The Pogues, Just Look Them In The Eye and Say...Pogue Mahone!

Publication: The Observer

Author: Stephanie Merritt

Date: April 20, 2008

Original Location: Link

4 stars

It's Christmas and St Paddy's Day all at once for Pogues fans - a five-disc set of rarities and unreleased material, a 111-track treasure trove covering the best part of the band's 25-year history.

Its title refers to Pogue Mahone! - the band's original name, which they were obliged to shorten when the BBC learned that it's a phonetic translation of the Gaelic for kiss my arse - but then if you don't know trivia like that, you are probably not the target audience for this obsessively thorough anthology.

The real gems are the live recordings, some dug up from as far back as the early Eighties. Disc Five features a trio of songs from a 1991 set at London's Forum with Joe Strummer - a furious 'Turkish Song of the Damned', followed by Pogue-flavoured covers of 'London Calling' and 'I Fought the Law'. Equally poignant are the collaborations with Kirsty MacColl, including a bittersweet 'Miss Otis Regrets' that segues joyfully into a howling, growling duet of 'Just One of Those Things' with Shane MacGowan.

All the rehearsal versions and live recordings add to a rough and ready feel, and there's a sense that they've scraped up every last bit of tape from the archive. No one strictly needs three demos of 'Fairytale of New York' (happily, none bowdlerised) but this set should satisfy anyone in need of a Pogues binge.

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