• Pogues, The – The Very Best Of



    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: January 22, 2013.
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    This new release from Shout! Factory, The Very Best Of The Pogues, follows up in the wake of an older compilation called The Very Best Of The Pogues, another compilation called simply The Best Of The Pogues, another compilation called The Rest Of The Best Of The Pogues, and then another compilation called The Pogues: The Ultimate Collection, which had a greatest hits package bundled up with a live concert recording. So did the world really need another compilation recording from The Pogues? Probably not, to be honest, but here it is and the music holds up as well as it ever has.

    Formed in 1982 with Shane MacGowan, fresh off of his stint as the lead singer in British punk act The Nipple Erectors (later shortened to just The Nips – their song Vengeance found new life when it was covered by The Dropkick Murphys with vocals from Rancid’s Lars Frederiksen), The Pogues spilled out of the seventies punk movement that started in England and managed to somehow blend with traditional Irish folk music. Rather than just a simple vocalist – guitar – bass – drums set up, the band incorporated mandolins and tin whistles with the occasional use of accordions, piano, various horns, banjos, harmonica and other more traditional instruments thrown in for good measure. The band does this well, tight as a drum both live and in the studio, while the perpetually worn vocals of MacGowan lend complete and utter authenticity to each song. While he's hardly got a smooth voice, or even what most would consider 'good' you can't fault the man for lack of sincereity. When he sings it, he means it and that makes the music all the more interesting and moving.

    Their debut album, Red Roses For Me, is represented on this compilation by the inclusion of songs The Boys From The County Hell and Streams Of Whiskey but maybe not surprisingly we get more tracks off of their follow ups, Rum, Sodomy & The Lash and If I Should Fall From Grace With God – they’re more popular albums with more ‘hits’ on them like the albums’ opener, Dirty Old Town, the title track off of IISFFGWG, their infamous Christmas duet with Kirsty McColl Fairytale Of New York, and the still moving Thousands Are Sailing. Songs about drinking are here of course – they couldn’t be The Pogues without serious issues with substance abuse – but so too are heartfelt ballads about the plight if Irish immigrants, the horrors of war and the eternal emotion brought on by heartbreak and sorrow. For every rousing drinking song on the disc we get a tear jerker to accompany it, and that’s half the appeal of the band right there – for a bunch of guys anchored to Irish folk music, The Pogues are surprisingly diverse (when they released the Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah single there was a dance remix made for the club scene of the day – neither version are included on this CD).

    The compilation also includes two tracks from the albums that the band recorded without MacGowan – Tuesday Morning, probably the best love song that they ever recorded (from Waiting For Herb) and Love You ‘Till The End (off of Pogue Mahone, which at the time of this writing is sadly their last studio effort). While most will agree that the band’s best material was recorded with MacGowan up front, Spider Stacy handles the vocals here and does a damn fine job in his own right.

    The track listing for this release is:

    Dirty Old Town / The Sunnyside Of The Street / If I Should Fall From Grace With God / The Irish Rover / Rain Street / A Pair Of Brown Eyes / Boys From The County Hell / Fairytale Of New York / Body Of An American / Thousands Are Sailing / Sally Maclennane / Misty Morning Albert Bridge / Tuesday Morning / Rainy Night In Soho / Streams Of Whiskey / The Sickbed Of Cuchulainn / Young Ned Of The Hill / Love You ‘Till The End

    The CD comes packaged in a standard CD case and inside is a full color eight page booklet of liners notes written by Spider Stacey and accompanied by a nice selection of photographs of the band from a few different eras of their career.

    While The Pogues’ discography is strong enough on its own that most will simply want to own all the albums rather than opt for a compilation, for the casual fan this is a good way to familiarize yourself with the band and check out a bunch of their better known songs at a more than fair price. There’s nothing new here for the seasoned fan, but those new to the band will appreciate it.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      That's an interesting track list for a Greatest Hits collection....curious.
    1. paul h.'s Avatar
      paul h. -
      weird.