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Category:    Home > Reviews > Rock > Alternative > Punk > The Pogues ­– If I Should Fall From Grace With God (CD remaster)

The Pogues ­– If I Should Fall From Grace With God (CD remaster)


Sound: B+     Music: A



During the Punk and Alternative explosion of the 1970’s and 80’s much was made of the lifestyles, harsh-sounding music, and shocking behavior of the primary participants.  In the middle of this scene, and far less commented on, were the young people who were discovering traditional music and bringing these influences into their work.  The Police turned their young audience onto Reggae while the Gun Club was bringing Country and the Blues to the Los Angeles Punk scene.


While the examples of this sort of cross-pollination are countless, very few bands were as successful as the Pogues at staying true to their folk roots while still engaging a new young audience.


The Pogues came together in the pubs of Ireland playing a mix of traditional Irish jigs, reels, and ballads with a snarling punk attitude.  The instruments and arrangements were the same as their forebears, but the energy was pure youth.


Much of their success was due to the presence of frontman Shane MacGowan.  Famous for not showing up for gigs he was the epitome of the clichéd drunken Irishman.  He was apparently difficult to work with and unreliable for much of the bands existence.  Still, his charisma and stage presence were undeniable.  His vocals were at times an indistinguishable blur of thick accent and booze-laden slurring. It became his trademark, so much so that in later years it was hard to tell if he was actually drinking or putting up a front because it was expected.  No matter how much he staggered and mumbled he remembered lyrics and hit all of his musical cues.


Rhino Records have released remastered editions of the entire Pogues catalog.  Each disc includes extra tracks and a booklet of Pogues history. The track listing for If I Should Fall From Grace With God (which includes the marvelous Fairytale Of New York, a Christmas Duet with the late Kirsty MacCall), follows.



1. If I Should Fall From Grace With God


2. Turkish Song Of The Damned


3. Bottle Of Smoke


4. Fairytale Of New York


5. Metropolis


6. Thousands Are Sailing


7. Fiesta


8. Medley: The Recruiting Sergeant/The Rocky Road To Dublin/The Galway Races


9. Streets Of Sorrow/Birmingham Six


10. Lullaby Of London


11. Sit Down By The Fire


12. The Broad Majestic Shannon


13. Worms


14. The Battle March (Medley)


15. The Irish Rover


16. Mountain Dew


17. Shanne Bradley


18. Sketches Of Spain


19. South Australia




The six extra tracks feel like demos and studio outtakes. They are also, if anything, more traditional sounding than the rest of the album.  Otherwise, the PCM 2.0 16bit/44.1kHz Stereo sounds good.


For many people, The Pogues were the first exposure to the folk music of Ireland. Interest in this form of music has since exploded, with many bands following in the Pogues meandering footsteps.  Much of the interest is due to the intrinsic nature of the music and the resonance it has created for centuries.  That said, it was the Pogues who first brought it to an audience who may have never heard it otherwise.



-   Wayne Wise



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