Brian Kelly (1944-2000)
Last updated: 13.09.18
Brian himself made no recordings and, as far as I believe, never had any ambitions of making recordings or any kind of studio work. He was a natural, and the natural place to perform folk music is in a pub. (At least that's what I always thought and I think Brian would agree with me - he loved his pubs). All that remains are three lousy cassette tapes made just for transcription purposes in Wilfried Drygala's cellar bar, the place where we carried out our monthly rehearsals. There are also two video tapes made by Heinz Seidelmann as mementoes in 1992 in the Treppchen. From these unlikely sources, 10 songs have been rescued and have been compiled as a CD Brian Kelly: In Memoriam upon which one-verse samples of these songs can be heard on this website. This CD, vastly over-priced, was once available as a DAM-CD at There are no plans for its re-release..
This is by no means a list of all Brian's songs in his repertoire, the list is merely those of songs which he sang together with the "Idle Fellows". His repertoire must have covered hundreds of songs. He had a vast knowledge of North English songs as well as songs connected with the labour movement both in England and Germany. He sang all these songs by heart and scorned the use of songbooks on stage. The complete folk musician was our Brian!

The Banks of the Roses High Germany The Maid on the shore
The Banks of NewfoundlandThe Holy Ground A Mon like thee
Blow the Candles OutDammed Idle FellowsOff to Sea Once More
Bog Down in the Valley OhThe Irish RoverThe Old Dun Cow
Bold Thady QuillJohnny ToddWhiskey in the Jar
Byker HillThe Jolly Waggoner The Ploughboy and the London Cockney
William BrownKelly the Boy from Killane The Waverley Polka
The Wraggle Taggle GypsiesThe Knight and the Shepherd's DaughterTackuanna
The Star of the County DownWay Down to LamornaThree Gypsies
Four Drunken MaidensThe Leaving of Liverpool Three Score and Ten
Fareweel to Tarwathie My Liverpool Home Turpin Hero
The Gypsy Girl Maggie May