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Baker's Dozen

Worker's Playtime: Billy Bragg's Favourite Albums
Colm McAuliffe , March 18th, 2013 07:47

To celebrate the release of his notably personal new album Tooth & Nail today, the outspoken, political singer-songwriter talks Colm McAuliffe through his top records


The Modern Lovers - The Modern Lovers
Modern Lovers is a fucking great record. Jonathan Richman - I've a lot of respect for him and especially before he went ‘adolescent’. This record was inspired by the Velvet Underground - whom I knew nothing about – and it had just the best songs: 'Roadrunner', 'Girlfriend' , ‘Pablo Picasso’ - nobody I ever heard was writing songs like that. He had such an insolence and rejection of the world - I didn't know anything about it being recorded by John Cale but it just appeared alongside the Blondie album, Marquee Moon, the first Talking Heads album but, out of all these, this was the one that really grabbed me. I mean 'Hospital' - what an incredible song! Just the opening line, [SINGS] "When I get out of the hospital, let me back into your life…", that is an emotional meteor coming and landing, or a sinkhole opening up in your bedroom. I was playing it to my son the other day in the car, it's got that outsider thing which was later taken on by Morrissey and Marr in The Smiths, great lyrics, great tunes and still stands up today. Of all the stuff that came out of America during punk, that was the one record that really caught my attention. I like the subsequent records that Richman made and I really think he's a great little songwriter but there's something dark and moody and powerfully grim about this album that I'm really attracted to.