Billy Bragg, Mr Love and Justice (Cooking Vinyl)

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Billy Bragg: I Keep Faith
Billy Bragg, Mr Love and Justice (Cooking Vinyl)

This is the album that famously wasn't released in time for Bragg to promote at this year's Big Day Out appearances. Not that he seemed to mind (much), he noted that he was flown to the other side of the world, there was an all-day backstage bar, he got to hang out with great musicians, and he only had to play for about 30 minutes.

"We call it the Big Day Off, " he laughed.

This album also catches him in a (mostly) good mood about love and justice as the title says.

There is a polemic swipe at certain American television shows which by being such a sledgehammer is the weakest thing here -- but it is the very soulful ballads (I Keep Faith and You Make Me Brave especially) where he really finds his voice.

He's still a wordy bugger with Something Important To Say and sometimes it works to his detriment (Something Happened) -- but when he marries the message to either a rocking backbeat (The Beach is Free), gets the rhyme scheme just right (O Freedom) or pulls right back for some quieter consideration (the taut Farm Boy with its political subtext) you feel that Bragg is just getting better with the years.

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Grant Stone - Nov 24, 2008

I'd vote this one of the best of the year. Played it many, many times.

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