05 December 2007


Thirty years ago, Billy Bragg made his first splash on the music scene with his band Riff Raff. The band released a few singles, but didn't make the impression they had hoped for, and Riff Raff dissolved after a couple of years.

After a very brief stint in the British military, Billy began again as a solo musician. His first solo album, Life's a Riot with Spy Vs Spy, was issued in 1983, and since then he's been touring and putting out records pretty much non-stop.

His style, if you haven't already heard of him, is folk-rock with a punk ethic, political overtones, and the occasional love song. And covers. Many many covers.

Here's a few Bragg songs that, to the best of my knowledge, haven't shown up on any of the multitude of expanded re-issues of his albums:

Billy Bragg - "Just One Victory" (Todd Rundgren cover) From the "Boy Done Good" single.
Billy Bragg - "The Croppy Boy" (live) As far as I know, never officially released.
Billy Bragg - "Seven and Seven Is" (Love cover) From the compilation Rubaiyat.
Less Than Jake with Billy Bragg - "The Brightest Bulb has Burned Out" From the "She's Gona Break Soon" single.
Natalie Merchant with Billy Bragg - "Jolene" (Dolly Parton cover, live in studio) Sounds like it's from a radio show. Not officially released.
Billy Bragg - "Groove Is In the Heart" (Live Deee-Lite cover) Thirteen minute long soundboard recording taken from a bootleg.

A brief Billy Bragg discography:

Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy, 1983 (buy expanded remaster)
Brewing Up With Billy Bragg, 1984 (buy expanded remaster)
Talking with the Taxman About Poetry, 1986 (buy expanded remaster)
Worker's Playtime, 1988 (buy expanded remaster)
The Internationale (ep), 1990 (buy expanded remaster)
Don't Try This At Home, 1991 (buy expanded remaster)
William Bloke, 1996 (buy expanded remaster)
Mermaid Avenue*, 1998 (buy)
Mermaid Avenue II*, 2000 (buy)
England, Half English, 2002 (buy expanded remaster)

(*Billy Bragg and Wilco)

For more live music from Billy Bragg, check out the Live Music Archive.

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