Mermaid Avenue is a 1998 album of previously unheard lyrics written by American folk singer Woody Guthrie, put to music written and performed by British singer Billy Bragg and the American band Wilco. The project was the first of several such projects organized by Guthrie's daughter, Nora Guthrie, original director of the Woody Guthrie Foundation and archives. Mermaid Avenue was released on the Elektra Records label on June 23, 1998. A second volume of recordings, Mermaid Avenue Vol. II, followed in 2000 and both were collected in a box set alongside volume three in 2012 as Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions. The projects are named after the song "Mermaid's Avenue", written by Guthrie. This was also the name of the street in Coney Island, New York, on which Guthrie lived. According to American Songwriter Magazine, "The Mermaid Avenue project is essential for showing that Woody Guthrie could illuminate what was going on inside of him as well as he could detail the plight of his fellow man". It was voted number 939 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000).Wikipedia
Not much to Bragg about
During the spring of 1995, Woody Guthrie's daughter Nora contacted British urban folk troubadour Billy Bragg about writing music for a selection of completed Guthrie lyrics. This was no minor task -- Guthrie left behind over a thousand sets of complete lyrics written between 1939 and 1967 that had no music other than a vague stylistic notation. Bragg chose a number of songs to finish, as did Jeff Tweedy of the alt-country band Wilco (often with bandmate Jay Bennett). Nora Guthrie impressed a common goal upon them: Rather than recreating Guthrie tunes, they should write as if they were collaborating with Woody, creating new, vital music for the lyrics. Both artists completed more songs than could fit on Mermaid Avenue, which is neatly split between Bragg and Wilco, with Bragg taking lead on eight of the 15 songs. The results are almost entirely a delight, mainly because all involved are faithful to Guthrie's rowdy spirit -- it's a reverent project that knows how to have fun. There are many minor, irresistible gems scattered throughout the album, and most of them come from Bragg. Where Wilco's fine contributions sound inextricably tied to the '90s, both for better and for worse, Bragg's music sounds contemporary while capturing Guthrie's folk traditions. That's not to say Wilco's contributions are failures -- it's just hard to imagine Guthrie singing the plaintive "California Stars" or the plodding "Christ for President," neither of which quite fit the lyrics. Nevertheless, their hearts are in the right place; more often than not, they come close to the target, and their joyous playing invigorates Mermaid Avenue. The blend of Bragg's traditionalist sensibility and Wilco's contemporary style ultimately illustrates that Guthrie's words, ideals, and aesthetics remain alive in the '90s. It's a remarkable record that deserves a sequel.
What a wonderful album. Soulful, significant and spirit-raising, all at the same time.
Woody Guthrie was always one of those artists that I'd spoken about in reverence but never really took the time to listen to until a few years ago. It took the teacher of a lettering workshop I attended talking about Guthrie having been a sign writer travelling where the work took him in the days before he became a recording artitst for me me finally listen closely. I became a staunch fan after that. So I finally listened to this album after side stepping it for so long. It is one of the few albums on this list so far that I would say is a truly important one. It is not only great music split between Wilco and Billy Bragg but it brings to life these lost lyrics. And they tell a story of a forgetten America and showcase how powerful what Woody had to say was. It also showcases what a fun and clever writer the man was. So good to hear his legacy at work. Now to go listen to some more Billy Bragg and Wilco as I have neglected them for way too long
Listened to this in a Travelodge at about 11pm after working since 9am. Not conducive to making much sense of what I heard (but at least it happened before I used the complimentary shampoo that somehow made my hair feel dirtier). Luckily, I know this one fairly well already. So, from memory... It's always a pleasant surprise to hear two artists I have little interest in outside of this collaboration liberated from the tyranny of their own material--so often the thing that holds decent musicians back. Bragg doesn't come across as such a try-hard punk and Wilco don't constipate themselves trying to force melodic brilliance because Guthrie's deceptively simple material carries all the weight for them. That's all I got.
Wouldn't normally like Bragg but this one was quite pleasant. Perhaps it was the involvement of Wilco which improved it.
Outstanding folk rock. Woody Guthrie’s lyrics are funny, inspiring, depressing.
Loved it. Billy Bragg took a load of old lyrics of Woody Guthrie's and put these songs together trying to imagine how he'd do them if he were alive today. Plus there are two more of these albums.
Really solid album throughout. I like that they had multiple people contribute to the songs which give all of the tracks a slightly different sound but you can tell they are all related. Definitely putting on my list to come back to
Amazing album. So honest. I felt like Billy Bragg is my friend telling me life stories. A lot like Matt Munhall. Really enjoyed listening to it.
California Stars alone is an all-timer, and everything else is an absolute joy. Somehow it's a perfect mix of Bragg, Wilco, special guest Natalie Merchant and the unearthed Woody Guthrie lyrics. Jay Bennett was always the secret sauce in Wilco (the band was never considered "dad rock" until he and Jeff Tweedy parted ways). He always seemed to bring out the best of Tweedy. Back to the aforementioned California Stars. It's obviously a 5, such a great timeless song that it became a signature song for Wilco. It still closes out many of their concerts. Woody Guthrie should write more songs for Jeff Tweedy.
Billy Bragg was definitely the right choice for this project. And Wilco is an interesting backing band for him. Billy Bragg's voice has the right amount of weight and range to capture the spirit of Woody Guthrie, especially on Way Over Yonder with Natalie Merchant backing him. Wilco manage to make the songs their own, especially California Stars. I think I'd prefer a 2 disc affair with all the Billy Bragg led tracks on a disc and all the Wilco led tracks on another. Overall I think I lean towards preferring the Billy Bragg tracks. An interesting experimental cocktail but one I wouldn't come back to repeatedly (and I should know cause I own this one on CD).
My heart sank the second I hit play since I'm already sick and tired of folk music less than 40 albums in, but Woody Guthrie's lyrics went a long way towards making this a more-than-tolerable 50 minutes. There are moments on this record where it sounds like pretty standard stuff, but elsewhere, Wilco and Bragg's sound meshes with Guthrie's playful and progressive wordplay to create an intriguing musical time paradox that feels impossible to date one way or the other. I can't even be too mad about the tracks I didn't like, because a ditty about wanting Ingrid Bergman to touch your junk is even funnier following the maudlin "At My Window Sad and Lonely" (and Bergman doesn't even contain the best dick joke on this record; the opener sees Guthrie building up to an even better knockout blow). My weariness for folk is probably still informing my score here, but I can see how someone could read these lyrics and think that it just has to be turned into music, and for the most part, they do it justice. Key Tracks: Walt Whitman's Niece, Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key, The Unwelcome Guest
A listenable one
2/5 Not really appealing to me, no tempo, quite boring
Was a 2 star until I learned all the lyrics were just nicked from someone else. Commie bastard.
Straight fuck this
This was a total surprise and so memorable. I had heard California Stars before, but nothing else. Loved it.
The first third really took me by surprise. Amazing folk! I guess I should've expected it from Guthrie? I guess I was more eye-rolling at Wilco. But damn, great. Started to taper off as it went on, but ended strong on The Unwelcome Guest. The less than stellar second half of this almost made me give a 4, but I think the concept, execution, and incredible strength of the songs that DO hit keep it a 5 for me.
I like this album. I had only heard 1-2 songs off it before listening.
Probablemente el mejor disco que hicieron ambos, Wilco y Billy. En algunos momentos suenan muy Paul Westerberg, qué loco. Gran disco. Me da como calma, ahorita que me siento entre triste, ondeado y emputado.
Like both artists, makes sense they would sound good together. This album is lovely, bouncy and clever.
It feels like this site knows my album collection. It keeps feeding me albums I've listened to hundreds of times. This is one such album. I was flipping channels one day and ended up watching the documentary of how this album came to be. That documentary was the first I'd heard of the album. That was 20+ years ago, probably around the time the album was released, and I've listened to it countless times since. An absolute classic. Btw, I don't remember whose idea it was to have Billy Bragg and Wilco collaborate on this album, but it was a real stroke of genius. And the Natalie Merchant cameo was absolutely amazing.
Love King Billy And the tension between Wilco And some brilliant songs + Natalie Merchant
Folk rock at its finest. Varied, musical, interesting, and lengthy album.
Fan-fucking-tastic! I had heard a lot of these songs before but didn't know anything about them or the artists involved. What a phenomenal record, one I'll now be spinning the rest of my life.
precioso disco, country y folk, lindas melodias.
Started off strong and continued strong, loved it
Good folk rock/alt country
I don’t listen to this album or Billy Bragg enough
This might be Wilco’s best album… Ingrid Bergman, California Stars, Hesitating Beauty all highlight their “sensitive” side really well.
I own this CD. It's a longtime favourite! Great modern interpretation of Woody Guthry songs.
Still as fantastic as the first time I heard it!
First two songs are real good
This was a fantastic folksy, country and Americana-feeling album that is a good listen all the way through. Couldn’t get California Stars out of my head for multiple days.
one of my favorite albums of all time - one by one close to a perfect song
Great album. Really enjoy the concept and the execution is a lot of fun. 5/5
This is so good! I wasn't sure if I liked the idea to attach Woody Guthrie's lyrics to a more modern sound, but they did a great job of making it all gel. It is a new spin on Woody, not trying to emulate in any way except for the welcome addition of a harmonica on one track. Unexpectedly great!
A great album. Refreshing folk/acoustic style with great lyrics and vocals...obvs with the odd Billy Bragg style you'd expect.
This was lovely. What could possibly go wrong, Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg and Wilco. Eminently listenable!
I really liked this. I thought every song was strong; there wasn’t a single one that I thought stuck out as weak. I would definitely listen to this again.
I saw this album pop up today and and knew, this is going to be a great day. I really love this album. I listen to it frequently and have several songs in my regular rotation. So if you came to me and asked me to choose an artist who could take original lyrics from Woody Guthrie and frame them musically in a way that's fresh, yet totally captures Guthrie's complexity as a songwriter... Billy Bragg immediately would be my first pick. Wilco wouldn't necessarily have come to mind, but the partnership they have on this album is so special. In fact, Bragg + Wilco (+ Guthrie) is one of the most compelling musical collaborations I've ever heard. The way they support and complement each other musically is beyond words. Guthrie's lyrics are gorgeously, plain-spokenly eloquent. They're sometimes strident, sometimes quite sad, but also so much fun. But this is Billy Bragg's show, really. His pathos and sensitivity, his humor and cheekiness, these are what drive the songs on this album and really bring Guthrie's words to life. Wilco's presence adds a musicality and pop sensibility that really brightens the overall feel of the album as well. The songs are equal parts joyous and contemplative, funny even at times. They're warm and laid back, and clearly everyone is having a blast. A surprise Natalie Merchant appearance is icing on the cake. What a delight to hear. What. A Delight. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): California Stars, Walt Whitman's Niece, Another Man's Done Gone, Birds and Ships, Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key, The Unwelcome Guest, Eisler on the Go, Hesitating Beauty, One by One, At My Window Sad and Lonely, I Guess I Planted, Ingrid Bergman, She Came Along to Me, Christ for President, Hoodoo Voodoo
Love this - didn’t realise how much I did until re listening to it - warm fuzzy lovin it
Just plain slaps. Hits all my buttons
This was fantastic
Great shit. If I wasn't a day behind I'd listen to it again right now. Loved this album.
I love this. It vacillates so nicely between Bragg's sweet and folksy approach to Wilco's moody atmospheric style. Billy Bragg and Wilco really seem to understand Woody Guthrie and what's at the heart of his songwriting. They've interpreted his lyrics beautifully here for a newer audience. I feel like part of something special listening to it. And I love love LOVE this album cover! I love looking at it, it reminds me of all the times I spent walking around my city, wandering, finding cool hidden gems all by myself. But I won't say which ones! If you could bottle the feeling of walking through a city you love with no plans and nowhere to be, I'd pay anything for it. This album is close enough for now.
Incredible album. Cannot wait to revisit this one.
I love everything about this album. It makes me want to move to some remote place in the mountains and just chill with a guitar on a porch. Favourite tracks except for the obvious first track and California Stars are One by one and Eisler on the go. 5/5
- Never listened to this before even though I like Bragg and Wilco - Genius idea that works really well - California Stars stands out as the best track but consistently really good - Fav songs: California Stars, The Unwelcome Guest, Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key
This is an incredible album. It's like you can feel the bridge in time between Woody writing these lyrics and Billy Bragg and Wilco writing and performing the music. The songs are incredibly strong and cohesive. The lyrics are amazing, full of evocative scenes and witty double entendres, a fine testament to Woody Guthrie's genius. Classic. 5 stars.
I remember when looking at the Wikipedia for this book, I was surprised at how Woody Guthrie didn't have an album on here (he does have music recorded, after all). If this is as close as it'll get, I don't mind. I previously got "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" on here and discovered I really enjoyed it, but I'm not as familiar with Billy Bragg. I think the idea is great and it's executed well. Despite the fact that Guthrie has been dead nearly 100 years, he can still connect. Even being... let's say agnostic, I enjoyed the pro-Jesus anti-politician "Christ For President". My, how times have changed, eh? Favorite tracks: "Way Over Yonder In a Minor Key", "At My Window Sad and Lonely", "I Guess I Planted", "Christ For President"
Wasn't sure what I'd make of this as I've always found Billy Bragg hit and miss, and I've never latched onto Wilco either. Woody Guthrie, obviously, is a legend for good reason, so I was very intrigued. It well and truly won me over, a really warm and engaging, and unique record. I love a musical project that brings artists together across decades, and borne out of love. Wonderful stuff. There's at least 2 other volumes of this which I will have to check out.
I own this, I love it. There's almost no downtime in here for me - this is all great. Everything good about these musicians is on this record. Love it.
Love this album. Listened to it for the first time about 3 months ago. My sister in law was telling us about Ingrid Bergman song. So I looked it up. Really love the melodies, instrumentation and the over all sound. Gonna rate this one high.
Lost songs brought back to happy life.
Big Wilco fan. This album was a great listen. Will definitely give a spin again in the future. Christ for President was my favorite and Hesitating Beauty was a great one too. Woody Guthrie could write great ones.
Bragg and Wilco put some old Woody Guthrie lyrics to music, and it mostly works. They stayed true to his aesthetic while making it their own, which is how you have to approach a project like this, I think. The issue I keep coming back to is that for all three major players, this isn't their best work. It's really good, but it doesn't particularly stand out. Best track: Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key
Awesome. And it had my new funeral song.
The first song made me doubt I'd like this album, but it turned out to be a red herring. The album is really good, mixing a country-rock and folk style. Lots of different singers as well. And they lyrics are worth a listen by themselves.
Has some cool songs
For years I've enjoyed the song "California Stars" without listening to this album or looking into its background. What a great listen this turned out to be though. I love this style of folky rock from the late 90s/early 00s. It's a bit long but I can't fault it too much for that.
I liked it. Fun rock with lots of folk undertones. Story telling lyrics. There was just something about it that I didn't need to add almost any songs to playlists. Not that its bad, just less my cup of tea.
Pretty good album, lots of great acoustic parts, love the song with Natalie Merchant. Some good tracks would like to listen again High 3.5
Nice album. I met Billy Bragg at a record shop in Austin, lovely man - hated Thatcher
Fav Song: California Stars
Osittain tuttuja biisejä johtuen projektin Wilco-yhteyksistä. Levy kokonaisuudessaan on kuitenkin jäänyt kuuntelematta aiemmin. Tykkäsin rennon letkeästä countrymeiningistä hyvin Wilcomaisella musisoinnilla varutettuna. Jatkoon ja uudelleenkuunteluun.
this is the second day in a row i got wilco and i am riding this high. i really only liked the songs with jeff tweedy singing but this album was a great combo of the two - neither lost their voice but actually complemented each other.
this was a brilliant album! beautiful lyrics, the composition of the songs, and variety was just gorgeous. the track "Birds and Ships" had Natalie Merchant singing, probably my favorite track on the album, but "One by One" is definitely a close second. all-in-all, this was a joy to listen to.
Was shocked over how much I liked this one.
Really enjoyed this. Great working music - think I listened about 4 times whilst I worked late. Not sure how to analyse the music but it was certainly enjoyable
Bon folk rock un peu country. Le melange des deux chnateurs est tres bon et l’ecriture des chanson fit tres bien avec le style.4*
Really nice. Eclectic. Love "Birds and Ships", "One By One", "Way over Yonder in the Minor Key" and "Ingrid Bergman"
Este álbum me sonó muy a Estados Unidos (?), tradición gringa, música como muy cinematográfica a veces. Siento que funciona bien en roadtrip o incluso como viaje introspectiva al USA profundo. Con todo, pues estuvo bueno escucharlo en su mayoría y hay algunas letras muy efectivas. Las canciones que realmente me gustaron fueron: "California Stars", "Hoodoo Voodoo" y las tristes "At My Window Sad and Lonely" y "One by One". 7.5/10
I don't know how but I accidentally listened to this album in reverse order
Me gustó la verdad, tiene una melancolía y una solemnidad gringa que sí pone medio sad. Me gustó más Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key, suena tristalegre. En general el disco da la vibra de un roadtrip introspectivo como en película indie :V Mood: Wow, esto no es la calle de las sirenas.
Really like it. Not exactly what I was expecting and was surprised to recognise a few songs....Interesting that Wilco is not also listed as the artist? a couple of songs got a little too twang country for me. A few songs were super beautiful too.
I enjoyed it, never really listened to Billy Brag and only knew him as a caricature of political singer song writers
Twangy folk songs. 0RS
Fun folk! Cool to hear the collaboration.
Hey, pretty good! First half I liked more than the back half though for sure. I'll give it a 4 for being surprisingly likeable
This one is floating just above a 3 for me but if I'm honest with myself I know I could really get into this album on a road trip.
This is the album that introduced me to Billy Bragg. I think I already knew Wilco because of Uncle Tupelo. I like Billy Bragg. I’m a big fan of Wilco, Natalie Merchant and Woody Guthrie. I have occasionally put “California Stars” to memory enough to play it in the guitar. I wonder how come I don’t have a copy of this album anymore. “Way Over Yonder...” and “Birds and Ships” are my next favorite songs. I saw them play “Way Over Yonder...” live on Letterman
An album of unused Woodie Guthrie lyrics put to music generated for us on Woodie Guthrie’s birthday? Yes please. A coincidence? I appreciate that some of the music exudes country influences, which ties the songs back to Woodie even more. On She Came Along To Me, Woodie writes, “But I’m sure the women are equal. And they may be ahead of the men.” Smart. Walt Whitman’s Niece is my favorite song on the album. I enjoy the “I’m not telling you which…” structure to the lyrics. This would be a good album to play while sitting around a campfire.
So who would've guessed that of all the highly decorated and well-known artists on the list, the first one we would see twice would be Billy Bragg?? When the first Billy Bragg album came up, it was one of our driving days on vacation and we tried it in the car. It wasn't our kind of driving music, so we stopped and never got a chance to come back to it. But with that first album, I thought that name sounded familiar. Why? A little searching revealed this album, and that rang a bell. "Billy Bragg and Wilco" sounded like something I had heard of before. I've only listened to a little Wilco, and never listed to this collaboration, but for some reason I had heard of it. What I didn't know until now was that this was a collection of unrecorded Woody Guthrie songs, and the interesting story of how this came to be. And it turned out to be a great folk rock record. I went back and listened to the Taxman album, and I've gotta say I liked Bragg's voice and the song arrangements on this album better. I thought I would prefer the songs where Wilco's Jeff Tweedy sings lead, but I actually like both. "Way Over Yonder in a Minor Key" was a standout, but only "Hoodoo Voodoo" didn't really do it for me. Good stuff, and I'm glad to have returned to Billy Bragg.
Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Walt Whitman's niece, California Stars, One by one
Liked a lot Favs are "California Stars" and "Way over Yonder in the Minor Key"
Kinda exactly what you’d expect. Not bad, but not remarkable. The female vocalist had a very nice voice though
Very good very nice very swag
Liked it. Didn’t get to listen too closely though, need to hear again
Great album. Brings together several of my favorite things - Guthrie, Wilco, folk, and union songs. Love California Stars. This is the just the first volume. The complete sessions are terrific.
This is great, can't believe I've never heard of it. Love the heavy use of organ. Sounds modern but also like folk music. Some great lyrics. It's a winner.
Some crackers, and what a great backstory for the album. Not my usual thing but enjoyed this ‘supergroup’ offering.
Solid as hell, inventive and comfortable
Big fan of Wilco, and overall, I've really been enjoying this album. 'California Stars' is the stand-out, but I have yet to encounter a bad song in the bunch.
Alternates between slow folk songs about sadness and love and songs that sound kind of like throwing instruments down the stairs, but not in a bad way.
Ohne nachgelesen zu haben, dachte ich: wenn ich das seinerzeit im Plattenladen gehört hätte wäre es sicher viel gelaufen. Mit dem Hintergrund schafft es es vielleicht auch im aktuellen Zeitalter!
I hadn’t heard this before, except for ‘Way over Yonder in a Minor Key” which me and my co-judge remembered fondly from the early days of Spotify. The album reminds me a bit of The Band. I like the overall sound and material. One of the things that struck me on first listen was that the Billy Bragg sounded different to the Wilco songs, beyond the vocals, in contrast to The Band, for example, who, when Levon Helm came to the mic, still sounded like The Band. It turns out that Billy’s and Wilco’s songs were mixed separately. Also, I think that Jeff Tweedy’s voice could a be little gritty-er and twangy-er for these Woody Guthrie songs.
Uncovering these treasures half a century after they were written is a fascinating storyline especially since they were offered to Dylan decades earlier but when he got to their house they couldn't find them. Natalie Merchant provides wonderful harmonies with Billy on the very cute song Way Over Yonder . . . . It's very entertaining when a singer who doesn't sing that well sings a line such as "There ain't nobody who can sing like me". It reminds me of L. Cohen's very charming line on Tower of Song "I was born with the gift of the golden voice". Nathalie also knocks it out of the park with her haunting lead (and back up?) vocals on Birds and Ships. I saw both Billy Bragg (at the Music Hall) and Wilco (at RPM) shortly after Mermaids was released. I enjoyed Wilco a lot more and the highlight of the concert was when all five grabbed guitars and lined up at the front of the stage playing California Stars. (OK it might have been only four but you get the picture.) I didn't enjoy Billy's concert as much since he spent too much time between songs doing long rants about how wonderful unions were. I wanted to yell "Just play 'I Guess I Planted' and let Woody's words do your yapping" but they stocked the pond with union folks so saying such things might have got me tossed. The star of the album is Wilco's California Stars but my second fave is Billy's "The Unwelcome Guest". He, unfortunately, didn't have time to play this one when I saw him. I always thought it was Jeff Tweedy singing the backup vocals on this track but the wiki notes are silent. Neither Billy nor Jeff is a great singer but their harmony is magical. This album would get rated 2 if it included Billy's side notes the way Ravi's album did. Thankfully it doesn't.
Really like this album
An album I don't think I'd heard before. Nice collection of sounds, and Wilco consistently enjoyable.
I wish they maid mer of these. Oh wait!
cbb , vetarna vet
I enjoyed this, but there are a few jarring moments
Love this - know some of Billie Bragg's music but not Wilco's - so found this a great collaboration - more country/bluesy than anticipated (i.e. Hoodoo Voodoo) - on my 3rd listen now!
May have been a media maneuver to merge these acts, but it works. One of my favourite songs (stemming from playing guitar at Jack Duggan’s Irish Pub in Bathurst) is on this album- Way over yonder in the minor key. Sounds like an album that would grow on me to be a classic
A fine album. I've read opinions that California Stars doesn't fit well with the album but damn I love that song. And it's true that the Wilco songs more like Wilco songs than Guthrie songs performed by Wilco and the Billy Bragg tunes sound more like loving tributes but I appreciate both contributions. Aside from California Stars there are a lot of other excellent songs; Way Over Yonder in the Modern Key, She Came Along to Me, At My Window Sad and Lonely, Ingrid Bergman, One by One and others. I listen to this album quite often and always leave it with a good feeling. 4.5 stars
Album is very mixed. After reading about it that makes sense. Really liked all of it though. Going to look more into Natalie merchant, liked birds and ships a lot
7/10 pretty enjoyable, with a few standout tracks.
much better than i remember
Another new one I liked quite a bit
Fun, foot tapping folk album. "Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key" my favourite song on the album, also liked "One By One"
An easily digestible mix of alt-country and Americana that does a good job of showcasing the blend's most charming qualities. The folk-tinged song structures and solid vocal performances also help broaden the sound's appeal. While not every track stands out in a unique way, Mermaid Avenue is a great record, even for non-country fans like myself. BEST TRACKS: California Stars, Hoodoo Voodoo, I Guess I Planted WORST TRACKS: Walt Whitman's Niece
good stuff, i like lil billy
I liked it! They really brought Guthrie's songs to life. Good stuff.
Solid alt country album. I'll listen again
When the first track started I thought that I would'nt like the album, but then I was proven wrong, this LP is fantastic and is an awesome piece of folk music that really sounds like a mix between alt rock and country.
Lyrics by Woodie Guthrie, music by Billy Bragg, with Wilco as the backing band. What a wacky idea. Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key has a familiar melody and is a great song. Birds And Ships is great. The compression on Hoodoo Voodoo basically sucks the life right out of it. She Came Along To Me has a knock at the facists. Thanks for that Woodie, kind of crazy how of all the things coming back into fashion, thats one of them. Eisler On The Go, Hesitating Beauty. Lots of great songs on this record.
Cool country singer songwriter Americana style. British singer.
There is a soul to the performance of these songs with lyrics by Guthrie that give you goosebumps. While the music is not anything super exceptional in terms of its country and folk, but it is an enjoyable listen.
Rock americano melódico y tranquilo
Enjoyed listening to it, and watching the baby move her feet in time to it!
Billy visiting Americana and his hero Woody Guthrie with his mates Wilco here. I love Billy, the "Bard of Barking" as he really knows how to write love songs for blokes and political songs for everyone. What can I say, he has been on my musical journey with me for the last 30 years. Get to see him when I can because he is both jolly decent chap and a political hero. This isn't his best album but can see why it is on the list. I would prefer to see earlier works like "Don't Try This At Home" or "Talking to The Taxman About Poetry" on the list. Favourite tracks "Walt Whitmans Neice" "Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key" and "Ingrid Bergman". Interesting That Nora Guthrie chose Billy as an heir to Woody to but together songs from Woody's unrecorded lyrics. (Above Bob Dylan to his chagrin!) some great tracks, love it really.
Very Friday music!
Lovely album! California Stars is one of my all-time favorite songs.
What an interesting pedigree this album has. Bragg, who I'm unfamiliar with, composes music to go with unpublished Guthrie lyrics, and gets some help from Wilco. I love Guthrie and I love Wilco. After this, I'm not sure if I love Bragg, but this was a cool project to do. Birds and Ships is beautiful, and Christ for President is funny/poignant. God, Woodie Guthrie was a cool sumbitch.
Folk off, mate
I'm a sucker for folk music on Fridays. Probably liked it more than I regularly would but here we are.
Very chill, I enjoyed almost every song. Over yonder in the Mountain is def being added to a playlist
Listened to on 4/22/22 4.5/5 Favorite song: California songs This album was great - so easy to listen to and every song was different but all worked together - folk, indie, country - it really had it all
A really neat concept: putting Woody Guthrie's lyrics to contemporary music. The result is something fresh but more timeless than if it was entirely made in the 40s or the 90s
riktigt gött häng
This is a great album. I listened to it years ago but didn’t care for it. This time around I connected with it.
One of my favorite so far !
Quite liked this record, all things considered.
Really nice American-Folk Album. I put the album up for in the background, but it always had a nice atmosphere to it and sometimes dragged my ear back into the music and made me really listen to it. Would definitely listen to it again at some point
i love this album, atlough the lyrics were written by someone else, i feel the songs are very well put together lyrics + music
I genuinely enjoyed the simplicity of this album so much that I would absolutely re-listen at a time I needed to unwind or relax. Cool bluesy blue grass sounds, I really like this.
A remarkable project, bringing Guthrie’s lyrics to life with a still unlikely pairing of Bragg and Wilco which, nevertheless, sounds fantastic - a folk rock record with heart, wit and equality throughout. I felt the combination truly soared. Absorbing and compelling.
Pretty awesome modern folk music.
Åter igen ett superbra album? Det var några tråkiga låtar från början men sen mm så bra??
Excellent Billy Bragg - Wilco collaboration. I liked this album much more than Bragg's "Talking With the Taxman About Poetry" which was generated by the list generator some time ago. Not sure if this is due to Wilco (probably the best American country-rock band from the last 30 years or so) but will check some more Billy Bragg albums..
An unexpected joy
Very pleasant listening, I enjoyed the laid back vibe and the instrumental interplay with the band. This is one of the better roots based Americana influenced albums I've heard on this list.
The concept behind putting together Billy Bragg and Wilco to record unreleased Woody Guthrie songs is a very interesting idea that is mercifully well-executed here. I'll confess that I'm much more a fan of Wilco than Bragg, but this album works really well. It features a lot of the straight-ahead alt-country sound of Wilco's earlier albums. Guthrie's songs work really well for both artists. Tweedy brings a more modern sound, while Bragg sounds like the specter of Guthrie himself risen out of the past. I think I'll have to look out for this one on vinyl 4/5
the story behind this album is pretty damn neat. I think it worked out fairly well.
Fantastic. Unfortunate that the best song by far is the only one Wilco and Bragg didn’t perform.
Lot of love for this album, the recipe of Billy Bragg, Wilco and Woodie Guthrie makes for good listening. Some bits work better than others, but there are some strong tracks here like California Stars, Way over Yonder and Sha Came Along to me. Good stuff.
Good country Favorites: "California Stars", "Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key", "Ingrid Birdman"
I am often indifferent to Billy Bragg but being tempered with Wilco and some Natalie Merchant, it's very enjoyable.
This is a great album for me. Really enjoyed almost every song on this however the album is in a bonkers order so is a bit of a rollercoaster sometimes. This album was written from unused lyrics from the deceased Woody Guthrie, Billy and Wilco were invited by Woody's daughter to revive the lyrics into an album. Guthrie is an American Folk hero and activist who did a lot for the poor and working class in the 1940s. Some great lyrical nuggets in this album that hark to that same impact he had. "California Stars", by far my fave. I can picture it now, its sunset, US west coast, I've found myself a small surfing town to lazy around and do nothing in for a while. Sleeping in the back of my 80s Ford Econoline, double doors at the back swung open, ocean air breezing through the van, maybe even a lil camp fire still smouldering away nearby. One day... Other highlights from this album: "Birds and Ships" (really love Natalie Merchants voice in this), "She came along to me", and "One by One".
3.75/5. It's a pleasant folk-rock album, but it's just not something I'm drawn to.
Liked it more than I thought I would.
Catchy, funny, lovely. Damn good.
Pretty good overall
Prefs: Walt Whitman's Niece, California Stars, Hoodoo Voodoo, She Came Along To Me, I Guess I Planted, One By One Moins pref: Eisler On The Go
I was having a rough morning but this was a really nice, calming listen
Leichte Country Vibes. Singer-Songwriter. Various Artists
This was chaotic and I loved it
Great sounds, good songwriting. Great mixing and arrangements.
This album is a collection of so many things I love; great songwriting, immediately singable, alt-country, and the combo of complementing singers. Now need to go find this album on vinyl.
Solid album. Not what I usually would pick on my own but definitely a good listen
folk mate 7.5/10
Very entertaining folk rock. I like the playful energy. Woody Guthrie's lyrics make this album stick out from the thousands of generic folk rock albums out there.
Really liked the album
Teriffic melding of styles between Billy Braggs and Wilco. In a few songs it felt like putting the words to music seemed almost forced and unpolished, but overall a fantastic album, and a great memorial to the words of Woody Guthrie Favourite songs: Christ for President, Birds and Ships (Natalie Merchant's voice on this track is beautiful), Hesitating Beauty, The Unwelcome Guest, Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key Least Favourite Songs: Hoodoo Voodoo, Walt Whitman's Neice, Eisler on the Go, Ingrid Bergman 4/5
Really good stuff. Not a lot to say about it. It's just a really enjoyable album.
Wilco is always good, some of the collaborations work well, some not as much. Not my favorite Wilco endeavor but still very good.
Not sure if I had heard this before. I'm a big Wilco fan and this is a good Wilco album.
The combination of artists and the genius of Guthrie makes this album a landmark. It’s a great listen, but it also comes across as if it was a lot of fun to make.
Listen this to death when in first came out. Fun album, Wlico and Billy Bragg sound great together. Hopefully this isn't Wilco's only appearance on the list.
Nostalgic and homey. I like it a lot, but think it could be a hair shorter.
I liked the album for sure, but it was the story behind it that brings it up to four stars. Such a sweet sentimental revival in the memory of a legend.
Really good folky stuff, not my genre but love it.
Very good vibe, preferred the slower songs
This was a nice surprise.! I'm familiar with both artists separately but had no idea they had collaborated before. I definitely preferred the first half of the album and found it tailed off a bit towards the end, bit then the last song was quite good. Overall an enjoyable album, I might check out the others in the series.
America's favourite alt country band (maybe!) join forces with the UK's favourite singing socialist (possibly!) to record a bunch of Woody Guthrie songs. Well, blow me down, it works an absolute treat! They could've approached Guthrie with hushed reverence, but instead there's a rainbow of moods here, from pensive through to knockabout. The musical soundscape is pretty lovely too, reminiscent of early 1970s Dylan. My only gripe is that Jeff Tweedy still fails to move me as a vocalist, but there's enough Bragg (and a slither of Natalie Merchant) to offset this. A thoroughly charming album.
This is a really unique record and a great listen overall. Billy Bragg’s songs definitely capture the essence of Woody Guthrie’s songwriting better than Wilco’s offerings - although “California Stars” is a homely nostalgia trip befitting of Guthrie’s lyrics. Naturally, it suffers from inconsistencies. But this is true of most of Bragg’s output at the turn of the millennium (coinciding with his fixation on adopting a Southern American accent, completely flying in the face of his whole ethos!). However, the songwriting is strong enough across the record to justify a greater audience than it has so far received. This is really a victory lap for Billy Bragg, who not only shot back to some kind of relevance in the twilight of his career, but created a set of timeless homages to one of his heroes.