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Clip: Billy Bragg Reissues, Box Set Due in February

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  • Carl Z.
    Billy Bragg Reissues, Box Set Due in February Jason Toon reports: Proudly socialist and (at
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 21 11:13 AM
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      Billy Bragg Reissues, Box Set Due in February

      Jason Toon reports:
      Proudly socialist and (at times) unashamedly off-key, Billy Bragg is
      the very definition of "folk-punk". His early boy-meets-guitar records
      folded the acoustic protests of Phil Ochs, the anthemic electricity of
      the Clash, and the lovelorn open-heart melodrama of the best power
      ballads into his own unique brand of pop charm.

      A new generation will get to experience those vintage recordings come
      February 21, when Yep Roc reissues Bragg's first four albums, with the
      attendant rare and unreleased stuff, both separately and as a box set.
      (We previously reported the discs' initial release date, September 20.
      Some malfunction of the evil capitalist system must have delayed it.)
      The reissues will be followed by a Bragg appearance at the South by
      Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas in March, as well as an
      American tour.

      The remastered albums are Bragg's seven-song 1983 debut, Life's a Riot
      With Spy vs. Spy, the 1984 follow-up full-length Brewing Up With Billy
      Bragg, 1986's "difficult third album" Talking With the Taxman About
      Poetry, and of most interest to collectors, a disc combining two EPs
      that went out of print almost as soon as they were released: 1988's
      Live and Dubious and 1990's The Internationale. (Hard to understand
      why a reworking of that classic socialist anthem didn't soar up the
      charts in George H.W. Bush's America, but there you go.)

      Yep Roc says each reissue will be accompanied by a bonus disc of
      as-yet-unannounced rarities selected by Bragg and longtime associates
      Grant Showbiz and Wiggy (those are people, not house pets, we assume).
      But then the label tells us that they'll all be available in Billy
      Bragg Volume 1, a box set containing seven audio discs and two DVDs
      (containing previously unreleased live footage from performances in
      hot spots like Lithuania, Nicaragua, and the former East Berlin.) Math
      wasn't our strongest subject in school, but we're fairly certain that
      four albums times two discs apiece does not equal seven CDs. What are
      you trying to hide with your shady accounting tricks, Yep Roc? Another
      capitalist malfunction?

      Bragg recently made the news, and the charts, in England with a
      charity single called "We Laughed", birthed out of his involvement
      with a charity for terminally ill people. The Rosetta Requiem project,
      which helps those suffering from terminal diseases express their
      experiences through art (Jarvis Cocker and Roots Manuva are also
      involved), invited Bragg to conduct a songwriting workshop with six
      breast cancer patients. One of the women, Maxine Edgington, showed
      Bragg a framed photo of herself with her teenage daughter and said "I
      want to write the song of this picture." The result was "We Laughed",
      and the single, which can be downloaded from Bragg's official site, is
      currently number 11 on the UK pop chart.

      Damn you, Billy Bragg. How are small men like me supposed to make our
      stupid little sniping jokes about you when you're out there helping

      * Billy Bragg: http://www.billybragg.co.uk
      * Yep Roc: http://www.yeproc.com
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