I've been a Pogues fan for 20 years now, listen to them pretty much every day and have lost count of the number of times I've seen them live. The Pogues do not conform and have a fierce rebellious streak that is tinged with cheeky mischief and outright drunken beligerance. What a refreshing change from the mechanical music product culture of today. This album became an instant classic when it was released in early 1988 and for good reason: the songs are crackers and are the usual blend of traditional songs revived and reinvigorated by thr Booze Brothers, original songs by the one and only Shane MacGowan and a few pearls from the other boys. The poetic lyrics coupled with the magnificent musicianship make it an experience to savour and each listen reveals the subtlety and delicacy of the arrangement. The only donkey on the whole album is Sit Down By The Fire as it seems rushed and Shane can't be bothered to sing it properly but even that has a certain charm. The stand-out songs for me are the joyful Broad Majestic Shannon, the embittered Thousands Are Sailing, the riotously sinister Turkish Song Of The Damned and the immortal Fairytale Of New York.
The remastered version (which I bought to replace the original CD, which I bought to replace the original LP!) featuring a few classic extras, including the magnificent collaborations with the Dubliners for The Irish Rover and Mountain Dew, just make it all the better and confirm this album as the key Pogues album to own. It catches the boys at their productive zenith where they are still creating great music and they haven't begun the decline that clearly showed on Peace & Love. More than anything, it sounds like they are having a ball.
Some sensitive listeners might not like a couple of the songs, especially Bottle Of Smoke, for the high expletive count, but that would be like criticising a great painting because a few of the brush strokes are a bit too heavy. Give yourself a treat and order a copy now.