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Workers Playtime

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Editors’ Notes

British folksinger Billy Bragg began as a questioning if not quite angry young man with a shredding electric guitar, mixing social and political issues with the usual romantic frustrations. 1986’s Talking With the Taxman About Poetry initiated a musical expansion that finds full fruition on this 1988 follow-up. Produced by legendary veteran folk-rock producer Joe Boyd (Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, R.E.M.), the album was Bragg’s sweetest, most textured release to date. Politics still inform a few numbers (“Rotting on Remand,” an a cappella “Tender Comrade”) but the real gems are the heartfelt paeans that open the album (“Got a New Spell,” “Must I Paint You a Picture”) and finish it (“The Only One,” “Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards”). Bragg's voice conveys honest emotion and melodic nuance throughout.

Biography

Born: 20 December 1957 in Barking Town Hall, London, Englan

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Finding inspiration in the righteous anger of punk rock and the socially conscious folk tradition of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg was the leading figure of the anti-folk movement of the '80s. For most of the decade, Bragg bashed out songs alone on his electric guitar, singing about politics and love. While his lyrics were bitingly intelligent and clever, they were also warm and humane, filled with detail and wit. Even though his lyrics were carefully considered, Bragg never neglected...
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