Red Roses For Me 8 ( 1984 ) Transmetropolitan / The Battle Of Brisbane / The Auld Triangle / Waxie's Dargle / Boys From The County Hell / Sea Shanty / Dark Streets Of London / Streams Of Whisky / Poor Paddy / Dingle Regatta / Greenland Whale Fisheries / Don't In The Ground / Kitty
The Pogues fused punk with Irish folk to stunned and crazy audiences. 'Red Roses For Me' features acoustic instrumentation yet sounds as angry and energetic as any early Clash or Ramones record. This has been attributed to the early punk involvement of several 'Pogues'. To my knowledge, what The Pogues managed to do for Irish music, no-one managed for English folk-music. Correct me if i'm wrong - yet I can't recall an English band singing English folk in a style anything as remotely full of life.
Shane MacGowan's original compositions are generally derivative; the fact the songs sit alongside traditional tunes so well is something to applaud Macgowan for. Accordian, Tin Whistle and Banjo provide melodies whilst drums are a simplistic, booming stomp. 'Red Roses For Me' features this very loud drum sound on seemingly every other track. The rush of 'Waxie's Dargle' is indelibly booze stained, yet also memorable was the video made for Channel Four show, 'The Tube'. I've yet to see it - apparently Spider Stacey, Tin Whistle, repeatedly bashes his head on a beer tray. This very aliveness is enough to translate The Pogues far beyond their original spheres of influence. 'Streams Of Whiskey' sits alongside the like of 'Waxie's Dargle' very well and 'Sea Shanty' is full of melody - important within traditional Irish music.
'Red Roses For Me' is arguably a somewhat overlooked, underrated Pogues record, and for the record, I immensely enjoyed listening to it. 'Dark Streets Of London' and 'Boys From The County Hell' were both released as singles - neither managed to chart. It could be argued that 'Dark Streets Of London' sounds too Irish for it to have crossed over; 'Boys From The County Hell' is a superb little song that, because Stiff Records were in financial difficulties, wasn't getting the push it deserved.
Stephen Murphy I heartily agree and think the 8 out of 10 is a generous but fair estimation. This record is as ragged and rough as Shane's beard in the 80's but its highlights (Streams of Whiskey, Poor Paddy) are electrifying and send the hairs on the back of your neck a-tingling. I had this on an old tape and am in the market for a CD replacement sometime soon. Rawer than If I Should Fall..., punkier than 'Rum, Sodomy ... this is the pogues as we remember them. Pissed and puking but playing like angels. By the way, the "English Pogues" were "The Men They Couldn't Hang" who had a minor indie his with "Rain Steam Speed". They were a bit poo.