This months Mojo magazine CD celebrates some of the music which evolved out of the UK punk rock scene between 1977 and 1983.
Billy Bragg began performing in the late '70s with the punk group Riff Raff, who released a series of indie seven-inch singles including the wonderfully titled I Wanna Be a Cosmonaut. He then he briefly joined a tank regiment of the British Army before buying himself out of his sojourn for 175 pounds.
Bragg undertook a solo tour of the concert halls and clubs of Britain and eventually managed to record his debut e.p. Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs. Spy which, when eventually reissued as the first album on the new Go! Discs label, hit the UK Top 30 in early 1984. It is from this release that the track for this post originates.
In the 22 years since the Bard of Barking released this lovelorn, one-man-Clash-styled dose of social realism it has taken on a whole new meaning. Today, Billy Bragg is still searching for that New England - a country where where belonging is not tainted by racism or tabloid-nspired xenophobia. And it is in this context that he remains one of Britains most essential, honest and inspiring rock'n'roll voices.
Billy Bragg - A New England