Talking with the Taxman About Poetry

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Talking with the Taxman About Poetry
Studio album by Billy Bragg
Released September 1986
Recorded March–July 1986
Livingston Studios, London
Genre Rock
Length 38:06
Label Go! Discs (UK)
Elektra (US)
Producer Kenney Jones, John Porter
Billy Bragg chronology
Brewing Up with Billy Bragg
Talking with the Taxman About Poetry
Workers Playtime
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[2]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[4]

Talking with the Taxman About Poetry is the third album by Billy Bragg, released in 1986. With production by John Porter and Kenney Jones, Talking with the Taxman About Poetry featured more musicians than Bragg's previous works, which were generally little more than Bragg himself and a guitar. There were two singles released from the album. While "Levi Stubbs' Tears" peaked at No. 29 in the UK, the follow-up "Greetings to the New Brunette" fell short, only managing No. 58 a few months later.

The album's title is also the title of a Vladimir Mayakovsky poem, which appears as part of the liner notes.[5]

The song "There Is Power in a Union" is based on the song "Battle Cry of Freedom".

"Levi Stubbs' Tears" refers to songwriter Barrett Strong, producer Norman Whitfield, the members of the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting and production team as well as Levi Stubbs and the Four Tops.

The original album cover has the subtitle "The Difficult Third Album".[6]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Billy Bragg, except where noted.

Disc one[edit]

  1. "Greetings to the New Brunette" – 3:29
  2. "Train Train" (Zenon DeFleur) – 2:11
  3. "The Marriage" – 2:30
  4. "Ideology" (Bragg, Bob Dylan) – 3:27
  5. "Levi Stubbs' Tears" – 3:28
  6. "Honey, I'm a Big Boy Now" – 4:05
  7. "There Is Power in a Union" (Traditional, arr. Bragg) – 2:47
  8. "Help Save the Youth of America" – 2:45
  9. "Wishing the Days Away" – 2:28
  10. "The Passion" – 2:52
  11. "The Warmest Room" – 3:55
  12. "The Home Front" – 4:09

Disc two (2006 reissue)[edit]

  1. "Sin City" (Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman) – 3:34
  2. "Deportees" (Woody Guthrie, Martin Hoffman) – 4:03
  3. "There is Power in a Union" (instrumental) (George Root) – 3:16
  4. "The Tracks of My Tears" (Smokey Robinson, Warren Moore, Marvin Tarplin) – 2:56
  5. "Wishing the Days Away" (alternate version) – 2:32
  6. "The Clashing of Ideologies" (alternate version) – 2:52
  7. "Greetings to the New Brunette" (demo version) – 3:57
  8. "A Nurse's Life is Full of Woe" – 2:48
  9. "Only Bad Signs" – 3:10
  10. "Hold the Fort" (traditional) – 1:47





  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Billy Bragg". Robert Christgau. 
  3. ^ Rolling Stone review at the Wayback Machine (archived May 13, 2008)
  4. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City: Simon and Schuster. p. 101. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  5. ^ "Talking With Taxman About Poetry: Billy Bragg: Music". Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  6. ^ "Talking with the Taxman About Poetry", Billy Bragg, Elektra 9 60502-1 (1986) LP

External links[edit]