Tuesday, April 04, 2006

He's Older Now...
But So Am I.

I was so obsessed with Billy Bragg in my college years, when he made it over to the States I followed him around and got to see him play up and down the Cali coast. My love for him was due to my obsession with both socialist / leftist politics and Englishmen. The accent. Oh the accent. But it was his songcraft that was really at the heart of it. Below you'll find a couple of tunes from the KEXP podcast from SXSW and some others as well. I love the first song, "Greetings to the New Brunette," because besides riffing on James Blunt's hair, he talks about how while he's known as a political songwriter, "he did the mats on it" and really 3-1, most of his songs are romantic love tunes. And so romantic are they.

I'm not normally a poster of lyrics, mostly because I love them in context with the music and then they are allowed to swirl around us and be what we want them to be. But this song kills me.

Levi Stubbs Tears (Billy Bragg)

With the money from her accident
She bought herself a mobile home
So at least she could get some enjoyment
Out of being alone
No one could say that she was left up on the shelf
It's you and me against the World kid she mumbled to herself

When the world falls apart some things stay in place
Levi Stubbs' tears run down his face

She ran away from home on her mother's best coat
She was married before she was even entitled to vote
And her husband was one of those blokes
The sort that only laughs at his own jokes
The sort a war takes away
And when there wasn't a war he left anyway

Norman Whitfield and Barratt Strong
Are here to make everything right that's wrong
Holland and Holland and Lamont Dozier too
Are here to make it all okay with you

One dark night he came home from the sea
And put a hole in her body where no hole should be
It hurt her more to see him walking out the door
And though they stitched her back together they left her heart in pieces on the floor

When the world falls apart some things stay in place
She takes off the Four Tops tape and puts it back in its case
When the world falls apart some things stay in place
Levi Stubbs' tears...

From KEXP podcast from SXSW:

Billy Bragg, "Greetings to the New Brunette"
Billy Bragg, "A New England"

From Back to Basics:

Billy Bragg, "Strange Things Happen"

From Talking wth the Taxman About Poetry:

"Billy Bragg, "Levi Stubbs Tears"

And finally a political track, this from the Yep Rock site, a twist on Leadbelly's "Bourgeois Blues":

Billy Bragg, "Bush War Blues"

Some Velvet Blog posted on Billy Bragg a few days back. He's got two great covers, the first a Love track, "Seven and Seven Is..." from the Rubiyat compilation that had newer Elektra artists covering older ones (on this same double CD it had the Sugarcubes covering Sailcat's "Motorcycle Mama" which I will be posting on my other blog, smALL AGES this week thankyouverymuch Heather.) The other Bragg track SVB has is "When Will I See You Again," originally performed by The Three Degrees, from an NME compilation.

More about: Billy Bragg, Some Velvet Blog
Buy Billy's re-mastered collection of songs, here.

1 comment:

Bob Watt said...

You can find a link to another Billy Bragg free download Lonesome Death of Rachel Corrie on my blog.