Bragg and Wilco - Mermaid Avenue Volume II
Late, Great, Woody Guthrie - Reincarnated Again
Guthrie penned lyrics for literally thousands of songs, many
of which never saw the light of day. That is, until now. A
few years back, Guthrie's daughter Nora came to Billy Bragg
and asked him if he would put her father's words to music.
You see, Guthrie never knew how to write music, so the melodies
were lost. Nora felt Bragg's protest songs were the closest
anyone had ever been to her father, and that he would be the
one to do her father justice. So, in 1998 Mermaid Avenue
was released with alt.country band Wilco acting as Bragg's
backup band. The collaboration went on to enjoy enormous praise
from critics and fans alike, and was on most top ten lists
of that year.
2000 Billy Bragg and Wilco have teamed up once again to give
us more Guthrie. And once again, they did a magnificent job.
Most of the songs on the new album are leftovers from the
original Mermaid Avenue sessions, while a few were
recorded by Wilco back at their home. Thank God they decided
to release these tracks, instead of burying them as unreleased
delivers most of the vocals again, and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy
delivers a few as well, including "Mountain Bed,"
the most heartwarming song on the album. Bragg's vocals bring
about the gruffness felt in Guthrie's lyrics, as well as the
plain fun Guthrie had at times. "Feed of Man" features
Bragg's gruff style on one of Gurthrie's protest songs,
but "My Flying Saucer" features Guthrie's fun side.
Also, once again Natalie Merchant offers her singing talent,
this time on "I Was Born;" a simple children's song
set to acoustic guitar.
the album every fan of Mermaid Avenue prayed would
happen. It is not often that a sequel album comes close to
the first album. It is even less often that a sequel is on
par with the first, especially when the first one was a classic.
to the continuance of the Mermaid Avenue series. Like
I said, Guthrie penned thousands of songs - so Bragg and Wilco
have plenty of material left to take care of.
Bragg and Wilco
Avenue Vol. II
out of 5.0