MOJO Music Award

Publication: Mojo Magazine

Author: Tom Doyle

Date: August 2005


Voted by Mojo staff and writers

The Pogues' debut Red Roses For Me, may have made a fine stab at capturing the bladdered magnificence of the band's early live sets, but it was Rum, Sodomy & The Lash /STIFF 1985) that made their reputation, particularly that of their blurred visionary songwriter. "I actually remember more that I thought I did about recording it," grinned Spider Stacy, cradling the award that Steve Earle had presented. "The band really found their feet and Shane was cooking on gas with the songs."

Two decades on, The Pogues' second albumremains as thrilling as the day it was minted, the high watermark in the career of an untidy gathering of north London drinkers and buskers. Signed to Stiff for half a crate of Guinness, The Pogues took Irish rebel folk - possibly the least fashionable of musics in the mid - 1980s - and revived it with the oxygen of punk.

Shrewdly, for Rum, producer Elvis Costello ("Uncle Brian" to the band) took a step back and let events take their course. As the thumped drums and thin whistles swelled around him, Shane MacGowan shone a light into the darkes corners of lowlife in London - the rent boys of Leicester Square in The Old main Drag, the guttered brawlers of Euston in the Sick Bed Of Cuchuillainn. There was slurred love declared and by last orders, a tear in the beer. No surprise, then, that Tom Waits has declared it to be one of his favourite albums of all time.

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