Review Revue: Billy Bragg fights back!


OK, I swear I started this week’s Review Revue with the intention of covering someone I’d never heard of before (and there are a lot of those in the library, let me tell you). A record by a band called Blurt jumped out at me, and I thought, “This looks great! Band I’ve never heard of, weird cover, lots of comments… gold mine!” But then my eyes strayed to this little snarky exchange, and all was lost:


“Please don’t come in and write on the records if you are not possessing of the time to do an airshift, Tim.”

“I don’t remember Billy Bragg having the time do an airshift.”

OK, what???? Even though I’d recently done a Billy Bragg album, I had to jump on this lead and find the record he’d written on; this was just too good. (It seems there are a bunch of these little goodies scattered throughout the library; albums scrawled on in indignation or jest by their legendary creators. We’ve already seen Ian MacKaye’s contribution, and I promise you there will be more to come in the future.) And it turns out that I could go for a couple months on Billy Bragg; the man’s albums spur more album-cover conversation than I would’ve expected – I mean, isn’t it just universally accepted the man can do no wrong? Apparently not, as I discovered when I dug up the album in question:

“You have to like the lad. He opens his heart in every song.”

“The tone here is slightly more authoritative than his more confessional materials. This, I think, steals a bit of the charm from the material, but this is still wonderful! He is a brilliantly honest songwriter.”

“Really really nice stuff.”

“Mark hits it on the head.”

“Billy Bragg is a dragg! I hate him. Sure his songs are cute, but if he was from Ballard no one would care. Only the English can get away with this.”

“Hey, Stan Boreson‘s from Ballard, he has cute songs, and he’s a legend to boot (plus, people care).”

“Hey Scott, if Springsteen had been born in Cardiff no one would care either. Own up, you hate me ‘cos I don’t use any drummers. — Billy Bragg”


Here is where our original hater backpedals just a bit:

“I shouldn’t have said hate, because Billy is really quite a nice fellow, having met him. I still don’t think much of him as a performer, and yes, it’s because he has no band, and I still wouldn’t care about Bruce Springsteen regardless.”

“Not a Bruce fan myself, but I love Billy’s ‘solo’ recordings. He’s got a band now, and I just can’t get into it like this stuff. Emotional, beautiful and powerful. ‘Levi Stubbs’ Tears’ rules me!”

“I [heart] Billy! And ‘The Marriage’ is one of the greatest songs ever!”

“Greetings to the New Brunette!!!”

Billy Bragg FTW!!!

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  1. Posted February 21, 2008 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I like the bonehead stick figure man!

  2. Posted February 21, 2008 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Hey! What does “FTW” mean?

  3. Kim
    Posted February 22, 2008 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    For the win!

    If its not “for the win,” it really should be.

  4. Posted February 22, 2008 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    It’s silly internet slang for “For the win!”

  5. Posted February 23, 2008 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    wow, this series is great. it totally brings me back to my college days and radio station (WWVU). what dj’s write on records is priceless or at least very entertaining. i remember many arguments, lovefests, hatefests, and things having nothing to do with the album at all written down on the leadsheets of lp’s. nobody writes on cd’s do they?

  6. Posted April 25, 2008 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Billy music is rescuing me from Italian depression on the anniversary of Italy liberation

    Exclusive Pics, (legal) music and lyrics all in exclusive only on

  7. Scotty
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Ha! I didn’t know you were doing this”review revue”… Highly amusing. Really didn’t like Billy Bragg at the time, mostly I was being a curmudgeon because my roomate and then KCMU MD Faith was SO fawking in love with it, and being a drummer and all, I was into The Rock musics don’t you know. Faith and I used to go at it on this subject, because she was moving KCMU toward it’s “variety format”, and I just wanted to rock out with my cock out most of the time. So imagine my surprise when I walk into the studio and there’s Faith with Billy Bragg. He stuck his hand out. “Scott! Nice to meet you! Where’s Ballard?” I’d forgotten all about this comment, and had no idea what he was on about, until Faith started sniggering behind him. We all had a good little chuckle. I really do like this record now, and though back then I was fairly A-political, I couldn’t agree more with Billy’s politics. A gentleman and a scholar.

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