Roots, Radicals and Rockers
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Roots, Radicals and Rockers : How Skiffle Changed the World

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Description

Emerging from the jazz clubs of the early '50s, skiffle - a uniquely British take on American folk and blues - caused a sensation among a generation of kids who had grown up during the dreary post-war years. These were Britain's first teenagers, looking for a music of their own in a culture dominated by crooners and mediated by a stuffy BBC. Sales of guitars rocketed from 5,000 to 250,000 a year, and - as with the punk rock that would flourish two decades later - all you needed to know were three chords to form your own group, with your mates accompanying on tea-chest bass and washboard.Against a backdrop of Cold War politics, rock and roll riots and a newly assertive working-class youth, Billy Bragg charts - for the first time in depth - the history, impact and legacy of Britain's original pop movement. It's a story of jazz pilgrims and blues blowers, Teddy Boys and beatnik girls, coffee-bar bohemians and refugees from the McCarthyite witch-hunts, who between them sparked a revolution that shaped pop culture as we have come to know it.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 31mm | 715g
  • FABER & FABER
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 0571327745
  • 9780571327744
  • 5,474

Review quote

"In his first book, musician, left-wing activist, and sonic archivist Bragg has crafted a remarkable history of skiffle, a particularly British music genre. Initiated by amateur players obsessed with the blues, jazz, and folk, skiffle lured teenagers obsessed with all things American and eager to dance away post-WWII conformity and deprivation. With a DIY ethos and three-chord tunes, skiffle inspired a generation of British lads to pick up guitars, including among them Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, and a young extraterrestrial who would later take the name "David Bowie." Roughly a cross between folk and R&B, skiffle quickly succumbed to the other two genres and faded from the charts, even as its former disciples led the British Invasion. Bragg impresses throughout with engaging prose and painstaking research. He further enlivens the text with personal insights and witty asides that give the material a unique cast few professional writers would dare. The introduction of dozens of new figures in the last third of the book diffuses the narrative but that's a minor demerit to an accomplished work. Ending with a flourish, Bragg convincingly argues for the emotional connection between skiffle and punk rock, something Bragg would know about better than most." (July) -- â Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)show more

About Billy Bragg

Stephen William "Billy" Bragg is an English singer-songwriter and left-wing activist. His music blends elements of folk music, punk rock and protest songs, with lyrics that mostly span political or romantic themes. Billy's music is heavily centred on bringing about change and getting the younger generation involved in activist causes. For the entirety of Bragg's 30-year-plus recording career he has been involved with grassroots political movements, and this is often reflected in his lyrics. Bragg said in an interview: "I don't mind being labelled a political songwriter. The thing that troubles me is being dismissed as a political songwriter."show more

Rating details

3 ratings
4.66 out of 5 stars
5 67% (2)
4 33% (1)
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