- Audio CD (30 Sept. 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: Cooking Vinyl
- ASIN: B00005UDQY
- Other Editions: MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,843 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
England,Half English CD
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Billy Bragg And The Blokes - English, Half English - Cd
Billy "Red Wedge" Bragg a proud English nationalist? Why yes, so it would seem, on England, Half English. And no, he hasn't become part of the xenophobic, pissing-in-the-fountains "bulldog breed" which he so despises. In fact, he suggests on the gritty folk-protest lamentation of "Take Down the Union Jack" ("It clashes with the sunset, put it in the attic with the Emperors' old clothes") that it's merely time for those south of Hadrian's Wall to change their old colours and move on from an archaic domestic economic union. The notions of Englishness and nationalism are both concepts that Dorset's coastal socialist and vote-swapping tactician is at pains to explore and ask us to redefine on this album of 21st-century cultural self-assessment. Therefore, the title-track, a jolly Ian Dury type of thing with big sunshiney ska brass, talks up the benefits of everything from veggie curry to morris dancing, Morrissey to marmite while explaining that it's all part of an ongoing cultural melting-pot which has little to do with fifth-century pirates from the Jutland peninsula. But England, Half-English isn't solely about being an "Anglo hyphen Saxon in England.co.uk". "NPWA" (an acronym for "No Power Without Accountability") is typically political Bragg, a slow soulified rocker rallying against a global economy ran by what he sees as a faceless unelected elite (a situation where international markets are open but borders are closed to refugees) while the asylum-seeker problem is commented on in the sad, Elvis Costello flavoured "Distant Shores". Suffice to say, there are many choice moments--"Tears of My Tracks" summons up the later sensations of regret one experiences after flogging ones life-defining items of vinyl to the local second hand record shop--while the Blokes (featuring the Small Faces' Ian McLagan on keyboards) really are Bragg's ideal musical mates. England, Half English perhaps, but this is the Billy Bragg we know and love--and in no half-measures. --Kevin Maidment
Top Customer Reviews
There are no tunes that quite match the golden oldies. No Must I paint you a picture, Waiting for the great leap forwards, The home front, New England, Man in the iron mask or Accident waiting to happen.
Some of the forays into a more ethnic sound are half-baked and tokenistic. And I hoped for a bit more irony and sense of perspective from a more 'grown up' Billy, but there you go.
I also saw him live recently and the simplistic sloganeering was cringing at times. Blind followers you would not expect a grown up Bragg to indirectly encourage.
Having said this a world with Bragg, and this new album, is better than one without him.
I'm still fond of the old boy.
Best tracks are the first 5, along with Another Kind Of Judy (strangely reminiscent of Sexuality to my ears). Worst tracks are Take Down The Union Jack (probably the worst song Billy's issued in the last 10 years) and He'll Go Down. Worryingly, the strongest songs seem to be those which are co-written with other Blokes. Is Bill losing it? Hope not - over the years he's been one of our finest songwriters, and there's enough on this album to uphold that reputation.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awful - by far his worst album. Musically a shambles. Lyrics mainly incomprehensible, or sermons on how we are so nasty to asylum seekers etc. Read morePublished 20 months ago by delwboy
if you have not got this album in your collection then shame on you as your ears will grow to hate you for denying them this aural experience. Read morePublished on 3 July 2012 by Colin Taylor
Where one of Britain's finest songwriters sits in 2002 is a curious one.
What to make of new material... Read more
i saw the man himself at salisbury a couple of weeks ago and he played a few of these songs. i loved them then and having listened to the cd, i love them now. Read morePublished on 27 Mar. 2002 by katenormal
Despite less obvious instant appeal than other albums, it gets better and better with each listen. I'm confused as to why Baby Faroukh is so slated - an up lifting pop song or isnt... Read morePublished on 26 Mar. 2002 by Richard Page
A totally original album with some beautiful tunes, fabulous rhythms, witty and provocative lyrics. It definitely grows on you- I wasn,t sure at first but now I'm hooked and LOVE... Read morePublished on 23 Mar. 2002
Well Billy has finally wound up his work on the lyrics of Woody Guthrie and set about releasing a new album of his own. Read morePublished on 23 Mar. 2002
I was very disappointed with this album. I was looking forward to getting some new material from Billy (after not being too impressed with or interested in the Mermaid Avenue... Read morePublished on 18 Mar. 2002 by Paul Stanley