The Pogues - If I Should Fall From Grace With God (Cover Artwork)

The Pogues

The Pogues: If I Should Fall From Grace With GodIf I Should Fall From Grace With God (1987)

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: rootsradicalrootsradical
(others by this writer | submit your own)

This is the Pogues' best album in my opinion, and I feel that it is my duty to reviewit. For those unfarmiliar with the Pogues, I'll try to describe their sound. They are like Flogging Molly, with more Celtic instrumentation and less punk guitar. The were not the punkest ban out there, but they p.
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This is the Pogues' best album in my opinion, and I feel that it is my duty to reviewit. For those unfarmiliar with the Pogues, I'll try to describe their sound. They are like Flogging Molly, with more Celtic instrumentation and less punk guitar. The were not the punkest ban out there, but they played good Irish music with the same energy of other 70s and 80s punk bands.

There aren't too many bad songs on this release. The signature Pogues instrumentals are a little weak and there are a couple forgettable songs like "Bottle of Smoke", but for the most part this is a great album. "Fairytale of New York" is a great track, featuring the late Kirsty MacColl on vocals. The "Turkish Song of the Damned" is another good one, in which lead singer Shane MacGowan takes on the role of a sailor who owes a debt to the dead. The title track is one of the most well-known Pogues songs ever, and deservedly so. This one chronicles the fighters of the Spanish Civil War trying to protect their homes. "This land was always ours was the proud land of our fathers/It belongs to us and them, not to any of the others," says McGowan in his trademark half-drunk style.

My two favorite tracks on the album are "Thousands are Sailing" and "Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six." "Thousands are Sailing" is a longer song that showcases McGowan's songwriting abilities. "The island it is silent now/but the ghosts still haunt the waves/the torch lights up a famished man whom fortune could not save,"sings McGowan in this tale of Irish immigrants in America. "Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six" is actually two songs. The first is a haunting minute and a half ballad sung by Spider Stacy(I think). When Stacy's vocals fade out , the whole band kicks in and MacGowan starts to sing about the injutices done to the Irish by the British empire. This is McGowan at his best: drunk(probably) and pissed off.

This album is one of those where you can listen to the whole thing and onl skip a couple tracks. "South Australia" and "Medley" show the bands talent fro adapting Irish standards, and "Lullaby of London" and the Broad Majestic Shannon are two ballads that bring the album to a strong close. For fans of celtic-influenced punk in the style of Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphys, and for fans of folk-punk like Billy Bragg and the Stiff Little Fingers, if you don't already have this, get it. If you're looking to get into the Pogues, this album is the best place to start in my opinion. And yes, I know I spelled MacGowan like 57 different ways, I'm sure someone will get it right.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (September 15, 2004)

Man, The guy who reviewed this album doesn't know shit about the Pogues. Flogging Molly style music, that's bullshit, Flogging Molly wouldn't exist if it wasn't for Shane MacGowan and The Pogues. Being an Irish-American, I love Flogging Molly, but when compared to the Pogues, it is clear that Dave King is no Shane MacGowan, in fact Shane is one of the best songwriters of all-time, Dave King and Flogging Molly, songs start to sound the same, at least the Pogues knew how to change it up, by incorporating traditional Irish music, and even world music into their set.

The first three Pogue's albums, Red Roses For Me, Rum Sodomy and the Lash, and If I Should Fall From Grace With God, are the Pogues at their best. Shane's writing was at its peak, with such songs as A Pair of Brown Eyes, Streams of Whiskey, Sally MacLennane, The Broad Majestic Shannon, and Lullaby of London. If I Should Fall From Grace, finds the Pogues incorporating Spanish music into their Irish set, on such songs as Turkish Song of the Damned and Fiesta, Birmingham Six, finds Shane addressing political issues for the first time, and Bottle of Smoke is clear to kick start any party.
The first three Pogue's albums are classic Irish rock, I mean Peace and Love had its moments, as did Hell's Ditch, but I perfer their first three. So give them all listen and pound back the pints of Guinness.

1. Red Roses For Me (1984) *****
2. Rum Sodomy and the Lash (1985) *****
3. If I Should Fall From Grace With God (1988) *****
4. Peace and Love (1989) ****
5. Hell's Ditch (1990) ****

Anonymous (July 8, 2004)

bottle of smoke is the fucking best.

Anonymous (March 16, 2004)

AHH!!! Where do I start with the Pogues. Shane MacGowan is one of the most brilliant songwriters of all-time. If I Should Fall From Grace With God, shows the Pogues performing their traditional Celtic tunes, but also incorporating some Spanish influences as well on tracks like Fiesta and Turkish Song of the Damned. Birmingham Six shows Shane tackling political issues for the first time, and Lullaby of London and The Board Majestic Shannon proved that he was a songwriter of major vision and talent. Being an Irish-American, I fucking love the Pogues and think Shane MacGowan is and will always be a great songwriter, however it pisses me off when his alcohol abuse overshadows his brillinat musical abilties. If I Should Fall From Grace with God, is my second favorite Pogues album, Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash is still, in my opinion their best album. So give this album a listen and pound back the pints of Guiness.

Red Roses For Me ****1/2 out of 5
Rum Sodomy, and the Lash ***** out of 5
If I Should Fall From Grace ****1/2 out of 5
Peace and Love **** out of 5
Hell's Ditch ***1/2 out of 5

Analog_Boy (January 9, 2004)

enough, to the idiots who reply to the comments about flogging molly or dropkick ripping off the pogues. its sarcasm. don't even reply to it.

Anonymous (August 8, 2003)

any band who's singer can puke up countless beers into an empty pitcher, only to have that pitcher taken away by a roadie and be replaced with another full pitcher of beer is okay in my book.

Anonymous (August 8, 2003)

He DOES have the worst teeth in music today. Also, this album is a classic. The ultimate album to listen to when you've been drinking whiskey since two in the afternoon.

Anonymous (August 6, 2003)

I sincerely hope the person who is responsible for the below post was joking. If not, that person is so stupid it actually hurts me. How many times must it be pointed out that, no matter what you tnk of their music, the Pogues did not rip off the Dropkick Murphys, and we'll throw in flogging molly while were at it, because the Pogues released their first album a good 15 years before either of those bands. And im sure McGowan's never heard any jokes about his teeth before, way to go.

Anonymous (August 6, 2003)

i think these guys ripped off the dropkick murphys and he has the worst teeth ever

Anonymous (August 5, 2003)

"This reviewer gets the gas face."

he's got an itty bitty little cactus
hehe...3rd Base humor never gets old

Anonymous (August 4, 2003)

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes freakin rule!

Anonymous (August 4, 2003)

"As for the clever comment that I have never heard anything by these artists, I have all of Bragg's albums except Talking with the Taxman, and i have the best of SLF cd."

Haha. Okay. Do whatever you can to listen to "Suspect Device", though. It's really SLFs best... Though I fail to see how they incorporate folk into their music, because the only times they didn't do straight punk, they did reggae-punk. Oh well.


Anonymous (August 4, 2003)

Jeez, I feel old.

rootsradical, how can you have all of Billy Bragg's except "Taxman"? That's his masterpiece.

Anonymous (August 3, 2003)

Ya its because BSD just likes to bitch, its fucking obvious.

rootsradical (August 3, 2003)

BSD, if you'll notice, nowhere in my review do I compare the sound of the Pogues to that of Billy Bragg or the Stiff Little Fingers. I mentioned them because I recognize that although they don't sound too much alike, but all three artists fused folk music and punk (if not the sound, than at least the politics). All the people I know who like these two bands also seem to like the Pogues, so I thought it made sense to use this comparison, although I was aware that they did not sound exactly alik. As for the clever comment that I have never heard anything by these artists, I have all of Bragg's albums except Talking with the Taxman, and i have the best of SLF cd.

Anonymous (August 3, 2003)

it would be awesome if hell cat picked up MacGowan... that'd be amazing.

about the tour dates, Shane did a bunch of east coast dates and some out by Chicago around May last year and he was at nearly all of them(missed one i think). and i caught him at Lupo's in Providence and it was one of the best shows i have ever been to. When he does get around to doing East Coast dates i'm going to try and catch him 2 or 3 times

Anonymous (August 3, 2003)

No, I never said the Pogues were not punk. I just think they are not punk in the traditional sense... The bad comparisons to bands rootsradical has probably never heard kind were the reason I posted that.


Anonymous (August 3, 2003)

This reviewer gets the gas face.

Hulka (August 3, 2003)

yep, that's Woods on "Young Ned..." (and at least one or two of the songs on "Hell's Ditch," I believe).

Every time MacGowan announces some U.S. dates (usually on the East Coast), they invariably get cancelled. He's announced something like six sets of dates in the last few years and only two of 'em haven't gotten called off at the last minute. I don't recommend advance tickets. Also, his new record's been supposed to come out for four or five years. C'mon, Hellcat, pick this guy up.

Anonymous (August 3, 2003)

oh so that's Terry Woods on "Streets of Sorrow" ok. I was also under the impression that Chevron sings on "Young Ned of the Hill" or is that Woods also?

and for anyone who cares, rumor has is Shane will be back in the States sometime this fall/winter. I hope we can get a new album sometime soon too, it's been so long since "Crock of Gold"

1234go (August 3, 2003)

Your comment here might have been sarcasm...but I work in a record store and I shit you not every time I play the pogues some kid asks if it's Flogging Molly or says they sound like a rip off.

Anonymous (August 3, 2003)

the best album by the greatest band of all time. don't ever mention the murphys or flogging molly in the same sentence as the Pogues, because they don't amass to one millionth of what the Pogues are. Erin go bragh!

Hulka (August 3, 2003)

Yes, Shane MacGowan has no teeth (check out the DVD "If I Should Fall From Grace" if you want to actually hear him *talk*, or try to.)

That's not Phil Chevron at the beginning of "Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six," it's the mandolin player, Terry Woods.

The cassette and LP versions of this album leave off two of the lesser songs ("South Australia" and "Battle March Medley").

The Flogging Molly song "Bag of Bricks" is almost a note-for-note ripoff of the Pogues' "Turkish Song of the Damned" (from this record).

FortyMinutesWest (August 2, 2003)

Does anyone else realize that the Flogging Molly comment was most likely sarcasm?

Anonymous (August 2, 2003)

i saw the video for this song on vh1 classic. the song is good. are the lead singer's teeth for real?

Anonymous (August 2, 2003)

I second that motion!!!

"Hell's Ditch" is a great album.

Anonymous (August 2, 2003)

well said person below me. Much as i love flogging molly, they are nothing on this band.

1234go (August 2, 2003)

Truly the saddest thing is that kids would actually think that the pogues are some sort of floggy molly rip off. Flogging Molly is okay but they should send MacGowan checks every night of their musical lives for how much they take from the pogues.

Anonymous (August 2, 2003)

sure Shane is/was a huge drunk, but so was everyone else in the band. The main reason for the split was creative differences between Shane and Jem Finer. "Peace and Love" and "Hell's Ditch" both feature more tunes written by Finer and a noticeable difference in style as they moved away from being soley an Irish band to being a more well rounded outfit.

MacGowan wanted to write the majority of the songs and wanted to do them with an Irish Flavor, Finer did not. hence the split

and of course these guys were and still are punk. ever see them or Shane live? Joe Strummer sang for them right after Shane left the band and Shane used to be in the Nipple Erectors back in the late 70's

Anonymous (August 2, 2003)

I read somewhere once that Shane MacGowan was drunk every day of his life since he was 12, that's one reason why they later kicked him out of the band.

Anonymous (August 2, 2003)

aye, cracking album. As are all the others mind. A very solid band.

Might just be my ignorance but i thought the line "this land was always ours..." was a take on irish republican views. meh. my mistake.

Anonymous (August 2, 2003)

Red Roses for me is the best album, as for punk, they are! Shane was there at the beginning, they even supported The Clash, hence the Strummer involment, and the Birmingham 6 is about 6 guys who were found guilty of terrorist charges, when the evidence was a complete fabrication by the Police in order to get a conviction.
as the song goes' being Irish in the wrong place at the wrong time' that was there only crime.

Anonymous (August 2, 2003)

Really, I think this review is terrible. They sound NOTHING like SLF, and B.B. is not folk-punk, he is straight up folk with political messages. I like the Pogues, but seriously, if you really are in need of comparisons to "punk", I'd say the closest thing to them is the Clash... Even that is a large stretch. Oh well, still, this record is really damned good. I prefer the two albums before this, though.


Anonymous (August 1, 2003)

ok... first of all it is MacGowan

Phil Chevron (guitar) sings on "Streets of Sorrow"

MacGowan did not write "Thousands are Sailing", Chevron did

Bottle of Smoke is an awesome song

Mr_Pink (August 1, 2003)

Well, if that's your thing, that too I guess.

REALPUNX4LIFE (August 1, 2003)

Best of record? Terrible advice. Just download a bunch of their songs like all the kids are doing these days. Then buy records based on those songs. Duh. The internet should hopefully make best of records obsolete.

Mr_Pink (August 1, 2003)

And Fairytale of New York is the best Christmas song ever.

Mr_Pink (August 1, 2003)

You can't go wrong with McGowan-era Pogues. I agree with the reviewer in that this one's my favorite, but Rum Sodomy and The Lash is great too, especially "The Old Main Drag." Maybe go with a best-of if you're unfamiliar with these guys.
Oh, and "Bottle of Smoke" is hardly a forgettable tune.

MrOhio (August 1, 2003)

That was a stupid comment. I tried listening to "Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash" today, but a lot of the songs were slow and not too fun to listen to. This album seems to be a lot better.

Anonymous (August 1, 2003)

no, flogging molly is a pogues rip off. The pogues were playing music like flogging molly back in the 80's.

Anonymous (August 1, 2003)

is this some kind of flogging molly ripoff?!!?!?!

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