How to Make Gravy by Paul Kelly
‘How to Make Gravy’ has a cultish following these days; with five million downloads, a legion of Kelly’s fans have claimed 21 December as the official how-to-make-gravy day.
Kelly rolls out his protagonist for a third time, following ‘To Her Door’ (1987) and ‘Love Never Runs on Time’ (1994). This time Joe finds himself incarcerated and heading into Christmas, hoping to be out by July with good behaviour. The lyrics centre on his remorse for his actions and the reality that he will be apart from his family for Christmas.
In his correspondence to his brother, Joe also verbalises his fear that his brother may make advances on Rita (Joe’s partner) as he know his brother likes her and pleads with him not to stab him in the back and make a move on her.
While Joe may be a character from Kelly’s imagination the gravy recipe is not, being a family standard passed down by Kelly’s then father-in-law, when he was married to Hilary Brown (they divorced in 1984).
‘How to Make Gravy’ was written specifically for the charity record Spirit of Christmas, which has been produced each year since 1993 with proceeds going to the Salvation Army. Fast forward to 2018 and Paul Kelly is touring a ‘How to Make Gravy’ series of concerts around the country, with guest stars such as Julia and Angus Stone.