In March 2016 Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, guitars in hand, boarded a Los Angeles-bound train at Chicago’s Union Station looking to reconnect with the culture of American railroad travel and the music it inspired. Winding along 2,728 miles of track over four days, the pair recorded classic railroad songs in waiting rooms and at trackside while the train paused to pick up passengers.
It's both significant and troubling that Billy Bragg's best albums since releasing Talking with the Taxman About Poetry in 1986 were the two Mermaid Avenue volumes, in which Bragg set Woody Guthrie's unpublished lyrics to new music with Wilco serving as his collaborators and backing band, suggesting that this former one-man band suddenly needed plenty of help to communicate with his audience. Bragg sounded confident and all but unbeatable on his first few albums in the '80s, but political and creative uncertainty have dominated much of his work since then. Which is why Mr. Love & Justice is a pleasant and encouraging surprise – while hardly perfect, it's easily Bragg's best and most consistent solo effort since Don't Try This at Home, and finds him coming to terms with maturity and the changing face of the world, two bugaboos that have been dogging his muse for some time.
The Internationale With Live & Dangerous EP & Bonus Tracks. This is the definitive collection that represents all that went into making the original album. The world is indeed an great big onion which can make you cry or if you fry it it'll make your mouth water. Isn't Mother Nature amazing? And as the inhabitants of Esperantovia say, Se vi povas legi ĉi tiu tiame vi estas vere internacia kaj vi havas gajnis la rajton je aĉeti ĉi tiu albumo. Billy Bragg's albums have always contained material with the strong political slant of classic folksingers in the Woody Guthrie/Bob Dylan mold. This release shows him at his most muckrakingly fervent and angry. Only "The Marching Song of the Covert Battalions" has music actually composed by Bragg – and that selection contains a lengthy quote of the tune "When Johnny Come Marching Home."
A surprising, revealing and intimate portrait of the working class boy from Cumbria who crossed the class divide to become an establishment figure. Melvyn Bragg is an inexhaustible broadcaster and champion of the arts and has variously been called a polymath and the nation's schoolmaster. Bragg is best known for the South Bank Show, the country's longest-running arts programme, which has profiled many of the world's most notable writers, actors, artists and musicians. With innumerable other television series to his name, he is also a constant presence on BBC Radio 4 and has written 22 novels, numerous works of non-fiction, plays and film scripts, and in 1998, he entered the House of Lords and became Lord Bragg of Wigton. He has been a familiar figure in our living rooms for the past 50 years, but what's less well known is his private persona. With contributions from a wealth of well-known figures - from Dame Judi Dench to Tony Blair and his childhood friends - this documentary reveals a man still deeply embedded in his working-class Cumbrian roots and struggling to come to terms with an event that occurred over 40 years ago - the tragic suicide of his first wife.