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The Bard Antihero
Bill Bragg’s Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards
Folk Punk, two words that don’t seem to fit in a rational world. And yet the musical subgenre by that name has been an integral part of Punk since the 80s (origins in the 70s with the rest of the Punk movement). Bill Bragg helped to legitimize the mellower side of angry rebellion with accessible riffs, smart lyrics and social commentary. A different side of Dylan and Springsteen with a UK sensibility and processed through the lens of The Clash and The Sex Pistols. London calling another voice to bleed sincere, working class poetry into song.
Called the Bard of Barking (partly because of his hometown), Bragg cut his teeth in the London Punk scene and had a brief stint with the band Riff Raff before branching out on his own with a new vision for the type of music he wanted to create. His debut album, Life’s a Riot with Spy vs. Spy, was released in 1983. In all, Bragg released 13 studio albums along with live albums, compilations and singles.
Bragg’s activism was synonymous with his music right out of the gate, understanding early on that the two were an effective alliance in bringing attention to social issues important to the singer songwriter, lending his voice in support of political rallies and labor strikes.
Released in 1998, the single Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards was from the album Workers Playtime. This copy of the single was for promotional use only, not for sale.