Billy Bragg – The Internationale (1990.Remastered 2006.)

Posted by on July 30, 2017


Billy Bragg’s albums have always contained material with the strong political slant of classic folksingers in the Woody Guthrie/Bob Dylan mold. This release shows him at his most muckrakingly fervent and angry. Only “The Marching Song of the Covert Battalions” has music actually composed by Bragg — and that selection contains a lengthy quote of the tune “When Johnny Come Marching Home.” The rest are covers of songs (some of them pre-20th century) that either overtly or covertly deal with revolution, radical politics, or pacifist sentiments. The arrangements are a real departure for Bragg, and are most unusual and effective. “I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night” and “Nicaragua Nicaraguita” are for unaccompanied voice. “Marching Song of the Covert Battalions” features prominent clarinet and recorder passages supported by organ, accordion, and revival-meeting bass drum/cymbals combination. “Red Flag” is an energetic reel set sparsely for voice, whistles, percussion, and minimal guitar. The title track is given a grand, traditional, all-stops-out treatment, arranged for chorus, large brass ensemble, and percussion. The album’s best selection, “My Youngest Son Came Home Today,” is a dirgelike antiwar number that is very moving and effective. This album is a committed, deeply felt manifesto well worth a listen. Original pressings of this record came with a wide-ranging and enjoyable promotional 45 containing selections by Bragg, Clea & McLeod, Caroline Trettine, and the Young Fresh Fellows.


01. The Internationale (03:50)
02. I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night (01:30)
03. The Marching Song Of The Covert Battalions (04:00)
04. Blake’s Jerusalem (02:32)
05. Nicaragua Nicaraguita (01:09)
06. The Red Flag (03:14)
07. My Youngest Son Came Home Today (03:08)

Live & Dubious EP – Released April 1988
08. Introduction [Live] (00:58)
09. Help Save The Youth Of America [Live] (02:36)
10. Think Again [Live] (04:22)
11. Chile Your Waters Run Red Through Soweto [Live] (03:09)
12. Days Like These [DC Remix] (02:41)
13. To Have And To Have Not [Live] (02:47)
14. There Is Power In A Union [with The Pattersons] (03:28)

Bonus Tracks
15. Joe Hill (08:24)
16. This Land Is Your Land (04:36)
17. Never Cross A Picket Line (03:38)
18. A Change Is Gonna Come (03:59)
19. A Miner’s Life (03:02)

Billy Bragg – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals
Cara Tivey – piano, vocals, shakuhachi
Lorraine Bowen – clarinet, soprano recorder, piano, accordion, organ
The Christie Tyler Cory Band – brass
Côr Cochion Caerdydd – vocals
Marc Duff – whistles
Jim Sutherland – bodhran, percussion
Dick Gaughan – vocals
Wiggy – bass guitar, vocals
Charlie Llewellin – drum, cymbal
Grant Showbiz – vocals
David Bedford – arrangement and conducting

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