The Pogues - Essential Pogues (Cover Artwork)

The Pogues

Essential Pogues (1991)


Ah, the Pogues. It's hard to imagine a better party band. The inlay card of this CD describes their music as "The Chieftens meet the Sex Pistols" and think that is an adequate description I suppose. The Pogues took the best elements of Irish folk and punk rock and created a sound that was revolutionary at the time, and incredibly influential on bands of today such as Flogging Molly, The Explosion, The Dropkick Murphys and others. If its celtic punk, you can trace it back to the Pogues.

This collection covers the bands best work from their years with Island records. While this is good stuff, it doesn't cover any of their material prior to being on Island, which is really great too. Either way, this CD hits many high points, and is a good introduction to someone looking to see if they like the band's sound or not.

The album kicks off with two great tunes, "Sunny Side of the Street" and my personal favorite by the band, "If I Should Fall From Grace With God". These songs perfectly illustrate the perfection this band is capable of. Shane McGowan's slurred delivery, backed by Irish folk in over-drive makes for a sound that can't help but make you feel energized. On song 3, the album takes an interesting turn with the power-pop ballad, "Lorelei", a gorgeous song that will bring any lover of Irish music to tears. Track 6 is, I believe, the closest thing this band ever had to a mainstream hit. "Fairytale of New York" sounds more like something out of a musical, albeit a warped one. It's a great, edgy-romantic song, and another one of my faves on this disc. There are other great upbeat songs such as "Rain Street" and "Turkish Song of the Damned" and there are some other flavors as well, such as the piano ballad "Summer in Siam" and the calypso "Blue Heaven". Even the bands cover of "Honky Tonk Woman" found it's way on here.

All in all, this is a great collection of songs from a great band. Not many bands today can compare to the sheer poetry of McGowan's lyrics, and the pure energy that this band created. So, if you are a completeist, I would suggest you shy away from this one, but if you are just a casual fan, or someone looking to get into some new music, I HIGHLY recommend this disc. You will not be disappointed. Oh and incidently, the Pogues will be reforming briefly to tour England and Ireland in December. If you can somehow check that out, do so. It should be magic.