If the album that you have purchased the most is a test of a favourite then for me, the answer is “Post” by Paul Kelly. I have purchased, with my own money, 2 vinyl copies and a CD and favourited it in Tidal/Roon. I’d buy it again in a heartbeat.
It didn’t chart when first released but has since been re-released twice and is now regarded by Australian Rolling Stone as the best record of 1985.
The title works on several levels. It is Paul’s first solo album and looks back to his childhood in Adelaide, leaving Melbourne (and its drug scene), the breakup of his band and first marriage and the death of a friend (Paul Hewson from Dragon) from a heroin overdose. It also works as a report on the past and a signpost for the future. Paul has said the album is about addictions of various sorts, but is not strictly autobiographical; he developed stories out of the circumstances around him.
I first came to the album because of its beautifully clean and uncluttered production. The recording was self funded for $3,500 and Clive Shakespeare (Sherbet) did a wonderful job of engineering and co-production. A couple of notable guest players including Ian Rilen on bass (track 2) (X, Rose Tattoo) and “Evil” Graham Lee on guitars (tracks 8 and 10)(The Triffids).
But in the end its the lyrics and performance that keep this spinning in your head. From the banal horror of “Incident on South Darling” or “White Train” to the reckless abandoned love of “You Can Put Your Shoes Under My Bed” and the resigned optimism of “Little Decisions” the lyrics here just work.
It is a credit to Paul’s career that there are many people who know of his work but haven’t listened closely to “Post” as an album in itself. Every time I do, I enjoy it all over again.
Edit: Reference to Graham Lee always raises the vexed question as to how he acquired his nickname. This is his answer:
Re “Evil” Dave had the idea that all steel players have nicknames - and quite a few do eg Lucky Oceans, Speedy West, Pee Wee Clark, Weldon Myrick (just joking that’s his real name) - and that he would be shortchanged if his steel player was nick-less. So one night as we had a few drinks and watched the movie Evil Roy Slade on telly he had a moment’s inspiration and I’ve been stuck with it since. Not many people call me that, just friends from the 80s who I rarely see and the remaining Triffids.