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Talking With the Taxman About Poetry

Billy Bragg

1986

Talking With the Taxman About Poetry

Album Summary

Talking with the Taxman About Poetry is the third album by Billy Bragg, released in September 1986. With production by John Porter and Kenny Jones, Talking with the Taxman About Poetry featured more musicians than Bragg's previous works, which were generally little more than Bragg himself and a guitar. There were two singles released from the album. While "Levi Stubbs' Tears" peaked at No. 29 in the UK, the follow-up "Greetings to the New Brunette" fell short, only managing No. 58 a few months later.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.98

Votes

5166

Genres

  • Rock
  • Folk
  • Punk
Reviews
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Fri Dec 04 2020
4

This man can write a politically/romantically charged tune, no doubting. Top record!

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Fri Jul 16 2021
4

This record has some special alchemy. Between Billy Bragg's passionate street poet lyrics about romance and politics and the sparse, but purposeful arrangements, I was captivated throughout. With lines like, "Woops there goes another year/Woops there goes another pint of beer" how could you not be charmed? Not to mention the tasteful Johnny Marr and Kristy McColl features on "Greetings to the New Brunette". I feel like his message--equal parts cynicism and collectivism--is as relevant as ever in 2021. Really appreciated this opportunity to get to know Billy Bragg a little further than his Mermaid Avenue collaboration with Wilco. Favourite tracks: "Greetings to the New Brunette", "Levi Stubbs' Tears", "There is Power in a Union" and "Help Save the Youth of America"

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Fri Jun 11 2021
4

I put Greetings to the New Brunette on an infinite number of mix tapes, and if I were still attempting to woo women with mix tapes I would be putting There is Power in a Union on there. I generally enjoy Billy Bragg, yet his records are not typically ones I reach for often. This was very pleasant to revisit, but I completely undrstand why some find it off putting. 3.5*

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Wed Aug 11 2021
4

Can't think of a finer example of a person who carries on in the spirit of Woody Guthrie. He does so with the appropriate modern flair so as not to sound like a retro/nostalgia act. The fact that he is very politically active and backs his words in that way is a rare and admirable quality in a modern musician.

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Sat Aug 14 2021
1

The voice ground me down to a fine, lubricant grade powder

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Fri Mar 19 2021
5

NEEEEEWWWW WWWWAAAAVE. I like his ridiculous accent. I like how loose and shambolic this album feels

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Tue Jul 20 2021
5

Our greatest ever lyricist. Genius. His first 4 albums are all sensational. With some rare artists you can remember exactly where you were when you first heard them and Billy Bragg is one of those. But Train Train is an aberration - it must have been included on the album by mistake!

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Sat May 08 2021
4

“Talking with the Taxman about Poetry” by Billy Bragg (1986) Stylistically, this is the closest thing to Dylanesque that I’ve ever heard coming out of England. Not in the same league, but headed in that direction. Some very good art on this album. I would have bought this album, but iTunes jacked the price by adding a bunch of bonus crap. Not playing that game. Now, Billy Bragg simply can’t sing. And musically, there’s little to compensate for this weakness. His vocal flubs alternate between distractingly irritating and irritatingly distracting. He needs a little backup. Lyrics, however, are very well crafted, with some true flashes of brilliance. And, there are some seriously engaging musical arrangements in his love songs. But sadly, when he gets into politics (“Ideology”, “Power in a Union”, Help Save the Youth of America”), his verse becomes clunky, shallow, and preachy, with canned melodies and chord structures pulled out of the vertical file marked “Recycle Bin”. And by the way, Mr. Bragg (“Help Save the Youth of America”), we’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We don’t need the British telling us how to do our politics. The “Youth of America” can hold their fire until they see the whites of British eyes. But the next time you need to invade Normandy, give us a call. 4/5

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Thu Jan 21 2021
4

It's great that he's not afraid to be relentlessly political and socially conscious. "Idealogy" is a song still relevant, especially the day after the US anaugaration. "Levi Stubbs Tears " is a classic. Billy's voice can wear on you after a while and the production is sparce, I prefer the piano arrangements to the guitar whcih I find harsh at times. Thoughtfully crafted lyrics. It would be nice if some of these got covered (as Dylan's have)

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Tue May 11 2021
4

Great songwriting and I love the minimal guitar tones; usually clean with a tad bit of chorus. Regional melody influences give a real sense of "folk". May have to add this to the rotation.

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Tue Jun 15 2021
4

It’s like the La’s meets the Clash, with a little Neil Young for ‘flavour’. I kinda dig it. It’s the accent throwing me off. Like it’s just country/folk, but I typically imagine those genres as Americana. But this guy is CLEARLY from Essex, and it sounds weirdly dissonant. Whether that’s fair or not, I dunno, “It’s just how I feel”, as Mike Birbiglia might say. But it’s not bad, not at all. Songs are melodic and would sound amazing sung drunkenly in a large crowd pissed on pints.

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Wed Aug 04 2021
1

I’m sure I’ll be shown to brag gibly, but this was a tough listen. Can respect the messages, but what a slog

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Wed Feb 10 2021
5

I have never listened to Billy Brag before, but I am digging this. I am adding a couple of these tunes to my regular rotation

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Sun May 30 2021
5

yoooooo. so good.

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Fri Jul 16 2021
5

Great, great album.

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Fri May 14 2021
5

great album - big fan of Billy Bragg

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Sat Aug 07 2021
5

This was incredible. A real gem I didn’t know about.

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Mon Oct 04 2021
5

Such a blast from the past.

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Thu Nov 18 2021
5

good english singer/songwriter. activist and romantic to a point. really enjoyed and could see myself being inspired by.

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Thu Dec 30 2021
5

I have no idea what to expect from the album title and cover. “Greetings to the New Brunette” was a nice first Billy Bragg song for me to hear. I quite liked this sweet and thoughtful love song, with its lovely guitar and backup vocals. I’m a sucker for a good train song “Train Train” had me sold when I heard the opening fiddle-whistle. I like where this album is heading. “The Marriage” opens with a nice trumpet fanfare and I’d be totally into having this play at my wedding! I love the lyrics. “Ideology” is a quite an indictment of the British Parliament. Some interesting lyrics here. I was surprised to see Bob Dylan as cowriter of this song, so I looked it up and learned Billy Bragg intentionally borrowed the melody from a Bob Dylan song. “Levi Stubbs’ Tears” tells quite a story with some pretty darn clever lyrics. It’s a pretty stripped down song (as are a lot of the songs), but very interesting to listen to. The piano is great in “Honey, I’m a Big Boy Now”. Almost expect to hear this in a saloon. It tells the story of a failed marriage from the perspective of a deserted husband. I liked this song. “There is Power in a Union” is apparently an old union song with new Billy Bragg lyrics. A good old fashioned protest song that I enjoyed. “Help Save the Youth of America” is a catchy cautionary song about the United States. Pretty impressive song that is as relevant today as in 1986. I could relate well to this song. I loved “Wishing the Days Away” as it examines the futility of a man’s life who is always wishing for a new day. Really compelling. Billy Bragg exercises his impressive storytelling skills in “The Passion” that considers the life of a pregnant girl and her trials. I love the more complex musical arrangement of “The Warmest Room.” It tells a great story of a young man in love/lust. One of my favorite songs on the album. “The Home Front” wraps up the original album on a very insightful note with a detailed look at a home life in Britain. Such great visuals and observations and critiques in this song. Another great Billy Bragg tune with the fanfare trumpets returning again. There are ten additional songs on the 2006 re-release. The songs are an interesting addition and I enjoyed them although I think I will not necessarily listen to them every time I revisit this album. Some pretty interesting things there including remakes of Woody Guthrie’s “Deportees” and Smokey Robinson’s “The Tracks of My Tears” (that was a surprise for sure). I really enjoyed this album. It’s got plenty of sharp lyrical observations wrapped in a really interesting package of music.

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Thu Dec 30 2021
5

Everything about this is wonderful, from the title and the cover to his voice and his powerful lyrics. Half the songs have a practical, everyday romanticism to them and the other half protest the oppression of the working class. Every song is terrific. The Peel Sessions Album is one of my husband's favorites so I've heard Billy Bragg a lot but in a much more stripped-down setting --- just Bragg singing and accompanying himself on electric guitar. Very interesting to hear a studio album with more instruments and back-up singers. Love the violins on Train Train and the piano on Honey, I'm a Big Boy Now. There is lots of poetry to talk to the taxman about. My favorite: "Mother shakes her head and reads aloud from the newspaper As Father puts another lock on the door And reflects upon the violent times that we are living in While chatting to the wife beater next door." Oof.

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Fri Jan 14 2022
5

Sweet, empathetic, funny and socialist men will always win in my book and so it goes with Billy Bragg. I love how he wears his politics on his sleeve and keeps his Irishness at the front and center of his work. This was the album in needed in this political climate to remind me of the good fight.

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Mon Feb 07 2022
5

Awesome!

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Wed Feb 16 2022
5

Unabashedly love this. At Reading Festival one year I had given up watching Blur because they were dogshit and Damon Albarn was a stumbling mess. Instead I dodged into a tent just in time to see Billy Bragg get going. What a performance! Great, impassioned performances and anecdotes that roamed from overtly political to romantic. And that's what I hear in this album, too. Yeah, 'Power in the Union' (comrades! Does this not warm the blood?) is the big one but there's so much here that is honest, big hearted and not without craft. I love Bragg's voice, too. None of this mid-lantic bobbins, despite Bragg's Amerophiliac tendencies (at least, where music is concerned).

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Fri Mar 18 2022
5

Great stuff. Reminds me a bit of Frank Turner. Love the songs and messages.

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Tue Mar 29 2022
5

I was so excited to get this album today because I'm a huge Billy Bragg fan. This album was probably my first exposure to his music. I don't know how Billy Bragg has pulled it off so well, but he has managed to thrive for 40 years as a folk singer with a punk sensibility. No one else really was making music like this in the 80s, but it was as natural for us to listen to Bragg as it was to listen to the Clash or the Smiths. Bragg mixes the personal and the political in surprising ways, but it works really well. This is music of a young man with a point of view, but also the music of a young man simply trying to figure out what he wants in life. Bragg's songs are crisp, concise, with simple arrangements. He's really one of those once in a generation songwriters, with lyrics that are honest and deeply heartfelt. The political songs are strident and sometimes downright acidic, but Bragg balances that with storytelling that is incredibly intimate and affecting. Bragg's not a conventional singer and he may grate on some, but he delivers a line with an earnestness, pathos and humor that really sticks with you. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): Levi Stubbs' Tears, The Warmest Room, The Passion, Greetings to the New Brunette, The Home Front, Wishing the Days Away, Help Save the Youth of America, There Is Power in a Union, Ideology, The Marriage, Train Train, Honey, I'm a Big Boy Now

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Mon Jun 27 2022
5

I love this album and Billy Bragg is a true troubadour. Who else can mix lovelorn Ballads with protest songs with such conviction and perfection

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Wed Sep 28 2022
5

He do be spittin there is power in a union

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Wed Nov 23 2022
5

There's power in a union! Älskar protestsånger

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Mon Dec 05 2022
5

Incredible

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Fri Jan 20 2023
5

Loved this as an 11yo, due to Smash Hits regularly featuring the Bard of Barking for some reason! Exactly the musician we needed in the Thatcher years, and I for one think his voice is perfect for the material. Shirley!

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Sun Feb 14 2021
4

Pretty good, Closer to a 3.5

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Fri Apr 23 2021
4

Surprised, much better than I expected

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Wed Mar 03 2021
4

Wasn't expecting to like it that much, but there's a great mix of catchy songs and different sounds here.

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Mon Feb 01 2021
4

Solid album, i liked the more upbeat songs the best, cover of the tracks of my tears was amazing.

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Fri Feb 12 2021
4

I do enjoy a good brit. Great tunes

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Mon Jul 12 2021
4

Billy Bragg is folk-punk. He sings a lot about left-wing politics. This is one of his less well-known albums. Apparently he played with Wilco for a while?

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Fri Apr 23 2021
4

He reminded me I have to do my taxes...

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Fri Apr 23 2021
4

quite fun :)

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Mon Apr 12 2021
4

Crudo, a solas con su guitarra y poco más. Alcanza cimas muy altas en algunos temas pero no termina de ser el disco redondo que podía llegar a ser. Muy bueno.

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Fri Jul 16 2021
4

My impression of Billy Bragg's folk-punk music has always been that it's straightforward, blunt and effective in it's political messages and "Talking With the Taxman About Poetry" is all those things and more. With some horn accompaniment and harmonies chiming in here and there, a more fleshed out version takes shape. Charming and purposeful lyrics sung with a commanding voice, I find myself returning to this album. Fav Tracks: There is Power in a Union, Greetings from the New Brunette, Help Save the Youth of America, Levi Stubb's Tears

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Tue Jun 01 2021
4

Lofi protest folk/punk. Love it!

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Fri Apr 30 2021
4

Iznenadilo me odmah prve četiri pjesme, da su sve dost dobre i to zaredom. Nikad čuo za Billya, ali eto drago mi je da je bio kvalitetan što čujem iz ovog albuma.

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Wed Mar 31 2021
4

Young

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Tue Jul 20 2021
4

Love a bit of Billy Bragg. Simple, but very effective. He is a great wordsmith

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Fri May 14 2021
4

So, I wasn't sure what I was expecting prior to giving this album a listen. I'm not a punk fan, but I really enjoyed this album. It does sound a lot like other music within this genre that I've heard before, though. Highlights were Greetings To The New Brunette, Train Train, The Marriage, Levi Stubbs' Tears and Wishing The Days Away, but I liked every song. 4/5 stars.

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Mon May 03 2021
4

really enjoyed this one. finally vocals I can deal with. lots of great instrumentation. the overall sound doesn't get old like many other albums. enjoyed it the whole way through 4.0

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Wed Apr 28 2021
4

More my tempo

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Fri May 07 2021
4

https://1001albumsgenerator.com/kyleb

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Thu Jun 10 2021
4

4/5 - British James Taylor; the accent is a little off-putting

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Wed Jun 09 2021
4

Love

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Mon Aug 02 2021
4

A good album that I didn’t think I would enjoy, but ended up liking. Songs of oppression and strength in unity and unionizing. Not something I would expect out of the mid eighties, but not unwelcome.

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Mon Aug 09 2021
4

Dit is prachtig the track of my tears is een geweldige cover Levi stubbs tears... damn Nog geen 5 na eerste listen maar wel heel close

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Mon Aug 09 2021
4

3,8 Ja dit is nog wel eens een leuke vibe, maar wel lang, maar kzou miss af en toe een nummerke opzetten.

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Wed Aug 11 2021
4

Really admirable the way he storefronts his voice throughout the album. There's no hiding from your lyrics in this context, and the lyrics hold up. The electric guitar really holds its own too.

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Fri Aug 20 2021
4

A bit 80s but solo electric folk really works.

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Sat Sep 04 2021
4

I love the folky, new age-tinged sound this album has. I'm especially a fan of "Levi Stubbs' Tears"!

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Fri Oct 15 2021
4

4.0 - Someday I’ll make the good choice to tour the English countryside. One evening I’ll duck into an ancient pub. The local barflies will eye me suspiciously as I order my pint. I’ll walk to the jukebox, attempting to appear unconcerned, and see this album. I’ll remember vaguely having listened to it way back in 2021 but won’t remember any specific track, so I’ll choose one at random. At that moment, a drunk hunched over the bar will suddenly break into a clear, steady tenor. Another bloke will join in, then another and another and soon the whole bar will be singing along full-throatedly. By song’s end, I’ll get a few smiling pats on the back and one geezer might even stand me my second pint.

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Wed Nov 10 2021
4

yes yes I quite like this

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Thu Nov 18 2021
4

This isn't particularly my style of music, but Bragg is certainly engaging as a performer. This isn't an album I see myself coming back to, but it's certainly much more of an interesting listen than it would be in the hands of a less charismatic performer 4/5

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Wed Dec 01 2021
4

I actually really liked the sound of this album, considering I've never heard of this guy. No recognized songs

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Wed Dec 08 2021
4

My streak of misjudging album covers continues. I was expecting a punk album here. I don't really even know how I would classify this, it's a bit rockabilly, it's a bit dancehall, I guess this would be the Alt-Rock of the 80s. Very much its own thing, and it's super Bri'ish. The more I'm listening to this I can just picture this guy in a pub belting it out. You wouldn't see Billy play a stadium, you'd see him in the pub, it's that kind of vibe. It took a few songs but I got into this album, definitely dug it. There's a lot going on, and it's hard to pin down but it's got a lot of character.

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Thu Dec 30 2021
4

Apparently I have heard of Billy Bragg before, but I didn't remember, and I certainly had never listened to this album. It was definitely worth the time. Although after my first listen I wasn't certain that this was for me, I did appreciate the album for the musical interest and the lyrical depth. After a second listen, I liked it more.

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Thu Dec 30 2021
4

I had friends in college who were Billy Bragg fans. His earlier stuff really was just an angry voice and a guitar. I didn't get into it so much since I didn't think it was great music for a party and I wasn't much for being angry and alone with it. This album is much more musical, and I found that I enjoyed it more now. I'm still not going to put it on for dinner with friends. A few protest songs are timely; a few are dated. The "love" songs express how feelings aren't enough for a relationship. I really liked the last two songs, since they seemed to go beyond lecturing and scolding and get to some more nuance and a little bit of warmth along the anger. "The Warmest Room" and "The Home Front" both expressed uncertainty and the complications between feelings and ideals. The latter definitely feels appropriate to contemporary times.

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Fri Jan 07 2022
4

What I appreciated about this album is that it wasn't all love songs like many albums have. It scores all the points in the relatability category, being in the point of view of a blue-collar man who has opinions, got dragged into marriage and eventually divorced... Good listen overall.

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Fri Jan 14 2022
4

I really enjoyed this album . Great lyrics.

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Sun Jan 16 2022
4

Great

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Thu Feb 03 2022
4

I really dig it

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Fri Feb 18 2022
4

Apart from the folk part really good

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Sun Feb 27 2022
4

Solid

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Mon Mar 28 2022
4

Great album y an undereated indie folk singer. His guitar playing is always distinctive as are his vocals. His politics can get heavy handed at times, but that's easy to overlook. Favourite songs; Levi Stubbs Tears, Help Save the Youth of America, The Warmest Room. 4.4 🌟

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Thu Apr 07 2022
4

C'est un album particulier. Un gars qui chante seul avec sa guitare avec quelques arrangements un peu datés, ce n'est pas un hit instantané. Par contre quand j'ai pris le temps de me concentrer un peu plus sur la chose, j'ai quand même apprécié mon écoute. Comme les autres albums depuis le début de l'aventure, j'ai écouté seulement le volume 1 qui est le disque paru originalement en 1986, comme l'artiste l'avait planifié. Ce n'est pas trop folk, c'est un peu country par moment sans les éléments du style que je n'aime pas habituellement, c'est un peu punk, un peu rock et politique. Ideology poussée autour de 164 BPM avec un band complet pourrait être une chanson de Green Day. Honey, I'm a Big Boy Now avec son piano me rappelle Tom Waits. There Is Power in a Union m'a fait penser à certaines pièces de Japandroids sur l'album Celebration Rock. Help Save the Youth of America ressemble beaucoup à I Fought the Power des Clash. Au final, le minimalisme de l'instrumentation en fait quelque chose qui se démarque du lot et c'est peut-être justement la force de cet album. Pièces préférées: Levi Stubbs' Tears, There Is Power in a Union, Help Save the Youth of America, Ideology

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Wed May 11 2022
4

Entre Jam et Television Personalities trop cool! Prefs: Greetings to the New Brunette, The Marriage, Ideology, There Is Power in a Union, Help Save the Youth of America, The Warmest Room, The Home Front Moins pref: The Passion

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Sun May 15 2022
4

I’ve herd of the name before and I think I’ve seen the artwork so that’s good… The album opens with the song, greetings to a new brunette, it’s quite good to be fair I do feel I have the faintest memory of this but not too sure. I’am not sure about the backing vocals at the end but other than that it’s good. Train train is a good fast paced track a bit heavier pretty short really good simple track. The marriage starts with some really sweet horns then blissfully goes into this it’s got really strong lyrics on this one. Then is ideologically it’s a very good sonic a nice bit of political folk rock Levi Stubbs’ tears is one I definitely recognised has some great guitar moments in the track as well. Just not one of my favourites. Then is the slow little olden days’y Honey, I’m a big boy now now this is definitely my least favourite so far it’s nice to close off the first half but still not great. There is power in the union is another very political song the guitars at the start were kinda American to me which makes sense it’s a very good song to be fair it’s just there’s so many of these songs around. Help save the youth of America is another recognisable one it’s another good political track. Wishing the days away fully slows the pace down and it has some really nice string work just not my favourite. The passion is another slow jam the hook on this song is great and the lyrics as a whole to be fair. The warmest room turns things op just a little bit for a nice penultimate track I can’t put my finger on this one there’s good moments though. The album ends with the home front it is filled with horns it’s honestly an amazing closer to be honest, good smart English lyrics to close a very English album. Yeah it’s good I can see people disliking this but because of that I swear I’ve herd so much of it before I have to give it a 4.

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Wed May 18 2022
4

Enjoyable. Faded toward the end of the album but the first disc was excellent.

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Fri May 27 2022
4

I can't put my finger on this album about why it seems like something so familiar but it does. Listened to the whole thing in one sitting and didn't have to pause it, or skip a track, etc. Added the first track to a playlist..."Greetings to the New Brunette". Overall, just liked it.

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Fri May 27 2022
4

I really enjoyed this. I always thought of Billy as the guy who plugged into a little Fender amp and sang New England. There’s still some of that here, but every now and then there’s these little auditory surprises.

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Thu Jun 02 2022
4

Now, this is more my style. I've been familiar with Billy Bragg forever, but I've never done the deep dive. If you asked, the first song to come to mind would be California Stars, but that's really Wilco. I knew Greetings to the New Brunette and There is Power in a Union, but I wasn't relating either to Bragg. Bell Biv Devoe, now I know.

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Sun Jun 05 2022
4

Pretty good stuff, good lyrics and fiddle playing - but would it kill this guy to have a backing band?

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Tue Jun 28 2022
4

Still don't like folk punk, but better than expected. Might even be a 3.5/5.

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Thu Aug 04 2022
4

Good album.

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Fri Aug 12 2022
4

Billy Bragg is great

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Fri Aug 12 2022
4

Fantastic album. Familiar with Bragg through his Mermaid Ave series, but this one had some great finds. Will dig into his discog more. 4/5

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Fri Sep 23 2022
4

cool!

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Sun Sep 25 2022
4

Good stuff, I want to listen to this more.

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Sun Oct 09 2022
4

The taxman isn't interest Billy lad, he's into levies and impositions and assessments and such, not poetry you soft sod. If you insist on communicating with the taxman, why don't you play him one of your nice punk infused political folk songs instead of droning on about Keats and Ginsberg and such? Good lad.

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Thu Nov 03 2022
4

Quel chansonnier intéressant! Riches textes doux-amers qui contemplent la vie, l’amour et la société humaines accompagnés simplement, presque de façon amateurs. Fascinant!

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Fri Nov 04 2022
4

I really enjoyed this album, I looked it up and 'folk-punk' seems a perfect description. Bragg is unashamedly left-wing and his songs are full of meaning and purpose. I particularly like the line "How can you lie there and think of England // When you don't even know who's in the team" in Shirley, which I now note features the legend Johnny Marr.

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Fri Nov 25 2022
4

Music that captures the UK working class. Pretty good!

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Mon Dec 12 2022
4

Album #50. Unknown entity to me. Heard the name before, but that it’s. No idea what to expect aside from the album name and cover. Let’s see what we’ve got. Wow, love how this is starting off with Greetings to the New Brunette. Dude and an acoustic guitar, sounding essentially like a live track. Great melody. Heartfelt. Really happy to see the album hold up from start to finish. Love this. Honest. Intimate. Stripped down musical arrangements are one of my favorite styles and this album does this so well. Great album...I'll be coming back.

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Sun Dec 18 2022
4

I like Billy Bragg’s willingness to take on Thatcher era politics and be so unabashedly pro-union and pro-working class. The tone of this album seems to oscillate between politics and sad country-ish songs about lost love. The music itself is simple but I think his lyrics are worth highlighting because of their conversational storytelling with a moral message nature. If anything, this album is an I portent document if the anxieties of Billy Bragg’s Britain.

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Wed Jan 04 2023
4

This album really grew on me! The first few songs felt pretty uninspiring, so I was expecting more of the same for the rest of the album. But somewhere in there, I totally got it. It really reminded me of the Indigo Girls - it's got that same mix of political songs and love songs, all blended into this style of cute head-banging folk-rock. I'm sure there was some mutual inspiration there, and sure enough, it looks like they've played in concert together several times! "There is Power in a Union" is just such an epic ballad that makes your hairs stand up, almost like Pete Seeger if he was a little more rock and a lot more British. And followed by "Help Save the Youth of America," which just has that infectious righteous-anger energy. And then by the start of Side 2, we take a sudden turn into these beautiful American folk tunes! I had to check that I was still listening to the same album! On the weaker side, I think the album definitely suffers from demo-itus. And to my ears, the awesome and beautiful songs are sprinkled in-between with uninteresting ones that disrupt the flow and don't make too much sense. I think it definitely could have been half as long, with just the essential songs. 3.5/5, but I'll round up to 4 :)

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Thu Jan 12 2023
4

Heartfelt, earnest and somewhat naive. Still love it.

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Fri Jan 13 2023
4

Billy Bragg was a name that I had either heard about or read about but this is the first time that I listened to one of his albums. His voice on the opening track reminded me a bit of Andy Partridge. It was different on the other tracks so maybe that was what he was going for there. I really enjoyed the folk punk sound of the album. The songs painted some interesting pictures in my mind while I was listening to them. I think there may have been a few lyrics that would have made more sense if I grew up in England but overall I got the general feeling that he trying to convey. I can't help but feel that if I listened to this on the wrong day it wouldn’t have hit me the way that it did but I finished the album wanting to listen to it again and check out more of his stuff.

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Fri Jan 13 2023
4

I've definitely heard of Billy Bragg but I'm not sure I've ever heard Billy Bragg. I couldn't identify a single song of his if you put it in a lineup. That's why I love this list - forces me to actually listen. Look at me and Tom Waits now - we're tight. Bragg is another artist who is acclaimed for a reason - a lot like Elvis Costello I feel. Not necessarily the same style, though they both have a certain unique part rockabilly, part country, part folk, part rock thing. But that je ne sais quoi is cool. Bragg almost has that Celtic feel. Whatever it is, he's got a solid voice that tugs at you, intelligent enough lyrics, and good compositions. Solid album and worth exploring more of his stuff.

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Fri Jan 13 2023
4

I found it an in interesting country / folk album, but definitely through a British lens. It's a very odd combination, but England has always had an obsession with American music (the blues, for example). So it's no surprise when they would take something like country and view it through their OWN lens. The second disc (I am going to mention it, although it is not really part of it) was interesting, hearing the songs which varied more. There was more of a protest feel, particularly " Hold The Fort." I appreciated the actual album more, because there was more of a focus in what Bragg was doing there. So yeah, country with a british twang. I dug it.

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Sun Jan 15 2023
4

I’d been looking forward to this album since I really liked Mermaid Avenue. I have a lot of respect for Billy Bragg. I’m not sure I’ll return to this album but I enjoyed it all the same.

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Wed Jan 18 2023
4

I was wondering why this album was included, rather than "Back to Basics", and that's how I learned that "Back to Basics" is actually a compilation! The shame of it! Anyway, I'm a fan of Bragg's schtick, and even though this album doesn't have "A New England" on it, it's still solid. Fave track - "There is Power in a Union" - still as relevant as ever!

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Wed Jan 18 2023
4

I love Billy Bragg, and I think this is a really interesting album, sort of a transition point from his first two albums that were really raw and sparse, mainly just Billy and his electric guitar. This album retains some of the raw earnestness of the first two albums but adds some nice instrumentation and a bit more subtlety. 4 stars.

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Fri Feb 03 2023
4

Like a Red Bragg to a bull.

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