Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Barking balladeer back on form

Country music suits Billy Bragg and his new album Tooth And Nail, recorded in America, is more personal in tone and has echoes of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska and Lucinda Williams's best work. Don't expect Life's A Riot revisited, but it's his best work since William Bloke. Nobody Knows Nothing is Bragg's finest song in years ("What happens when the markets fall?") beautifully capturing the confusion of the times, while Woody Guthrie's I Ain't Got No Home sounds just as relevant today. And I might be wrong, but the excellent There Will Be A Reckoning seems to make campaigning against the BNP on a Dagenham council estate sound like it's written in the Deep South of the USA. "I'm a writer not a decorator!" also gets my vote as a motto on Handyman Blues. And as for the songwriter's beard - love the comment on Amazon from a reviewer who suggests "now he looks like the local bus driver". But a very talented bus driver it has to be said.

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