Best of Billy Bragg at the BBC due next month

A lot of Bs for one headline. Billy Bragg has announced the release of ‘Best Of Billy Bragg At The BBC 1983 – 2019’, a compilation of classic performances at the BBC from the early 80s through to the present, on digital,  CD (20 Sept) and vinyl (15th Nov) on the Cooking Vinyl label.  The album will be fully remastered and feature many previously unreleased tracks, includes selected highlights from sessions for John Peel, David Jensen, Janice Long, Phill Jupitus, Bob Harris and Tom Robinson. It promises to “offer a fascinating chronological perspective on the development of one of the UK’s most beloved entertainers.”

The collection draws from all corners of Billy’s catalogue and features, among many gems, his signature song ‘A New England’ (later covered to huge acclaim by Kirsty MacColl), ‘Levi Stubbs’ Tears’, and his workers’ anthem ‘There Is Power In A Union’, with a couple of atypical covers thrown in, namely John Cale’s ‘Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend’ and ‘A13’, his personal psycho-geography take on ‘Route 66’.   “All of these and more paint a picture of a British national treasure plying his trade at a British institution and making the world a better place in the process.” Amen to that.

The full tracklisting of ‘Best Of Billy Bragg At The BBC 1983 – 2019’ will be:

1 A New England (John Peel session, 27th July 1983)
2 Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend [Cale] (John Peel session, 27th July 1983)
3 Love Gets Dangerous (John Peel session, 27thJuly 1983)
4 Like Soldiers Do (David Jensen session, 22ndDecember 1983)
5 The Man In The Iron Mask (w/ Dave Woodhead) (David Jensen session, 22ndDecember 1983)
6 The Saturday Boy (David Jensen session, 22ndDecember 1983)
7 A Lover Sings (John Peel session, 18thSeptember 1984)
8 Between The Wars (John Peel session, 18thSeptember 1984)
9 A13, Trunk Road To The Sea [Troup/Bragg] (w/ Wiggy) (Saturday live, 13th October 1984)
10 There Is Power In A Union (John Peel session, 20th August 1985)
11 Days Like These (John Peel session, 20thAugust 1985)
12 Scholarship Is The Enemy Of Romance (Janice Long session, 18th December 1985)
13 Greetings To The New Brunette (John Peel session, 2nd September 1986)
14 Ideology (John Peel session, 2nd September 1986)
15 The Warmest Room (John Peel session, 2ndSeptember 1986)
16 She’s Got a New Spell (John Peel session, 30thAugust 1988)
17 Valentine’s Day Is Over (John Peel session, 30th August 1988)
18 The Short Answer (John Peel session, 30thAugust 1988)
19 Rotting On Remand (John Peel session, 30thAugust 1988)
20 The Few (John Peel session, 12th May 1991)
21 Accident Waiting To Happen (w/ Wiggy) (John Peel session, 12th May 1991)
22 Tank Park Salute (w/ Cara Tivey) (John Peel session, 12th May 1991)
23 Brickbat (John Peel session, 13th October 1995)
24 This Gulf Between Us (John Peel session, 13thOctober 1995)
25 Goal Hanger (London Music Week live, 1st May 1997)
26 The Boy Done Good [Bragg/Marr] (London Music Week live, 1st May 1997)
27 From Red To Blue (London Music Week live, 1st May 1997)
28 The Busy Girl Buys Beauty (Janice Long Paris Theatre London Live, October 1999)
29 It Says Here (Janice Long Paris Theatre London Live, October 1999)
30 Lonesome Traveller [Hays] (John Peel session, 8thDecember 2004)
31 Goodbye, Goodbye (Phill Jupitus live, 30thMarch 2007)
32 Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key [Guthrie/Bragg] (Bob Harris live, 6th May 2012)
33 No-One Knows Nothing Anymore (Latitude Festival live, 18th July 2014)
34 Levi Stubbs’ Tears (Glastonbury live, 26th June 2015)
35 Why We Build The Wall [Anais Mitchell] (Tom Robinson live Buxton Opera House, 21st January 2017)
36 I Ain’t Got No Home [Guthrie] (w/ CJ Hillman) (Radio 2 Folk Awards live, 5th April 2017)
37 The Space Race Is Over (Tom Robinson Now Playing 6Music ‘Billy Bragg Takeover’, 14th July 2019)
38 St. Swithin’s Day (Tom Robinson Now Playing 6Music ‘Billy Bragg Takeover’, 14th July 2019)


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Author: Mark Whitfield

Mark Whitfield has been the Editor of Americana UK for the last 19 years and still feels like this is his pretend job, mainly because it is.

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