We all know where the Pogues’ name comes from (Irish Gaelic for something unrepeatable), and that the title of Rum, Sodomy And The Lash is an apocryphal saying attributed to Winston Churchill. So let’s cut the crap and get on with enjoying three fine songs from the band who are credited with inventing Celtic Punk, a genre of music that requires fast and energetic playing of traditional (or traditionally flavoured) Irish music.
The Pogues were founded in King’s Cross, North London, in 1982. Their frontman, Shane MacGowan (not exactly an Adonis and the dentists’s nightmare) claimed that they did their music as they did because he couldn’t believe nobody else was doing it. As a result, there was a small goldrush of bands like The Men They Couldn’t Hang imitating their style as evinced on their first album, Red Roses For Me: but it was the second LP that really broke them, with a move towards more original material mixed with the trads.
One such is Body Of An American (FF 1986 #50), which Shane himself wrote and which was added to the recent re-release of the LP after its first incarnation on Poguetry In Motion.
Cait O’Riordan (who was to leave the band shortly afterwards) sings the next track (FF 1985 #25), an Irish ballad purporting to be the narrative of a rich landowner holding court in the pub.
Pogues, I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day
Finally, A Pair Of Brown Eyes should have been a big hit, but only reached 71 in the UK charts (and FF 1985 #20): I always thought it was a traditional ballad, but that is surely a tribute to MacGowan’s songwriting genius. Great and extremely telling Alex Cox video in Big Brother format here:
Now put down your Guinness and get over here for their greatest song and a perennial Christmas classic (since people seem to need signposting to my ailing sister blog, even in November).