- Released: March 4, 2002
- Label: Cooking Vinyl
Spin - 4/02, p.1177 out of 10
- "...Bragg has whipped up another one of his trademark dilemmas: a worldbeat record about the terrors of globalization....ENGLAND's exoticism is offset by plenty of tough and tender ballads, and even the most stridently worldbeat numbers are joyous, well-made, and never patronizing..."
Entertainment Weekly - 3/8/02, p.74
"...As always, he keeps one eye on class consciousness as he works the roots-pop angle..." - Rating: B-
Q - 3/02, p.1163 stars out of 5
- "...It's more of an anti-Britpop album, a rail against a warm-beer-and-cricket version of Englishness....the music incorporates everything from ska to Afrobeat to Algerian folk song..."
Alternative Press - 4/02, p.689 out of 10
- "...ENGLAND feels like a jam session-bluesy keyboard lines and guitar riffs busk with soul-inflected harmonies, would-music percussion and complex, exotic rhythms..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 3/02, p.114
"...This is Billy Bragg as known and loved by many..."
- 1.St Monday
- 2.Jane Allen
- 3.Distant Shore
- 4.England, Half English
- 6.Somedays I See The Point
- 7.Baby Faroukh
- 8.Take Down The Union Jack
- 9.Another Kind Of Judy
- 10.He'll Go Down
- 12.Tears Of My Tracks
- 13.Yarra Song
- 14.You Pull The Carpet Out - (Bonus Track)
- 15.Mysterious Shoes - (Bonus Track)
This is an Enhanced CD, which contains both regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
Billy Bragg & The Blokes include: Billy Bragg (vocals, acoustic & electric guitar); Ben (electric guitar, bouzouki, barizouki); Lu (guitar, background vocals); Terry Edwards (tenor saxophone); Dave Woodhead (trumpet); Caroline Hall (trombone); Mac (piano, Wurlitzer piano, Hammond B-3 organ, background vocals); Simon (bass); Martyn (drums, shakers, tambourine, background vocals); Lorraine Brown (background vocals).
Recorded at Monnow Valley Studio, Steet Level, and Roundhouse Studio, London, England.
Personnel: Billy Bragg (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, background vocals); Lu Edmonds (guitar, acoustic guitar, saz, strings, piano, background vocals); LU (guitar, acoustic guitar, saz, background vocals); Ben Mandelson (electric guitar, lap steel guitar, dobro, bouzouki, tamboura, strings, harmonica); Simon Edwards (guitarron, fife); Ian McLagan (accordion, piano, Wurlitzer organ, background vocals); Terry Edwards (tenor saxophone); Dave Woodhead (trumpet, flugelhorn); Caroline Hall (trombone); Martyn Barker (drums, snare drum, congas, bongos, cowbells, cymbals, metal pipe, reco-reco, shaker, shekere, tambourine, percussion, bells, dancer, background vocals); Rebecca Naadu Laryea, Lorraine Bowen, Anthea Clarke, Lorraine Brown (background vocals).
Recording information: Monnow Valley Studio (11/1999-06/2001); Roundhouse Studio (11/1999-06/2001); Roundhuse Studio (11/1999-06/2001); Street Level (11/1999-06/2001).
Photographer: Pennie Smith.
Unknown Contributor Roles: LU ; Martyn Barker; Ben Mandelson.
Arranger: Dave Woodhead.
This is the first full album by Billy Bragg and The Blokes. The first song starts with the sound of Ian McLagan's piano; McLagan spent the '70s carousing with the Faces, and his rough-and-tumble prowess is a hallmark of this band as well. Bragg's songs continue along familiar lines (the plight of workers, class disparities, etc.), this time also focusing on issues of national identity. As always he relishes both strongly articulated sociopolitical issues ("NPWA," with its chorus of "No power without accountability") as well as more poetic circumstances. The latter is nicely represented by the album-closing "The Tears of My Tracks," which finds its protagonist broke, selling all of his records, but full of sly confidence and unshakable hope, delighting in the sun filling his empty room. Many of the songs have their music credited jointly to the whole band, and the camaraderie isn't mere socialist pie-sharing, it's genuine aesthetic truth--this album is a result of the entwined enthusiasms of Billy Bragg AND The Blokes.