Thursday, June 17, 2010

Billy Bragg & Wilco: Mermaid Avenue Demos

Post was removed due to excessive leeching - 58 downloads in half a day without even so much as a civil answer to my question - but restored thanks to those people who are willing to leave behind a much-appreciated comment.

Bragg's grown harder to follow over the years but he never got boring or even predictable, after all who would've foreseen seen him roping in an American band like Wilco to help him write and record new music for a bunch of old Woody Guthrie lyrics?

The partnership made for a bunch of great press back in the very late nineties for Bragg, especially as Nora Guthrie has explicitly anointed him as the man for the job and made for a fine mid-career rally. These demos, courtesy of Alphish, show how the project developed. Personally, I prefer Billy's songs to Wilco's, hands down.

(Note songs listed on the back cover shown below that were later officially issued on Mermaid Ave. Volume II have been excised.)

Mermaid Street Demos link is back in the comments, third entry.

Speaking of comments, who has the better songs on the project; Billy or Wilco?
Plus I need to know if the .rar's on rapidshare and mediafire are unpacking for you guys because some people have been having problems.

Support the artist!






  1. What was the question?

  2. Hi Jeff sorry didn't visit here yesterday would've loved to have heard those demos. I understand completely your stance on this. It's incredibly disappointing when folk are too bloody lazy to say thanks. I am constantly battling with the idea of making my blog private. I wish blogger could invent something decent where if folks don't leave a comment they don't get to dl.

    Just to say you have been inspirational to me the way you have continued to put out brilliant sounds here. THANK YOU.

  3. I've been getting loads of complaints about the files and I need to fix it. I do not where the problem in this two-step process - make a .rar file and upload it to Mediafire - is occurring so I've tried two upload sites. Please tell which, if any, works and then leave us your take on the Billy vs. Wilco thing.



  4. Steven
    I re-posted the question (actually two - one about Wilco vs. Bragg and one about whether the d/l's are working.

    You do awe-inspiring work Marky and you get, by my estimation, an incredible response. It was actually seeing that your Brick By Brick demos post (another cool idea) got six comments and these Bragg demos (reasonably comparable items) got zilch that got me riled up. (Blog envy is kinda lame but there you go)

    P.S. Love the idea of a "you can't see the link till you leave a comment" idea!

  5. cheers MRML.... great site... many thanks for your hard work

  6. In response to the question, I think it's kind of a toss up. I also prefer Billy's Mermaid Ave songs, but, to my ears, Tweedy's voice is especially well suited to the material.

  7. Hi Jeff, I have dl both links and received 12 tracks from both. On the rear cover art it shows 21 tracks. On the inner cover it states 17 tracks. Track 12 is labelled "Give Me A Nail" on the rear cover and titled "Give Me A Light" on the inner. I am a tad confused.

    As to whom I personally prefer I have to say Billy although it's a very slight margine cheers.

  8. SomethingForNothingJune 18, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    Love this stuff. Thanks a lot.

  9. The Billy Bragg Strummer gig I put up has had a serious amount of traffic, and similar to here there has barely been a comment made.

  10. Hey Jeffen-

    Are the missing tracks from the boot really identical to the Mermaid Vol 2 tracks? Or are they demos of those tracks as these are demos of the first album's songs/

  11. are u nuts? who do you think you are? god? why don´t you quit posting when it is such a treasure? stop wining.

  12. Marky/TPC
    While it might not solve the befuddlement I have added a longer version

    Anon I
    Glad you enjoyed.

    Anon II
    It's true Tweedy's voice has a nice American Twang.

    It's a
    Yeah Bragg fans' terrible commenting has been a sore point since my first real post. However since my removal of the post things have turned around Maybe blogs like yours, mine and Marky's should just remove posts that don't generate discussion.

  13. Oh and by the way Anon troll, I refuse to stop winning.

  14. Thanks thanks thanks

  15. Cheers dude! Looking forward to this!

  16. I think it's almost an even draw. This collab. and its accompanying documentary video(s) were actually my introduction to Wilco, so I guess I leaned toward the Bragg stuff at first. In all, it was a very fruitful meeting of minds. Thanks for posting!

  17. "fruitful meeting of the minds"


  18. Hi. I've bought two copies of Mermaid Avenue Vol II and none of them will download on my itunes/Toast. Anyone else experienced these problems? Anyone know where I can get the files?

  19. BTW thank you for the download link to the demos. I'm trying to get a few musicians to do some covers of this stuff after rediscovering how good they are, but as stated in my previous comment can't for the life of me download MA Vol II.

  20. I've only got a download of 12 of the songs when there should be 17. Am I missing something? Thanks MRML for the link.

  21. Wilco songs much better. To not speak about voices. I'm so sorry for Billy

  22. Where where are you? .I have been checking your blog to no avail I look forward to reading your blog has been a rough few months:( jp

  23. Billy Bragg blew my freaking mind as a kid. 19 years old. 1989. I was a young romantic and Workers Playtime was the soundtrack to my fantasies about women. I didn't need to have politics to empathize with how fervent he was for ideals. He made my being young and aimless mean something.


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