Friday, 18 March 2016

Pogues Top Five

The Pogues.  What can I say.  Not my favourite band of Irish musicians but they WERE the band that got me listening again as an adult to music I'd only listened to as a kid because I had no choice because it was part of my heritage.  I borrowed my brother's cassette copy of Rum Sodomy and the Lash and in the year I kept it, I damn near wore it out.  These are my favourites, probably, although this is subject to change.

1) A Pair of Brown Eyes
My folks, those who came from Ireland, had, I believe I've said before, left before Wolfe Tone was a hop in his father's beer.  This song speaks to me in clear tones with ancestors speaking to a transplanted son in another bog with forty different shades of green.  We're drunk we are, so many of us and everything is as everything should be, and we should have fought but we never did.  And the shame of it could have killed us, or it could have been the making of us.  And the only thing that I could see was a pair of brown eyes that were looking at me, but when we got back, labelled 'parts one to three' there was no pair of brown eyes looking for me.

2) Thousands Are Sailing
To leave home and become an immigrant.  That's the thing that happened to so many.  And it happens still.  I could have been an economic migrant myself and many of my ancestors were.  That is why in my mind, refugees are always welcome here even if we hadn't cause them all ourselves.  A song like this, so beautiful, so brave.  I wonder how it would sound in Arabic, or Syriac or Pashto?

3) Body of An American
A song my feet won't sit still for and words that are poetry to stir my heart.  There's many a wake from my time as a child.  I remember them as better than weddings because at weddings the whole clan was on its so-called best behaviour.  Not for a wake though.  No not for a wake. Come on lads, "I'm a free-born man of the U S A".

4)           If I should Fall From Grace With God
These tinker feet were made to dance to this.  A perfect dance tune oh yes it is, and the lyrics are so damned good, a prayer to a god who isn't listening.  What's not to like? A scream a scream and a rebel yell.

5) The Boys From The County Hell
Traditional this one so it is, and there has to be something traditional with a band that worked so hard to keep the old traditions even as they screamed the rage of PUNK! at the city in which they found themselves. London Irish at its best.

Hurts to leave out...  Sally MacLennane, Sick Bed of Cu'chullain, London Lullaby, Dirty Old Town, And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, The Leaving of Liverpool, The Irish Rover and yes, of COURSE A Fairytale of New York.

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