Billy Bragg, Workers Playtime and a big change in opinion

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Billy Bragg, Workers Playtime and a big change in opinion Empty Billy Bragg, Workers Playtime and a big change in opinion

Post by Il Gialloblu on Wed 04 Jul 2012, 5:59 am

A friend of mine recently gave me an old Billy Bragg album, Workers Playtime, to listen to. He told me it was great, just a common English bloke simply playing and singing. Sceptically, I agreed to give it a go.

Why the scepticism?

Well, that was because my only prior exposure to Billy Bragg had been on TV shows where he was banging on about politics. I'm not saying that I disagreed with his views, nor did I necessarily agree with them. Most of the time I didn't really care either way, but I do remember having the impression of him being a little irritating when he got going - as most of the people on either side of the debates were.

Did I really want to listen to a record from the same decade as Bananarama, Foreigner and Spandau Ballet by a man perhaps as famous for his political views as his music? No, I didn't really.

Out of courtesy, I listened. I loved it. There were far less political protest type songs than I had expected. He was singing about relationships. And in a very everyman way, just as my friend had told me. His lyrics were great and I think anyone could identify with them.

Observe this example from The Short Answer:

I remember you said to me
That no amount of poetry would mend this broken heart
But you can put the hoover round if you want to make a start

On his more political songs - I found it far more enjoyable to listen to him singing about such issues than talking about them.

From Rotting on Remand:

I said "there is no justice" as they led me out of the door
And the judge said, "this isn't a court of justice son, this is a court of law."

The sound doesn't seem to have aged either, unlike some music from the '80's. It still sounds quite fresh to me.

Rotting on Remand, Must I Paint You A Picture and Valentines Day is Over are terrific songs but Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards is perhaps my favourite from the record.

I have to admit, I'd been wrong about Billy Bragg. About his music in any case. While searching for some videos to provide you on this thread, I watched one of him talking about RBS and he was still a bit annoying.

Has anyone got an opinion on the man and/or the music? Are you a fan? Or don't you like him? And what other albums of his would you recommend to me?

Billy Bragg himself once said "I don't mind being labelled a political songwriter. The thing that troubles me is being dismissed as a political songwriter." I made that mistake and would say to anyone who hasn't heard much of music to download some (he probably wouldn't mind) and give it a chance.

Thanks for reading.

Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards (original)

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Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards (live, lyrics updated for today)

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Valentines Day Is Over (Peel Sessions)

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Rotting On Remand (Peel Sessions)

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Bill Bailey's Billy Bragg Tribute

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Il Gialloblu
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Billy Bragg, Workers Playtime and a big change in opinion Empty Re: Billy Bragg, Workers Playtime and a big change in opinion

Post by Il Gialloblu on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 11:57 am

Just me then.
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Post by Hoggy_Bear on Fri 20 Jul 2012, 1:34 pm

Must admit that Billy's political views chime with my own to quite a degree but, like you, it's his non-political songs that I love most, (although I probably haven't listened to as many of his albums as I should have)
'From a Vauxhall Velox', 'St.Swithin's Day', 'The Saturday Boy', 'Tank Park Salute', 'God's Footballer' and 'Sexuality', non of which are political, are all just great songs with (to me anyway), really meaningful lyrics, and they're not the only ones.
Billy Bragg's one of the best English songwriters of the last 30 years IMHO, regardless of his political views.

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Post by Rowley on Tue 23 Apr 2013, 3:51 pm

Lot of time for Billy, better songwriter than he gets credit for and genuinely committed in his politics, whether you agree with them or not. Am by no means an expert but my brother bought a copy of talking with the taxman about poetry many a year ago and it is a cracking album. Levi’s Stubbs Tears is a big favourite, Accident Waiting to happen and New England are also excellent examples of the mans work.

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