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New Pogues Best-Of Coming

By Rich Heldenfels Published: November 28, 2012

There have been some previous best-of configurations (some more extensive than this one), from what I can see on Amazon.com. But if you're late to this particular party, here's the official word:

Shout! Factory has announced the January 22 release of The Very Best of the Pogues, a new collection of 18 stellar tracks by the beloved Irish-English punk band. The album features an 8-page book with new liner notes in which The Pogues’ Spider Stacy writes “All these songs have something special and so have the Pogues. I’ve always known it.”

 

Many bands have tried but few have ever equaled the unique power of the Pogues. Nowadays, folk music is enjoying the spotlight as bands like Mumford & Sons have reached the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. But back in the ’80s era of MTV, the wild, careening jigs and ballads of the Pogues were startling: the group was broadcasting from another planet. Their music was so alive, so vital that it retains its punch all these years later, as Shout! Factory’s new compilation The Very Best Of The Pogues vividly illustrates.

 

Chronicling the Pogues’ prime and containing many of the group’s best-known songs—songs that are threaded into popular culture, with “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” surprisingly soundtracking a recent Subaru ad, “Body of An American” heard in a memorable scene on HBO’s acclaimed urban drama The Wire, and the Kirsty MacColl duet “Fairytale of New York” existing as that rare modern holiday perennial—The Very Best Of The Pogues tells the story of one of the great Irish bands of modern times. And what a rich history it is.

 

Formed by singer/songwriter Shane MacGowan—a ruffian raised on punk rock who was famously photographed with a bloody ear in the front row of an early Clash gig—and guitarist/tin whistle player Spider Stacy in 1982, the Pogues took their name from a Gaelic phrase for “kiss my arse.” Quickly earning a reputation as an invigorating live act, the group signed with legendary British indie label Stiff in 1984, releasing their debut Red Roses For Me that year.

 

An underground sensation in the UK, Red Roses For Me showcased the Pogues’ gift for revitalizing traditional songs but also the wildly gifted pen of MacGowan, whose original “Streams of Whiskey” was one of the album’s highlights. With producer Elvis Costello, the Pogues quickly recorded a follow-up called Rum Sodomy And The Lash, a 1985 album that’s often cited as the band’s best and one of the great albums of the ’80s. MacGowan’s originals “A Pair of Brown Eyes” and “Sally MacLennane” reached the UK charts and the LP earned the band a cult audience in the U.S. Soon, the band made the leap from indies to the majors, signing with Island Records in 1987, and recording their next album If I Should Fall From Grace With God with Steve Lillywhite.

 

By many measures, If I Should Fall From Grace With God is the Pogues’ high watermark, generating a genuine UK hit single in “Fairytale of New York” and winding up as their most popular album in the U.S., partially due to the title track being a college radio hit. Hot on the heels of this success, the band released Peace And Love in 1989, a record that included the Jem Finer-penned highlight “Misty Morning, Albert Bridge.” Despite their success, the band was struggling to deal with MacGowan’s alcoholism, eventually replacing him with ex-Clash singer Joe Strummer in 1991 during a tour in support of the album Hell’s Ditch. On 1993’s Waiting For Herb, Spider Stacy became the group’s lead singer with Finer writing the bulk of the material. After the release of Pogue Mahone in 1996, the band broke up. However, the disbandment was short-lived. In 2001, the Pogues reunited, complete with Shane MacGowan as their lead singer. Over the next decade, the group played regularly in the UK and the US, cultivating several new generations of fans. For those new listeners The Very Best Of The Pogues is an essential introduction; but for those who have stuck with the band through thick and thin, it’s a bracing reminder of just how damn good this band has always been.

 

Shout! Factory, LLC is a diversified multi-platform entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering, preserving and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their entire careers sharing their music, television and film favorites with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD and Blu-Ray™ offerings serve up feature films, classic and contemporary TV series, animation, live music and comedy specials in lavish packages crammed with extras.  Shout’s audio division boasts GRAMMY®-nominated box sets, new releases from storied artists, lovingly assembled album reissues and indispensable “best of” compilations.  In addition, Shout! Factory maintains a vast digital distribution network which delivers video and audio content to all the leading digital service providers in North America.  Shout! Factory also owns and operates Timeless Media Group, Biograph Records, Majordomo Records, HighTone Records and Video Time Machine. These riches are the result of a creative acquisition mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention.  Shout! Factory is based in Santa Monica, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit shoutfactory.com

 

The Very Best of the Pogues

1. Dirty Old Town

2. The Sunnyside Of The Street

3. If I Should Fall From Grace With God

4. The Irish Rover

5. Rain Street

6. A Pair Of Brown Eyes

7. Boys From The County Hell

8. Fairytale Of New York

9. Body Of An American

10. Thousands Are Sailing

11. Sally MacLennane

12. Misty Morning, Albert Bridge

13. Tuesday Morning

14. Rainy Night In Soho

15. Streams of Whiskey

16. The Sickbed of Cuchulainn

17. Young Ned Of The Hill

18. Love You ’Till The End

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