Billy Bragg – Tooth & Nail

It’s been a while since the last new album from Billy Bragg – five years, give or take. In fact it was just about five years ago that I saw him perform at the Sage. He did put out a compilation of random songs not so long ago, but that wasn’t an actual album as such.

Anyway, he’s now done the sensible thing and recorded something new. This was recorded in the US in just five days, and Billy’s put together a new band who’ll be touring with him.

I’ll just mention a few of the songs, but they’re all well up to the Bragg standard. Handyman Blues has Billy warning that he’s not that much use at fixing things:

That screwdriver business just gets me confused
It takes me half an hour to change a fuse
And when I flicked the switch the lights all blew
I’m not your handyman

But unlike lesser mortals who are also hopeless at such things, Billy has skills to compensate:

I’m not any good at pottery
So let’s lose a ‘t’ and just shift back the ‘e’
And I’ll find a way to make my poetry
Build a roof over our heads
I know it looks like I’m just reading the paper
But these ideas I’ll turn to gold-dust later
Cos I’m a writer not a decorator
I’m not your handyman

But don’t be fooled. The old fire is still there, as There Will Be a Reckoning shows

There will be a reckoning for the pedlars of hate
Who spread their poison all across this estate
And a reckoning too for the politicians who
Left us to this fate – there will be a reckoning

And I’ll just mention Chasing Rainbows, which is nothing to do with the Shed Seven song of the same name, but does include the wise words

But darling don’t forget
If you go chasing rainbows
You’re bound to end up getting wet

So that’s a lovely bit of Billy Bragg for you. I bought the limited book edition, which adds a DVD of Billy’s promo videos, most of which I’d never seen before, and includes some of the columns Billy wrote for Q magazine when they had an outbreak of good taste.

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  1. Pingback: Billy Bragg – Handyman Blues | Losing it

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