May 20, 2012

The Pogues - Rum Sodomy & The Lash (1985)

1. The Sick Bed of Cúchulainn
2. The Old Main Drag
3. Wild Cats of Kilkenny
4. I'm A Man You Don't Meet Every Day
5. A Pair of Brown Eyes
6. Sally MacLennane
7. Dirty Old Town
8. Jesse James
9. Navigator
10. Billy's Bones
11. The Gentleman Soldier
12. The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

2004 release

13. A Pistol For Paddy Garcia
14. London Girl
15. Rainy Night In Soho
16. Body Of An American
17. Planxty Noel Hill
18. The Parting Glass

An un-hip, un-sexy album which sets the listener up for something depressing and grotesque from the cover- Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa rendered with the band members' heads- so what's the struggle? Being Irish in London- One evening as I was lying down by Leicester Square / I was picked up by the coppers and kicked in the balls / Between the metal doors at Vine Street I was beaten and mauled / And they ruined my good looks for the old main drag or And now I'm lying here I've had too much booze / I've been shat on and spat on and raped and abused / I know that I am dying and I wish I could beg / For some money to take me from the old main drag- some songs traditional, some new, whatever's gonna acknowledge the band's Celtic roots and/or struggle

MacGowan's lyrics are perfect and unlike the follow up, they're also audible. Whether it's producer Elvis Costello's insistence he enunciate, you hear the aggression of his punk days, the odd voice breaks of his addiction, and the passion of his roots- it ends up not mattering whether the song is a Pogues rendition or a Pogues original, because songs like Dirty Old Town and The Band Played Waltzing Matilda are so convincingly made theirs

An impossible band to sell because they're so polarizing- if you can stand hearing The Pogues for any longer than 30 seconds you probably already own and love the album. That said, Rum Sodomy & The Lash really only connected with me on Friday after years of wanting to like The Pogues' messy folk punk, so maybe it's worth posting any way



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