Monday, October 02, 2006

Mixing Pop and Politics


Billy Bragg, Tell Us The Truth Tour, 2003
How does the old saying go? "One should never discuss sex, religion, or politics in polite company." Well, either Tim was being very brave, or the folks who contributes to this week's Contrast Podcast do not constitute polite company. You see, Dear Friends, this time round the theme is politics (yes, I know, you were all hoping it was sex and feared it was religion). And what a faaabulous mix it is! I confess I've yet to listen to it (a treat that awaits me after work), but I'm looking forward to a lively debate of music and viewpoints.
As always, you can either download the podcast using this direct link or subscribe to it and future episodes via this RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ContrastPodcast.
And so here is this week's manifesto:

(00:00) Ian Dury - Spasticus Autisticus
Deek Deekster from Pod of Funk

(05:44) Chris T-T - The Huntsman Came a Marchin’
Ross from Just Gimme Indie Rock

(09:21) The Fun Boy Three - The Lunatics (have taken over the asylum)
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(12:43) Against Me! - Baby I’m an Anarchist
Bethanne from CTASLS

(15:48) Tricky - Black Steel
Simon from You Can Call Me Betty

(21:55) Old Crow Medicine Show - Big Time in the Jungle
Murf from False45th

(25:28) Atari Teenage Riot - Deutschland Must Die
Cindy from Adzuki Bean Stash

(28:47) Billy Bragg - Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards
FiL from Pogoagogo

(34:10) Company Flow - Patriotism
Charlie from Nerdlitter

(40:04) Phil Ochs - Love Me I’m a Liberal
Charles from Heartache with Hard Work
(44:55) VIM - Maggie’s Last Party
SAS Radio

(50:33) Bonnie Raitt - The World is Not Your Toy
Dan from Burning Down the House

(54:33) Bruce Cockburn - If I had a rocket launcher
Natalie from Mini-Obs

(01:00:09) Fugazi - Reclamation
Justin from Aquarium Drunkard

(01:03:44) Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - Suspect Device
Bob from Gimme Tinnitus

(01:06:52) The Jam - Going Underground (Live)
Chad from Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands
In an attempt to compensate for all this heavyosity, next week's theme is "Happy Happy Joy Joy." So all you shiny, happy people out there rummage around in your glad bags for smiley tunes to submit (along with your peppy intros) to tim.young@rhul.ac.uk.
As I mention in the intro to my selection, Billy Bragg was really my one and only choice for this podcast. Dearest Friends, it may well surprise the vast majority of you, but when I first became politically aware circa 1980 I was something of a rightist. Indeed, I was a member of the Reaganyouth.
There, I said it, I've confessed.
Looking back over twenty-five years later, I believe many of my early views were formed by environmental factors. I grew up in a very conservative household and I pretty much lapped it up. As I ventured into my teens, I started to feel that my political coat didn't fit quite right. When I first heard the twang of Billy's guitar and his impassioned lyrics, it electrified me into realizing I had to change my wardrobe. By the time I was old enough to vote, I was clad in liberal garments, much to the vehement dismay of my parents and largely thanks to Comrade Bragg. Moreover, his folorn songs of unrequited love, new love, lost love, and betrayed love struck a chord within my own young heart.
These days, though I still have a pronounced lean to the left, I find myself focusing less on ideology and more on respect and compassion. And Billy? Well, though still a confirmed leftie, he has shed much of his constricting Marxist garb. "I don't really care about where you're from or what your background is," he recently said, "I care about how my kid is going to get along with your kid." What hasn't changed is his passion, which still invigorates me to this day.
So, herewith are some of the also-ran political tracks, along with a couple of his songs 'o the heart.
Billy Bragg - Love Gets Dangerous (buy here or e-here)
Billy Bragg - Days Like These (buy here or e-here)
Billy Bragg - Help Save The Youth Of America (buy here or e-here)
Billy Bragg - Valentine's Day Is Over (buy here or e-here)
Billy Bragg & The Red Stars - Accident Waiting To Happen (buy here or e-here)
Billy Bragg - Bush War Blues (free dowload from here)

And as an extra special treat, here's a track from his first band, the raw & raggedy Riff Raff. "Romford Girls" is most definitely neither political, nor politically correct. But it does have stonking punk/pub rock riffs, crackling energy, and those distinctive Braggian vocals. Enjoy!
Riff Raff - Romford Girls (buy exclusively here)

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

As usual you manage to select the best song in regards to the theme. This is an excellent selection.

Certainly a strong and interesting CP. Great job FiL! :) And of course thanks for the Bragg.

Tim Young said...

I know all about the transition from the parents views to your own ... no confession from me .. but I have changed and keep on moving in my own direction.

Looking forward to hearing your happiness.

Anonymous said...

I met Billy Bragg once. He was tired and harassed-looking, as it was around Christmas.

Friend to the stars, me!

Natsthename said...

You were a REAGANYOUTH? Thank heavens you were saved from that wretched path! ;)

Love the Billy Bragg stuff, especially Help Save The Youth Of America. I try to save the two I have, since I see it as my job to do so.

mjrc said...

we all do crazy, unexplainable things in our youth, and being a reaganyouth, well, i suppose it could've been worse, and you have evolved, after all . . . : )

remember when reagan died and everyone was waxing so nostalgic for how wonderful he was, how he changed the world, yada, yada, yada? well, the best thing i can recall that he did for me in particular was crystalize in my mind that i was a democrat down to the innermost fragment of my being. so for that, i am ever grateful to him.

Mentok the Mind-taker said...

Just had a belated CP brainwave.
"Nyet Nyet Soviet Jewlery" by BB Gabor!

That would have been a good contribution to balance things out a bit, eh?

However, as a purely Canadian punkish one-hit wonder, the song has proven impossible to find anywhere online. Does anyone else even remember that song?

ZB said...

Mr Mentok, does that BB Gabor's thing sound like
THIS ?

FiL said...

Ah, mon cher ZB, I too had located the track in the wilds of cyberspace, but obviously the intelligence services of Ikhtonia are swifter than my own minions...

Dearest Mentok, I had not heard of the Canadian-Hungarian BB Gabor, but now I consider myself educated...

Dearest mjrc: Indeed, I did evolve. To the point, actually, that during my freshman year I was asked, in all seriousness, if I was a communist. And yes, the Reagan nostalgia did stick in my craw.

Dearest Nats: I'm sure you're doing a fantastic job!

Dearest Oh Simone: Yes, Chrimbo shopping can frazzle even the starriest of stars. And I'm envious of your encounter! I once retrieved a busted geetarr string of Billy's after a gig, but sadly I subsequently lost said relic. Sigh...

Dearest Tim: No confession? That's not playing fair!!

Dearest Rachel: You are too kind, as usual. :) When will we hear from you again on the podcasticus??

FiL

Mentok the Mind-taker said...

Thanks ZB and FiL for digging up the tune.

"I had not heard of the Canadian-Hungarian BB Gabor, but now I consider myself educated..."

You are a most refined diplomat, eh FiL? ;-)

David Terrar said...

Fil,
I have to thank you for this. I'm an old Barking Abbey Comprehensive School aquaintance of Stephen W. Bragg.... my good friend Robert Handley (who I lost touch with mid 80s) was the drummer in Riff Raff, so I saw the band quite a bit. Romford Girls was always a favourite (but you have to have lived in Barking and lusted after those Romford girls to understand the lyrics properly). The last time I heard it was back in 1985 on a Red Wedge tour, when Billy heard me call for it from the audience and played it (well my memory tells me he did, but maybe that's just wishfull thinking). But it was a delight to hear the download. Cheers mate!

David Terrar said...

And Fil - have you discovered Mog (the Music Blog) yet?

Anonymous said...

Is this BB Gabor singing, or someone else playing the song. Seems to me there was a Q107 cruise where a band played this song - that was BB Gabor. It was a chilly night in the Toronto harbour area.