I was 18 when Billy Bragg’s ‘Worker’s Playtime’ was released. My friend James, who I had my first band with when we were teenagers, introduced me to it.
My heart had only just been stolen by the ghosts of skip James and Son House but in the end I couldn’t resist the brilliance of these songs even if part of me had already left for the virtual banks of my Mississippi. ‘The only one’ remains to this day one of my favorite love songs of all time.
I found out years later that Joe Boyd also produced the album, adding in the process to the list of pearls that he’s strung with over the decades.
To put it simply, Billy Bragg’s songs opened me up to a whole new way of songwriting that I didn’t know was possible and to this day I wonder at his use of metaphor, his playful language and his irony not to mention his biting wit and political bark.
Like many great songs, this one’s dead simple with a guitar riff that’s perfection itself. I love the almost African circularity of the guitar line and in my version
I’ve tried to emphasize that even more. In short, it’s my way of having fun with a wonderful song.