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England,Half English CD

3.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. St Monday
  2. Jane Allen
  3. Distant Shore
  4. England, Half English
  5. NPWA
  6. Some Days I See The Point
  7. Baby Farouk
  8. Take Down The Union Jack
  9. Another Kind Of Judy
  10. He'll Go Down
  11. Dreadbelly
  12. Tears Of My Tracks

Product Description

Product Description

Billy Bragg And The Blokes - English, Half English - Cd

Amazon.co.uk

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

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
'England Half English' takes a long while to sink in and when it does its just about half good.
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.
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By Ross on 12 Mar. 2002
Format: Audio CD
As a Billy Bragg fanatic, it is difficult for me to say just how awful this album is. In fact, it almost breaks me 'eart to listen to it. The songs are crap, there's no other way of saying it and I kinda feel cheated as I always look forward to a new BB album like an excited father expecting a baby. I'm no music expert, but Billy's change of cord/melody on some of the songs is so amateur that it makes me cringe. The political songs - except for Take Down the Union Jack - are well-intentioned but just sound sooooo AWFUL. THose people who claim he can't sing (and there are many of you) will use this album as empirical proof. Has Billy ever written and sung a more awful track than Dreadbelly? It is so bad it really defies belief - I saw him perform it live with the Blokes in Berlin and thought then: please don't even think of putting it on the album. What the hell are half of the songs about anyway?! Why, oh why, does he have to SHOUT on Jane Allen, why does England, Half English sound like a crap karaoke Chas n Dave track when it's supposed to be meaningful, who the hell is Baby Faroukh and is that really a BABY doing the backing vocals?!, who's Judy and lots of other questions that piss me off. As for the 'message' of the album, why does the cover look like an ad for the NF and why doesn't Billy SAY something about it all in the lyrics booklet? The George Orwell quote is just not enough. It's all very annoying. English, Half-baked and badly thought out if you ask me. I know that there will be many Billy Bragg fans out there who will disagree and jump on me head - fair enough - but you're only going to do that to protect your devotion. As much as I love BB, and always have, I can't do anything but throw this album in the bin. I am well gutted.
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By A Customer on 4 July 2002
Format: Audio CD
After the first 4 or 5 tracks, I was firmly convinced that this was going to be Bragg's best work for years, right up there with Don't Try This At Home. Disappointingly, the standard falls away somewhat after that. In the end, this is just a good Billy Bragg album, rather than a truly marvellous one. Still, there's enough here to keep Billy's many admirers happy, and he's probably not going to win too many new fans at this stage in his career.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
The first solo studio album since the immense "William Bloke" - that's a lot to live up to! This album is so nearly very good. Bill's songwriting prowess is beyond doubt and he is backed up by his very sharp backing band "The Blokes". Anyone expecting the usual mix of heartfelt lovers angst mixed with right wing ideology won't be disappointed. He's bang on form with "Distant Shore" and "He'll go down" but the rest just seems a mass of over-produced parody. "Baby Farouk" is just laughable; is that Stephen Hawking on backing vocals? and when he puts his political boots on it's all a bit "been there, heard it all before"; "NPWA" is just painfully laboured. The old subtlety and humour have gone. "Sometimes I see the point" certainly isn't true. I defy anybody to see the point of that track. However, just before it all becomes too disappointing Billy is quite capable of pulling it out of the back and reaching to the converted - just listen to "Another kind of Judy". He is desperate for "Take down the Union Jack" to top the charts for the Jubilee but to release this jumbled political mess is not how his fans, old or new, would like to him portray himself. Married life has mellowed our Bill and he is still capable of writing the most simplistically brilliant songs on the planet. It's a shame he didn't do it this time round. Billy Bragg should be on everybody's essential listening list. Buy "Don't Try This at Home" to hear him at his subtlest, melodic, moving best. A true lesson in songwriting. The boy can do better.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Billy Bragg at his finest, but with new songs. This is what I expected & what I got. If you concentrate on the lyrics - you will be proud to sing along
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