Video Review

Billy Bragg Goes to Moscow and Norton, Virginia Too

EW's GRADE
B

Details With: Billy Bragg; Distributor: Elektra Music Video

Two musical journeys by folksinger Billy Bragg are documented in Billy Bragg Goes to Moscow and Norton, Virginia Too, with mixed results. The excellent first segment (entitled ''Which Side Are You On?'') follows the witty British troubadour on a 1989 swing through the American Southeast, in support of striking coal miners. When not talking about labor issues or bantering onstage, Bragg delivers a dozen pointed songs with unpretentious charm. While the no-frills performances are enjoyable enough, Bragg's candid comments illuminate both his music and his (liberal) politics. The ''Billy Bragg Goes to Moscow'' portion, shot during a short 1986 Soviet tour, is less successful. Bragg offers vague impressions of Soviet life and delivers punky song fragments in numerous settings, but haphazard editing (and too much footage of local bands) turns this meandering documentary into a test of patience, even for fans. B

Originally posted Dec 21, 1990 Published in issue #45 Dec 21, 1990 Order article reprints