In my music collection, I have many versions of “A New England.” I think it’s a natural, perhaps inevitable result of being a Billy Bragg fan in good standing. The song he wrote when he was twenty-one years old — age-stamping it with an opening couplet borrowed from Simon and Garfunkel — has enjoyed a robust, fulfilling life, traveling around the world and back again many times over, beginning with the single the late, great Kirsty MacColl took into the U.K. Top 10. By the time my college radio station’s preferred band of brash, punky geniuses took a pass at the song, it was clear I would never have a shortage of options when it come to “A New England.”
It’s not all accurate to assert that “A New England” gets better when combined expertly onstage with one of the finer, smarter pop singles of the first decade of the twenty-first century, but it certainly make for one of the more immediately charming versions. “Foundations” originally appeared on Kate Nash’s 2007 debut album, Made of Bricks. When she performed with Bragg — and she did and does from time to time — the duo would occasionally let their famous songs intertwine, to an endearing result.
So, yes, I’ve got a lot of renditions of “A New England.” This track proves I can always use more.
Listen or download —> Billy Bragg and Kate Nash, “Foundations/A New England”
(Disclaimer: To my knowledge, this track has not been released in a manner that can be acquired through an exchange of items of value. Both Bragg and Nash have plenty of fine releases that can be acquired from your favorite local, independently owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said business establishment and the original artist. I urge you to engage in that commerce at your earliest convenience. And watch GLOW. Although I feel strongly that sharing this track falls under the legal principle of fair use, I do know the rules. I will gladly and promptly remove this file from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)