In the midst of essay procrastination I found myself trawling through the Billy Bragg merch website, I’m not really sure what I was looking for but I’m glad I did. Intrigued by a book section on a singer’s website I had to have a look, one book drew my attention. So I bought ‘A Lover Sings – Selected Lyrics’, I liked the idea of having a physical copy of his favourite lyrics, as his songs have a poetic nature it makes sense to collect them in an anthology.
When it arrived I noticed it was hand signed in the front, which I thought was a really nice personal touch that makes the book feel a bit more special. The first section is Bragg discussing his musical history and personal life, you really get a better understanding of him as a man and what influenced him to write as he does. The main body is, of course, the collection of selected lyrics in a poetry format. There is a good selection of his different works, both the political and romantic ballads but much of his work mixes the two anyway! It’s funny how differently they read if you know the song before you read the poem, its impossible to not read them in his voice to the well-known tune but I found a charm in that.
The last section was my favourite part, I didn’t realise it was there so that was a nice surprise. Bragg discusses his reasons behind each song, often with humour with an anecdotal edge, it feels like a very personal insight into an artist’s process and something fans don’t normally get to see in so much detail. It has also exposed me to some new songs that I haven’t heard before but will definitely be giving a listen.
So, if you’re a Billy Bragg fan or just like witty political poetry with a romantic edge, I would definitely give this collection a chance! Thanks for reading.