Tag Archives: The Pogues

Quick Update

I’m going to a wedding for the weekend, so until Monday enjoy this clip of Joe Strummer performing “London Calling” with the Pogues.

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Great Follow Ups to Debut Albums

I recently heard MGMT’s new album Congratulations and was unimpressed.  Oracular Spectacular was a fascinating debut filled with some great songs (“Kids” and “Time to Pretend”).  Sometimes it’s hard to follow up great debuts with another great record.  Here’s a list of some of my favorites.

Elvis Costello – This Year’s Model. Boosted by the Attractions on the follow-up to My Aim is True, the music finally matches Costello’s nastiness.

R.E.M. – Reckoning. Reckoning takes away the murkiness of Murmur resulting in an album full of Byrds fueled college rock.

The Band – The Band. Another terrific set songs on the follow-up to Music from Big Pink. Doesn’t contain the “big hit” (ie – “The Weight”) but “Rag Mama Rag” and “King Harvest Has Surely Come” are undisputed classics.

Ryan Adams – Gold.  Heartbreaker Ryan Adam tried to be a modern Gram Parsons.  (Emmylou Harris even guests on one of the tracks.)  On Gold he attempted to take on The Rolling Stones circa Exile, and despite his prolific tendency, he’s never bettered Gold.

The Pogues – Rum Sodomy & The Lash. Red Roses For Me is good rowdy fun, Rum Sodomy & The Lash proved the Pogues were more than just Irish folk music on speed.

What are your favorite follow-ups?

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The Pogues

For the first time since 2005, the Pogues are  not touring in the US around March.  For 3 years in a row, it was an annual ritual for my friends and I (and sometimes my brother) to go see the Pogues right before Patty’s Day.  These shows were always a blast, and sometimes chaotic.  

I can’t say that I’m surprised that they’re not touring. In fact, I’m surprised that Shane MacGowan is still alive.  The singer might be second to Keith Richards in terms of rock excess.  We were always relived when MacGowan came on stage.  It didn’t matter  you could barely understand him, or that he slurred his way through the vocals.  Up until fall 2005 when I bought tickets for the first show, I would never thought I would see the Pogues live.  

If you’ve never heard of The Pogues (and to me this seems odd) they’re pioneers of Celtic-rock bands such as Flogging Molly and Drop-Kick Murphys.  But where the other bands seem to emphasize the rock aspect more, the Pogues played more like the Chieftans on speed and MacGowan’s talent as a song-writer towered them above their peers. A lot of their music does revolve around drinking – but it’s also both personal and political.   It’s fitting when the cops in The Wire held a wake they gathered together in a bar and blasted “Body of An American”.  It’s triumphant.  It’s sad.  And it’s about drinking. And it has a great sing-along chorus: “I’m a free-born man of the USA!”  

Perhaps more than any other band I’ve listened to, the Pogues always seemed like a gang.  A gang from Ireland where your best mates are also your enemies.  When you become too close you implode.  But you can never really leave and you’re always welcomed back with open arms.  How many times has Shane MacGowan been kicked out?  Does it really matter?  He’s singing now and chugging whiskey on stage just like the old days.  When The Pogues toured these past few years, it had the hint of nostalgia for sure – nostalgia for a world that doesn’t exist anymore.  

Body of An American:


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