1985, Music

Rum Sodomy and the Lash (1985) by The Pogues

I have long loved If I Should Fall From Grace With God and considered it pretty near essential, especially as punk treatments of roots music go. It’s got what is probably their most famous song – “Fairy Tale in New York,” the Pogues song that you probably have heard even if you have never heard of the Pogues – and I had always assumed that was the Pogues album to have. Like with so many other things, I was wrong.

This is a fantastic album that expertly blends Celtic music and punk even more expertly, perhaps, than that 1987 album I adore. This is one of those records which reminds me why I devote way too many hours scouring through bands’ back catalogues. Finding something like this reminds me why I love music as well. It is a note-perfect combination of energy and songs. It’s an absolute classic. The originals are strong and the covers are so well curated that it makes me long for an all-covers album by this band.

And, as an aside on those covers: “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” has to be the most devastating song ever written (in English) about war. I will have to try to find other Bogle songs.

Just an absolute classic record. Perhaps the best punk interpretation of roots music ever. (Certainly the best punk interpretation of Celtic music.)


  1. “The Sick Bed of Cúchulainn” by Shane MacGowan; 2:59
  2. “The Old Main Drag” by Shane MacGowan; 3:19
  3. “The Wild Cats of Kilkenny” by Shane MacGowan, Jem Finer; 2:48
  4. “I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day” (traditional) 2:55
  5. “A Pair of Brown Eyes” by Shane MacGowan; 4:54
  6. “Sally MacLennane” by  Shane MacGowan; 2:43
  7. “Dirty Old Town” by Ewan MacColl; 3:45
  8. “Jesse James” (traditional) 2:58
  9. “Navigator” by Phil Gaston; 4:12
  10. “Billy’s Bones” by Shane MacGowan; 2:02
  11. “The Gentleman Soldier” (traditional) 2:04
  12. “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” by Eric Bogle; 8:10
  • Shane MacGowan – vocals
  • Spider Stacy – tin whistle; vocals on “Jesse James”
  • James Fearnley – accordion
  • Jem Finer – banjo
  • Cait O’Riordan – bass; vocals on “I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day”
  • Andrew Ranken – drums
  • Philip Chevron – guitar; mandolin on “The Parting Glass”

Additional Personnel

  • Henry Benagh – fiddle
  • Dick Cuthell – French horn
  • Tommy Keane – uileann pipes

5 Comments on “Rum Sodomy and the Lash (1985) by The Pogues

  1. Hi,

    I love the Pogues. My favourite song is the Turkish Song of the Damned. Love it.

    About the Bogle songs. Do you know “Green fields of France”?
    The Men They Couldn’t Hang have a pretty good version of that song.


        1. And?
          Do you like the song? 🙂

          BTW, thank you for posting an blog entry about the Pogues. During the 80s I listened lot to their music. Your entry reminded me to check if my record player still works and to put the LPs on. 🙂


          PS: Nice blog.

        2. I’ve only listened to it once so far, want to give it a few more listens.

          Thanks for the compliment. I love the Pogues too.

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