The REAL milkman of human kindness (sorry, carsonb)
October 29, 2007 6:39 PM   Subscribe

The Big-Nosed Bastard from Barking has been very, very busy. In the past month, Billy Bragg has won the Classic Songwriter Award from Q, then collaborated with Beethoven (some of the B-Man's fans mutter darkly), and taken the hand of a small, matronly admirer before kindly giving it back to her, along with an autographed copy of the score. (He's prepared for the fallout: "I'll probably get struck off Morrissey's Christmas card list." )

And while he continues to work on Jail Guitar Doors, (previously), you can expect a new CD from him in 2008. Many old CDs available here. A found stash of old cassettes straight from Billy here (first come, first served, no guarantees). Free downloads from Billy here if you find his ideas interesting and want to subscribe to his newsletter.
posted by maudlin (29 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Damn. The "many old CDs" link should go here. As God is my witness, I swear I checked all the links. I think I'm going back to single-link YouTubery.
posted by maudlin at 6:46 PM on October 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

Hm. 20 minutes and no comments? I have nothing more to say besides this is a nice post and I really like and respect everything Billy Bragg has chosen to do with his life. Thanks for the links.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:58 PM on October 29, 2007

I love Billy Bragg. My favorite of his songs is Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards. Who can't help but love a song that includes both the lines: "If no one seems to understand/Start your own revolution, cut out the middleman" and "So join the struggle while you may/The Revolution is just a t-shirt away."

My favorite Billy Bragg album is Talking with the Taxman about Poetry. The LP included the entire namesake Mayakovsky poem on the back.
posted by Kattullus at 7:00 PM on October 29, 2007

I'll second "Talking with the Taxman about Poetry". It's one of the few cassettes that I (seriously) wore out while working a dead-end job at one of those pack&ship places.

Nice post maudlin.
posted by djeo at 7:05 PM on October 29, 2007

I love Billy too, and was charmed by his article about being charmed by the Queen. Thanks maudlin :)
posted by andraste at 7:35 PM on October 29, 2007

Billy Bragg came into my life at that precise moment where your soundtrack of the moment is burned into your memory as the Soundtrack of Your Youth, and so listening to him inevitably makes me pine, cry, brood, or throw bricks through windows.

I heart Billy Bragg forever.
posted by serazin at 8:06 PM on October 29, 2007 [1 favorite]

Long way from wanting to plant bombs at the Last Night of the Proms, indeed.
posted by RogerB at 8:07 PM on October 29, 2007

For those fans who haven't already done this, there's like a bajillion gigs recorded over at
posted by pompomtom at 8:22 PM on October 29, 2007

I was just listening to late-period St. Joe the other day, and thinking how much he owed Mr. Bragg, nearly as much as Billy owes Joe.
posted by mwhybark at 8:34 PM on October 29, 2007

Big fan. When I finally got a phone that I could put MP3s on, his were the first (ripped from a cd I own, just to be clear). I should really buy more of his music.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:41 PM on October 29, 2007

And may I say that while I find myself amused and bemused and not a little seduced by the canonization of old St. Joe, if canonization it's to be, make mine St. Billy, or better yet, the father-son-holy ghost trinity with Woody gazing down on the inverted image of Joe-as-Mary cradling baby Billy in arms as puttis bearing the faces of Shane, Bob, and John flit hither and thither against the denim-and-leather gilt of the iconostatsis.
posted by mwhybark at 8:42 PM on October 29, 2007

I like Billy Bragg more and more all the time.

My partner recently agreed to marry me and I would very much like to play "Everybody Loves You, Babe" at our wedding. I am having some difficulty convincing her it is a good idea.
posted by robcorr at 8:43 PM on October 29, 2007

What's a "St. Joe"?
posted by pompomtom at 9:08 PM on October 29, 2007

Twenty bucks, same as in town.
posted by dhartung at 9:29 PM on October 29, 2007

robcorr: Just don't play Mother of the Bride.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:02 PM on October 29, 2007

pompomtom: Joe Strummer, surely?
posted by robcorr at 10:23 PM on October 29, 2007

Where's the "Greatest Living Englishman" tag?
posted by Abiezer at 1:35 AM on October 30, 2007

I saw Billy Bragg open for the Barenaked Ladies (shut up, I was...young enough to be charmed by the BNL and have since seen the error of my ways) and he played a few really gorgeous lost-love songs that have never been recorded (such as "This Gap Between Us"). It kind of bums me out that he never released those legitimately.

As you were.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:28 AM on October 30, 2007

Not my favourite Billy number, but just an aside prompted by noting the preceding FPP - God's Footballer. Seems it was about a real footballer, Peter Knowles. Yeah, I know they were talking about the other football.
posted by Jakey at 4:58 AM on October 30, 2007

Abiezer, I've added "diamond geezer". Will that do?

pxe2000, I also adored The Gulf Between Us (and may have a few boots of it on cassette somewhere). AFAIK, it was used on the soundtrack for Safe, but not recorded anywhere else.
posted by maudlin at 5:39 AM on October 30, 2007

I adore Billy Bragg and my best and bravest and most, okay, pure-D fangirl embarrassing celebrity encounter moment EVAR came in 2003 or so, when I saw him with Mike Mills and the guy from Rage Against the Machine in the anti Clear Channel tour. After the concert, I went to the press conference that they held in a big grotty hippie hall (this IS Asheville) and sat in a folding chair and then, at the end, after I walked along in the line to meet them momentarily, I kissed Billy Bragg and told him that his music had been an incredibly important part of my whole adult life - which it has - and he thanked me and smiled.

It's pretty much been downhill ever since.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:39 AM on October 30, 2007

I just saw him here in DC last week. What an inspirational guy, with buckets and buckets of integrity. Favorite: "The Short Answer"
posted by hawkeye at 6:54 AM on October 30, 2007

I think Billy Bragg is great, too. I'm delighted that he's turned his hand to the Ode to Joy, which as well as being a great piece of music is also the European Anthem, which seems appropriate for his anti-little-England views.

The piece from the Daily Hate is a variant on that regular Mail feature "I was once a leftie but now I agree with the Daily Mail's editorial line". More joy in heaven, and so on.
posted by athenian at 7:03 AM on October 30, 2007

My favourite Billy Bragg song is Bad Penny. Yup, that one that does it for me.

Thank you.
posted by elmono at 8:00 AM on October 30, 2007

I'll settle for that tagging, maudlin. If we're on to favourite songs, I find Tank Park Salute takes a bit of beating.
posted by Abiezer at 8:17 AM on October 30, 2007

Hey, pxe2000, I think there's a bootleg of a show from the same tour with BNL, including 'The Gap Between Us' on Billy's site here.

Also, I found the Billy's lyrics to 'Ode to Joy', but no performance footage/mp3. Anyone?

Still, I bet it's no 'Saturday Boy'.
posted by Jakey at 12:02 PM on October 30, 2007

Eeee! Jakey, that boot is the famous Harbourlights performance, which, yes, I do have on old, stretched out tape. (It's not really on Billy's site -- the forum posting links to a torrent -- but he's pretty damn relaxed about boots, so no worries.)

Now I'm trying to sing those lyrics to the tune of "March of the Covert Battalions". Oh, dear.
posted by maudlin at 12:54 PM on October 30, 2007

Don't know how I missed this, but I love Billy Bragg, too. When I first visited London back in '88, one of the first things I did was take the train out to Barking to observe the Holy Relics Neighbourhood. I didn't linger. But that did not sway me from my Bragg-loving ways.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:53 AM on October 31, 2007

He's come a long way from crashing the MTV Music Conference with an amp and some car batteries strapped to a backpack.

Fortunately for us, he hasn't gotten lost on the trip.
posted by lodurr at 6:59 AM on October 31, 2007

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