RIP, Shane MacGowan (The Pogues)

When The Pogues’ “first” album – Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash – was released in 1985, I was blown away by the raw energy of their sound. The band was led by Shane MacGowan, whose death was announced today, and who at the time was recognized as much for his bad teeth as his music.

(His teeth were really bad. His singing was… unconventional. Also, Rum, Sodomy was technically not their first album, but it was the first to get serious distribution in the US.)

He’s probably best remembered today for what has become a holiday staple, “Fairy Tale of New York,” a duet with Kirsty MacColl from their follow-up album, the equally wonderful If I Should Fall From Grace With God. But man, the music and energy on Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash was life-changing.

So though I hate to link to the ad-besotted YouTube, it’s probably the easiest place to hear a couple of my favorite songs from that album.

A Pair of Brown Eyes – YouTube

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda – YouTube

I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day – YouTube

None of these really get across the frenetic energy of MacGowan, but they’re the three songs I can’t live without from this album.

Oh, I can’t resist: Here’s the reconstituted Pogues ten years ago singing a Ewan MacColl (Kirsty’s dad) song: The Pogues – Dirty old town, live 2012 – YouTube.

Next drink’s on me, Shane. If there’s an Irish pub in heaven – and there has to be, right? – I’ll see you there one day.