Brewing Up with Billy Bragg

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Brewing Up with Billy Bragg
Brewing up.jpg
Studio album by Billy Bragg
Released November 1984
Recorded July 1984
Studio Berry Street Studio, London
Genre Indie, singer-songwriter, anti-folk
Length 33:49
Label Go! Discs
Producer Edward de Bono
Billy Bragg chronology
Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy
Brewing Up with Billy Bragg
Talking with the Taxman About Poetry
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[2]
Spin Alternative Record Guide7/10[3]
The Village VoiceB−[4]

Brewing Up with Billy Bragg is the second album by Billy Bragg, released in 1984.

While his debut album Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy (1983) was performed by Bragg accompanied only by his guitar, Brewing Up with Billy Bragg began to use subtle overdubs, such as backing vocals on "Love Gets Dangerous", trumpet on "The Saturday Boy" and organ on "A Lover Sings".

The album also continued Bragg's legacy of political songs. "It Says Here" is a bitingly satirical attack on the British tabloid press and "Island of No Return" is a concise anti-war anthem.

In 2000 Q magazine placed Brewing Up with Billy Bragg at number 87 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

The album reached number 16 in the UK albums chart.[5] It was ranked number 6 among the "Albums of the Year" for 1984 by NME.[6]

The cover of the original album has the subtitle "A Puckish Satire On Contemporary Mores," a quote from the Woody Allen film Love and Death, in which Allen's character reviews an army play presented to Russian soldiers to prevent them from becoming infected with venereal diseases while at war.[7]


The album was originally released on vinyl in 1984 with 11 tracks. In 1987 the album was again released along with the album Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy (1983) and the EP Between the Wars (1985) and titled Back to Basics. Back to Basics was reissued in 1990. Brewing Up with Billy Bragg was reissued on its own in 1997.[1]

In 2006, as part of a planned series of reissues of albums in his back catalogue, Brewing Up with Billy Bragg was remastered and reissued for the first time on CD with a number of bonus tracks. These tracks included covers of "Back to the Old House" by The Smiths (with Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr playing guitar) and "The Last Time" by The Rolling Stones. The bonus tracks also include the Between the Wars EP.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Billy Bragg, except where noted

Disc one[edit]

  1. "It Says Here" – 4:18
  2. "Love Gets Dangerous" – 2:23
  3. "The Myth of Trust" – 2:54
  4. "From a Vauxhall Velox" – 2:31
  5. "The Saturday Boy" – 3:30
  6. "Island of No Return" – 3:37
  7. "St Swithin's Day" – 3:54
  8. "Like Soldiers Do" – 2:39
  9. "This Guitar Says Sorry" – 2:31
  10. "Strange Things Happen" – 2:38
  11. "A Lover Sings" – 3:54

Disc two (2006 reissue)[edit]

  1. "It Must Be a River" – 2:19
  2. "I Won't Talk About It" – 5:06
  3. "Talking Wag Club Blues" – 2:59
  4. "You Got the Power" (James Brown, George Terry) – 3:10
  5. "The Last Time" (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards) – 2:55
  6. "Back to the Old House" (Morrissey, Johnny Marr) – 2:53
  7. "A Lover Sings" (alternative version) – 3:58
  8. "Which Side Are You On?" (Florence Reece, Bragg) – 2:34
  9. "It Says Here" (alternate version) – 2:36
  10. "Between the Wars" – 2:30
  11. "The World Turned Upside Down" (Leon Rosselson) – 2:35





  1. ^ Cleary, David. "Brewing Up with Billy Bragg – Billy Bragg". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  3. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (2 April 1985). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  5. ^ British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). 2006. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  6. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  7. ^ "Brewing Up with Billy Bragg", Billy Bragg, CD Presents LTD CD027 (1984) LP