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Billy Bragg, ‘Mr. Love & Justice’ (Anti-)

The 50-year-old rabble-rouser hasn’t always done a good job of keeping the no-fun didacticism out of his liberal-humanist protest songs; more than once during the past two decades, he’s released a record that’s easier to admire than like. Here, though, leading a band that includes former Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan, Bragg gets the balance of message and music just about right. These warm, rootsy British soul arrangements make his calls for tenderness and dignity sound like the products of experience, not of dogma.

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Tags: Albums