Daily Archives: April 16, 2009

95. Billy Bragg – “Billy Bragg and the Red Stars Live Bootleg”

And thus we come to the final installment of our Bragg-fest.

billy-bragg-album-cover-red-stars-live-bootlegThis is a live set recorded at a festival in 1993 (and bought around 1995 from the merch desk at the last Bragg show I attended). And I would consider this a rarity among my live CDs in that it is pretty listenable, and also strongly representative of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed most of the Bragg gigs I’ve seen.

The sound is very, very live. There appears to have been little to no post-production. Billy’s vocals are way up front in the mix, and his between song banter is included.

The format of the set is a plus. He opens with four solo tunes strumming his guitar, including the almighty A Lover Sings. The band tracks are nowhere near as overblown as his studio efforts, and the energy levels are engaging. He even covers a Wedding Parties Anything tune (Ship in My Harbour). The two encores are just as you’d expect – laden with hits – The Price I Pay, Levi Stubbs Tears and more.

I recommend this album as a nice insight into why Bragg was such a live favourite amongst many.

File under: A gig worth hearing