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Billy Bragg: Still Suitable for Miners Paperback – 17 Sep 1998

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Product details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (17 Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753502321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753502327
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,320,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"* 'A good, enthralling, recommended read' Folk Roots * 'Essential reading for anyone who thinks that pop music is either a redundant or a toothless art form.' The Irish Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

Amazon is a godsend to Bragg fans around the globe.
Just a quick note to say that I have received many e-mails from Billy Bragg fans around the globe since this book was published in September 98 who are unable to buy it in Canada, Australia, wherever, and I always say to them, 'Try Amazon' (it's a godsend to readers everywhere). This is an authorised biog, and Billy gave generously of his time and private archive to help make it a definite story (we hope). If you're a Bragg fan, you might just like it!

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Norbert Thing on 27 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
How disappointing that the official biography of such a lyrical songwriter should contain almost no references to the songs. Collins seemingly forgets to examine any of the songs in any kind of depth, doesn't give any insights into how when or why they were written and fails miserably to give reasons for songwriting. Reading this book Billy Bragg could easily have been a plumber, what Collins gives is a litany of Billy Braggs tour dates and album releases.
The reason I read a biography of a songwriter or poet is not so that I can learn where they played in the summer of 1984 but why they created, what makes them different from me or other people. Andrew Collins should have read another songwriters' biography before putting pen to paper, Joe Kleins "Woody Guthrie : A life" that not only told you When but How and Why
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Format: Paperback
This book is about Billy Bragg, not about Billy Bragg's music, so it tells the whole story. If you understand that you will enjoy this book. If you want to know about Billy's songs I suggest you look elsewhere.

As a contemporary of Billy's I've always been impressed by his convictions and the arguments he uses to back them up. We first met in 1979 when he was in Riff Raff and I was filling in for a guitarist in a band on the same bill. We crossed paths a couple of times before he became "famous" and I enjoyed the brief chats we had (although I doubt he remembers them now). So it was no surprise to me to find that, on returning from a period overseas in 83/84, I found him making waves as flavour of the year with the "inkies".

Bill, with his socialist viewpoint and conservative (with a small 'c') values has gone on become a "national treasure" and an international star. Meanwhile my own musical career, with it's moderate Conservative voice (large 'C' - Hesletinie, not Thatcherite)and radical delivery, has remained firmly in the folk club and open mic circuit. Reading this book (the 2002 version) it's easy for even me to understand why.

This book doesn't dwell too much on Billy's music in itself but, instead, focuses on what makes the man and thus makes the music. For me that's the true strength of Andrew Collins' work here. He hasn't just got a bunch of music industry sycophants' to big up Billy's music, that's not what Bill would want. Instead he's looked at all those things that make Billy what he is.

This book tells you why Billy Bragg is the Billy Bragg we know and love and not just another '80s throwback (Nik Kershaw, Howard Evans, Tony Hadley, take your pick) or some guy whose musical message got lost in the mood of the moment.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MisterKeith VINE VOICE on 7 April 2003
Format: Paperback
It's not what you'd expect. Billy Bragg, he's an out-and-out politico, who writes the odd love song here and there.
Let's face it, unless you know your Billy Bragg in depth, that's probably what you'd be thinking. And how wrong you'd be. Andrew Collins has written a superb book that really goes a long way to exploding the myth of Bragg. Using Bragg's own scrapbooks, and interviewing all the key people in the story, he's put together a highly detailed biography that doesn't flinch from showing his subject in an (occasionally) unsympathetic light. But what shines through is what an honourable and hardworking, unbelievably hardworking, if sometimes misguided, man Billy Bragg is. And he has some strange friends: I ask you - Boris Johnson???
OK, so some of the puns are somewhat laboured (boom boom), but it all adds to the tone of the book - it could all have been so dour.
And anyway, it's worth buying purely because Collins constantly calls Phil Jupitus "Porky". Hahahahahahahaha, no, seriously, if you liked anything about "indie" music from the last 70s onwards, you need this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
For anybody who ahs followed Billy's career through the last 15 years this book should bring back some good and some sad memories. Everything Billy has done is recorded here in thorough detail bu this is not just a sad book for anoraks. A great insight into the man and his music
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
Andrew Collins combines both personal insights and a fascinating history of Billy's career. Very easy to read and never dull, the book should be an inspiration to any aspiring singer-songwriter.
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