One wouldn't imagine that a died-in-red-wool socialist agitator and spiritual offspring of Woody Guthrie would be able to make serious inroads in modern-rock radio, but Billy Bragg did indeed slip onto some playlists with ... more »1991's Don't Try This at Home. Working with a full band (the Smiths' Johnny Marr and R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Michael Stipe are among the guests) with bits of brass and strings shading the arrangements, Bragg came up with a surplus of hooky songs highlighted by the minor hit "Sexuality." Conflict both personal ("You Woke Up My Neighborhood," "Accident Waiting to Happen") and political ("Everywhere," "God's Footballer") intertwine among these 16 songs in customary Bragg fashion. Ultimately, Home stands as one of the Brit firebrand's most accessible efforts. --Steven Stolder« less
One wouldn't imagine that a died-in-red-wool socialist agitator and spiritual offspring of Woody Guthrie would be able to make serious inroads in modern-rock radio, but Billy Bragg did indeed slip onto some playlists with 1991's Don't Try This at Home. Working with a full band (the Smiths' Johnny Marr and R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Michael Stipe are among the guests) with bits of brass and strings shading the arrangements, Bragg came up with a surplus of hooky songs highlighted by the minor hit "Sexuality." Conflict both personal ("You Woke Up My Neighborhood," "Accident Waiting to Happen") and political ("Everywhere," "God's Footballer") intertwine among these 16 songs in customary Bragg fashion. Ultimately, Home stands as one of the Brit firebrand's most accessible efforts. --Steven Stolder
"I agree totally with the previous reviewer Tank Park Salute is worth the CD. I have heard mre than a 1000 cd's in my life and this song, as well as the Cranberries Dying In The Sun are the only 2 that are guaranteed to water the eyes. Sexuality is a great great song. One of Billy's best. God's Footballer is sad and Beautiful. Every song is either good or great. This is head and shoulders above any of the alternative bands. Bragg is a terrific songwriter ad I feel this is his best album."
A bit of spit and polish brings up our Bill!
Vern Pascal | 11/15/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a brilliant album. Billy Bragg's talent for matching whistful poetry with melody was never greater. Far better produced than his earlier albums and less folksy and accoustic, "Don't try this at home" introduced Bragg to a (well deserved) wider audience. There are still some lovely folksy moments--"Everywhere" is a modern "Johnny, I hardly knew you", and "Tank Park Salute" always makes me cry. You would have had to have spent the past 8 years at the bottom of a cave not to know the self-parodying "Sexuality". Much of the rest of the album is musically upbeat early 90's jingle-jangle, with high points being The Few, North Sea Bubble and Body of Water. Cindy of a Thousand Lives buries some serious subversion (and very personal protest....) in an incredibly cryptic lyric (as you do). It goes without saying that much Billy Bragg is left-wing political and/or social commentary. If you're conservative, Thatcherite or Reaganite (or for that matter, Howardite or Shipleyite), you will probably find him objectionable. But that's okay, the feeling is probably mutual. Billy Bragg is (IMHO) the greatest protest singer/songwriter working today.It's a pity that the previous reviewer didn't like this album as much as Worker's Playtime. The criticisms in that review were a bit unfair. "God's Footballer" is a beautiful lilting waltz--if anyone considered him to be no more talented than a well crafted political slogan, this is disproof. Incidentally, Billy is much shyer than you might expect, & prefers not to be called "Mr Sexuality".....(if he's reading this, we're still embarrassed about that and hope he forgives us, he should know what I'm referring to.....)"
Loved It Even If I Didn't Want To
John R. Pomerville | Westland, MI USA | 09/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a Libertarian and probably disagree with 90% OF Bragg's Socialist Big Government solutions to all of the ills in this world. That being said, this album is 100% spectacular. I may argue politics with Billy but would never argue music. This is one of the finest collection of songs in the Folk/Rock genre of the last 50 years. Each song is tunefull in its own way. Even though some of the lyrics are banal (Sexuality comes immediately to mind) the power of the melodies and arrangements lift each selection. Tank Park Salute and Moving The Goalposts are simply beautiful and speak to human relationships that are common to all regardless of politics. North Sea Bubble is a flat out rocker that gives a small salute to Libertarian Thought. At least I'd like to think so. 5 Stars!!! Buy it and enjoy. In a world of tripe like Madonna and Britney, this is an all too rare gem. I can't reccomend it highly enough."
Words cannot describe the quality - but i'll try...
Ziggy, the Last of the Space Cowboy | Pig Island | 12/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was literally blown over and left smiling after I had heard this album in its entirety. Where were the bad songs? I asked myself. I seemed that there weren't any! Folks, this is one of those rare album where filler is nowhere to be seen! Bragg really outdid himself in this, his second full band album, "Don't Try This At Home". The sound this time around is richer, more refined than that of his previous albums, and more commercial-sounding as well. This time Billy's band includes famous guests such as Johnny Marr (of the Smiths) who played guitar, co-wrote and co-produced a number of songs on the album, as well as Peter Buck and Michael Stipe (of REM). As with "Back to Basics", there are far too many individual standouts on his album to mention them all, but here's some: "Moving the Goalposts" and "God's Footballer" are absolutely beautiful. Two classic folk covers "Everywhere" (featuring mandolin by Peter Buck) and "Dolphins" are equally as breathtaking. "North Sea Bubble" sees Billy returning to his punk roots. "Sexuality" packs a powerful pop punch with witty lyrics and a killer tune. "Tank Park Salute", a tribute to Billy's late father is, hands down, Bragg's finest song, and one of the most moving and beautiful songs ever written.Well there you have it, and there's plenty of variety in these 16 songs. This is undoubtedly Bragg's most accessible set of songs, and is clearly one of the best albums of the early 90's. Plus, the art in the booklet is way cool!"
Outstanding rock-folk blend; biting social commentary.
Ziggy, the Last of the Space Cowboy | 11/27/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album/cd is astounding. I have been listening to it for at least five years now and I never tire of it. The more I listen to it, the more I am impressed by the layering not only of the music but of it's lyricism as well. I find this to be a one-of-a-kind find; Bragg himself has said that he aims for something completely different each time he records an album (from E-Town appearance last year); this album is meant to be more rock-oriented than his previous, or succesive, albums. His writing style is very wry, and he succeeded with this collection to blend strict folk-type themes with sounds that are more alternative-rock in style. Johnny Mars (Marr?), formerly of the Smiths, produced and plays on some of the tracks, and his influence gives the same presence to "Cindy of a Thousand Eyes" that he did to "How Soon is Now" with Morrisey. Kristy MacColl shows up on the aforementioned song in the background-very wonderful stuff. Peter Buck and J. Michael Stipe appear on "You Woke Up My Neighborhood," the first song I'd heard from this album that lead to my purchasing it. I had this recording in my possesion for almost a year, listening to it at least once a week. It took at least that year for it to grow on me-maybe even more. And yet, now I cannot go more than a month without listening to it-and many times over when I do. A truly under-appreciated piece of genius in folk-rock."