The Pogues – Just Look Them Straight In The Eye and Say… Pogue Mahone (Rhino)
4 stars (out of 5)
DO you remember those audio books you used to get as a kid? You’d listen to a tape while flicking through the pictures and reading the accompanying passages as your parents hoped in vein it would send you off into a dreamy sleep.
Well, The Pogues’ new all-encompassing boxset is a hark back to childhood days gone by, except instead of Hans Christian Anderson make believe, the London-Irish collective proffer a far more caustic, boozy, woozy, re-telling of Irish myths, legends and general working folk with the seemingly indefeatable Shane MacGowan orchestrating his rabble of multi-instrumentalists as only he can.
Of course, with any comprehensive collection, there is miscellaneous material, which no Pogues fan would lose sleep over if they didn’t get to hear.
But loving pieced together by lead guitarist Phil Chevron, it is a collection to be cherished.
From punk pioneer and late Clash man Joe Strummer’s time in the band to blustering cover versions (Maggie May) and nostalgic Peel sessions to spine-tingling early demos of the ultimate Christmas number Fairytale In New York.
And if anything, it’s a great reminder, in a time where the band tend to stick to their annual December arena jaunts these days – just how important The Pogues were in catapulting little heard traditional Irish music into the mainstream in a way, which oozed vitality and freshness.
Finally, the additions of the much-missed Kirsty MacColl’s All The Tears That I Cried and The One And Only are a fitting tribute too.
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