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30 Best Loved Albums - Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash

2007 will bring the 30th anniversary of my first rock concert (Kiss, December 2, 1977 – Metropolitan Sports Center). In honor of that momentous event I have decided to use this blog to review my 30 best loved albums. They will not be in any order or progression but I will try to review them musically and why they mean so much to me. I’ll also note if they made the Definitive 200 List. With that on to #26 of the list...

Pogues.jpg
26. The Pogues - Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash (1985)

By 1985, punk rock was storming off in all sorts of musical directions. There was proto-punk, country-punk, art-punk, dance-punk, and hardcore-punk. One of the more interesting sub-genres was Irish or Celtic-Punk. Irish Punk was thought of as Irish folk songs or Irish folk-inspired songs revved up to a punk like speed. Locally, the band Boiled in Lead was a fantastic purveyor of traditional Irish music with a punk sensibility. Nationally, however, The Pogues were front in center and Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash was the album you had to have if you were into Irish or Punk music.

The Pogues were a perfect Irish band: You had the lead singer, Shane MacGowan - skinny, horrible teeth, hard drinking, gravelly voice; a band with upwards of 7 to 10 members, depending on who was sober or healthy at the time, and a bunch of traditional Irish songs. The album was a blast with songs about drinkin', industrial city living, Jessie James, war, lovers who left, and drinking. The album kicks off with The Sickbed of Cuchulainn an Irish romper sing-along. Dirty Old Town is exactly about what the title says: what it is like living in a old industrial-era city that is crumbling around you. The songs open with the classic line: "I met my love by the gas works wall..." You get the picture.

Other favorites include Sally MacLennane which again is fast, fiesty sing-along. I'm sure this was sung at many going away parties. The highlight of the album is The Band Played Waltzing Matilda which describes an Australian's horrifying experience fighting the Turks in WWI. One of the strongest anti-war songs ever written and it makes me think sadly of our soldiers coming back from Iraq with broken bodies, never again able to dance.

The album is a fun, singable, danceable ride. The musicians are top notch and the songs are a great combination of old and new Irish songs. A bunch of these songs would be perfect for any party tape, wedding dance, or just to listen to to get the blood pumpin'. For that reason, Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash is one of my 30 best loved albums.

What do you think?

Place on the Definitive 200 List: Not on the List.

Comments

Free - this is an outstanding album, and The Sickbed of Cuchulainn is my favorite Pogues song of all time. My kids love it too, but a cringe when they try to sing along because of the lyrics. They are guessing at the words, and get a few "choice" ones wrong. My 12-year-old has caught on, however.

Have you even seen The Pogues or Shane M. in concert? I saw him with The Popes and First Avenue in 2002. It was fantastic, from "what I remember."

yes, free-outstanding choice! i have yet to replace my scratched, beer stained vinyl version with CD/MP3. played and drank to this one a bunch. went to see the band at the Riv in Chicago 1988 or 1989. can't remember too much, but i was scorched...

This is great album indeed.

Alex

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