What Billy Bragg Songs Mean To Us
December 8, 2015 10:32 AM   Subscribe

Thanks ! I love Billy bragg !
posted by nicolin at 10:35 AM on December 8, 2015

Oh, lovely this one — http://aloversings.com/?p=220
posted by Glomar response at 10:39 AM on December 8, 2015

Thanks for posting! I don't actually listen to Bill that often these days, but whenever I see him live (like last Friday - yay!) I find myself belting out every word at the top of my voice like my life depends on it. Just feels like those songs are hardwired into both my brain and my heart.
posted by penguin pie at 11:35 AM on December 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

Sometime back in the 80s probably, I was at a concert. I don't remember now who the headliner was, but Billy Bragg was opening, and I was pretty excited about that.

Anyways, it was an indoor concert, but they weren't opening the doors until shortly before the show started, and it had started raining. So there's a huge line of people winding around the building, trying and failing to stay dry under the overhangs, getting pretty mad at the venue for not just letting us come inside.

Tensions were getting pretty high. People were wet and cranky, and something bad was almost definitely getting ready to happen.

And then, toward the back of the line, you could hear this slowly encroaching wave of music and laughter. And it worked its way up, and around the corner comes Billy Bragg in a full-on one man band contraption, serenading the line. In the rain.

He wasn't the main act, so a lot of people didn't recognize him, but man, that day, I went from liking Billy Bragg to loving him, and I'm guessing a lot of other people there skipped the intermediary stage entirely.
posted by ernielundquist at 11:36 AM on December 8, 2015 [15 favorites]

A bit like this, ernielundquist?!
posted by penguin pie at 11:42 AM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I first read this as "Why Billy Bragg is mean to us."
posted by NedKoppel at 11:55 AM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

I dunno. Are you a Tory?
posted by maxsparber at 11:57 AM on December 8, 2015 [6 favorites]

penguinpie: Yes, like that, but I think he had some more stuff on it.

Of course, I mentally picture it having knee cymbals and a drum on the back and all that, but it may have been the guitar and a harmonica holder or something like that.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:07 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Even now, Billy Bragg is one of the few artists who can bring a tear to my eye with his songs. Pain and humanity and softness and strength all in a ball.
posted by Seamus at 12:14 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wow, you saw the "portastack" (as it was called according to Still Suitable for Miners) in action?

I'm deeply jealous.

But boy, some of these stories. Check out the one for Levi Stubbs Tears.

Thanks so much for posting this.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:15 PM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

OMG, thank you, mandolin conspiracy. My Billy Bragg story just got EVEN BETTER.

(And it is very likely it was an Echo & the Bunnymen show, so now I can fill that part in.)
posted by ernielundquist at 1:30 PM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Sometimes I love the internet.
posted by sidereal at 2:31 PM on December 8, 2015

Man, great site. I have been a Billy Bragg fan since forever, seen him twice, and indulged in debates about the shift in tone presented by Don't Try This at Home. At a Guinness Fleadh festival many years back, a friend traded him a San Jose Clash jersey for a concert tee I still have.

Man, I used to be all Brewing Up and Life's a Riot--these days I'm more William Bloke.
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:35 PM on December 8, 2015

I've been a fan for a long time.

He was in my local pub not long ago, and it so happened that we had a chance to live out the website's goals directly. My son had recently fallen in love with the Woody Guthrie project music. BB had a chat with him, and after later sending a "thank you for being cool to a kid when approached in the pub" email to Bragg HQ, I had a great personal response from the man himself.
posted by C.A.S. at 2:47 PM on December 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

he means a lot. all I can leave is this.
posted by dorian at 5:26 PM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I saw Billy Bragg in concert in Portland a few years ago. The first part of the show was marred by an obnoxious fan yelling "Richard! Play Richard!" over and over again. Finally, Billy told him he would play Richard, on the condition that the yeller leave afterwards. The yeller agreed, Billy played the song, security escorted the yeller away, and we all cheered.
posted by terooot at 6:53 PM on December 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

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