional Irish folk ballad to songs with an unmistakable local flavour, and a sparkling new version of one of the greatest Australian Christmas songs of them all, Kelly’s own How to Make Gravy recorded 25 years after it initial release. Paul Kelly’s Christmas Train is out now through EMI Music and is available HERE now. Click HERE for exclusive Paul Kelly’s Christmas Train merchandise from Paul Kelly’s store.

Following on from last week’s video release for the track Christmas – Kelly today shares the video for ‘Christmas Train’ – a rollicking rock ‘n’ roll tune originally by American garage punk soul band, The Bellrays.  “I’m a fan of the band The Bellrays and their raw garage-soul sound. They did a Christmas album in 2008 and Christmas Train is from that album. I thought it would suit Vika perfectly and it turns out I was right. She walked into Soundpark studio, all business, and smashed it by the second take. All the band had to do was hang on and go with her!” says Kelly of the track.

Also released today is the 2019 live video for Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home). Originally sung by Darlene Love on the 1963 Phil Spector-produced album A Christmas Gift For You, Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) has become a staple and a crowd favourite at Kelly’s end-of-year Making Gravy shows with Linda Bull singing.  The recorded album version features Linda Bull on lead vocals with backing vocals by Vika Bull, Linda’s daughter, Kiki, and the Kelly family – Maddie, Memphis and Declan. Juniper Kelly (Declan’s 12 year old son) also makes a cameo playing the bell sound on Cameron Bruce’s keyboard – making this track a true family affair!

“We’ve been playing Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home), with Linda taking the lead, as a show closer at the Making Gravy shows ever since they started. So it was the first song on the list for the Christmas Record. Linda pulls out all the stops and, yes, stops the show again!” says Kelly of the track.


The sacred and the secular, the ancient and modern, all carefully woven into a collection destined to become a part of Australian Christmases for many years to come. Paul Kelly’s Christmas Train is delivered by Kelly and his band with a big cast of Christmas helpers including vocalists Marlon Williams, Waleed Aly, Lior, Emma Donovan, Kasey Chambers, Kate Miller-Heidke, Vika & Linda Bull, Alice Keath, Sime Nugent, Alma Zygier, Emily Lubitz, Jess Hitchcock and Dhungala Children’s Choir, and contributions from the Kelly clan including nephew and band-mate Dan, siblings Mary-Jo and Tony and Paul’s daughters Maddy and Memphis Kelly.

“I’ve always been interested in Christmas songs and the variety of them,” Kelly says. “There is a double-edged sword to Christmas music because every year it is everywhere, pumped to you in supermarkets and malls. There is a lot of schlock but on the other hand there are so many great Christmas songs and so much to explore. I’ve chosen songs I love, which led me often to wander off the well-worn path, then chosen singers I thought best suited to them.”

Christmas played a big part in Kelly’s childhood, growing up in a large Catholic family in Adelaide. “We had Advent, the month long build-up to Christmas. There was a small crib in one of the fireplaces with a pile of straw beside it. Every time you did something good or denied yourself something you would secretly put straw in the crib so it would be filled by Christmas, when a statuette of the baby Jesus would miraculously appear in the crib. The statues of the Three Wise Men started a long way off in another part of the house, secretly moving every night along mantelpieces so they would arrive at the crib for the Epiphany on January 6. That was all part of Christmas for us. It was fun and mysterious and magical.

For the Kelly clan singing is always part of the season. “Sometimes we do it all together, sometimes the Queensland gang do it separately from the Melbourne gang, and we have the tradition of singing carols on Christmas Eve, not very reverentially.”

Part of the joy in Paul Kelly’s Christmas Train comes from discovering fresh ways to treat the best-known songs, from the pedal steel guitar and ukuleles of Silent Night, with a verse in the original German sung by Alice Keath, to an astonishing performance by Marlon Williams singing Tapu Te Pō (O Holy Night) in the Māori language.

The story of Jesus and Mary has strong associations with Judaism and Islam and Lior joins Paul, Alice and Emily Lubitz for an a cappella reading of the Hebrew prayer of peace Shalom Aleichem. The Qur’an has a chapter devoted to the story and Waleed Aly recites the vivid poetry of Surah Maryam.

Kelly and his band bring a ’60s-fired energy to Christmas, an Australian song of longing for home by brothers Chris and Wes Harrington, and Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home), with Linda Bull tearing up the place on the song originally recorded by Darlene Love on the Phil Spector Christmas Album.

Kelly says: “There were so many songs I wanted to have on there. Having the wider frame for this album allowed me to have the songs talking to each other, the way that Arthur McBride has echoes in the Brazilian song In the Hot Sun of a Christmas Day. There is a Hebrew hymn, an Arabic poem, folk songs, classical songs, rock songs. Then the fun, and the challenge, is to get all those elements to work together.”


Paul Kelly’s ‘Making Gravy’ shows return this festive season with very special Melbourne and Brisbane outdoor events announced for December.  Joining the legendary songwriter and his band – Vika and Linda Bull, Dan Kelly, Bill McDonald, Peter Luscombe, Ash Naylor and Cameron Bruce – are some of Australia’s finest musicians, Ball Park Music and Sycco with Emma Donovan & The Putbacks who is opening proceedings at both shows.

Thursday 9 December       
Sidney Myer Music Bowl | Melbourne, VIC
With special guests Ball Park Music, Sycco and Emma Donovan & The Putbacks
Licenced All Ages – | Ph: 132 849

Friday 10 December       
Sidney Myer Music Bowl | Melbourne, VIC
With special guests Ball Park Music, Sycco and Emma Donovan & The Putbacks
Licenced All Ages – | Ph: 132 849

Saturday 18 December         
Riverstage | Brisbane, QLD
With special guests Ball Park Music, Sycco and Emma Donovan & The Putbacks
Licenced All Ages – | Ph: 136 100

1. Nativity
2. Silent Night w/ Alice Keath & Sime Nugent
3. Swing Around The Sun
4.  Christmas
5.   Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) w/ Linda Bull
6.  Little Drummer Boy
7.  Arthur McBride
8. The Virgin Mary Had One Son w/ Emma Donovan
9.  Tapu te Pō (O Holy Night) w/ Marlon Williams & Dhungala Children’s Choir
10.  Shalom Aleichem w/ Lior, Alice Keath, Emily Lubitz
11. The Oxen
12.  The Friendly Beasts w/ Kasey Chambers & Dan Kelly
13.  Three Drovers w/ Alice Keath & Sime Nugent
14.  Christmas Must Be Tonight
15.  Surah Maryam w/ Waleed Aly
16.  Coventry Carol w/ Kate Miller-Heidke, Jess Hitchcock, Alice Keath & Marlon Williams
17. In The Hot Sun Of A Christmas Day
18.  How To Make Gravy
19.  Christmas Train w/ Vika Bull
20.  Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing
21. Intonent Hodie w/ Alice Keath
22.  What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? w/ Alma Zygier



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