IF I SHOULD FALL FROM GRACE WITH GOD
'If I Should Fall from Grace with God':
SHANE MacGowan's gritty voice, like his tilted posture and his sneerish grin, gives it all away, and so does the cover photograph of James Joyce, who's shown posed in a ratty hat among the rest of the band: MacGowan, the Pogues and the late author are having a good laugh on us all.
The Pogues of Ireland are among the better bar bands to emerge from the British Isles. They're as popular as the Queen and far more accessible: on stage at the Ritz recently, chief Pogue MacGowan passed the bottle among the audience.
The tunes off "If I Should Fall from Grace with God," their latest record, produced by Steve Lillywhite, are brilliant and inspiring in a nationalistic way; the Pogues may use four-letter words in their anthems, but that makes them all the more believable.
How can you not love MacGowan crooning like a toreador to the rhythms of "Fiesta," and rhyming "accordion" with "macaroni"? Then there's the "Turkish Song of the Damned," an Eastern-oriented jig. And the deathly, somber eloquence of "Streets of Sorrow," a song that sums up decades of The Troubles in a pining lyric of pain.
New York City, where the Pogues are mightily loved, figures into the
reeling "Fairytale of New York" as well as guitarist Philip Chevron's "Thousands
are Sailing," a Pogue-ish epic of immigrants who find a kind of happiness
on Broadway where, "in Brendan Behan's footsteps / I danced up and down
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