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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent Billy Bragg album
I like this album very much. Billy Bragg recorded it with producer Joe Henry in Pasadena with a fine American band including pedal steel, which means his sound is a very long way from the angry young man that I first heard in the late 70s, singing and playing solo through a slightly distorted amplifier from the back of a van at a protest rally. This is musically and...
Published 20 months ago by Sid Nuncius

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mundane
Like Handy Man Blues - which is why I bought it - rest pretty mundane stuff. Still what can you expect for less than 4 quid?
Published 20 months ago by pkmackem


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent Billy Bragg album, 17 Mar 2013
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tooth & Nail (MP3 Download)
I like this album very much. Billy Bragg recorded it with producer Joe Henry in Pasadena with a fine American band including pedal steel, which means his sound is a very long way from the angry young man that I first heard in the late 70s, singing and playing solo through a slightly distorted amplifier from the back of a van at a protest rally. This is musically and often lyrically much more mellow, but the old passions are still there and it's an album with real substance.

Overall, there is an Americana-ish feel to the disc, although it is quite varied: for example, when I first heard the opening January Song I thought immediately of Pentangle, and Chasing Rainbows (for me, the only slightly weak track) is an attempt at an out-and-out Country song. The political statements are still there, just dressed in more laid-back clothes. Woody Guthrie again gets moving and intelligent treatment with a great version of I Ain't Got No Home - which remains astonishingly pertinent today - and the original songs are very good, too. For example, in No One Knows Nothing Anymore we get the line, "What happens when the markets drop?...." which is classic Billy Bragg, as is "How can a man be strong/If he can't even lift up the telephone and say he's wrong?" in the lovely Swallow My Pride, and the title of There Will Be A Reckoning speaks for itself.

It's a lovely album to listen to. It is tuneful, very well played and produced and features wearier, softer vocals from Billy Bragg than his earlier material, but his old commitments remain strong and there is real heart and sincerity here. Don't expect Life's A Riot or Talking With the Taxman, but I think it's an excellent album and it's warmly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Deluxe is superior, 10 Jan 2014
By 
Greg Farefield-Rose (Hertfordshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tooth & Nail (Audio CD)
The Deluxe Edition of Tooth And Nail is probably the best package for extras I've ever seen for a music CD. Looking like an old Ladybird book, it includes a DVD of Billy's often highly entertsining promo videos from the 80s and 90s, the lyrics for the new album and a handful of articles written by the artist for Q magazine. Beautifully presented but what of the music itself...

Billy sees Tooth And Nail as something of a continuation of the Mermaid Avenue albums he made with Wilco at the turn of the century. Recorded with four supporting musicians over just five days in Joe Henry's studio in South Pasadena, the emphasis is a bit more country than the folk-rock of the Wilco LPs but is nevertheless a very good album of Americana.

Mostly acoustic with none of the clanging electric guitar of Bragg's early albums, the musical settings bring out the very best of Billy's once maligned voice which has never sounded better. The lyrics also complement the music well with a general downbeat, world-weariness not typical of this usually most chipper of artists. Partially influenced by the recent death of his mother, the more introspective highlights include No One Knows Nothing Anymore, Over You and the simple but melodic opener January Song. "This is how the end begins".

It's not all doom and gloom though with the touching Handyman Blues, a humorous ode to all sensitive men who struggle once the package from B&Q arrives. As always with Billy, there's also a large degree of hope in particular with the closing Tomorrow's Going To Be A Better Day - a beacon of light at the end of an album which, like many these days, fades slightly over the final third.

Probably not quite Billy's finest album musically then but still a very fine LP and honest artistic statement. It still has plenty of highlights so I would give the album alone four stars - though the Deluxe Edition certainly deserves the full five.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent Billy Bragg album, 18 Mar 2013
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tooth & Nail (Audio CD)
I like this album very much. Billy Bragg recorded it with producer Joe Henry in Pasadena with a fine American band including pedal steel, which means his sound is a very long way from the angry young man that I first heard in the late 70s, singing and playing solo through a slightly distorted amplifier from the back of a van at a protest rally. This is musically and often lyrically much more mellow, but the old passions are still there and it's an album with real substance.

Overall, there is an Americana-ish feel to the disc, although it is quite varied: for example, when I first heard the opening January Song I thought immediately of Pentangle, and Chasing Rainbows (for me, the only slightly weak track) is an attempt at an out-and-out Country song. The political statements are still there, just dressed in more laid-back clothes. Woody Guthrie again gets moving and intelligent treatment with a great version of I Ain't Got No Home - which remains astonishingly pertinent today - and the original songs are very good, too. For example, in No One Knows Nothing Anymore we get the line, "What happens when the markets drop?...." which is classic Billy Bragg, as is "How can a man be strong/If he can't even lift up the telephone and say he's wrong?" in the lovely Swallow My Pride, and the title of There Will Be A Reckoning speaks for itself.

It's a lovely album to listen to. It is tuneful, very well played and produced and features wearier, softer vocals from Billy Bragg than his earlier material, but his old commitments remain strong and there is real heart and sincerity here. Don't expect Life's A Riot or Talking With the Taxman, but I think it's an excellent album and it's warmly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but not Mr Bragg, 12 May 2013
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This review is from: Tooth & Nail (MP3 Download)
Billy Bragg has a reputation for a folky, punky, political style where he uses Estuary English to "reach out."

If that's what you were expecting, this may surprise you.

He recorded this in The USA and the Nashville effect has rubbed off somewhat. It could well be an album by a country star who wanted to become less commercial and show their artistic prowess. The occasional slide guitar gives the game away and the style will of course open up Mr Bragg to a new audience.

For the aficionados? Well, his balls have well and truly dropped here. it is grown up, intelligent, non political, non radical and an all round decent album. If it were a new artist I had never heard of I would be anticipating the next album, as the mix and style is easy on the ear. His voice has lost the accent and developed a growl that suits the mid Atlantic style of the album. I assume that on a tour, he will have to develop a split personality as the voice he uses here might not suit a sudden "I was a miner" chant whilst the old voice might not cut it with these excellent songs.

Buy it and I guarantee you will play it a few dozen times in the first few weeks. The tunes are catchy, the style easy and overall product excellent.

Just a bit surprised to see Billy Bragg make this transition. i like it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something to Bragg about, 12 Dec 2013
By 
Andy Sweeney "music was my first love" (Brighton, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Tooth & Nail (Audio CD)
I've always liked Billy Bragg a lot. Not so much because of his music, but more for who his is, what he believes in and how he expresses himself. His music has almost been secondary to me, because, while tracks of his are superb in isolation, I've found it difficult to listen to whole albums, even his greatest hits compilation, because of his slightly shout-y singing voice which, unfortunately, just grates on me after a whole. The greatest thing for me about "Tooth & Nail", produced by the excellent Joe Henry (most recently responsible for Hugh Laurie's albums and Chas & Dave's 2013 comeback record, "That's What Happens"), is that Bragg's vocals are softer, more tuneful and much easier on the ear, but the lyrical integrity of Bragg's views and beliefs haven't been toned down at all, so it is just about perfect for me; his voice has literally never sounded better to my ears. The whole of this album is an impressive, eclectic mix of folk, pop, rock, blues, country and Americana all narrated by Bragg's distinctive, but noticeably softened, London accent and thoughtful, human lyrics.

The vast majority of this album really is excellent. Early album highlight, the broadly agnostic-themed "No One Knows Nothing Anymore" is a superb track, both musically and lyrically, the sleepy "Handyman Blues", which speaks of a complete lack of ability when it comes to DIY, is genuinely touching (and could have been written for me) and the sad but dignified "I Ain't Got No Home", a Woody Guthrie composition, describes an unwanted transient life and the unfair imbalance between the rich and poor. "Swallow My Pride" is magnificent, the type of country song of longing and misguided pride that Elvis Costello would probably have covered on "Almost Blue" had it existed then and "Do Unto Others" picks up on one particular truism in the Bible that everybody should at least try to live by and makes a rather fine song from it too. The delta blues-influenced "Over You", with words by Joe Henry, is very enjoyable indeed, "Goodbye, Goodbye", a gentle, acoustic guitar-driven piece, could almost be a perfect fit for a funeral and "Your Name Of My Tongue", with words by Joe Henry and music by Bragg has echoes of "Land of Hope and Glory", but the passionate delivery and cascading piano makes this my final pick from this excellent album.

Although, arguably, "Tooth & Nail" fades a little towards the end (the strongest songs do seem to be weighted towards the front half of the album), this is a really pleasurable listening experience from start to finish. His world-weary, expressive voice caresses and persuades as he presents his credentials as a musician and singer here more successfully than at any other time in his career. Yes, this superb piece of work is a long way away from his image of the angry young man, the rebel with plenty of causes, but, for me, this is just about the best album that Billy Bragg has ever put his name to. Of course, huge fans of Billy may disagree and find this new direction about as welcome as David Cameron would be at one of his gigs, but with his wonderful lyrics as sharp as ever and his often abrasive vocal style having the edges sanded down a bit, "Tooth & Nail" is not only one of the best things I have heard from Bragg, it is one of the finest albums I have heard all year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mellower Sound But the same heart and soul, 2 May 2013
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This review is from: Tooth & Nail (MP3 Download)
A beautiful album from a mellow and thoughtful sounding Billy Bragg. Still the same messages but in a velvet glove. Stand out for me must be the ??only?? song about the Haldron Collider (that I cant even spell to show my lack of IQ!).
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5.0 out of 5 stars more of the same from Billy, 3 July 2014
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This review is from: Tooth & Nail (Audio CD)
Billy Bragg if you like his stuff then you'll love this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not a fan myself but bought for my dad and he loves it, 17 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Tooth & Nail (Audio CD)
My dad loves this CD if you're a Billy Bragg fan then this is for you. Perfect gift idea :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars First Billy Bragg CD, 27 May 2014
By 
Mr. M. J. Cox - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Tooth & Nail (Audio CD)
This is my first Billy Bragg CD and it will not be my last. Purchased as I am going to see him later this year at Beverley Folk, now can not wait to see him. Great CD.
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4.0 out of 5 stars O.K., 9 May 2014
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This review is from: Tooth & Nail (Audio CD)
Except for the "Handyman" song, not very memorable. Good quality recordings and good songwriting but mediocre,
sorry. Maybe it's the beard?
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Tooth & Nail
Tooth & Nail by Billy Bragg (Audio CD - 2013)
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