Friday, August 10, 2007

Number 579 - Pogues

Number 579

The Pogues

"Fairytale In New York"

Art by riotgothicgrrrl
I have a gripe, a wee whinge, so to speak ........ Nooooo they say! Well i do and i wanna tell you what it is. My country, New Zealand (Dirkadirkastan, 3rd palm tree on the left) has this problem with worldly events.
Let me give you an example. Today a Airplane travelling to Tahiti (2nd palm tree on the left) crashed and twenty people died. Yes, it is horrific and sad to a lot of people.
However... my country has this horrible nuance, whenever there is a tragedy the News always says this...... "20 people were killed today, but no Kiwis (NZ'ers) were in the plane" or "Today 2000 people were killed in a Tusnami, BUT no NZ'ers were killed".
It makes my skin crawl everytime they do it.
Oh and you ask me.... "what if a NZ'er did die?" .... Then its fraggin front page!, first item news! Here another example...... "2 NZ'ers died today in the Bali bombings that killed 700 other poor souls" Ack! And then they hunt down the relatives to find out how much grief they are going through! With not one thought for the other 698 $#^%$%$%@%. Ok i feel better now.... back to the music.
Art by jharris
If Rum Sodomy & the Lash captured the Pogues on plastic in all their rough-and-tumble glory, If I Should Fall from Grace with God proved they could learn the rudiments of proper record making and still come up with an album that captured all the sharp edges of their musical personality. Producer Steve Lillywhite imposed a more disciplined approach in the studio than
Elvis Costello had, but he had the good sense not to squeeze the life out of the band in the process; as a result, the Pogues sound tighter and more precise than ever, while still summoning up the glorious howling fury that made Rum Sodomy & the Lash so powerful. And Shane MacGowan continued to grow as a songwriter, as his lyrics and melodies captured with brilliant detail his obsession with the finer points of Anglo-Irish culture. "Fairytale of New York," a glorious sweet-and-sour duet with Kirsty MacColl, and "The Broad Majestic Shannon" were subtle in a way many of his previous work was not, "Birmingham Six" found him addressing political issues for the first time (and with all the expected venom), and "Fiesta" and "Turkish Song of the Damned" found him adding (respectively) faux-Spanish and Middle Eastern flavors into the Pogues' heady mix. And if you want to hear the Pogues blaze through some fast ones, "Bottle of Smoke" and the title song find them doing just what they've always done best. Brilliantly mixing passion, street smarts, and musical ambition, If I Should Fall from Grace with God is the best album the Pogues would ever make. ~ [Mark Deming, All Music Guide]
The (needless) Tragedy of Kirsty McColl
MacColl had a busy, successful year in 2000, with the success of Tropical Brainstorm, as well as her participation in the presentation of a radio programme she had done for the BBC on Cuba.MacColl decided to take a much needed holiday, and she, her partner, musician James Knight, and her sons traveled to Cozumel, Mexico. She intended to introduce her sons during the trip to an activity she loved – scuba diving. On December 18, 2000, she and her sons went diving in Cozumel, in a specific diving area that watercraft were restricted from entering. With the group was a local veteran divemaster, Ivan Diaz. As the group was surfacing from a dive, a speeding powerboat entered the restricted area. MacColl saw the boat coming for her sons. Louis was not in the boat's path, but Jamie was. She was able to push him out of the way (he sustained minor head and rib injuries) but in doing so, she was hit by the boat and killed instantly. [Soure:Wiki]

The Song that is so famous...
The song takes the form of a drunken man's Christmas Eve reverie about holidays past while sleeping off a binge in a New York City drunk tank. After an inebriated old man also incarcerated in the jail cell sings a passage from the Irish drinking ballad The Rare Old Mountain Dew, the drunken man (MacGowan) begins to dream about a failed relationship. The remainder of the song (which may be an internal monologue) takes the form of a call and response between two Irish immigrants, lovers or ex-lovers, their youthful hopes crushed by alcoholism and drug addiction, reminiscing and bickering on Christmas Eve in New York City. MacColl's melodious singing contrasts with the harsh sound of MacGowan's voice and the lyrics are sometimes bittersweet, sometimes plain bitter: "Happy Christmas your arse/ I pray God it's our last". The lyric "Sinatra was swinging" has been taken by some to suggest an unspecified period after World War II; however, it is possible that the song is actually set in the early 1980s, when one of Sinatra's last chart hits, his 1980 recording of John Kander and Fred Ebb's theme from the movie "New York, New York", was a fixture of New York City airwaves and a standard singalong record in the city's many neighborhood bars. The title, taken from author J. P. Donleavy's novel A Fairy Tale of New York, was chosen after the song had been written and recorded. ~ [Source:Wiki]
By the by ....
MacColl was not originally to have appeared on the song, the female vocal being intended for the band's bassist, Cait O'Riordan. However, she left the band in 1986, before the song was completed. The Pogues were at the time being produced by Steve Lillywhite, MacColl's then-husband, who asked his wife to provide a guide vocal of the female part for a demo version of the song. The Pogues, however, liked MacColl's contribution so much that they asked her to sing the part on the actual recording.
The song was released in the United Kingdom in early December 1987, and swiftly became a hit. On December 17, 1987, the Pogues and MacColl performed the song on the BBC's popular television show Top of the Pops, and it was propelled to #2 on the UK charts. For the Top of the Pops appearance, the BBC insisted that MacColl's singing of "arse" be replaced with the less offensive "ass", although as she mimed the word MacColl slapped the relevant part of her body to make it clear what was meant. Although it finished the year as the #48 song based on a single month's sales, it was infamously denied the Christmas #1 spot by the Pet Shop Boys' cover of "Always on My Mind". MacGowan commented on this in his typically forthright manner: "We were beaten by two queens and a drum machine." ~ [Source:Wiki]

For Elvis Costello see Number 876
For Frank Sinatra see Number 933

What does Rolling Stone think about the Pogues
The Pogues' basic stance – wild Irish boozehounds with a passion for traditional Celtic reels and squeals revved up to punk velocity – would be enough to arrest anyone's attention on the current sappy pop scene. That there's more to the group than simple stylistic gimmickry – a lot more – is the happy news delivered with its long-delayed third album, If I Should Fall from Grace with God.
The Pogues were never quite what their image suggested, of course: their electrifying ensemble cohesion betrays a musical rigor beyond the reach of the merely besotted, and their leader, Shane MacGowan, is too artful and emotionally complex a songwriter to quite fit the role of head souse. With this – their first LP since 1985's Rum, Sodomy and the Lash – the group stands revealed as the most inspiring trad-fusion band since Fairport Convention.
All of the Pogues' considerable art is apparent here in tracks like the lilting "Fairytale of New York" and the corrosive "Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six." The former sketches the transience of romantic love against the evergreen joys of yuletide. Duetting with singer Kirsty MacColl (the wife of producer Steve Lillywhite – who has imbued his LP with sonic kicks galore – and the daughter of the celebrated songwriter Ewan MacColl), MacGowan tells the tale of an expatriate love affair, which began in delight one long-ago Christmas Eve, when "the boys of the NYPD choir were singin' 'Galway Bay,'" but which has since hit the skids ("You scumbag, you maggot/You cheap, lousy faggot," MacColl sings, "Happy Christmas, your ass/I pray God it's our last"). The combination of seasonal buoyancy (conveyed by the arrangement's Gaelic pipes and lush strings) and personal disillusionment is unlike anything else in recent pop – as is MacGowan's voice, which, as always, sounds as if it had been marinated since birth in a mixture of gin and nicotine.[edited: Source Rolling Stone (RS 520)]

For Fairport Convent see Richard Thompson Number 683

Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (Not for all the Kings horses) and the Album ranked at Number (How many NZ'ers died, again?)
This song has a crowbarred rating of 72.7 out of 108 pts
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