Billy Bragg – 2 x 45’s

I took a brief trip into town today and visited the Leamington Record Store again, which is opposite Seismic (So I popped in there briefly as well) and picked up a few things that I liked, including two Billy Bragg singles. I couldn’t resist to be honest, particularly the first that caught my eye, which was ‘Levi Stubbs Tears’ which is about a woman whose Four Tops album brings her comfort through difficult times. The chorus goes:

With the money from her accident
She bought herself a mobile home
So at least she could get some enjoyment
Out of being alone
No one could say that she was left up on the shelf
It’s you and me against the World kid she mumbled to herself

When the world falls apart some things stay in place
Levi Stubbs’ tears run down his face

She ran away from home on her mother’s best coat
She was married before she was even entitled to vote
And her husband was one of those blokes
The sort that only laughs at his own jokes
The sort a war takes away
And when there wasn’t a war he left anyway

Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong
Are here to make everything right that’s wrong
Holland and Holland and Lamont Dozier too
Are here to make it all okay with you

One dark night he came home from the sea
And put a hole in her body where no hole should be
It hurt her more to see him walking out the door
And though they stitched her back together they left her heart in pieces on the floor

When the world falls apart some things stay in place
She takes off the Four Tops tape and puts it back in its case
When the world falls apart some things stay in place
Levi Stubbs’ tears

Levi Stubbs was one of the Four Tops, just in case you didn’t know. I heard the song on Radio 6 last week having not heard it for years, so it was quite fortuitous to find it today in the any single £1 section. The lyrics are brilliant.

braggstubbs

The second Billy Bragg single was ‘Greetings to the New Brunette’, which I picked up just because really, I couldn’t remember how it went. When I got home I gave it a spin and knew it straight away, it’s the ‘Shirley’ one and, if I have it right, has Johnny Marr on guitar.

billy_bragg-greetings_to_the_new_brunette_s_2

I think some versions of the single are actually called Shirley with the rest of the title in brackets, but mine isn’t. All in all these two singles for £2 is a jolly nice thank you very much. I’ll have to have a listen to the other tracks as well. Here is Shirley:

Shirley
It’s quite exciting to be sleeping here in this new room
Shirley
You’re my reason to get out of bed before noon
Shirley
You know when we sat out on the fire escape talking
Shirley
What did you say about running before we were walking?

Sometimes when we’re as close as this
It’s like we’re in a dream
How can you lie there and think of England
When you don’t even know who’s in the team

Shirley
Your sexual politics have left me all of a muddle
Shirley
We are joined in the ideological cuddle

I’m celebrating my love for you
With a pint of beer and a new tattoo
And if you haven’t noticed yet
I’m more impressionable when my cement is wet

Politics and pregnancy
Are debated as we empty our glasses
And how I love those evening classes

Shirley
You really know how to make a young man angry
Shirley
Can we get through the night without mentioning family?

The people from your church agree
It’s not much of a career
Trying the handles of parked cars
Whoops, there goes another year
Whoops, there goes another pint of beer

Here we are in our summer years
Living on ice cream and chocolate kisses
And would the leaves fall from the trees
If I was your old man and you were my misses?

Give my greetings to the new brunette
Shirley
Greetings to the new brunette
Shirley
Greetings to the new brunette
Shirley
Greetings to the new brunette
Shirley

 

 

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