Why do Americans say fall when the British say autumn? How was English altered by the Black Death? What is Singlish and how has it evolved? Novelist Bragg explores these and other questions in his look at the English language's long march from obscure Sanskrit origins to a global lingua franca. Along the way, he examines the roles played by the Viking invasions, the Norman Conquest, the Tyndale Bible, the writings of Chaucer and Shakespeare, and the Industrial Revolution. …Mary Ellen Quinn
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Talking with the Taxman About Poetry in 1986 were the two Mermaid Avenue volumes, in which Bragg set Woody Guthrie's unpublished lyrics to new music with Wilco serving as his collaborators and backing band, suggesting that this former one-man band suddenly needed plenty of help to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 two volumes of Mermaid Avenue, released in 1998 and 2000 and named after the New York street where legendary folk artist Woody Guthrie lived in the 1940s, were collaborations between cult American alt-country/avant-garde rockers Wilco and revered British protest singer Billy Bragg, on which they set to music previously unreleased lyrics by Guthrie. This exhaustive four-disc set features both releases together with a whole new album of previously unreleased songs and the documentary Man in the Sand, which chronicles the project.
Talking with the Taxman about Poetry is the third release (second full length album) by Billy Bragg, released in 1986. With production by John Porter and Kenny Jones, Talking with the Taxman about Poetry featured more musicians than Bragg's previous works, which were generally little more than Bragg himself and a guitar. There were two singles released from the album. While "Levi Stubbs' Tears" peaked at #29 in the UK, the follow-up "Greetings To The New Brunette" fell short, only managing #58 a few months later. wikipedia
This is the east german license pressing with different title and artwork - afaik the only Billy Bragg album released in the Eastern Bloc. Curious why…
After Elektra signed Billy Bragg to his first major-label deal and released Talking with the Taxman About Poetry in 1986, the label decided to do a clean-up job on his back catalog and compiled Back to Basics, which combined the material from Bragg's first three records – Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy, Brewing Up with Billy Bragg, and Between the Wars – into one two-record set (now available on a single CD). The first seven cuts, from the Life's a Riot EP, are Billy Bragg at his most basic; recorded in an afternoon with no overdubs, the audio is rough and Billy's electric guitar often threatens to drown out his voice, but the performances are game, and Bragg was already writing top-notch songs like "A New England" and "The Milkman of Human Kindness."