119: Skiffle, The Beatles, and Billy Bragg

August 29, 2017

Podcast, Podcasting

For too many years, the role of Skiffle in The Beatles’ development as artists has been glossed over or diminished. Not anymore: in his new book, Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World, singer/songwriter/activist Billy Bragg presents an examination of the musical and sociological history of skiffle – where it came from; what it meant to a generation in post-war Britain, and how it paved the way for the British Invasion – while also restoring Lonnie Donegan to his rightful place as a true cultural revolutionary.

In this episode, Robert and Richard host this special guest, discussing his book as well as his recent release, Shine A Light – a collection of railroad songs recorded on the road across the US.

The Shine A Light project: http://shinealight-joehenry.billybragg.co.uk/ 
For more on Billy: http://www.billybragg.co.uk/ 
Find Richard’s books here.
Find Robert’s books here.
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    10 Responses to “119: Skiffle, The Beatles, and Billy Bragg”

    1. Kevin Says:

      I can’t wait to read Billy’s book. He was a great guest!


    2. Paul McNulty Says:

      What a brilliant show! Thanks for getting Billy on and just letting him talk – which he certainly did…I learnt a lot from that history lesson but it never once felt like being back at school. Cheers


    3. Paul Says:

      The book is nothing short of fascinating. Very scholarly but well written and very entertaining at the same time. I’m halfway through the book. Wishing for volume 2.


    4. Tony aka Pismotality Says:

      Billy Bragg mentions the books by Chas McDevitt and Mike Dewe but not Pete Frame’s 2007 The Restless Generation, which is surely a must in this context, detailing skiffle’s emergence from trad jazz and its being subsumed by rock’n’roll. I haven’t read Bragg’s book so can’t speak for its content or quality but Frame’s book is comprehensive and highly entertaining, with a great deal about Lonnie Donegan, not always complimentary.


    5. marshall Says:

      Best guest you guys have ever had. Great, informative show.


    6. David M Says:

      Superb show. I had the good fortune of seeing Lonnie Donegan opening for Van Morrison in the late 90s. He was great.


    7. James L Says:

      Such a wonderful podcast. This period of time is so interesting and important and giving Billy Bragg the time and freedom to share his stories was true magic. Thank you so much for your hard work in putting your podcasts together. Long may it continue!!!


    8. Simon Says:

      Good show.The best skiffle, Donegan when he was showing his love for the music – Lost John, New Burying Ground and the like, Dickie Bishop – Jesse James (his No Other Baby covered by McCartney), Nancy Whiskey and The Vipers – is great music and is roots music before it was labelled as such. The impact it had on kids starting to play their own music is well communicated by Billy. My Dad’s first single was Be Bop A Lula but he had stacks of Donegan’s 78s and eps and of course Johnny Duncan’s Last Train to San Fernando


    9. Colin Ricketts Says:

      Wonderful as ever!

      Thank you Robert and Richard and thank you Billy.

      I do recommend any listeners who haven’t heard much Billy check out his own stuff – my own personal favourite album is Don’t Try This at Home, for what it’s worth.

      She’s Leaving Home’s not a half bad version either!

      Cheers. . .


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