RELEASE
October 28, 2003
LABEL
Festival Five Records
GENRES
Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, British Folk, Folk-Rock, Psychedelic, Urban Folk, College Rock, Anti-Folk, Alternative Folk

Album Review

In 1983, Billy Bragg was a guy with a cheap electric guitar, a rough but passionate voice, and a knack for writing and singing straight from the heart whether he was discussing leftist political concerns or the mysterious interactions between men and women. The guy has a band and the political issues that have caught his attention are trickier 20 years later, but he's still enchanted and puzzled by love, and hasn't stopped writing worthwhile songs about it. Must I Paint You a Picture? The Essential Billy Bragg is a two-disc, 40-song compilation that does an admirable job of capturing the hills and valleys of Bragg's recording career, opening up with "A New England" from his debut EP, Life's a Riot With Spy vs. Spy, and closing with a cut from 2002's England, Half English. A spin through this set suggests that Bragg's best (or at least most affecting) work arrived in the early stages of his career, as disc one (which follows Bragg through Worker's Playtime) is a decidedly more solid and absorbing listen than disc two (the material from the disappointing William Bloke in particular weighs down the collection's second act), and his love songs have stood the test of time a shade better than his political material (the miners' strike may be over, but broken hearts are timeless). But there are plenty of gems to be found throughout this collection, and Must I Paint You a Picture? serves as a potent reminder that in the grand tradition of Bob Dylan, even Bragg's lesser albums contain a handful of truly memorable songs worth hearing; if this isn't the ideal Billy Bragg collection, it's an excellent introduction, a solid career overview, and a lovely reminder of how much he has to say about the heart and the mind. Initial pressings come with a ten-song bonus disc that adds several hard to find selections, including Bragg's Anglophile rewrite of "Route 66," a telling duet with the late Ted Hawkins, and a bootleg remix that merges Bragg with the Hives.
Mark Deming, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. A New Englandhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  2. The Man in the Iron Maskhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  3. The Milkman of Human Kindnesshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  4. To Have and to Have Nothttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  5. A Lover Singshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  6. St. Swithin's Dayhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  7. The Saturday Boyhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  8. Between the Warshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  9. The World Turned Upside Downhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  10. Levi Stubbs' Tearshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  11. Walk Away Reneehttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  12. Greetings to the New Brunettehttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  13. There Is Power in a Unionhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  14. Help Save the Youth of Americahttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  15. The Warmest Roomhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  16. Must I Paint You a Picture?https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  17. She's Got a New Spellhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  18. The Price I Payhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  19. Valentine's Day Is Overhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  20. Waiting for the Great Leap Forwardshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  21. Sexualityhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  22. Cindy of a Thousand Liveshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  23. Moving the Goalpostshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  24. Tank Park Salutehttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  25. You Woke Up My Neighbourhoodhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  26. Accident Waiting to Happen (Red Stars Version)https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  27. Sulkhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  28. Upfieldhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  29. The Fourteenth of Februaryhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  30. Brickbathttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  31. The Space Race Is Overhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  32. The Boy Done Goodhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  33. Ingrid Bergmanhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  34. Way Over Yonder in the Minor Keyhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  35. My Flying Saucerhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  36. All You Fascists Bound to Lose (Blokes Version)https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  37. NPWAhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  38. St. Mondayhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  39. Some Days I See the Pointhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  40. Take Down the Union Jack (Band Version)https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  41. A13, Trunk Road to the Sea [#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  42. Fear Is a Man's Best Friend [*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  43. Cold and Bitter Tears [Live][#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  44. Seven and Seven Is [#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  45. When Will I See You Again? [#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  46. Rule nor Reason [Live][#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  47. Debris [Live][#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  48. Dry Bed [#][*][Demo Version]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  49. She Smiled Sweetly [#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
  50. Take Down the Union Jack [King Normal & The Rug Remix][#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5
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