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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Mermaid Avenue

Billy Bragg

Wilco

1998

Mermaid Avenue

Album Summary

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

Rating

3.16

Votes

4186

Genres

  • Rock
  • Folk
  • Singer Songwriter
Reviews
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2

Not much to Bragg about

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4

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.

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5

What a wonderful album. Soulful, significant and spirit-raising, all at the same time.

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5

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

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4

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.

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3

Wouldn't normally like Bragg but this one was quite pleasant. Perhaps it was the involvement of Wilco which improved it.

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5

Outstanding folk rock. Woody Guthrie’s lyrics are funny, inspiring, depressing.

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5

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.

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5

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

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5

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.

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5

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.

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3

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).

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3

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

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2

A listenable one

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2

2/5 Not really appealing to me, no tempo, quite boring

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1

Was a 2 star until I learned all the lyrics were just nicked from someone else. Commie bastard.

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1

Straight fuck this

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5

This was a total surprise and so memorable. I had heard California Stars before, but nothing else. Loved it.

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5

Incredible gem

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5

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.

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5

I like this album. I had only heard 1-2 songs off it before listening.

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5

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.

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5

Like both artists, makes sense they would sound good together. This album is lovely, bouncy and clever.

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5

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.

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5

Love King Billy And the tension between Wilco And some brilliant songs + Natalie Merchant

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5

Folk rock at its finest. Varied, musical, interesting, and lengthy album.

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5

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.

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5

precioso disco, country y folk, lindas melodias.

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5

Started off strong and continued strong, loved it

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5

Nostalgica~

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5

Good folk rock/alt country

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5

I don’t listen to this album or Billy Bragg enough

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5

This might be Wilco’s best album… Ingrid Bergman, California Stars, Hesitating Beauty all highlight their “sensitive” side really well.

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5

I own this CD. It's a longtime favourite! Great modern interpretation of Woody Guthry songs.

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5

Good

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5

Still as fantastic as the first time I heard it!

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5

First two songs are real good

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5

Very good

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5

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.

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5

Very good!

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5

one of my favorite albums of all time - one by one close to a perfect song

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5

Great album. Really enjoy the concept and the execution is a lot of fun. 5/5

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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!

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5

A great album. Refreshing folk/acoustic style with great lyrics and vocals...obvs with the odd Billy Bragg style you'd expect.

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5

This was lovely. What could possibly go wrong, Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg and Wilco. Eminently listenable!

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5

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.

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5

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

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5

Love this - didn’t realise how much I did until re listening to it - warm fuzzy lovin it

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5

Just plain slaps. Hits all my buttons

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5

This was fantastic

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5

Great shit. If I wasn't a day behind I'd listen to it again right now. Loved this album.

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5

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.

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4

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.

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4

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

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4

8,2

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4

Awesome. And it had my new funeral song.

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4

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.

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4

Has some cool songs

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4

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.

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4

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.

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4

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

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4

Nice album. I met Billy Bragg at a record shop in Austin, lovely man - hated Thatcher

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4

Fav Song: California Stars

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4

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.

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4

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.

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4

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.

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4

Was shocked over how much I liked this one.

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4

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

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4

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*

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4

Really nice. Eclectic. Love "Birds and Ships", "One By One", "Way over Yonder in the Minor Key" and "Ingrid Bergman"

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4

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

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4

I don't know how but I accidentally listened to this album in reverse order

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4

Del chill

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4

Grande Wilco.

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4

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.

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4

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.

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4

I enjoyed it, never really listened to Billy Brag and only knew him as a caricature of political singer song writers

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4

Twangy folk songs. 0RS

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4

.

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4

Fun folk! Cool to hear the collaboration.

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4

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

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4

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.

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4

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

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4

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.

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4

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.

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4

Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Walt Whitman's niece, California Stars, One by one

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4

Liked a lot Favs are "California Stars" and "Way over Yonder in the Minor Key"

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4

Kinda exactly what you’d expect. Not bad, but not remarkable. The female vocalist had a very nice voice though

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4

Very good very nice very swag

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4

Liked it. Didn’t get to listen too closely though, need to hear again

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4

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.

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4

folky af

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4

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.

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4

Some crackers, and what a great backstory for the album. Not my usual thing but enjoyed this ‘supergroup’ offering.

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4

Solid as hell, inventive and comfortable

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4

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.

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4

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.

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4

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!

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4

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.

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4

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.

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4

Really like this album

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4

An album I don't think I'd heard before. Nice collection of sounds, and Wilco consistently enjoyable.

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4

I wish they maid mer of these. Oh wait!

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4

cbb , vetarna vet

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4

I enjoyed this, but there are a few jarring moments

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4

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!

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4

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

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4

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

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4

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

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4

Very enjoyed

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4

7/10 pretty enjoyable, with a few standout tracks.

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4

much better than i remember

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4

Folk-rock agradable.

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4

Another new one I liked quite a bit

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4

Fun, foot tapping folk album. "Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key" my favourite song on the album, also liked "One By One"

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4

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

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4

good stuff, i like lil billy

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4

Very eclectic...

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4

I liked it! They really brought Guthrie's songs to life. Good stuff.

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4

Solid alt country album. I'll listen again

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4

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.

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4

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.

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4

Cool country singer songwriter Americana style. British singer.

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4

Great album

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4

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.

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4

Rock americano melódico y tranquilo

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4

Compelling stuff.

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4

Surprisingly serene

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4

Enjoyed listening to it, and watching the baby move her feet in time to it!

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4

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.

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4

Good listen.

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4

Very Friday music!

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4

Lovely album! California Stars is one of my all-time favorite songs.

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4

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.

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4

Folk off, mate

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4

I'm a sucker for folk music on Fridays. Probably liked it more than I regularly would but here we are.

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4

Very chill, I enjoyed almost every song. Over yonder in the Mountain is def being added to a playlist

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4

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

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4

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

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4

riktigt gött häng

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4

This is a great album. I listened to it years ago but didn’t care for it. This time around I connected with it.

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4

One of my favorite so far !

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4

Quite liked this record, all things considered.

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4

4.5

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4

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

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4

i love this album, atlough the lyrics were written by someone else, i feel the songs are very well put together lyrics + music

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4

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.

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4

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.

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4

Pretty awesome modern folk music.

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4

Folk

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4

cool country

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4

Åter igen ett superbra album? Det var några tråkiga låtar från början men sen mm så bra??

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4

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..

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4

An unexpected joy

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4

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.

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4

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

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4

the story behind this album is pretty damn neat. I think it worked out fairly well.

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4

Fantastic. Unfortunate that the best song by far is the only one Wilco and Bragg didn’t perform.

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4

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.

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4

Good country Favorites: "California Stars", "Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key", "Ingrid Birdman"

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4

I am often indifferent to Billy Bragg but being tempered with Wilco and some Natalie Merchant, it's very enjoyable.

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4

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".

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4

3.75/5. It's a pleasant folk-rock album, but it's just not something I'm drawn to.

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4

Liked it more than I thought I would.

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4

Catchy, funny, lovely. Damn good.

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4

Pretty good overall

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4

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

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4

I was having a rough morning but this was a really nice, calming listen

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3

Not the best era Billy; but a good album nonetheless

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3

I didn’t love this

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3

California Stars was a great song

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3

Pretty good folk rock album. Not sure if this would become a favorite. Definitely enjoyed California Stars.

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3

Little bit too much country for me, but a few nice songs.

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3

Pretty decent. Some good tracks.

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3

No songs sound the same but all equally beautiful

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3

First thought was "oh no is it Country?" but I see Wilco is on the album too so... maybe it's ok. Definitely have heard "California Stars", it's very nice. Apparently "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." I wouldn't say anything in here did a ton for me though. It was not-offensive but this style of folk rock is maybe not my fav.

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3

7.5

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3

Great collaboration between these two incredible artists. I liked the variety from song to song, and they can really jam on some of the upbeat songs. Highlights: -California Stars -Birds and Ships -Hoodoo Voodoo -I Guess I Planted

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3

Si me latieron algunas.

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3

I think it's a decent album, and I said this about the last Wilco album too, but despite being a Wilco fan this album doesn't get me particularly excited. I like some Billy Bragg too (thanks to Jon) but this album is just ok to my ear. Rounding up to 3 stars.

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3

Tiene sus momentos

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3

Nice vibe.

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3

While I normally love Wilco, and this is a solid album, it's a bit too country for my preferences

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3

California stars is amazing!

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3

This was a pleasant surprise. Never heard of Billy Bragg but I kinda like it!

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3

Bragg ok, Wilco nicht so meins

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3

Decent variety between rowdier stuff and sweet, quieter stuff, but overall too country for my taste. Plus a song or two for a little gross.

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3

Ok I guess.

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3

Rauhallista musiikkia, uneliasta. Ajoittain tuli mieleen Beck, vaikken Beckin tuotantoa niin tarkkaan tunnekaan. Ja Bob Dylaniin verrattuna jonkin verran helpommin lähestyttävää folk-henkistä musaa. Yksittäiset biisit eivät jäänet niinkään mieleen, kun töiden taustalla kuuntelin.

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3

Chilliä countryfolkkirokkia. Laulajalla miellyttävä ääni ja tulkintatyyli. Joskus unohtuu ehkä vertaamaan arvosteluissa saman genren levyjä ja ja arvosanoja keskenään, eikä yleisemmällä skaalalla. Mielestäni country-levyjen välisessä taistossa tämä oli nelosen levy, mutta yleisesti verraten kelpo 3.

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3

3/5 i'd say that there were some interesting tracks, but nothing really stuck

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3

Me dio vibras de peli de road trip o no sé, algo así bien cliché, sí saben!

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3

Yeah I thought it was alright

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3

Really cool concept- lyrics were originally written by Woody Guthrie but set to music by other composers, notably Billy Bragg (who I had never heard of before listening to this). I really like listening to folk music in the background so this was a nice album to hear while working.

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3

Really outside my comfort zone, and while I didn't care much for the music style the lyrics were amazing. Some really great lyrics in some of these songs.

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3

I mean, it's fine. Not really my jam, but certainly not "bad" enough to get a 2. Sounded a bit too much like modern country.

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3

Good listen. More of a modern folk rock. I think it was well done but didn't do a whole lot for me beyond that.

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3

Best Song: Birds & Ships (ft. Natalie Merchant) Worst Song: Christ For President

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3

Interesting concept and thrilling to hear previously uncovered Woody Guthrie lyrics, but overall, this album runs a bit long and the modern heartland rock backing falls a bit flat after a while. Still a really cool album

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3

There were a few really good songs. But sometimes a little to over -produced for a Woody Guthrie song. Think of a combo of Woody + the Beatles.

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3

I’m not a fan of country or Billy Bragg but because it features Wilco I have it a go. Turns out it was a pleasant surprise. The background story of this album is quite interesting also. California Stars and song featuring Natalie Merchant were very nice.

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3

I think I would have expected a more collaborative approach to this album between Bragg and Wilco but the album seems pretty neatly split in half between Bragg arrangements and Tweedy arrangements and as it turns out exactly half the album is kind of awful. That said I've never listened to Bragg before and I will check him out more after this because he singlehandedly carries the good half of the album. I've hated Wilco's music for two decades and I guess that's not changing with this. Neat album concept though, it's cool it got made.

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3

Doesn’t really all come together for me.

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3

Ok background music.

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3

Bon disc, tot i que amb molts altibaixos... 'California Stars' es podria comptar entre el millor de la discografia de Wilco, 'She Came Along to Me' és pura glòria en la veu de Bragg; gran part de la resta no és gaire memorable però, folk rock passable musicant les lletres perdudes de Woody Guthrie com a principal interés

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3

// Favs: California Stars Score: Light to Decent 3

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3

Just some light-hearted folk rock. Like the Wilco album we had before, nothing super spectacular. Ingrid Bergman was a really nice track. Alex's favorite refrain: not a bad album, but is it worth a spot on a list of best albums ever? I'm not convinced. Still, I'm not mad at this. It just faded to the background for me. Favorite tracks: Ingrid Bergman, California Stars. Album art: Not much to say, just a picture of a street. Font is cool I guess? Is this Mermaid Avenue? At least it's not false advertising. 3/5

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3

This album opens with a weird and wild song that I immediately liked but the rest of the album was a little forgettable. I loved the overall country type rock and it was enjoyable, but they just didn't hit the heights of that first song. I'd still call this a steady week, however, fingers crossed we keep it up!

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3

Was OK…. Like Natalie Merchant song

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3

Decent but felt too long.

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3

My problem is that it felt very...underwhelming. It didn't sound like it was any different from the other records in the genre. When the songs were great, they were GREAT. But some I would not voluntarily re-visit.

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3

I listened to Billy Bragg a little in college, but not very much. And for some reason, I completely missed Wilco, even though I heart about them quite often and several friends like them whose taste in music tends to overlap with mine. (Side note: this reminds me to listen to their own albums...seems like a band I might enjoy.) Anyway, this album specifically: I like it. The musicianship is fantastic; really great playing. Billy Bragg's voice when he goes full Billy Bragg can grate on me quickly; comes across as too shouty for me. On this album, however, he dials it down and that really helps. I still prefer the tracks on this album when he's not singing lead. And the couple tracks with Natalie Merchant stand out. Her voice is always rich, memorable, and mesmerizing. (I'm now imagining this whole album with her as lead vocalist, and that would've been amazing.) Overall, good stuff. Enjoyed it.

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3

Interesting vocal / storytelling style...

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3

Country plus politics plus wilco - seems squared at winning a mercury

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3

Bragg rates occasionally, but this odd collaboration with Wilco to record unreleased Woodie Guthrie songs works surprisingly well.

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3

Meh. It has some great songs, but generally sounds uninteresting. Maybe it's here for its lyrics or because it was actually unique when it came out, but for a new listener in 2021 it just sounds like many other albums we have already heard.

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3

Good easy listening.

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3

Pretty chill. Not my kind of jam

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3

3.4 - interesting as a concept but I had a hard time hearing it over the sound of my yawns.

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3

Some solid tunes. Great mellow Friday vibes

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3

I know Billy Bragg a bit but Wilco and Woody Guthrie very little, and I definitely didn't know these albums existed. So this was an interesting little find. I really enjoyed a few tracks (mainly the Bragg compositions). Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key is my highlight.

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3

Folky music? It was fine.

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3

Didn’t like Eisler On The Go but did like most of the album . First few songs were the best

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3

Uneventful. Never quite figured why I skew Calexico over Wilco so strongly.

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3

6/10? Might have been worth a 7, but kinda long and only a couple songs stood out

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3

Great songwriting by Guthrie all throughout. It's really interesting they got 3 different groups covering Guthrie's songs in contemporary writing, as you could really hear the dynamic contrast in style how they cover them. Love most of the Wilco songs. Hate Bragg's country ass voice and accompaniment. Merchant's a great voice, now I want to listen to 10000 Maniacs. Maybe I'm starting to appreciate Wilco more after listening to Being There and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot several times, but their songs stick out so much with ambitious sounds, and his voice is just so peculiar but soothing. Bragg isn't too bad, and his style actually feels faithful, but it's boring. I hear the 2nd volume is pretty good too. Favorites: California Stars, Hoodoo Voodoo, Hesitating Beauty

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3

Glaub das ist mein erstes country Album aber hab schon blöderweise gehört

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3

I believe that I never will get the hype on Wilco, however, I should give some respect to them (with "Billy Bragg") for this album. I believe that any recovery from classical compositions deserves some respect, even in cases like this album where the result is a little bit repetitive. The Wikipedia page helps to understand who was Woody Guthrie and now I need to know all the other projects from "Mermaid Avenue". Great project, good album

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3

The best of this album IMO: - California Stars - One By One Not my style but enjoyable. I prefer the more country songs. I imagined myself listening to this album while chilling out under the sun in Sandy Shores. 2.8/5

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3

Good little folk album. Would play at a bonfire chillin

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3

Woody Guthrie is an interesting artist. He's certainly talented, but in my experience his melodies are lackluster, and his children's songs don't do anything for me. His biggest strength has always been his lyrics, so when Billy Bragg (never heard of him) and Wilco (heard of them, but never heard anything by them) set these quality lyrics to quality music, the outcome is a very solid collection of indie folk/alt country songs. Favorite Tracks: "Walt Whitman's Niece", "California Stars", "Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key", Birds and Ships", "One By One"

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3

Frábær plata og mjög gott Woodie Guthrie vibe í gangi

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3

Mildly enjoyable. Appreciated the backstory.

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3

a real curates egg - some seem like proper songs (Minor Key) others like a mess of lyrics and jams (Ingrid Bergman). Overall the feel of a high class album where the albums gets everyone to cover an artists tracks, rather than a proper album.

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3

It's OK, but I'm not the audience for this.

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3

Not another wilco album

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3

I'm only slightly familiar with Billy Bragg and Wilco, and didn't know they ever collaborated. Looking at the album cover and track list I'm expecting thoughtful possibly folksy songs. ...and yep, that's just what we've got, in a high quality form. Now reading the wikipedia article I see this album is also a collaboration with Woody Guthrie. A bold idea which seems to have born fruit. I tend to medium like this kind of music. But I'm liking these songs more than that. California Stars is beautiful. The female voice joining Way Over Yonder is a lovely surprise. I don't usually like Natalie Merchant much but I do here. Unfortunately the album doesn't maintain momentum all the way through and starts to drag on the second side. But I love the ambition and of the album and think it is, overall, quite successful.

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3

Decent album that is without real highlights nor low lights. Typical 3 stars

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3

Unused lyrics from Woody Guthrie give Billy Bragg a chance to hang on the coattails of Wilco and Woody - two artists much better than him. Bragg struggles to keep up. An album of two halves. Best Tracks: California Stars; Ingrid Bergman; One By One

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3

Nice sounding folk rock album with some great tunes. Especially the slower acoustic songs. Starts off and closes great but falls off significantly around the halfway point. Suffers from a lack of continuity.

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3

I liked it. Wilco seem like a good pop band and I like their singing. Billy Bragg is a very likeable chap, but his singing sometimes gets a bit morbid.

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3

Interesting album from Billy Bragg and Wilco, feels like pub sing-along folky type music

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3

Mermaid Avenue is apparently a road that connects the traditional folk rock sound and the contemporary colors of sounds brought by Bragg. The first half of it is fun. It shows how this avenue is full of colors. It's lively, yet it has a fair share of gloom. But Mermaid Avenue is just like any other avenue. Mostly uninteresting. But I guess seeing the way those traditional and contemporary sounds travel along the road is enough reason for some to include this in their must-visit-before-I-die list.

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3

This is an album that is meant to be taken as is. From what I have read about Bragg & Wilco, their styles differ quite a lot in comparison to this album. Mermaid Avenue is really about bringing to life the lyrics of American folk singer Woody Guthrie. Personally I think what Bragg & Wilco were able to do with the limited references to the music stylings (Guthrie was really only a lyrics man) were quite remarkable, although not my favourite style of music I can appreciate what they have done. Best: California Stars Worst: Birds and Ships

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3

Enjoyed.

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3

I'm sure this is the kind of album that's a great discovery for fans of Bragg, Guthrie or Wilco (and a dream come true for anyone who's a fan of all three), but as the first album I've listened to by any of them it was probably not the best starting point. Good music I guess, but it didn't blow me away.

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3

this was entertaining, but I didn't get much more out of it than that. Not my bag,

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3

Average.

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3

California Stars!

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3

“at my window…” is good,

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3

This is a good album, there's no doubt... But I find it hard to spend 50 minutes at the same tempo, with the same instruments playing the same mood and the voice giving off the same emotion, particularly in folk music. I enjoyed it, but I will not listen again.

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3

A few good songs here and there, especially on Wilco's side, but I find most of the album to be pleasant but uneventful. The idea of giving old Guthrie songs to younger musicians is really great, and Wilco are obviously having fun with them, while Bragg mostly sticks to his usual serious "union on strike singer" delivery.

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3

Nearly a 2 for me, but Hoodoo Voodoo saved it. Will not listen to it again (except maybe the aforementioned song).

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3

Didn't mind it but wouldn't put on again.

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3

A little too folky/country for my taste but I still enjoyed listening to it.

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3

Very interesting listen with lots of variety!

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3

Good effort Bill and Wilco and Natalie.

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3

A grower, initially the Wilco-led songs are easier to get into but Billy's ones stand out and make the whole thing very enjoyable

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3

Not too special, good for working in the background

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3

some nice songs, some country? interesting but im not exactly sure whats the genre here!

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3

A great collection of songs. Very easy to listen to although no real standout tracks.

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3

Americana

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3

Probably the most consistently good project both Wilco and Billy Bragg have been involved with.

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3

I went back and forth on this one. At times, it felt like a 2-star album and, at other times, it felt like a 4-star album. There are songs like "Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key" that are just great. But there are also songs like "Ingrid Bergman" which is... just stupid. You can't help but think that there's a reason Guthrie didn't bother to write music for some of these songs. I guess, on balance, it was a fun enough album that was recorded with enough passion and respect for the late, great Woody Guthrie that it deserves a passing grade.

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3

-Something a little spooky about low voice in "Way over Yonder in the Minor Key" -"Hoodoo Voodoo" gets some upbeat honky tonkin -"She Came Along to Me" -Something about "Christ For President"? -"I Guess I Planted" has some uniony stuff -Some nice tracks there, but overall not my style

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3

Nothing typical of either artist, but nothing particularly memorable, either.

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3

Good but kind of all over the place

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3

I thought this was well done country. Quite funny.

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3

Good folk jam

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3

nice wilco

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3

Lagan i topao album, sviđa mi se cover albuma, imaju dobru kombinaciju Wilco i Billy. Nije mi kao neki čisti Wilcovi albumi, ali je također dobro. Mislim da kad bi zapeo za ovaj album, da bi mi baš fin bio. Ovako je 3,5 (RYM), a ovdje 3. Al nekak bi i 4 mogo dati, ovisi, jer mislim da bih se mogao čak vratiti ovom albumu....ne znam. Trojka it is, ali je bolje od toga.

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2

Didn't hate it, didn't love it

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2

First two tracks were great, the rest was ok.

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2

Country music could do better. Half of the songs were garbage

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Cuando leí el concepto del disco se me hizo buena idea. Medio me gusta Wilco, medio me gusta Billy Bragg y eso de tomar letras ya existentes y hacerles canciones me estaba bien. Pero no. Resultó aburrido. No sé si tal vez leyendo las letras me hubieran dado más, o si quizá en otro mood o conociendo al poeta. En fin, rescatable un poquito de la música, pero hasta ahí.

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Me suena el nombre pero no recuerdo de dónde conozco a Bragg, me gustó su Folk pero hasta ahí

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No pues está chingón. Si el disco fuera de dos canciones le pondría 7 estrellas.

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2

one good song, the last one

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2

Meh

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No entendí. No le encontré pies ni cabeza al disco. Comienza bien con las dos primeras canciones pero es narcótico y podría haberlo escuchado 13,827 veces y sabría lo mismo que se ahora. No le pongo 1 estrella porque la música es agradable, pero nada que me haya despertado el más mínimo interés. Songs: California Stars

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2.5 | Con trabajos ubicaba a Woody Guthrie por lo de "This machine kills fascists." Culpa mea no conozco casi su música. Desafortunadamente este disco no creo sea la mejor manera de iniciar tomando en cuenta que solo son sus poemas que nunca hizo canción musicalizados por Billy Bragg, a quien, de nuevo, solo conozco de nombre y como activista. A pesar de que estoy seguro que no puedo considerar que ahora conozco a Guthrie o a Bragg siento que de menos fue la elección correcta para el proyecto porque las canciones de verdad se sienten como si hubieran podido haber sido hechas a fines de los 60s, tienen un sonido contemporaneo-folk-psicodélico que raya de lo retro a sentirse realmente como una grabación perdida de la época. Las letras... bien supongo, nada maravilloso, algunas incluso con un buen grado de humor pero quizá hubo una razón sobre por qué de inicio estaban olvidadas en una caja y no grabadas en un disco. La música de nuevo, bien a secas pero tampoco sobresale. Estoy seguro que un fanático pensaría que es una chingonería de disco y pensar en escuchar música de tu artista favorito que lleva décadas muerto debe haber sido muy chingona y quizá históricamente tiene su peso y sentido hacer este proyecto y eso de que Dylan había intentado encontrar las canciones y creían que se habían perdido y blablabla pero el producto final final... bien a secas para mis gustos.

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Ganz okay, aber über weite Strecken auch ganz langweilig. Hoher Fetischwert für Genre-Autisten. 1.5

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A little too country for my taste

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Not without merits and pleasant enough but really not my thing. just couldn’t get to grips with it at all. Favourite song-Hang down your head

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It’s a modern indy country album featuring many well known artists from the alternate rock genre. I liked it, and even saved a couple tracks to my favourites, but it’s not a keeper. I found most of the album is fairly unmemorable. I think you will too. 2 Stars!

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2

All a bit self indulgent and dull really. Nice but dull.

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Corbyn and Owen Jones co

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This is evidently not where I am right now.

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2

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cant get into folk

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2

couple good songs

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Yep, again. Not bad.

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I remember pretending to like Wilco in high school... I don't think it's bad. It's just not the energy I'm looking for.

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Folk, country, fesen

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“Mermaid Avenue” by Billy Bragg & Wilco (1998) This album presents to the listener a collection of fine folk lyrical compositions by Woody Guthrie, set to music 30 years after his death, by collaborators (Britisher) Billy Bragg and the American band Wilco, at the behest of Guthrie’s daughter Nora. On the one hand, it can be said that Guthrie was a good writer of folk songs, and these songs are good—a fitting tribute to a fine artist. On the other hand, this project could be characterized as the last (posthumous) gasp of an undeconstructed Stalinist, concocted by his daughter to wring the last few pennies out of a legacy best left in oblivion. I hold both views simultaneously. According to Bob Dylan (Chronicles, vol. 1, p. 99): “On one of my visits [to Guthrie at a New Jersey hospital in early 1961] Woody had told me about some boxes of songs and poems that he had written that had never been seen or set to melodies—that they were stored in the basement in his house in Coney Island and that I was welcome to them. He told me that if I wanted any of them to go see Margie, his wife, explain what I was there for. She’d unpack them for me.” Well, Margie Guthrie wasn’t home when Dylan got there—only the babysitter and thirteen year old son Arlo, both clueless. So the songs sat for decades until younger daughter Nora Guthrie got them produced on this album. How music history might have been different if Margie had been home that day. These songs would have been much better curated in Dylan’s hands. Guthrie’s naive, utopian, millenarian, and anachronistic (i.e., Communist) politics are occasionally on display here, but they’re not in your face. A nice anti fascist and feminist sentiment (without the perversions of pink hats and Antifa) is expressed in “She Came Along to Me”: “Never could have it been done If the women hadn't entered into the deal Like she came along to me And all creeds and kinds and colors Of us are blending Till I suppose ten million years from now We'll all be just alike Same color, same size, working together And maybe we'll have all of the fascists Out of the way by then.” But the most serious political excursion is in the left-wing “Eisler on the Go”, which prompts thoughts of the horrors of both sides of the mid-20th century left/right political construct. This song will require you to do some homework, and it’s not for amateurs. [Research hint: siblings Gerhart Eisler, Hanns Eisler, and Ruth Fischer] Now what Bragg & Wilco do musically with this set of lyrics is another matter altogether. Basically, the weak attempt at imitating folk settings for more contemporary ears is formulaic—desperately so in “Christ for President”. Some tracks (“Walt Whitman’s Niece”, “Hoodoo Voodoo”) are musically quite disappointing. Others (“California Stars”, “Birds and Ships”) aren’t bad. But sadly, Bragg and Wilco set aside the best of their talents for this project. There are none of Bragg’s good lyrics (since, obviously, they’re all Guthrie’s) and very little of Wilco’s innovative colorings are present. And Bragg still can’t sing. Sometimes (“She Came Along to Me”) there’s a gross mismatch between lyrics and musical settings. And the workers’ union rallying song “I Guess I Planted” simply cannot be sung unaccompanied by amateurs—a fatal weakness for a protest song. That slight tremor I just felt must be Guthrie cringing in his grave. On the other hand, “Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key” (with good backing vocal by Natalie Merchant and mournful violin by Eliza Carthy) would have made Guthrie proud. And “Ingrid Bergman” is a hoot, with its procreative sexual innuendo and voyeuristic reference to camera work (or am I reading too much into it? No, I don’t think so). All in all, the album falls flat, and that’s a shame. I wish Margie Guthrie had been home that cold Coney Island day. 2/5

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Back to back Wilco... the previous one got three stars from me for being pleasant background music but very unremarkable. This one somehow sounded even less remarkable. Perhaps somewhat more accessible, but less interesting. I really couldn't hear a reason why this is worth listening to.

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Ok I'm at almost 400 albums now and by my estimate, somewhere between 20% and 30% of them are some kind of folk rock. There is only so much you can take of one genre before you just start giving it all 2/5. And I'm past that point. Another 5 folk albums and they'll all be getting 1. 2/5.

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Completely forgot to write a review, but not because I didn’t enjoy it. Simply because I forgot. Like how I’ve forgotten any songs that were in here, but I know I had a good time, so let’s just call it a two - it earns its place - and be done with it.

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couldn't finish it

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Vuodelta -98 tällasta kamaa. Mitä ihmeellistä tossa oli? Beats me

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Paskaa

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Dear lord, there are some melancholy songs on this album. I'm looking at you, "Eisler on the Go."

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I didn't love this album. May owe it a second a listen.

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From my limited exposure to Billy Bragg, I was expecting to love this. Disappointingly, I found this album tedious. Didn't sound anything like the Billy Bragg I thought I knew.

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Non c'è continuità nell'album. Non mi rimane nulla. Tipo gruppo irlandese che registra in un pub, ma il pub è nella contea. Ok, ho letto un po' di recensioni e comincio ad apprezzarlo di più, comunque non mi convince. 'One by One' interessante.

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Didn't know much about Bragg, but I thought I fancied Wilco and Guthrie! And to be fair, this album is fully listenable and has quite a few tunes. But it's far too indistinct and patchy to merit inclusion on the list. A pick for existing Guthrie fans, I should say.

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I don’t think this one was very good, think I stopped listening pretty fast

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Would be so much better if Bragg never opened his dumb British mouth. 4/10

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Actually ok, considering its really country. its the voice, it is that god aweful country style, this doesnt have the twang and make me feel like im listening to an uneducated redneck telling me how he fell in love with the most beautiful beer, but chose to fuck his truck. made it through without skipping much. i dont see myself listening to it more than once, but ‘good on ya. at least a 2

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Howdy ...

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zum teil ein ziemlicher owizahrer

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Fine. 5/10

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So...this is kind of a wannabe-Woody Guthrie record. Hmm. That probably is the (only) explanation for this being on a list of albums one MUST HEAR. Nothing against Billy Bragg or Wilco; I wouldn't say I'm a *fan* of either yet I've semi-enjoyed their music at times. But not this. The first two songs were dreadful but once we got to "Way Over Yonder In the Minor Key" I thought I could start to enjoy this; not to seem pedantic but the movement to the minor key in this gives me chills and is the kind of music I'm looking for, I felt this one. But it retreats back into laconic country dullness after that - I just don't feel this kind of music, for me the progressions need to go somewhere and for the most part they don't. If you're a student of lyrics and american history over musical construction there would definitely be some interest here, but I'll detour around Mermaid Avenue next time thanks. 3/10 2 stars.

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i mean, it’s a cool concept, but i just didn’t really love the actual song part of it. the singing was just obnoxious

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Ok

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uneventful listen 2/5

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Not really my thing

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I didn't listen to the lyrics very hard as it was the soundtrack to a particularly gnarly spreadsheet and I had to concentrate. But the tunes were boppy and inoffensive. I liked the one where the girl was singing. Would put this on to help me conquer formulae again.

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Too long and uneventful

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Was not feeling it. Generic music

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Not for me. I like some Wilco, but can't stand Billy Bragg and his influence is too much for me here. Sort of country, sort of folk, and mostly pretty uninteresting. I did like some of the lyrics (courtesy of Woody Guthrie), but less of a fan of the music. I actually enjoyed a couple of the tracks - generally the ones that sounded more Wilco than Bragg - but overall not a fan and certainly won't be coming back to this again.

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I suffered through it. I did not skip any songs. I would not recommend and I would listen to it again.

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A bit into the opening tracks, I was thinking “mmm… this could be interesting”. 50 minutes later, I’m thinking "this is boring".

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It's fine. Listenable.

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This album made me feel like a should live in a trailer, wear denim, gingham, and cowboy boots, drink whisky and drive a beat up truck. It’s not a bad vibe to listen to, it’s just not my vibe.

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Nothing offensive here. Just not an album I overly connected with.

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The album oddly gets better as it goes, but it never stops sounding like boring white music for uninteresting college kids. For fans of Dave Matthews Band, Widespread Panic, and The Grateful Dead.

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This is two albums mushed together. There’s a folk album that’s lovely, has a Johnny Cash feel at times. The first two tracks of the record are beautiful, unfortunately the female vocalist is not heard again. Then there’s the other album with occasional 90s counting crows, Tom pretty esque sounds. It really wasn’t a good mix.

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Boring folk album, the singer looks like he's always joking during a karaoke session. really long for what it is...I'm tired now !

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Boring folkish album. I don't get why it's on this list, but you know how Wilco fans are...

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Much more upbeat than I had expected, this is quite a fun album. I likely won't ever listen again but I'm glad I know of its existence.

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First two songs were boring. I liked "way over yonder" and the natalie merchant songs. Most of the album was just typical boring americana.

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2/5

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Woody Guthrie connection is interesting, but this album didn't capture me (on the day I listened). Maybe one for when I'm in a more mellow mood. 2.5

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If I listened to folk music This might be the kind of folk for me And if I wrote lyrics for folk songs I might sing them over these tunes Kind of witty sentiment and A fag packet bar chord structure Old twenties Americana Or contemporary satire If I listened to folk music This might be the kind of folk for me

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Some nice tracks but all just felt a bit lacklustre to me.

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Pleasant collaboration.

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A cool story about how this came into fruition, but musically its not for me.

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Did not listen to this entirely. Folk is not my lan and this album didn't change that.

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Not my thing

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Smokey Roadhouse tavern sound to this album. Not really my thing, but has its place. REVERB.

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Not really my style

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Beginning of the first song made me think of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer... Never got into it at all.

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Not my cup of tea...

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idk, kinda meh

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gaat zacht

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Hate it. Hate the artist.

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Folky rubbish. Sorry Billy, would not listen again.

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Awful. Just Awful. Uninspired and boring songs. Hesitating beauty is the crappiest on the album. "You're itching to get married and I am twitching for the same thing" was the cherry on top of this album. If she wants to get married, how is she hesitating?? If you hate this album after 3 songs, just skip this one. The only mercy on this album is that the songs are short.

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nem ideia do que eu ouvi, foi ruim.

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Meh, te Hill Billie voor mij

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Crap

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Dreadful

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“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.”

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Personally this album was a bit slow for my liking, did listen to the full of it but not for me.

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I didnt make it two songs in. too much. twang, blech. such a good name too.

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Like Guthrie..Like Wilco…this is absolutely terrible, waste of my time

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Ah man I should love Billy being a full on leftie and I'm sure what he's saying is great. However the music was just frankly horrible like someone punching you in the face with a wet fish. At first it doesn't hurt that much but by the end it's unbearable.

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Excellent Woody Billy And Tweedie

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