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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, December 13, 2002
    A13 Trunk Road to the Sea
     
    I can't believe it. Billy Bragg has emailed me today to tell me that he's approaching twenty-five years in the music business. To celebrate he's put out a compilation of singles released by Riff Raff, Billy's first, punk-inspired band.


    Well, time marches on but timeless music doesn't. As proven by the continuing performance on his tour dates of the 1978 Bragg classic A13 (Trunk Road to the Sea). It's the Essex version of Route 66 and still the only acceptable end to any Bragg stage appearance.
      If you ever have to go to Shoeburyness
      Take the A road, the okay road that's the best
      Go motorin' on the A13

      If you're looking for a thrill that's new
      Take in Fords, Dartford Tunnel and the river too
      Go motorin' on the A13

      It starts down in Wapping
      There ain't no stopping
      By-pass Barking and straight through Dagenham
      Down to Grays Thurrock
      And rather near Basildon
      Pitsea, Thundersley, Hadleigh, Leigh-On-Sea,
      Chalkwell, Prittlewell
      Southend's the end

      If you ever have to go to Shoeburyness
      Take the A road, the okay road that's the best
      Go motorin' on the A13
    Twenty-five years hence I hope to be there seeing Bill and Wiggy still putting this song out onstage. Tonight I pay homage to the man who was the prime popular provider of pertinent political protest throughout those dark Thatcher years, and for that, Bill, as well as your songs, I'll be forever grateful.