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Billy Bragg (the B-Side)

Mastertapes, Series 1 Episode 2 of 14

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 05 November 2012

John Wilson launches a major new series in which he talks to leading performers and songwriters about the album that made them or changed them. Recorded in front of a live audience at the BBC's iconic Maida Vale Studios.

Programme 1, Side B. 'Talking With The Taxman About Poetry' - Having discussed the making of his self-proclaimed 'difficult' third album (in the A-side of the programme, broadcast on Tuesday 30th October and still available online), Billy Bragg responds to questions from the audience.

He considers the state of protest songs today, reveals what music he is writing at the moment and explains what poetry he would discuss with today's taxman. And he plays excerpts from the album live in front of the audience.

Future Programmes will include Paul Weller talking about the Jam's last album, 'The Gift'; Suzanne Vega recalls the making of 'Solitude Standing', the album that made her a worldwide superstar; and Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone takes us back to the seminal Zombies' record 'Odessey and Oracle'

Complete versions of the songs performed in the programme (and others) can be heard on the 'Mastertapes' pages on the Radio 4 website, where the programmes can also be downloaded and other musical goodies accessed.

Producer: Paul Kobrak.

  • The A-Side

    Billy Bragg talks to John Wilson about Talking with the Taxman about Poetry.

  • More about Billy Bragg

    Billy Bragg
    Watch videos and read reviews of Billy's recent albums on the BBC's Music pages.
  • The John Peel Lecture

    Billy Bragg
    Billy Bragg explores how the pirates of radio become mainstream and in what ways broadcasters should reflect that.


Live tracks

Paul Weller at Maida Vale Studios

Watch and listen to exclusive live performances from the Mastertapes recordings.


  1. Image for Mastertapes


    John Wilson interviews leading musicians about the creation of an album they feel is one of their…

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