Billy Bragg was in New York City recently spearheading “The Big Busk,” a musical collaboration at Lincoln Center with acoustic guitar wielding members of the public as well as a few dates at the City Winery. While in town he appeared on WFUV with morning DJ Claudia Marshall, playing some tunes and pumping up the events before heading out on a family road trip which includes a stop at a favorite American city, Asheville, North Carolina. But the showstopper was a song recently written in reaction to the Rupert Murdoch scandal back home in England.
It eloquently gives props to the people of Liverpool, who have been boycotting The Sun ever since the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster killed almost one hundred people and injured hundreds at a football/soccer match. The skewed sensationalistic reporting of the incident horrified the port city. Bragg reasons in the song, “Never Buy the Sun”, that the Scousers (as the Liverpudlians are known after a local dish) are the only ones who can “can hang there with their heads high”. Bragg marveled at the simple YouTube video gaining an audience before a studio recording is even released, a new tool he welcomes to get his message out. Bragg wrote the song on a Friday and performed it on a Saturday at the Garforth Arts Festival. He also told Marshall that there’s a long history of topical songs that the next generation needs to carry on.