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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

3.18

Votes

5235

Genres

  • Rock
  • Folk
  • Singer Songwriter
Reviews
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Fri May 07 2021
2

Not much to Bragg about

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Sun Mar 21 2021
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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Tue Oct 12 2021
5

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

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Mon Dec 13 2021
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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Wed Oct 20 2021
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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Fri Nov 19 2021
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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Mon Feb 08 2021
5

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

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Thu May 13 2021
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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Fri Jun 11 2021
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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Wed Dec 08 2021
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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Fri Jan 21 2022
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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Fri Mar 19 2021
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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Wed Sep 01 2021
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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Fri Oct 15 2021
2

A listenable one

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Sat Oct 30 2021
2

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

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Fri May 07 2021
1

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

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Wed Sep 01 2021
1

Straight fuck this

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

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

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Wed Apr 21 2021
5

Incredible gem

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Fri Jun 11 2021
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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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

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

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Fri Apr 30 2021
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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Tue Apr 06 2021
5

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

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Mon May 17 2021
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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Thu Jul 08 2021
5

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

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Thu Jul 15 2021
5

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

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Sun Jul 25 2021
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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Sun Aug 15 2021
5

precioso disco, country y folk, lindas melodias.

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Fri Oct 08 2021
5

Started off strong and continued strong, loved it

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Tue Oct 19 2021
5

Nostalgica~

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Mon Nov 29 2021
5

Good folk rock/alt country

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Sat Dec 04 2021
5

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

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Fri Dec 10 2021
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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Tue Jan 25 2022
5

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

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Wed Feb 09 2022
5

Good

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Tue Feb 15 2022
5

Still as fantastic as the first time I heard it!

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Tue Mar 22 2022
5

First two songs are real good

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Tue Apr 12 2022
5

Very good

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Mon Apr 25 2022
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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Wed Apr 27 2022
5

Very good!

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Wed May 11 2022
5

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

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Wed May 11 2022
5

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

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Tue Jun 07 2022
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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Fri Jun 10 2022
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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Wed Jun 15 2022
5

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

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Mon Jul 04 2022
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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Tue Jul 12 2022
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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Tue Jul 12 2022
5

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

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Tue Jul 26 2022
5

Just plain slaps. Hits all my buttons

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Tue Jul 26 2022
5

This was fantastic

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Thu Aug 04 2022
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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Sat Aug 06 2022
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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Sun Sep 11 2022
5

Incredible album. Cannot wait to revisit this one.

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Mon Sep 26 2022
5

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

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Tue Oct 11 2022
5

nice

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Tue Oct 18 2022
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

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Sat Oct 22 2022
5

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.

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Mon Oct 31 2022
5

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"

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Tue Nov 01 2022
5

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.

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Thu Nov 03 2022
5

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.

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Mon Nov 07 2022
5

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.

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Fri Nov 11 2022
5

Lost songs brought back to happy life.

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Fri Jun 25 2021
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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Sun May 02 2021
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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Thu Oct 22 2020
4

8,2

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

Awesome. And it had my new funeral song.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
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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Tue Jan 26 2021
4

Has some cool songs

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Wed Jun 30 2021
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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Fri Jan 22 2021
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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Tue Mar 30 2021
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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Thu May 13 2021
4

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

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Tue Jan 26 2021
4

Fav Song: California Stars

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Sun Apr 04 2021
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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Fri Apr 30 2021
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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Wed Mar 03 2021
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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Mon Apr 05 2021
4

Was shocked over how much I liked this one.

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Thu May 13 2021
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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Tue Mar 02 2021
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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Wed Jan 27 2021
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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Fri Apr 30 2021
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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Wed Mar 03 2021
4

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

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Thu Feb 04 2021
4

Del chill

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Thu Feb 04 2021
4

Grande Wilco.

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Fri Apr 30 2021
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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Wed Mar 17 2021
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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Thu May 13 2021
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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Wed Jun 30 2021
4

Twangy folk songs. 0RS

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Sun May 16 2021
4

.

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Sun Jul 18 2021
4

Fun folk! Cool to hear the collaboration.

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Sun Jul 18 2021
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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Fri Jun 11 2021
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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Thu Jun 24 2021
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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Thu Jul 15 2021
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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Thu Jul 15 2021
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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Mon Jun 28 2021
4

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

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Tue May 11 2021
4

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

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Tue May 11 2021
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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Tue May 11 2021
4

Very good very nice very swag

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Fri Jun 04 2021
4

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

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Thu Jul 15 2021
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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Wed Jun 16 2021
4

folky af

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Fri Jul 16 2021
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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Fri Jul 23 2021
4

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

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Sun Aug 01 2021
4

Solid as hell, inventive and comfortable

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Mon Aug 02 2021
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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Tue Aug 03 2021
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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Sun Aug 08 2021
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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Mon Aug 30 2021
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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Mon Aug 30 2021
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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Wed Sep 15 2021
4

Really like this album

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Thu Sep 16 2021
4

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

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Thu Sep 30 2021
4

I wish they maid mer of these. Oh wait!

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Thu Sep 30 2021
4

cbb , vetarna vet

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Sun Oct 03 2021
4

I enjoyed this, but there are a few jarring moments

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Thu Oct 14 2021
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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Fri Oct 29 2021
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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Fri Nov 19 2021
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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Tue Nov 23 2021
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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Tue Nov 23 2021
4

Very enjoyed

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Tue Dec 07 2021
4

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

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Wed Dec 08 2021
4

much better than i remember

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Mon Dec 20 2021
4

Folk-rock agradable.

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Tue Dec 28 2021
4

Another new one I liked quite a bit

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Sat Jan 01 2022
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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Wed Jan 12 2022
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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Mon Jan 17 2022
4

good stuff, i like lil billy

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Mon Jan 17 2022
4

Very eclectic...

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Mon Jan 17 2022
4

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

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Sun Jan 30 2022
4

Solid alt country album. I'll listen again

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Sun Feb 13 2022
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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Thu Feb 24 2022
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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Fri Feb 25 2022
4

Cool country singer songwriter Americana style. British singer.

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Sat Feb 26 2022
4

Great album

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Tue Mar 01 2022
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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Wed Mar 09 2022
4

Rock americano melódico y tranquilo

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Thu Mar 17 2022
4

Compelling stuff.

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Sat Mar 19 2022
4

Surprisingly serene

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Tue Mar 22 2022
4

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

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Thu Mar 31 2022
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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Sun Apr 03 2022
4

Good listen.

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Sat Apr 09 2022
4

Very Friday music!

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Thu Apr 21 2022
4

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

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Thu Apr 21 2022
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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Thu Apr 21 2022
4

Folk off, mate

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Fri Apr 22 2022
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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Mon Apr 25 2022
4

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

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Mon Apr 25 2022
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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Fri Apr 29 2022
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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Mon May 02 2022
4

riktigt gött häng

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Wed Apr 20 2022
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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Sat May 07 2022
4

One of my favorite so far !

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Mon May 09 2022
4

Quite liked this record, all things considered.

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Sat May 14 2022
4

4.5

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Mon May 16 2022
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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Tue May 31 2022
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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Tue May 31 2022
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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Fri Jun 03 2022
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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Sun Jun 05 2022
4

Pretty awesome modern folk music.

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Mon Jun 06 2022
4

Folk

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Tue Jun 07 2022
4

cool country

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Mon Jun 13 2022
4

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

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Wed Jun 15 2022
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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Thu Jun 16 2022
4

An unexpected joy

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Thu Jun 16 2022
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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Mon Jun 20 2022
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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Sat Jun 25 2022
4

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

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Sat Jun 25 2022
4

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

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Mon Jun 27 2022
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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Fri Jul 01 2022
4

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

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Tue Jul 12 2022
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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Wed Jul 13 2022
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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Fri Jul 15 2022
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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Mon Jul 25 2022
4

Liked it more than I thought I would.

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Tue Jul 26 2022
4

Catchy, funny, lovely. Damn good.

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Fri Jul 29 2022
4

Pretty good overall

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Tue Aug 02 2022
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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Thu Aug 04 2022
4

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

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Fri Aug 19 2022
4

Leichte Country Vibes. Singer-Songwriter. Various Artists

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Mon Aug 22 2022
4

3.75

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Tue Aug 23 2022
4

This was chaotic and I loved it

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Thu Aug 25 2022
4

Great sounds, good songwriting. Great mixing and arrangements.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
4

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.

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Sat Sep 03 2022
4

Solid album. Not what I usually would pick on my own but definitely a good listen

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Tue Sep 06 2022
4

folk mate 7.5/10

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Fri Sep 09 2022
4

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.

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Fri Sep 09 2022
4

Really liked the album

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Sat Sep 10 2022
4

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

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Thu Sep 22 2022
4

Really good stuff. Not a lot to say about it. It's just a really enjoyable album.

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Mon Oct 03 2022
4

Wilco is always good, some of the collaborations work well, some not as much. Not my favorite Wilco endeavor but still very good.

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Mon Oct 03 2022
4

Not sure if I had heard this before. I'm a big Wilco fan and this is a good Wilco album.

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Mon Oct 03 2022
4

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.

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Mon Oct 03 2022
4

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.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
4

Nostalgic and homey. I like it a lot, but think it could be a hair shorter.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
4

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.

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Fri Oct 07 2022
4

Really good folky stuff, not my genre but love it.

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Wed Oct 12 2022
4

Very good vibe, preferred the slower songs

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Fri Oct 21 2022
4

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.

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Thu Nov 03 2022
4

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.

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Sat Nov 05 2022
4

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.

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