Billy Bragg & Kirsty MacColl Hackney Empire (1991)
Wince-inducing cover art aside, this is a BIG one. It`s a New Year's Eve concert broadcast live by the BBC this includes lots of Bragg-iness and also an entire set by the wildly-talented and prematurely-departed Kirsty MacColl. Billy and Kirsty's intersecting history includes having their less-than-auspicious debut records come out on the same day in June of 1978 on Chiswick Records (Bily in Riff Raff, Kirsty in The Drug Adix), both having covered Smiths` songs (Bille did "Jeanne" and Kirsty totally owned "You Just Haven't Earned it Yet, Baby" ) having both recorded Bragg's "A New England" (Billy`s had less words and Kirsty`s had more production) and, always a big one for this blogger, they both loved The Clash:
Interestingly, Billy and Kirsty also bonded over the less-than-stellar Johnny Moped song "Darling, Let's Have Another Baby" to which they manage to inject a lot of life.
CD 1 76:09 Billy Bragg: 1. Richard 2. Little Time Bomb 3. St Swithin's Day 4. A Lover Sings 5. Honey I'm A Big Boy Now 6. The Few 7. The Man In The Iron Mask 8. Levi Stubbs Tears
Kirsty MacColl & Band 9. A New England 10. Fifteen Minutes 11. Don't Come The Cowboy 12. Train In Vain 13. Walking Down Madison 14. Free World 15. They Don't Know 16. There's a Guy Down at the Chip Shop Swears he's Elvis 17. Fairytale of New York 18. Darling Lets Have Another Baby (w/ Bragg).
CD 2 75:10 Jupitus as Porky the Poet 19. Bestiality
Billy Bragg 20. Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards 21. The Warmest Room 22. Suwlk 23. Accident Waiting to Happen 24. Help Save The Youth Of America
Everybody 25. Auld Lang Syne
Billy Bragg 26. You Woke up my Neighbourhood 27. Greetings to the New Brunette 28. Body of Water 29. North Sea Bubble 30. Must I Paint You A Picture 31. Mother of the Bride 32. Cindy of a Thousand Lives (w/ MacColl) 33. Sexuality (w/ MacColl)
CD 3 30:08 / 33:05 / 2.48 34. Between The Wars > A New England 35. Billericay Dickie
Everybody 36. A Message To You,Rudi > Messages / Intros
Billy Bragg 37. A13, Trunk Road to the Sea
By the 90`s Bragg was touring with a full band (led by long-time associate Wiggy), The Red Stars, who I saw at The Commodore in Vancouver in 1991. The band was good, as this bootleg ably demonstrates, but there was a certain air of business-as-usualness that those old solo shows never had.
So COMMENTERS, two questions, what did you make off Bragg`s Red Stars era and what`s your take on Kirsty MacColl (and don't forget that the comment section is where you'll find the three Hackney Empire links).
P.S. I`m still looking for shows from a few different eras so if anyone knows a good source for Billy Bragg bootlegs let me know!!
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