How does a musician fight back in the age of downloading when people are getting their music for free? Well, in an increasing number of cases they are producing special products that cannot be downloaded and are of appeal to their fans. Locally, Joe Camilleri produced a lavish book with 3 CDS but things do not have to be so elaborate. Billy Bragg’s new album comes in a lovely hard cover book format with audio and DVD discs and it is a nice collector’s item.
The Joe Henry-produced Tooth & Nail is Bragg’s first new studio album in five years and the deluxe package includes a 36-page songbook with photos and some of Bragg’s columns for Q Magazine in the late 2000s. The DVD was possibly an afterthought because it is merely a collection of videos, including the classic ‘Levi Stubbs’ Tears’ from 1986. It would have been commendable to have perhaps included a documentary on the making of the album but that might have blown the budget.
Easily one of the highlights of Bluesfest this year was the show by Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite. It was a sensational show and kudos to Harper for making sure the project happened. The deluxe version of the latest album include a great little doco on its making and 3 videos from the sessions. A terrific souvenir.