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12 Reviews
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant words and music, 28 April 2012
By 
J. H. Bretts "jerard1" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions (Audio CD)
This is an absolutely fantastic collection of songs - Woody Guthrie lyrics stunningly set to music by Wilco and Billy Bragg. The first two discs were originally released over a decade ago, but the third is mainly material from the vaults that never made the original releases. That third disc is is no way inferior to the others, with tracks like Jolly Banker matching theirs for fine musicianship and trenchant lyrics. There is also a DVD of an absorbing documentary about Billy Bragg's search for the essence of Guthrie across the USA. With three CDs , a DVD and very useful booklet this collection is both amazingly good value for money and a brilliant display of song writing and sensitive playing. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding the key, 24 Jun 2012
This review is from: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions (Audio CD)
An ambitious project which began as a result of an accident when the daughter of Woody Guthrie (Nora)got in touch with Billy Bragg after listening to CDs of his music and invited him to set a recently discovered batch of her father's poetry which he'd never got around to adding music to.
Nora Guthrie's recording career had produced just one single (Emily's Illness) unlike her brother Arlo who began as a singer songwriter with a hit album called Alice's Restaurant before many others of mainly covers
Billy Bragg was the right man for the job as a writer of political songs.
Listen enough to these songs and first impressions are Bob Dylan as the most obvious influence.You hear snatches of Dylan songs throughout or Irish folk songs and its here that Bragg picked up on the idea of Dylan and Woody Guthrie before him using the melodies of earlier songs usually credited as "trad" before passing them off as their own work.
This set of songs lives within itself but many could have been hits in more normal times
The idea of finishing off songs by using contemporary artists to do it is a fairly recent phenomenon which began with The Lost Notebooks-Hank Williams songs finished by Bob Dylan,Jakob Dylan,Norah Jones,Jack White,Lucinda Williams,Levon Helm and Merle Haggard among the 12 artists
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Wait!, 1 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions (Audio CD)
I can only concur fully with the other five-star review comments. I saw the original "Making of" documentary about 12 years ago and was fascinated at the time but did not follow through with a purchase. Since then I have become intimate with all the works of Woody Guthrie and to hear his songs interpreted by such a collection of talented artists is an eye-opening experience. I bought the album about a month ago and am still listening to it daily!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Value for money, 10 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions (Audio CD)
You get a lot for your money so very worth while, a good mix of songs, I am glad I bought it
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4.0 out of 5 stars If you like lyrics this ones' for you., 4 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions (Audio CD)
Superb lyrics and just what you expect from Billy Bragg and Wilco musically. Well worth a listen! Give it a try.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 19 July 2013
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This review is from: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions (Audio CD)
Really loved this collaboration between Billy Bragg & Wilco. Some Natalie Merchant thrown in for good measure. Some fantastic songs, great melodies, and I can't stop listening to it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bragg & Wilco, 18 July 2013
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This review is from: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions (Audio CD)
I didn't expect such a great album - especially as we are listening to really old songs which just goes to show how Guthrie's visions hold up today. How about a tour? !
GG Seville
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4.0 out of 5 stars BRAGG AND BAND, 21 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions (Audio CD)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great album, 27 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions (Audio CD)
This is a beautifully crafted album. I have never been a fan of Billy Bragg unlike Wilco. However after hearing this I will be looking into Mr Bragg's back catalogue
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 9 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions (Audio CD)
I already had #1 and #2, didn't know about the third one. It's as good as the other 2. The more I listen to it the more I like it.
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Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions
Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions by Billy Bragg (Audio CD - 2012)
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