on July 5, 2010
Listen - I already own all of these albums, all of the supposed 'best of' mixes, but this compilation is the coolest thing... all of the classic Pogues' albums tucked into a neat little package.
It is missing some of the 'bonus' tracks found on some of the original albums and EPs, and you don't get the lyric sheets or the full album/cd artwork, but all of the music you'd ever really want to hear is here (excepting Rainy Night in Soho, and Body of an American).
For newbies and the lifer-fans of the Pogues, this is a great place to start or restart your love affair with the motley crew. They haven't been the same since.
It all started with the rough and tumble Red Roses for Me. Crank the treble, and let this album wail. Waxie's Dargle finds Macgowan and Spider at their troublesome best. Where else can you hear a beer tray played with such grace.
Rum Sodomy & the Lash was the album where they grew up, and Macgowan's lyrics blossomed. This was my first Pogues album... a hand-me-down from my brother when I was in grade six. Pair of Brown Eyes is still as haunting today as it was then.
If I Should Fall From Grace With God is perhaps the band's finest hour. At this stage, the Pogues really came together as musicians. Gone were the days of learning to play the instrument the same week of the concert. Terry Woods and Daryl Hunt joined the line-up, and this really allowed the band to gel, and the songwriting to further improve. I dare you to not fall in love with this album. There is something for everyone. My favourite Pogues song of all time remains "Broad Majestic Shannon", but why pick?
Peace and Love was definitely under-rated and under-loved. How do you improve on 'perfection' like IISFFGWG? Still some brilliant songs came out of this album, including 'London You're A Lady', Night Train to Lorca, Young Ned of the Hill, and White City. Not all of them are Macgowan gems, and it was this creative pressure *(and Macgowan's self destructive behaviour) by the rest of the band that lead to fractures.
Hell's Ditch is a little hit and miss, but I still love the album and can listen to it cover to cover. Macgowan was a shambles, but still managed to push out genius like 'Summer in Siam' and 'Ghost of a Smile'. A lot of fun songs on this album, and the world music bent changed the nature of the Pogues' sound.
All in all a great basket by a legendary band.