Hey, I just wanted to hear a little Billy this morning, so I just decided to go for it. I have had a such a crush on Billy since, well, the 80s, when my sister Kim turned me on to him. She was enraptured with the boy singing Greetings To A New Brunette, from the 1986 album Talking To The Taxman About Poetry. Soon, we went to see him a couple of times performing live, and I've been smitten ever since. It doesn't hurt he is very political, very outspoken, and, well, cute as can be. His songs can be very personal, but also very public. He did a tour raising money for AIDS groups in the 80s, along with Michelle Shocked. He believed in equality for all, something many in the straight community took a while to catch up with. Check out his song Sexuality, from the 1991 album Don't Try This At Home.
I still believe his 1988 release, Worker's Playtime, to be just utterly brilliant. As he was so good at doing, Billy blended together the personal and political, mixing Pop with Rock and sometimes Soul. And while he might take issues very personally, he never took himself too seriously, always willing to poke fun at himself. Even in his great song, Waiting For The Great Leap Forward, he manages to mock his own singing while delivering a powerful message.
Later, I discovered Billy started out as a punk rocker, wanting to fight the status quo, yet found a home as a singer/songwriter in the folk world. Another of my favorites from Worker's Playtime is Must I Paint You A Picture. It is one of Billy's pmore personal songs, and I just love it. This is a fan video recorded recently, Billy looking a bit older than in the other videos, which are from 20 years ago.
For more about Billy Bragg, check out his official website here. I think I might need to go listen to Worker's Playtime again. For the longest time, one of my prized possessions was a t-shirt from that support tour, and it finally fell apart. I think I might have to find one of those again...