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Peace & Love [Expanded]

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Album Review

Shane MacGowan's potent appetite for alcohol was evident from the time the Pogues cut their first album, but by the time they got to work on Peace and Love in 1989, it was evident that he'd gone far past the point of enjoying a few pints (or many pints) and had sunk deep into drug and alcohol dependence. The Pogues were always far more than just MacGowan's backing band, but with the group's principal songwriter and lead singer frequently unable to rise to the occasion, the recording of Peace and Love became a trying experience, with the rest of the band often scrambling to take up the slack for their down-for-the-count frontman. Given the circumstances, the Pogues deliver with greater strength than one might expect on Peace and Love; while MacGowan's vocals are often mush-mouthed and his songwriting is markedly beneath his previous standards, Terry Woods contributes two terrific traditional-style numbers ("Young Ned of the Hill" and "Gartloney Rats"), Philip Chevron's "Lorelei" is a superb tale of lost love (he and Darryl Hunt also teamed up for a fine bit of Celtic-calypso fusion on "Blue Heaven"), and Jem Finer brought along a trio of strong originals. Musically, Peace and Love found the band stretching their boundaries, adding accents of film noir jazz on "Gridlock," rockabilly on "Cotton Fields," straight-ahead rock on "USA," and power pop on "Lorelei," though the group's highly recognizable Celtic-trad-on-steroids style is never far beneath the surface. Peace and Love isn't as good as the two Pogues albums that preceded it (which represent the finest work of their career), but it does make clear that MacGowan was hardly the only talented songwriter in the band — though the fact that the set's most memorable songs were written by others did not bode well for the group's future. [In 2006, Rhino Records released a remastered and expanded edition of Peace and Love that included new liner notes (a witty and appropriately eccentric tribute to the band from Patrick McCabe and an account of the album's troubled production by David Quantick) as well as six bonus tracks. The charging R&B tribute "Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah," a major single in the U.K. that never appeared on a U.S. album, is included, along with its B-side, a ragged-but-right cover of "Honky Tonk Women" sung (well, joyously bellowed) by Spider Stacy. Also worth noting is the country-accented "Train of Love" and Terry Woods's moving "Everyman Is a King," but how come MacGowan's much talked-about acid house track, "You've Got to Connect with Yourself" (recorded for the album but never released), doesn't make the cut?]

Customer Reviews

Peace and Love

While this is a good album, it isn't The Pogues' best either. There are some standout tracks like Young Ned of the Hill, Misty Morning Albert Bridge, Gartloney Rats, Night Train to Lorca, Star of the County Down, and The Limerick Rake, but much of the album feels to me like filler. All the same, if you already have IISFFGWG, Red Roses for Me, and Rum, Sod*my, and the Lash, and you still haven't gotten your fix of The Pogues, then this record is certainly a fine choice.

Down All The Days

Like their last, Hell's Ditch, this is a mixed bag. Without a doubt their worst & least cohesive release. The band seems to want to "experiment", while MacGowan stubbornly sticks to his traditional roots. Not surprisingly, the MacGowan penned tracks standout. But Jem Finer's Misty Morning & Phil Chevron's Lorelei go to prove the Pogues were more than just a backing band. That said, the other essential tracks? White City, Cotton Fields, Down All The Days,USA, Boat Train & London, You're A Lady. As for the bonus material? Yeah, Yeah, Yeah & Limerick Rake are just as essential.

I Love This Album

It's funny to see lackluster reviews of this record. It's one of my favorite records. Along with If I Should Fall... and Rum, S***my and the Lash, they are three unbelievable albums. I love the songs written by the other guys in the goup as well. "Down All the Days" is amazing to me. The musical landscapes they create are unbelievable. Yes, Shane drinks. Yes, he has no teeth. YES, he is an absolutely amazing songwriter with a gift for believability that only a scant few singers ever achieve. Johnny Cash, Kurt Cobain, etc. These guys live it and we believe it. The only shame with him is his seeming inability to get his act together. It truly is a shame. I guess I'll just have to live with my three favorite records by them for a little longer. Jeremy Keyboards for Nine Days


Formed: 1982 in Kings Cross, London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

By demonstrating that the spirit of punk could live in traditional Irish folk music, the Pogues were one of the most radical bands of the mid-'80s. Led by Shane MacGowan, whose slurred, incomprehensible voice often disguised the sheer poetry of his songs, the Pogues were undeniably political -- not only were many of their songs explicitly in favor of working-class liberalism, but the wild, careening sound of their punk-injected folk was implicitly radical. While the band was clearly radical, they...
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