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Rum Sodomy & the Lash (Expanded Version)

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iTunes Review

The Pogues present the merging of the irrepressible punk rock spirit with the incorrigible might of the Irish drinking song: Joe Strummer meets Brendan Behan. From the rapid-fire delivery of the album’s opener, “The Sickbed of Cuchulainn,” to the shambling rhythms of “The Gentleman Soldier,” the Pogues’ second album is the blossoming of an awesome, idiosyncratic artistic talent. With Elvis Costello serving as producer and protectorate — ensuring the band’s spirit is captured in its full anarchic glee — the songs burst into Technicolor, adding Uileann pipes and fiddles to the group’s arsenal of banjo, mandolin and accordion. Singer Shane MacGowan’s songwriting was steadily improving (“A Pair of Brown Eyes,” “The Old Main Drag”), effectively evoking the feelings of age-old English, Irish and Australian folk songs. And credible covers of Ewan MacColl’s “Dirty Old Town” and Eric Bogle’s “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” proved them a group aware of their roots and history, yet irreverent enough to bring it to new life. This expanded reissue also includes the sublime 1986 EP Poguetry in Motion that features “London Girl” and “Rainy Night in Soho,” two of the group’s finest performances.

Customer Reviews

THIS is the Pogues' best

I may be hated for this, but I love this album a tad better than the followup, If I Should Fall From Grace with God, though both are fantastic. Elvis Costello wrote in the liner notes for one of his albums that he wanted to capture the beauty of an unrestrained Pogues before some big producer got a hold of them. Whether this is a jab at Steve Lillywhite, we'll never know. For what it's worth, the production on this album is great as we really get to hear Macgowans writing craft and ace performances by the band take full form. MacGowan's originals on the album are some of his best, notably the opening track and Sally MacLennane. The former is a brutal bar brawl song while the latter could easily be a traditional Irish drinking song. It's also one of the great Pogue singalong track with its chant "Sad to say I must be on me way/So buy me beer and wiskey cos I'm going far I away." The sad Pair of Brown Eyes is right up there as a classic as well. But MacGowan and co. prove they can jolt up a classic and make it their own, especially on the jarring the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, composed by Eric Bogle. MacGowan's vocal emphasizes the weary tone of the narrator. The Pogues have a fun romp the Gentemen Soldier while Elvis Costello's future ex-wife and fellow Pogue Cait O' Riodarn chimes in on the vocals for the haunting I'm A Man You Don't Meet Everyday. Again, Rhino dispenses a wealth of extras here, including tracks from the long out of print Poguetry in Motion EP. While these songs have appeared on compilations, the original Rainy Night in Soho has often eluded the comps in favor of a 1990 version. So it's nice to see the tracks here again, especially since Rainy Night in Soho is easily one of Shane's best love songs while the Body of an American is right up there with the Pogues own Thousands are Sailing as they celebrate the Irish in America. A few other rarities round out the set making this the most exciting of the Pogues reissues.

Excellent album, why censor title word, is it "dirty"?

One of my favorite albums but I'm disturbed by iTunes not being able to cope with the key word in its title. Sodom and Gomorrah. Will that be banned because it's suggestive of the title?

Brilliant Album, Shame on ITunes!

Shane MacGowan's finest hour includes the epic "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda," which fans of Peter Weir's film GALIPOLI should listen to, as well as the hauntingly beautiful "Rainy Night In Soho" spread amidst Celtic tones and punk-rock attitudes. As for the album's title, it comes from a Winston Churchill quote regarding the British Navy; a Prime Minister can utter the noun associated with the city of Sodom, yet ITunes choses to censor that same noun. . .WHY?


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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