The Billy Bragg career story is quite a tale. From busking, to deception, to luck and realities, Billy Bragg ended up releasing albums that made a statement for fans. He made his points across the late ’70s with performances, releasing his debut and other albums across the ’80s and ’90s, and is still active to this day. His latest album was released in 2021. All of that deserves a definitive collection, which Cooking Vinyl is pleased to undertake.

On October 27, a monumental collection of 300 songs over 14 CDs that include 13 studio albums, sessions tracks, B-sides, non-album singles, live performance tracks, EPs, and other previously unreleased tracks making the box set an incredible dive into the career of Billy Bragg. The set will be titled The Roaring Forty: 1983-2023. The box will include a 12″ bound book, a replica flyer from his first gig, a lyric sheet for “A Lover Sings”, a replica of his membership card to the Smokey Robinson Fan Club, his manifesto, and plenty of Billy Bragg commentary by the man himself.

The Roaring Forty: 1983-2023 will be released on 14CD Box, DD, 1LP, 3LP, and a heavily condensed 2CD set.

The Roaring Forty: 1983-2023Billy Bragg

CD1 (1983-1984 – Life’s A Riot With Spy Vs. Spy Plus…)
Life’s A Riot With Spy Vs. Spy (May 1983)
01 The Milkman Of Human Kindness
02 To Have And To Have Not
03 Richard
04 A New England
05 The Man In The Iron Mask
06 The Busy Girl Buys Beauty
07 Lovers Town Revisited
Album Extras
08 Strange Things Happen (Alternative Version)
09 The Cloth 1
10 Love Lives Here
11 Speedway Hero
12 Loving You Too Long
13 The Man In The Iron Mask (Alternative Version)
14 This Guitar Says Sorry (Alternative Version)
15 Love Gets Dangerous (Alternative Version)
16 The Cloth 2
17 A13, Trunk Road To The Sea
18 Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend
John Peel Session July 27, 1983
19 A New England
20 Strange Things Happen
21 This Guitar Says Sorry
22 Love Gets Dangerous
23 Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend
24 A13, Trunk Road To The Sea
Live at the ICA, London January 05, 1984
25 The Busy Girl Buys Beauty
26 The Man In The Iron Mask
27 A New England

CD2 (1984-1985 – Brewing Up With Plus…)
Brewing Up With… (October 1984)
01 It Says Here
02 Love Gets Dangerous
03 The Myth Of Trust
04 From A Vauxhall Velox
05 The Saturday Boy
06 Island Of No Return
07 St. Swithin’s Day
08 Like Soldiers Do
09 This Guitar Says Sorry
10 Strange Things Happen
11 A Lover Sings
Album Extras
12 It Must Be A River
13 Won’t Talk About It
14 Talking Wag Club Blues
15 You Got The Power
16 The Last Time
17 Back To The Old House
18 A Lover Sings (Alternative Version)
Between The Wars EP (February 1985)
19 Between The Wars
20 Which Side Are You On?
21 World Turned Upside Down
22 It Says Here (Alternative Version)
Days like These EP (December 1985)
23 Days Like These
24 I Don’t Need This Pressure Ron
25 Scholarship Is The Enemy Of Romance
26 Between The Wars (Live at Festival Des Politischen Liedes, Berlin)

CD3 (1986 – 1988 – Talking With The Taxman Plus…)
Talking With The Taxman About Poetry (September 1986)
01 Greetings To The New Brunette
02 Train Train
03 The Marriage
04 Ideology
05 Levi Stubbs’ Tears
06 Honey, I’m A Big Boy Now
07 There Is Power In A Union
08 Help Save The Youth Of America
09 Wishing The Days Away
10 The Passion
11 The Warmest Room
12 The Home Front
Album Extras
13 Shirley
14 The Tracks Of My Tears
15 Wishing The Days Away (Alternative Version)
16 The Clashing Of Ideologies (Alternative Version)
17 A Nurse’s Life Is Full Of Woe
18 Only Bad Signs
19 Hold The Fort
From ‘Levi Stubbs’ Tears‘ (June 1986)
20 Think Again
21 Walk Away Renee (Version) (Introducing Duane Tremelo)
From ‘Greetings To The New Brunette‘ (November 1986)
22 The Tatler
23 Deportees (With Hank Wangford)
24 Jeane
25 Sin City (With Hank Wangford)

CD4 (1988 – 1989 – Workers Playtime Plus…)
Workers Playtime (September 1988)
01 She’s Got A New Spell
02 Must I Paint You A Picture
03 Tender Comrade
04 The Price I Pay
05 Little Time Bomb
06 Rotting On Remand
07 Valentine’s Day Is Over
08 Life With The Lions
09 The Only One
10 The Short Answer
11 Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards
Album Extras
12 The Price I Pay (Demo)
13 Love Has No Pride
14 That’s Entertainment
15 She’s Got A New Spell (Demo)
16 Little Time Bomb (Demo)
17 Bad Penny (Demo)
18 Reason To Believe (Live at Club Soda, Montreal, November 1988)
19 Raglan Road (Live at Womad Festival Toronto, August 1989)
20 She’s Leaving Home (With Cara Tivey) (Single, March 1988)
21 Wishing The Days Away (Ballad Version) (from ‘Waiting For The Great Leap Forward’, August 1988)

CD5 (1990 – 1991 – The Internationale Plus…)
The Internationale (May 1990)
01 The Internationale
02 I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night
03 The Marching Song Of The Covert Battalions
04 Blake’s Jerusalem
05 Nicaragua Nicarauguita
06 The Red Flag
07 My Youngest Son Came Home Today
Album Extras
08 Joe Hill (With The Pattersons)
09 This Land Is Your Land (With Heathens All)
10 Never Cross A Picket Line
11 A Change Is Gonna Come
12 A Miner’s Life
Live And Dubious EP: Help Save The Youth Of America (April 1988)
13 Introduction
14 Help Save The Youth Of America
15 Think Again
16 Chile Your Waters Run Red Through Soweto
17 Days Like These (DC Remix)
18 To Have And To Have Not
19 There Is Power In A Union (With The Pattersons)
Billy Bragg Live (Canada 1991)
20 Levi Stubbs’ Tears
21 Ideology
22 The Short Answer
23 Seven & Seven Is (from ‘Rubáiyát (Elektra’s 40th Anniversary)’, March 1990)

CD6 (1991 – 1992 – Don’t Try This At Home Plus…)
Don’t Try This At Home (September 1991)
01 Accident Waiting To Happen
02 Moving The Goalposts
03 Everywhere
04 Cindy Of A Thousand Lives
05 You Woke Up My Neighbourhood
06 Trust
07 God’s Footballer
08 The Few
09 Sexuality
10 Mother Of The Bride
11 Tank Park Salute
12 Dolphins
13 North Sea Bubble
14 Rumours Of War
15 Wish You Were Her
16 Body Of Water
17 Bad Penny (from ‘Sexuality’, June 1991)
From ‘You Woke Up My Neighbourhood‘ (September 1991)
18 Ontario, Quebec And Me
19 Bread And Circuses
20 Heart Like A Wheel
From ‘Accident Waiting To Happen‘ (February 1992)
21 Accident Waiting To Happen (Red Star Version)
22 Sulk
23 Revolution

CD7 (1996 – 1997 – William Bloke Plus…)
William Bloke (September 1996)
01 From Red To Blue
02 Upfield
03 Everybody Loves You Babe
04 Sugardaddy
05 A Pict Song
06 Brickbat
07 The Space Race Is Over
08 Northern Industrial Town
09 The Fourteenth Of February
10 King James Version
11 Goalhanger
Album Extras
12 Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet? (Demo)
From ‘The Boy Done Good‘ (May 1997)
13 The Boy Done Good (Extended Edit)
14 Run Out Of Reasons
15 Just One Victory
From ‘Bloke On Bloke‘ (June 1997)
16 The Boy Done Good
17 Qualifications
18 Sugardaddy (Smokey Gets In Your Ears Mix)
19 Never Had No One Ever
20 Rule Nor Reason
21 Thatcherites

CD8 (1998 – 2012 – The Mermaid Avenue Recordings)
From ‘Mermaid Avenue‘ (June 1998)
01 Walt Whitman’s Niece (With Wilco)
02 Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key (With Wilco)
03 Birds And Ships (With Natalie Merchant)
04 She Came Along To Me (With Wilco)
05 Ingrid Bergman
06 I Guess I Planted (With Wilco)
07 Eisler On The Go (With Wilco)
08 The Unwelcome Guest (With Wilco)
From ‘Mermaid Avenue Volume 2‘ (November 1999)
09 My Flying Saucer (With Wilco)
10 Hot Rod Hotel (With Wilco)
11 Stetson Kennedy (With Wilco)
12 All You Fascists (With Wilco)
13 Meanest Man (With Wilco)
14 Black Wind Blowing
From ‘Mermaid Avenue Volume 3‘ (June 2012)
15 Bugeye Jim
16 My Thirty Thousand (With Wilco)
17 Ought To Be Satisfied Now
18 Go Down To The Water
19 Jailcell Blues (With Wilco)
20 Don’t You Marry
21 Give Me A Nail (With Wilco)
22 Union Prayer
23 Be Kind To The Boy On The Road (With Wilco)
24 I’m Out To Get (With Wilco)

CD9 (1998 – 2002: Billy Bragg And The Blokes Plus…)
England, Half English (March 2002)
01 St. Monday
02 Jane Allen
03 Distant Shore
04 England, Half English
06 Some Days I See The Point
07 Baby Faroukh
08 Take Down The Union Jack
09 Another Kind Of Judy
10 He’ll Go Down
11 Dreadbelly
12 The Tears Of My Tracks
From ‘Take Down The Union Jack‘ (May 2002)
13 Mystery Shoes
14 England, Half English (7″ Remix)
15 Take Down The Union Jack (Band Version)
16 Yarra Song
17 You Pulled The Carpet Out
From ‘The Mermaid Avenue Tour: You Can Call Me Cupcake‘ (January 1999)
18 Christ For President (Live in the studio October / November 1999)
19 California Stars (Live in the studio October / November 1999)
20 Hoodoo Ska Voodoo (Live in the studio October / November 1999)
21 My Father’s Mansion (from ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone: The Songs Of Pete Seeger’, March 1998)
22 England Half English Meets John Barleycorn (With Eliza and Martin Carthy) (from ‘The Imagined Village’ E.P., (September 2007)

CD10 (2006 – 2010 Mr. Love & Justice Plus…)
Mr. Love & Justice (March 2008)
01 I Keep Faith
02 I Almost Killed You
03 M For Me
04 The Beach Is Free
05 Sing Their Souls Back Home
06 You Make Me Brave
07 Something Happened
08 Mr. Love & Justice
09 If You Ever Leave
10 O Freedom
11 The Johnny Carcinogenic Show
12 Farm Boy
13 Ash Wednesday (Band Version)
14 Like Soldiers Do (Acoustic Version) (from ‘I Keep Faith’ 7-inch single, March 2008)
15 The Price Of Oil
16 Down In The Willow Garden (from ‘The Progressive Patriot: Complimentary Music’, November 2006)
17 Old Clash Fan Fight Song (from ‘Johnny Clash’ single, August 2007)
18 The Big Lie
From ‘Six Songs From Pressure Drop‘ (April 2010)
19 Home
20 Same Again
21 There Will Be A Reckoning (Pressure Drop Version)
22 All You Fascists 2010
23 Tomorrow’s Going To Be A Better Day (Pressure Drop Version)
24 The Battle Of Barking
25 A New England (from ‘A Concert For Kirsty MacColl’, Shepherds Bush Empire 10/10/2010)

CD11 (2011 – 2015 – Tooth & Nail Plus…)
Tooth & Nail (March 2013)
01 January Song
02 No One Knows Nothing Anymore
03 Handyman Blues
04 I Ain’t Got No Home
05 Swallow My Pride
06 Do Unto Others
07 Over You
08 Goodbye, Goodbye
09 There Will Be A Reckoning
10 Chasing Rainbows
11 Your Name On My Tongue
12 Tomorrow’s Going To Be A Better Day
From ‘Fight Songs: A Decade Of Downloads‘ (November 2011)
13 We’re Following The Wrong Star
14 Never Buy The Sun
15 Last Flight To Abu Dhabi
16 Constituition Hill
17 Lay Down Your Weary Tune (from ‘Chimes Of Freedom: The Songs Of Bob Dylan’, February 2012)
18 Song Of The Iceberg (from ‘No One Knows Nothing Anymore’ 7-inch Single, April 2013)
19 There Is Power In A Union (recorded for the film Pride, September 2014)
20 Hope St. (With The Levellers) (Single, 2014)
21 Kilroy Was Here (from ‘Joy Of Living: A Tribute To Ewan MacColl’ October 2015)
22 Sunday Morning (With Courtney Barnett) (from RockWiz Sunday Morning September 2015)

CD12 (2016 – 2017 – Shine A Light Plus…)
Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad with Joe Henry (September 2016)
01 Rock Island Line
02 The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore
03 The Midnight Special
04 Railroad Bill
05 Lonesome Whistle
06 KC Moan
07 Waiting For A Train
08 In The Pines
09 Gentle On My Mind
10 Hobo’s Lullaby
11 Railroading On The Great Divide
12 John Henry
13 Early Morning Rain
Live at Buxton Opera House with Joe Henry – January 21, 2017
14 Why We Build The Wall
15 The Midnight Special
16 The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore
Bridges Not Walls (November 2017)
17 The Sleep Of Reason
18 King Tide And The Sunny Day Flood
19 Why We Build The Wall
20 Saffiyah Smiles
21 Not Everything That Counts Can Be Counted
22 Full English Brexit

CD13 (2021 – The Million Things Plus…)
The Million Things That Never Happened (October 2021)
01 Should Have Seen It Coming
02 Mid-Century Modern
03 Lonesome Ocean
04 Good Days And Bad Days
05 Freedom Doesn’t Come For Free
06 Reflections On The Mirth Of Creativity
07 The Million Things That Never Happened
08 The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here No More
09 I Believe In You
10 Pass It On
11 I Will Be Your Shield
12 Ten Mysterious Photos That Can’t Be Explained
Lockdown Live: The Million Things Streamed Launch (September 2021)
13 Sulk
14 Moving The Goalposts
15 Ten Mysterious Photos That Can’t Be Explained
16 The Million Things That Never Happened
17 King Tide And The Sunny Day Flood
18 Mid-Century Modern
19 Cindy Of A Thousand Lives
20 Lonesome Ocean

CD14 (Rare and Previously Unreleased Recordings 1987 – 2015)
01 Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) (Live)
02 The Internationale (with Pete Seeger)
03 Salt of the Earth (with Peter Buck)
04 My Youngest Son Came Home Today (with Michael Stipe)
05 PF Sloan Billy Bragg (with Mike Mills)
06 Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby (with Kirsty MacColl)
07 If I Had A Hammer Billy Bragg (with Eliza Carthy)
08 Slipknot
09 Marching Out From Selma
10 When The Ship Comes In (Live)
11 Don’t Do It Liza Billy Bragg (with KT Tunstall)
12 The Drugs Don’t Work Billy Bragg (with KT Tunstall)
13 I Ain’t Got No Home (with Foy Vance)
14 On A Good Day
15 Talkin’ World War III Blues
16 The Rebels of ’48 (Live)
17 An English Revolutionary (Live)
18 Ballots and Bread (Live)
19 Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You (with Joe Henry)
20 If We Make It Through December (with Joe Henry)
21 Springhill
22 Can’t Be There Today

By MARowe