14 March, 2008

Remembering how much i love billy bragg

Billy Bragg has a new album out and I bought it and although i haven't listened to it all yet, i'm already loving it. Especially I keep faith and M for me, which for all you budding preachers, is a cracking wedding sermon.

I'd forgotten how much I loved billy bragg. Probably because he hasn't had an album out in 5 years or so and it's 10 years since he had an album out that caught my attention. I haven't listened to any of his stuff for ages, but now i remember that it's great, i'm going to have him on the stereo all year. Billy Bragg is this years Bruce Springsteen.

I bought the song above on 7 inch single when I was 10 years old. Im still not sure i entirely get all the references, so I can't of had a clue back then, but i love this song very much. The first billy bragg album i bought was talking to the taxman about poetry. I don't have it anymore, but i remember the line 'if it takes another war to fill the churches of england, then the world the meek inherit, what will it be worth?' My favourite album of his is probably don't try this at home, which among it's many virtues, has a pretty cover of Dolphins.

Now Dolphins is one of my most all time favouritest desert island discs songs, and while Billy's version has been overtaken in my affections by Tim Buckley's version (see below)

It's still pretty good. Also around that time, i recorded a live thing that he did for radio 1, back in the day when Radio 1 put out a recorded live concert every saturday night before the rock show. And that stayed on my stereo forever, especially because of the cover version of groove is in the heart and the one liner in waiting for the great leap forwards when he says 'Have you heard about the new world order yet, it's the same as the old world order, them and us' (which incidentally, may not be such a bad thing, but that's a whole other load of stuff)

I took alex to see Billy Bragg live in 1997 as a birthday treat for me before we got married. It was a Sheffield uni 'raise your banners' event and he played solo. The song i remember from that night was the 'never cross a picket line' one about the dockers strike in the 1990s.

I'm rambling now, but I just wanted to share some of the many happy memories i have of billy bragg and say something about how he has influenced my life and how i am happy he has an album out and it is good. He's not always right, but he's always thought provoking. So lets finish this post with his waiting for the great leap forwards, which has the added bonus of being introduced by henry rollins.

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