Friday, July 15, 2011
5 GREAT ALBUM TRACKS FOR FRIDAY (Part 22)
This week's Friday posting was inspired by my time on Westport, Co.Mayo last weekend where I was lucky enough to catch quite a few live performances in different pubs - some involving young singers performing a mix of traditional and modern tunes, and others where it was like the tourist's dream of an Irish pub where old men drank whisky while a folk band, all with the most amazing beard and woolly jumpers, played away in the corner oblivious to anyone but themselves.
The Pogues of course were a London band more than anything else. Formed originally in 1982 as Pogue Mahone (which in Gaelic means 'Kiss My Arse') in the early 80s, they made a very fine racket in the early days with a pink feel to folk music played largely on traditional Irish music....with part of the percussion involving one band member continually hitting himself over the head with a bar tray made from aluminium.....
I was lucky enough to capture them live at Strathclyde University in those days and while it is a bit of a hazy memory, I do recall it being just about the most boisterous and manic gig I'd attended up to that point. It was certainly among the most sweatiest....
I won't say I'm a huge fan of the band. I own a copy of the first three albums released between 1984 and 1988 when they began to enjoy a fair bit of mainstream success and their audience became a bit too unsavoury for me what between the politics and the hooligan factor. I don't listen to them all that often nowadays but I did give them a whirl on the i-pod on the train on the way back to Dublin from Westport as a sort of farewell. And these are the five non-singles I reckon are their best tracks:-
mp3 : The Pogues - Transmetropolitan
mp3 : The Pogues - I'm A Man You Don't Meet Every Day
mp3 : The Pogues - Bottle of Smoke
mp3 : The Pogues - Thousands Are Sailing
mp3 : The Pogues - The Broad Majestic Shannon
The five songs capture much of what the early band was about. The first is a song about modern London in the style of an Irish jig, the next is a traditional ballad about a male landowner (sung by the only female member of the band) and then you have a lunatic few minutes about the joy of backing a big outsider in a horse-race. But the final two songs are what really best sum up The Pogues for me.
Thousands Are Sailing is a heartbreaking tale of emigration from Ireland to the USA and how it isn't always the happy ending you always dream about while The Broad Majestic Shannon is as good an Irish song ever written by an Englishman......its the sort of tune I heard so often in those Westport (and yes it is uncannily close to parts of their big Xmas hit The Fairytale Of New York)
And finallly, from a great TV appearance:-