13 April 2006

X-Mal Deutschland - Girl In The Iron Mask

889 708-7 (7"), 889 709-1 (12"), 889 709-2 (CD)

Wow, have you seen the new Billy Bragg reissues? They're doing them all as double discs with every extra track we know and a few we don't. Billy and Johnny Marr in Billy's front room in 1986 doing Back To The Old House, A Lover Sings and the Stones' The Last Time!

I've just got the swanky box set and it's superb.

Billy's not only released non-album B-sides, he's put a lot of exclusive tracks on compilations over the years.

I'd planned to post a wonderful yet obscure version of Man In The Iron Mask from a 1984 compilation LP called Jamming! A New Optimism. It's better even than the album version, with a gorgeous plaintive trumpet solo. But nope, that's on the new reissues.

So, it's time for other people's takes on it.

On the single of I'll Be Near You, 4AD-ers X-Mal Deutschland did this version with a gender change in the lyric. It appears to have only been released on this single, and only in Germany. Talk about rare.

They give it the gorgeous solemn stillness and ache of Bragg's original with a tender softness of vocal delivery.

Pop back in a few days for another cover of the song.

[MP3 deleted to make way for new ones. Sorry!]


Oh, there is actually a bit of unreleased Bragg available for download. He's just - like only just, like recorded it on 22nd March - rewritten Dylan's Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol in memory of Rachel Corrie. It's downloadable from here

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