5.0 out of 5 stars Not so hot
The Pogues seemed to be trying to expand their audience with Peace and Love through a fusion of various musical styles. One can make the argument that the fusion began with If I Should Fall from Grace with God, but with that release MacGowan was still in control and the album worked. Peace and Love was more like the Beatles' White Album in that several individual...
Published 12 months ago by Bob Mamrak
3.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air from...the Late 80s?
I listened to the Pogues when I was in college back in the late 80s; although I liked their CDs a lot, the explosion of World Music kinda dissuaded me from listening to them again for almost a decade.
I recently found "If I Should Fall from Grace with God" and "Hell's Ditch" and began to listen to them continuously for several weeks before I ordered "Peace and Love"...
Published on Aug 30 2002 by J. Holt
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not so hot,
This review is from: Peace And Love (Remastered / Expanded) (Audio CD)The Pogues seemed to be trying to expand their audience with Peace and Love through a fusion of various musical styles. One can make the argument that the fusion began with If I Should Fall from Grace with God, but with that release MacGowan was still in control and the album worked. Peace and Love was more like the Beatles' White Album in that several individual songwriters were recording their material in the way they wanted. The difference was that the Beatles had three gifted songwriters. The Pogues had one. On a good day, maybe one and a half.
MacGowan penned just six of the album's fourteen songs. Finer, Woods, Chevron, Rankin, and Hunt all contributed material. Part of the problem was that MacGowan was not part of the fusion process on the other Pogues' songs. Whereas MacGowan and Finer had co-written songs on previous albums, when Finer collaborated on Peace and Love it was with Andrew Rankin. Phil Chevron co-wrote one of the album's tracks with Daryl Hunt. Terry Woods collaborated with fellow Irishman Ron Kavana. "I couldn't play what I wanted," MacGowan said in an interview. "On the Pogues' best album, If I Should Fall From Grace with God, me and Jem wrote every note, apart from the traditional numbers which I arranged... but after that, things changed."
MacGowan's best songs on Peace and Love are probably "White City," "Down All the Days," "London You're a Lady," and "Boat Train." "Cotton Fields" and "USA," both written while the Pogues were touring America, do little to enhance Shane's reputation as a top songwriter. While both songs deal with the USA, neither touch on Irish immigration, a theme he handled so deftly on previous albums. Instead, he seems to focus on inner turmoil, perhaps brought on by dissatisfaction with the direction the Pogues were taking. A sense of martyrdom is apparent in "Cotton Fields'" when Shane sings the refrain, "They're gonna crucify you." In place of allusions to Irish history or culture, the tracks have references to an old American folk song and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." If there is a redeeming factor to the pair of songs it's Shane's vocal.
"White City" fares better. The song is about urban development, particularly the razing of a London Greyhound dog-racing track where Shane's father sometimes gambled. Admittedly, there's no magic in the lyrics, but the track rocks along nicely and MacGowan's vocal is excellent. "White City" is one of the few tracks from Peace and Love that survived on concert set lists beyond the year or so that the Pogues toured in support of the album.
"Down All the Days" is about Christy Brown, the Irish novelist who died in 1981. Brown was born with cerebral palsy, which left him unable to control his limbs, except for his left foot. Amazingly, he learned to write and eventually to type with it. A 1989 film version of his autobiography received five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. MacGowan's song was intended for the movie but was not used. Perhaps the line "I type with me toes, I suck stout through me nose," something Brown didn't do, was the reason the song was turned down.
On first listen "London You're a Lady" holds out a tremendous promise that it never fully delivers. MacGowan's vocal is excellent. The lyrics expose his love-hate relationship with the city in an extended metaphor that at times reaches fine heights. The pulsing "heart" of the city and the streets and or buildings compared to "scarred up thighs" work nicely. The metaphor is especially effective when referencing the Lady's apparel with the lines "Red buses skirt your hem. Your head dress is a string of lights." Unfortunately, the lyric's beauty evaporates quickly in the last verse when Shane sings "Your piss is like a river. Its scent is beer and gin." Musically "London You're a Lady" brings to mind several Irish flavored MacGowan classics, particularly "Broad Majestic Shannon." The elegant, striding tune soars confidently towards what listeners feel sure will be a classic bridge, but it never materializes. Overall, the track has the feel of a nearly great song that was finished too quickly. James Fearnley has said that although it has an unbeatable melody, some of the Pogues agreed, "he could have had another pass at the words."
My favorite track on Peace and Love is "Boat Train." It's hard not to appreciate a song that begins "I met with Napper Tandy and I shook him by the hand. He said `Hold me up for Chrissake, for I can hardly stand.'" Despite the reference to Napper Tandy, a leader in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the song is not nationalistic. It's about the ferry, or boat train, that runs between Ireland and England. It's a joyful, up-tempo romp about drinking, gambling, and generally carrying on during the voyage across the Irish Sea.
Peace and Love does contain a song about Irish nationalism, but MacGowan didn't write it. "Young Ned of the Hill," co-authored by Terry Woods and Ron Kavana, concerns the Irish fight against Oliver Cromwell's invading English army in the 17th century.
In addition to the six songs MacGowan wrote for Peace and Love, he put his stamp on two more of the album's tracks. He did the vocals on "Night Train to Lorca" and "Misty Morning, Albert Bridge," both written by Jem Finer. Of the two "Misty Morning, Albert Bridge" is easily the better. It has an Irish feel that brings to mind some of the Pogues' best slow numbers.
Actually, the bands' decision to take the musical fusion up a notch at the expense of their Irish roots and MacGowan's preferences was commercially successful. Peace and Love may have alienated MacGowan, but the broadening of the Pogues' musical styles increased their appeal well beyond the limited audience that their Irish folk styles initially attracted. The album debuted in the UK at number five and spent two months on the charts. One reviewer actually wrote that Peace and Love was superior to the Poguetry in Motion EP, which included "A Rainy Night in Soho" and "Body of an American," surely two of MacGowan's best works. To put that reviewer's commendation in perspective, it should also be noted that he raved about "My Blue Heaven," a sappy Phil Chevron/Daryl Hunt pop song on Peace and Love that Chevron himself has called "rubbish." Despite the positive public response in 1989, eventually even the Pogues themselves seemed to have realized the album's shortcomings. While they performed most of the record's songs in subsequent tours to support the release, within a year the only non-MacGowan song from Peace and Love left in the live set list was "Young Ned of the Hill." Rake at the Gates of Hell: Shane Macgowan in Context
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing,
The production is quite different from what you may expect as well, with the trademark banjo, cheerful flute, and MacGowan's vocals are toned down or nonexistent on most tracks.
If you love early Pogues, do yourself a favor and avoid this one.
4.0 out of 5 stars Eclectic, Mondial, and yes! It Works!,
For one thing, Jem Finer and Andrew Rankin step up on the songwriting duties; "Misty Morning, Albert Bridge" is a classic Pogues tune that even Shane with his worsening voice could not ruin. Kirsty MacColl is back on board with the beautifully soaring "Lorelei". McGowan himself isn't up to par, but still shows some flashes of classic brilliance--"London, You're A Lady" being one of the best.
The Jazz, fusion, and samba beats might jar a few listeners, but it's a pretty cohesive album that slips under your skin in no time at all. Well worth owning, and far better than the follow-up "Hell's Ditch".
3.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air from...the Late 80s?,
I recently found "If I Should Fall from Grace with God" and "Hell's Ditch" and began to listen to them continuously for several weeks before I ordered "Peace and Love" from amazon, wanting to hear more of their stuff.
The Pogues really were a great band -- I'm not that much an afficinado to understand why McGowan left -- but I enjoy these 3 CDs for qualities which, to me, are absent in most of the music today: the diversity of their writing, the vibrancy of their musicanship, their gusto, and the emotional impact (like a bombshell) some of their best songs have. On this CD, I find myself drawn into their worlds with songs like "Gridlock", "Down All the Days", "Lorelei", "Cotton Fields" and "Blue Heaven".
"If I Should Fall from Grace with God" is probably their best album and one which would merit 4 **** stars from me -- but "Peace and Love" is up with 3.
4.0 out of 5 stars man, i love this record,
4.0 out of 5 stars A step closer to drunken uselessness, but still great.,
By A Customer
Here, a few bona-fide classics (USA, Down All the Days, Night Train to Lorca) are surrounded by some well-played but uninspired tracks that occasionally veer toward the insipid (My Blue Heaven, Cotton Fields).
Face it, The Pogues aren't exciting without Shane Mcgowan at the helm. Here, while they sound awful nice, the others that step to the mic seem to adopt a sort of pompous tone. I'll take drunken slobberiness before pomposity any day.
Whne McGowan uses his by now-deepening gurgle to good effect, in slow cadence, or in tandem with someone else, the band smokes. When he relinquishes it and passes out on the couch, the album loses steam (notable exception: Lorelei).
Still, certain powerful emotions (sadness, anger, fear, longing) are the themes that still drive what these guys were doing. When they pull it off, they created the best Irish-inflected-rock I've ever heard.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good production quality but...,
By A Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Curse Upon You, Oliver Cromwell,
PEACE & LOVE is a strong second place.
I suppose the reason the Pogues never hit in the USA is that they are "too irish," just as the Kinks, the Jam, XTC and the Clash were "too English." Personally, I think it's because American radio programmers remain "too stupid" to recognize good music unless it's packaged and promoted to death.
I can listen to this CD all day long--I often do--with the exception of "Gridlock," a misplaced cop-show theme song, and "Blue Heaven," a piece of fluff that must have been slipped onto the master tape by mistake.
"Night Train To Lorca," "Misty Morning Albert Bridge" and the masterful "London You're A Lady" are among the best things the Pogues ever recorded.
5.0 out of 5 stars Like it, like it. . .,
4.0 out of 5 stars My introduction to the Pogues.,
By A Customer
I have a fondness for "Peace and Love" because it was the first album of The Pogues that I heard, and reminds me of my days at my Bronx, NY university. But I do not believe it is one of their better efforts: MacGowan's voice was really going downhill and a large part of the album was written by other members of the band with mixed results. "White City" and "Misty Morning Albert Bridge" are classics, "Lorlelei" is sublime, and "Young Ned of the Hill" still remains one of my personal favorites; but the rest is just ok.
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Peace And Love (Remastered / Expanded) by the Pogues (Audio CD - 2012)