Skip to main content



Live Ledge #299: Skiffle

Last year, Billy Bragg and Joe Henry put out a charming album of covers called “Shine a Light”. To record this record, they boarded a train in Chicago and headed to L.A. On the way they recorded a bunch of train songs at various stops on the trip. Sometimes in train station waiting rooms. Sometimes at trackside. A song or two was even recorded in the very same hotel room that Robert Johnson recorded his legendary tunes.
One of the songs they recorded - “Rock Island Line”, one of the most important songs in British music history. A few weeks ago, a new book by Bragg called Roots, Radicals, and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World tells the story of “Rock Island Line” and everything that resulted from its release.

We’ve always been led to believe that British R&R began with the Beatles, Stones, etc, and they were influenced by Chuck Berry and American blues. Those influences aren’t entirely wrong, but the Big Bang actually happened a few years earlier with Skiffle. Charlie Watts, …

Latest Posts

Live Ledge #298: New Releases

Live Ledge #297: 2007

Live Ledge #296: 1997

Live Ledge #295: Alphabet Street

Live Ledge #294: New Releases

Live Ledge #293: Best of 2017 (So Far)

Live Ledge #292: The Cairo Gang

The Ledge Interview: Cairo Gang's Emmett Kelly

Live Ledge #291: 1987 (Again)

Live Ledge #290: Cactus Blossoms