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&at=11l9vR
  2. The Man in the Iron Maskhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  3. The Milkman of Human Kindnesshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  4. To Have and to Have Nothttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  5. A Lover Singshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  6. St. Swithin's Dayhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  7. The Saturday Boyhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  8. Between the Warshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  9. The World Turned Upside Downhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  10. Levi Stubbs' Tearshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  11. Walk Away Reneehttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  12. Greetings to the New Brunettehttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  13. There Is Power in a Unionhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  14. Help Save the Youth of Americahttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  15. The Warmest Roomhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  16. Must I Paint You a Picture?https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  17. She's Got a New Spellhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  18. The Price I Payhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  19. Valentine's Day Is Overhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  20. Waiting for the Great Leap Forwardshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  21. Sexualityhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  22. Cindy of a Thousand Liveshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  23. Moving the Goalpostshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  24. Tank Park Salutehttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  25. You Woke Up My Neighbourhoodhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  26. Accident Waiting to Happen (Red Stars Version)https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  27. Sulkhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  28. Upfieldhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  29. The Fourteenth of Februaryhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  30. Brickbathttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  31. The Space Race Is Overhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  32. The Boy Done Goodhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  33. Ingrid Bergmanhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  34. Way Over Yonder in the Minor Keyhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  35. My Flying Saucerhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  36. All You Fascists Bound to Lose (Blokes Version)https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  37. NPWAhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  38. St. Mondayhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  39. Some Days I See the Pointhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  40. Take Down the Union Jack (Band Version)https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  41. A13, Trunk Road to the Sea [#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  42. Fear Is a Man's Best Friend [*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  43. Cold and Bitter Tears [Live][#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  44. Seven and Seven Is [#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  45. When Will I See You Again? [#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  46. Rule nor Reason [Live][#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  47. Debris [Live][#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  48. Dry Bed [#][*][Demo Version]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  49. She Smiled Sweetly [#][*]https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/must-i-paint-you-picture-essential/id466223280?uo=5&at=11l9vR
  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&at=11l9vR
purchase full album