Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Brewing Up With Billy Bragg

Yesterday William Bloke, today Brewing Up With Billy Bragg. I have a lot of Bragg, I mentioned that and I think as far as commuting CD’s go, we are due to hit a patch of them, don’t get me wrong I don’t look ahead to see what is coming, I return the days CD to the shelf sticking out a little and take the next album along, they are always a moderate surprise, in as much as I don’t know which B, just that it is a B.
Brewing up with.. is Billys second album, coming out in 1984 on Go! Discs, pitching half way between folk and punk and on the whole its Billy and his guitar. Rare appearances from Dave Woodhead playing trumpet on Saturday Boy and the late Kenny Craddock adding organ to A Lover Sings, this extra instrumentation only add to the beauty of the two tracks, but anything more would destroy them.
This album is a far more political album than anything that came after it. 1984 topped off a period that had seen Thatcher secure a second term, the beginnings of the miners strike and the Falklands War was only a mere 2 years in the past. 80’s greed was tightening its grip, Duran Duran were typical of the music that was filling the charts, and Billy was atypical. This album comments on all of this and more.
Billys contemporaries were the Redskins, Specials AKA, Paul Weller and The Smiths, Red Wedge had yet to be formed when this album was released so as political voices went in 1984, you would struggle, but Billy combined pop and politics and his usual excuses. On this album it works better than any other by him. He is still young, and bilious, and not living in a Dorset pile. He cares. He might still care but he has the school run to attend to and not kick over chairs.
The music is entirely strong and very few lines will make you furrow your brow, even after all these years, that’s the thing with political music, as time goes on, its likely to leave the listener scratching their head as to what they mean or it becomes trite. Billy’s words do still seem relevant, be it the tabloid press, the complications of love or being a modern soldier.
An enjoyable album today and one that will continue to entertain me, Saturday Boy remains one of my favourite songs. 9 out of 10.

Saturday Boy by Billy Bragg

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