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Reaching To The Converted (Minding The Gaps)

Billy BraggAudio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Price: $8.68 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Audio CD, 1999 $8.68  
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He was born Steven William Bragg in Essex around the time Tommy Steele was climbing the singles charts with Happy Guitar and the Soviet Union was launching Sputnik 2 into space. Today, on the verge of the release of his eleventh and best album, Mr. Love & Justice, he is known as Billy Bragg by his loyalists worldwide yet he is still called Steven by his Mother and still referred to as the ... Read more in Amazon's Billy Bragg Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 31, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B00000JZAK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,013 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Shirley
2. Sulk
3. Accident Waiting To Happen (Red Star Version)
4. The Boy Done Good
5. Heart like A Wheel
6. Bad Penny
7. Ontario, Quebec And Me
8. Walk Away Renee (Version)
9. Rule Nor Reason
10. Days Like These (U.K. Version)
11. Think Again
12. Scholarship Is The Enemy Of Romance
13. Wishing The Days Away (Ballad Version)
14. The Tatler
15. Jeane
16. She's Leaving Home
17. I Don't Need This Pressure Ron

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Reaching To The Converted (Minding The Gaps) by Billy Bragg

This product is manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Consider this something of a garage sale for Billy Bragg. On the heels of one of his career highs, Mermaid Avenue, the plugged-in folkie has dived into the hodgepodge he hoarded between 1985 and 1997 and compiled a surprisingly beguiling and cohesive collection of B-sides and bonus tracks. With nine selections from the '80s and eight from the '90s, Reaching offers considerable expanse while making a strong case for Bragg as one of the most productive and consistent post-punk performers to come out of Britain. Highlights here include a previously unreleased version of "Shirley," with the Smiths' Johnny Marr providing the instrumental backing, and a slew of savvy covers that includes the McGarrigles' "Heart Like a Wheel," the Left Banke's "Walk Away Renee," the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home," and Ry Cooder's "Tattler." Reaching to the Converted holds considerable appeal for Bragg partisans, but it's appealing enough to win over nonconverts, too. --Steven Stolder

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential CD for Bragg fans November 23, 1999
Format:Audio CD
Billy's version of Walk Away Renee (accompanied by Johnny Marr) alone makes this CD worth the cost. After seeing this song performed live in 1988 I've been searching through second hand record stores for years trying to find this track. I love the line "I told her I'm the most illegible bachelor in town, and she said yeah that's why I never understood any of those silly letters you keep sending". Cracks me up every time! Another highlight is a very beautiful rendition of She's Leaving Home with backup vocals from Cara Tivy. Very memorable. There are many other gems amongst this collection of B-sides. Essential CD for all Bragg fans.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glad we've got that cleared up.... October 6, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Good to hear the new version of 'Greetings to the New Brunette' - retitled 'Shirley' here, it's got a heavier sound than the original, and both are, in their different ways, excellent. Even better to get a lyric sheet for the song, where Bragg sings "I'm more impressionable when my _cement_ is wet". I always thought that instead of 'cement' he sang about something more...uhh...biological...Well, it certainly makes a lot more sense than 'cement'.
Best of all though is his version of 'Walk Away Renee'. The tune itself is always a heartbreaker, and on this recording guitarist Johnny Marr picks it out while Bragg talks about a funny/pathetic failed love affair ("The first time she spoke to me, my nose started to bleed. She guessed the rest"). Used to have this on the B side of one of his singles, now sadly long lost. At the time it seemed painfully accurate, presumably because I was going through a funny/pathetic failed love affair...It's a classic. Worth the price of admission alone.
The rest - there's some new stuff (to me, anyway) like 'Sulk' which is excellent; and a ballad version of 'Wishing the Days Away' which isn't bad though not up to the original. I'm not all that keen on Bragg's political rants, and this is not just political bias speaking. Unfortunately, when he gets on his soapbox he loses his delicacy of touch, not to mention his humour (when he keeps both, as on the 'Workers Playtime' album, he is great).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Compilation September 14, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Billy Bragg is undoubtedly the exponent of modern British folk music. Spanning Billy's 17 year carreer, this collection of B-sides and rarities is an awesome addition to any Bragg fan's collection. The songs, coming from different stages in Bragg's carrer, are pretty diverse musically, ranging from just guitar and vocals to the more produced, full-band sound of his recent work.
Whereras most other artists record B-sides just for the sake of backing up a single, Billy seemed to put as much effort into a B-side as any of his singles or album tracks. There are so many excellent tracks here that I don't know where to begin. There are some biting political rants in the good-ole Bragg tradition - the superb "Think Again" and "Days Like These"; some beautifully sparse love songs - "Ontario, Quebec and Me" and my personal favourite "Scholarship Is The Enemy Of Romance"; some poppy full-band tunes - the sublime "Sulk" and "Bad Penny"; and some inspired covers - "Jeanne" [The Smiths], "She's Leaving Home" [The Beatles], "The Tatler" [Ry Cooder] and "Heart Like A Wheel [Kate and Anna McGarrigle]. A few other songs worth mentioning are "Shirly", a remake of "Greetings To The New Brunette" on which Johnny Marr plays all the instruments; "Walk Away Renee", a love poem read by Billy accompanied again by Johnny Marr; and a nice sleepy folk song, "Rule Nor Reason".
If you are a die-hard Bragg fan this is a must have, but if you are unfamiliar with Bragg or are just getting into him, don't start here - instead start with "Back To Basics" - it's a marvellous introduction to this much overlooked talent that is Billy Bragg.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Billy Bragg B-sides? Brilliant! August 31, 1999
Format:Audio CD
Billy Bragg has never been as one-dimensional as some of his detractors might have you believe. His political aspect has always had it's counterpoint in his understanding of humanity. And that's exactly what comes across on this collection of B-sides and rarities.
If you want politics, you've got the excellent, tell-it-like-it-is "Think Again" and "Days Like These". But love songs also abound, both the bitter-sweet and the humorous. Some classics that need to be mentioned are "Walk Away Renee (version)","Bad Penny" and "Sulk". Other's worth special mention are "She's Leaving Home", "Rule nor Reason" and, of course, "Shirley (greetings to the new brunette)"
What has always stood out, for me, about all Billy's songs (and his covers of other artists songs) is his honesty. One gets the feeling that he's been there (whether it was good or bad), and that he couldn't be glib about it if he tried. So his voice convinces, and bites deep where others would merely leave scratches.
If you've never heard his songs before, give this a go - you'll enjoy it.
If you're already familiar with his work, why haven't you got it yet?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great career-spanning CD February 7, 2004
Format:Audio CD
... as a fan of Billy's since the release of 'Talking with the Taxman...', I bought this thinking it was exactly as titled, something for us 'Billy' fans, and it did NOT dissapoint... those of us in the 'States' had missed out on alot of what was released in England... that being said... the original of 'Accident Waiting to Happen' has much more power as a song, and 'Greetings...', in it's original version is also much better... the rest of this LP is fantastic throughout (including those re-made songs)... I've put songs from this LP on mix-tapes for friends, and they're never disappointed... it's wonderful how you can tell in each stage of Billy's career that 'this song' was an outtake from this album, and 'that song', was an outtake from this... and then there are his hits from England that we never got to hear until now.... amazing that one of my favorite artists ever could come out with the most 'essential' B-Sides LP ever... why couldn't XTC have done this?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This cd's grown on me to become a personal favorite
This is an album that's grown on me very much in the two years that I've owned it. The first Billy Bragg cd I owned and heard was "Back to Basics", and I loved it from the start. Read more
Published on April 30, 2008 by M. Bellefeuille
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Billy.
Irreverent, creative, and exploding with energy, Reaching to the Converted is one of my favorite Billy Bragg CDs. I still listen to it quite often even though I bought it in 1999. Read more
Published on March 25, 2007 by Bernard Chapin
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty darned coherent for the most illegible bachelor in town...
Billy Bragg's socialist politics, expressed both in his image and some of his more laborious music, have done a lot to obscure just how sublime a pop singer he can be. Read more
Published on August 1, 2005 by A guy from Philly
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for a sample of Billy Bragg's varying styles
Billy Bragg is not only a political activist, but the guy can sing a good ballad too.
There is a sampling of both here; from the beautiful heart-wrenching cover "A Heart... Read more
Published on January 25, 2003 by C. Wainwright
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Intro to Billy
I must confess to not knowing Billy till Mermaid ave.(which i love along with mermaid 2)But after purchasing this cd i definately plan on buying more from him. Read more
Published on August 2, 2000 by Goodja
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite Converted
This is the third Billy Bragg album that I've listened to and it is by far the best. It doesn't have much politics in it and more songs about love and relationships. Read more
Published on March 8, 2000 by Dan Adler
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!
As a young fella who's only been into Billy Bragg for a few of years and missed the chance to get his singles on vinyl, it's brilliant to finally be able to hear stuff like... Read more
Published on September 28, 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, catch him in concert if you can
I just bought this album the other day and saw Billy in concert that night. He plays too many Woody Guthrie songs in my opinion, but the man has to play what makes him happy, and... Read more
Published on September 15, 1999
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice-one Bill
An uneven album of B-sides and rarities, nevertheless essential for a few golden nuggets which all Bragg fans should have in their play-list. Read more
Published on September 9, 1999
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