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The Pogues – Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash (1985)

August 14, 2014

[Album 336/1001]220px-Rum_sodomy_and_the_lash

Many albums start strong and taper off.

Some save the best for last & take their time building to a strong finish.

Fewer still stack the middle of the running order, opting to have lesser fare leading into and out of tracks 4-7.  It’s ironic in these rare cases that the album’s sandwich filling is provided by the tracks that are the furthest from being considered ‘filler.’

In fact, only two such running orders immediately come to mind.  The first is The Cure’s Wild Mood Swings (with the exemplary tracks 4-7 of The 13th/Strange Attraction/Mint Car/Jupiter Crash).  The second?  Perhaps unsurprising given the subject of the post, it is of course Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash by The Pogues.

Much like Wild Mood Swings, I thoroughly enjoyed this record as a whole, but that mid-album set is something else.  A quartet so solid that I’d be remiss if I didn’t favourably review in a bit more depth here:

4) I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day, featuring Cait O’Riordan as the lead vocalist.  A really nice change of pace & I liked how Shane MacGowan saved his entry for the final line of the tune.

5) A Pair of Brown Eyes, the best of the bunch.  I will never be accused of paying too much attention to song lyrics but with his originals, MacGowan does such a fantastic job of creating scenes and characters that I’m completely drawn in by his storytelling.  The tambourine hits that happen on the second beat (of the first line in the chorus) seal the deal.

6) Sally MacLennane, the kind of song I’d love to hear & sing along with in a proper Irish pub.

7) Dirty Old Town, another St. Patrick’s Day staple, I’d forgotten about the neat key changes.

Like I said, the rest of the album has plenty to offer; it just gets overshadowed slightly by the anything-but-middling midsection.

 

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From → 1980s

14 Comments
  1. jprobichaud permalink

    It’s an interesting theory, my friend. However, I’m also kinda partial to “The Sick Bed of Cúchulainn” (track one) and “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” (track twelve). I think this is just one of those end to end solid albums.

    • Not to mention the great abrupt end to the Old Main Drag and the humungous snare drum on the Gentlemen Soldier!

      • jprobichaud permalink

        Hmmm… Indeed… I think I need to add some Pogues to my record collection.

      • The cover art of this one particularly would look sharp as an LP!

      • jprobichaud permalink

        The raft of medusa? Oh yeah!

  2. I haven’t listened to any Pogues, admittedly. I was instantly taken in by the Gericault “Raft of the Medusa” cover, though. That painting was one of the first ones we learned about in my first year at UWO (Visual Arts Theory and Criticism).

    • Nice – if you spent any time at (the always fun but always beyond gross bathrooms) Molly Blooms in London, chances are you heard a Pogues tune or two there!

  3. Not a fan but I recognize their impact.

  4. I love A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day, in fact in the unlikely event I ever become incredibly famous I shall make it my theme tune.

  5. ianbalentine permalink

    One of the few perfect albums of the ’80’s. The follow up, If I Should Fall From Grace With God is almost as good, and contains Fairytale Of New York, one of my favorite songs of all time, period!

    • I flip between this and if I should fall – naturally since I’ve had this one on a bunch recently, I’m currently voting for it!
      Fairytale has to be one of the finest Christmas tunes ever committed to tape – I trust The Pogues will make a couple appearances on the 500 reasons the 80s didn’t suck?

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