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Mermaid Avenue Vol.2 [CD]

Billy Bragg, Wilco Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: 12.05 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (29 May 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Atlantic
  • ASIN: B00004TBES
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,211 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Airline to Heaven
2. My Flying Saucer
3. Feed Of Man
4. Hot Rod Hotel
5. I Was Born
6. Secrets of the Sea
7. Stetson Kennedy
8. Remeber The Mountain Bed
9. Blood of the Lamb
10. Against The Law
11. All You Fascists
12. Joe DiMaggio Done It Again
13. Meanest Man
14. Black WInd Blowing
15. Someday Some Morning Sometime

Product Description

Who knew that after the undeniable, sometimes shimmering, sometimes rustic magic of Mermaid Avenue that there was enough quality material for a second volume? By setting their own music to Woody Guthrie's lyrics, Billy Bragg and Wilco once again offer a 50-minute testament to Guthrie's long, dynamic shadow. This sophomore meeting is as balanced between the up-tempo and the down-tempo as was the first volume. Jeff Tweedy's rasp gives all the Wilco-driven tunes a certain grit, and the songs Bragg takes on have a luminescent, frank earnestness that intensifies the delivery of Guthrie's lyrical social critiques. "Hot Rod Hotel", with Bragg handling the vocals, melds the two approaches best, and "Secret of the Sea" is the album's most pop-like centrepiece. Natalie Merchant's playful "I Was Born" is brief but sweet, just as blues-man Corey Harris's "Against the Law" is an uplift, with his passionate vocal wail mirroring the political gist of Guthrie's words. The moody closers, "Black Wind Blowing" and "Someday, Some Morning, Sometime" end Mermaid Avenue Volume 2 with a pair of sweetly sad gems, one a Bragg-sung folk blues that mourns the loss of cotton crops in the American dustbowl era, the other a Tweedy-sung paean to lost love. --Andrew Bartlett

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply sublime 27 Jun 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
I didn't think that Mermaid Avenue Vol I could be bettered, but unbelievabley, it has been! The same artists appear on Vol II and instead of it being a "bits that didn't quite make it onto the first album" compilation it actually surpasses the original. "Black Wind Blowing" and "Someday, Some Morning, Sometime" are achingly beautiful and are a perfect ending to an album which hits you with sadness, humour and a social conscience which seems to be missing from most comtemporary music. Album of the year, without a doubt - buy it!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2nd volume of Bragg/Wilco collaboration. 22 Feb 2003
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:Audio CD
Mermaid Avenue (1998) was one of the highlights of that year, bridgeing the gap between Wilco's Being There & Summer Teeth & showcasing Billy Bragg's varied vocals (Bragg is often seen as the very English vocalist of songs like Between the Wars & A New England. Which he is; but he has drifted towards Americana- notably with Peter Buck & Michael Stipe on 1991's wonderful You Shook Up My Neighbourhood). The idea being that Wilco & Billy Bragg put music to many lyrics of Woody Guthrie- who had died prior to writing his own music; a combination of Guthrie's lyrics from 1939 to 1955 & Bragg/Wilco's music from the mid to late 90s .There were many great songs- Ingrid Bergman, California Stars, Hoodoo Voodoo, Eisler on the Go etc; interviews revealed that there were many more songs in the vault. Hence this second collection released in 2000.
I wasn't expecting the follow-up album to be as good as the original, what I discovered was an album just as great. The opening track Airline to Heaven was famously used in the brilliant film Jesus' Son (2000)- though was recorded by Wilco alone (more spacey& Summerteeth), as All You Fascists was given a great workover by Bragg & the Blokes on a fanclub only live album (Bragg & Wilco main-man Jeff Tweedy reportedly fell out- the former wanted to tour this album, while the latter was moving towards the experimental Loose Fur/Yankee Hotel Foxtrot/Insignificance direction that would see half the Wilco line-up here leave...) .
My Flying Saucer has a great Bragg-vocal to music that sounds like the meeting point of Paul Simon & Velvet Underground (made me think of There She Goes Again with its stop/start guitars).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant collaboration 24 Aug 2013
By BrynG
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I'm a fan of both Jeff Tweedy and Billy Bragg and it seems to me that the words of Woody Guthrie have brought out the best in both of them. Every single track in this collection has a strong tune, and whilst JT and BB have their own recognisably distinctive style, the songs sit together like a glove. Some songs are with the full band whilst others are solo efforts, and it all makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listen. I'm sure they must have had a great time putting this together.
If you want to hear both Wilco and Billy Bragg at their best, then I'd start right here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Minding the Gaps 22 Mar 2008
Format:Audio CD
Billy Bragg and Wilco argued over the mixing and sequencing of the original `Mermaid Avenue' album and consequently Wilco would not tour it and Bragg had to assemble `The Blokes' with whom he still tours. This decision possibly felt quite foolish when the album got full marks in most of the reviews it received, was nominated for a Grammy and was a considerable hit in both England and most importantly in Woody Guthrie's native America.

Consequently these tracks, recorded at the same sessions, were dusted down and with a Wilco only session to record `Someday Some Morning Sometime', `Remember the Mountain Bed' and `Secret of the Sea'. The tracks recorded especially for the recording are the weakest and the unused Billy Bragg compositions are the greatest collected here, some of them, most noticeably `Stetson Kennedy', `All You Fascists', `Aginst th' Law', `Joe Dimaggio Done it Again' and `Hot Rod Hotel' are better than any of the songs on the first volume. Wilco's complaint of Bragg seems justifiable, Jeff Tweedy's criteria was `pick the songs that don't suck' and although nothing sucked on `Mermaid Avenue' I can't help but think Bragg's song selection was off kilter.

His choice of kiddie's song `Hoodoo Voodoo' on volume 1 cannot compare with `My Flying Saucer' collected here and why the Natalie Merchant delivered `Birds and Ships' was picked over `I Was Born' beggars belief.
So traditionally volume 2 records are the scrapings from the bottom of the session barrels but not so this one. A real classic, probably less consistent than the first album, but when it's good it's very good, and when it's bad it's still pretty good.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A knob? 13 Mar 2013
By sk5333
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Maybe he is - but this music composition of Woody Guthrie's lyrics is stunning. California Stars now a classic played by many bands. Not really as I see Mr Bragg. But then he was on TV talk show recently - maybe he's not such a knob. He does himself no favors by ranting on about socialist injustice. I don't suppose he himself is suffering.
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