Born OTD in 1957, English singer-songwriter, guitarist & political activist, Billy Bragg. The title Roots, Radicals and Rockers suggests that someone at the publishing house experienced a slight failure of nerve, perhaps concluding that the term skiffle nowadays lacks charisma, or even the recognition factor, and coming up instead with a form of words more appropriate to a history of reggae in the 1970s. But Billy Bragg’s book is indeed the story of skiffle, from its origins in Britain’s postwar traditional jazz movement to its eventual eclipse by rock’n’roll.

Roots, Radicals and Rockers

Emerging from the jazz clubs of the early 1950s, 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. Teenagers were looking for a music of their own in a culture dominated by crooners and mediated by a stuffy BBC. 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 a movement that sparked a revolution and shaped pop culture as we have come to know it.

Available in store and online.

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