Rockbrat Wonders: All About The Kelly Family

Firstly, let me just ask the question, ‘Are there any Kelly families in the world who do not have about 15 siblings?’ What was up with all those Irish Catholic families having 20 odd kids? Anyway, let me introduce to you the all singing, all dancing Kelly Family, who much like the Partridges, toured around a continent (Europe) and lived in their bus. Though let it be said, there ain’t no Susan Dey amongst this lot! In late 1993 I was playing Bazza McKenzie and walking around Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, trying to find evidence of what our lads blew up during the war, when the bus arrives – and out hopped all the wandering Kelly minstrels, all gypsy like with their long hair and flowing clothes – and then the women got off the bus. Sheesh – one look at this lot and I was almost hoping for a raid by a Stirling or Lancaster. Alas, I was not that lucky – and I managed to move away from the crowd to a less populated area. I had forgotten about that encounter with the Kelly Gang (ahem) until a few years back, when Mr. Rockbrat gave me a copy of their ‘An Angel’ CD. A known piss taker, Mr. Rockbrat and I thought that this was one of the funniest covers to grace a record ever. Dear me. Let’s look at some history. The Kelly Family are an Irish-American-European music group  who plied a repertoire of rock, pop and folk music. They had chart and concert success in Europe and other parts of the world, especially in Germany, the Benelux countries, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Spain and Portugal. Apparently they sold over 20  million albums since the early 1980s. Really ? The band existed from 1970 until 2008 and members included Dan Kelly, (no not Ned’s brother), Barbara-Ann Kelly, Caroline Kelly, Paul Kelly, Kathy Kelly, John Kelly, Patricia Kelly, Jimmy Kelly, Joey Kelly, Barby Kelly, Paddy Kelly, (there you go) Maite Kelly, Angelo Kelly. Unlike the Osmond’s who borrowed from Liberace’s wardrobe, the group presented a gypsy image and a vagabonding lifestyle, travelling around Europe in a double-decker bus and houseboat. Their image was enhanced by their eclectic and often home-made clothing and the very long hair worn by both male and female members of the band. The song ‘An Angel’ is syrupy pop of the worst kind. Like the illegitimate offspring of Fess Parker parading around Haight Ashbury, with a flower in one hand and a blade in the other. Get a haircut hippie. “I was chasing butterflies till the sun rise broke my eyes,” (vomit pause). The fact that the album that this song appeared on ‘The Hump’ (what the F**k does that mean?) and sp;d 2.5 million in Germany speaks volumes about peoples musical tastes in Deutschland.  Let’s look at this cover. Where do I begin? The cover shows several grinning Kelly’s sitting on the stairs of some public monument. The other half of the band didn’t make the photo – far too many Kelly’s for the camera. Dressed in homemade red smocks, the Kelly girls look like members of some apocalyptic cult, smiling knowingly that doom day in nigh. There’s an assortment of head bands, jackets and even an animal skin coat. Notably, the males (hang on let me check – yep, they are males) are all wearing leather daks. Though the dude in the middle (the band leader/ father/ brother whatever) is sporting a MacGyver mullet that would make Billy Ray proud. He is sitting with a wicker basket on his knee. Maybe snake charming was part of the act? There are a couple of 8 year girls at the back who really should be in school. Ma says we don’t need no writin’ or ‘rithmetic. Even the Brady’s had a school teacher on set and Sonny had school of the air. Which leads me to the pug faced urchin at front right. Sporting a hybrid fashion sense of brown leather boots, snakeskin strides and white jacket, this snout nose of undetermined gender is a clear indication that inter breeding is not only illegal and immoral, – it’s just plain wrong. It needs a damn good haircut regardless –as they all bloody do. If you need a haircut that you can set your watch to—you better look elsewhere. After the band split, Paddy cut off his long hair and joined a religious order in France whilst the rest of the Kelly clan returned to the backwaters of the Mississippi.

One thought on “Rockbrat Wonders: All About The Kelly Family

  1. Sales of 20 million ? Bad hash cake anyone ? Would sure like to see some supporting evidence of that ! Don’t spose you spied a shitter on the Kelly bus did you Cowboy ? (just curious). Also, how can u sing about peace, love and butterflies yet wear animal skin clothing ? You can bet border patrol guards around Europe rolled the eyes when they saw the K bus heading their way…..and the sign said long-haired freaky people, need not apply….!

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