Wednesday, April 11, 2012

36 Songs, 36 Days (2012 Edition), Day Nine: Waxie's Dargle by The Pogues

Since I haven't purge all my celtic music from St. Patrick's Day, there are still some vestigal Irish rock and punk songs in my rotation....which is why we're discussing The Pogues.

Man, I love The Pogues.

Has there been a more authentic Celtic Punk band? While I have discussed my love for other Celtic Punk and Rock bands before--most notably The Dropkick Murphys--this is the source from which my love of all other Celtic bands flows. And what makes this loose collection of musicians (the official website provides bios for twelve recognized members, as well as three honorary members who passed on) were true to their Irish heritage while embracing the music forms of the future and the forms of other countries. I would always grab a new Pogues album off the racks with the anticipation of a child on Christmas morning, not sure what I was going to get--and these guys didn't disappoint. Where else could you find traditional Celtic songs, ghost stories, tributes to classic 60's pop groups, and festive latin rave-ups all on the same album?
This is Shane MacGowan with his fiance'.  You have no excuse
for not having a girlfriend.

This is from Red Roses For Me, their first album. This is the 'classic' iteration of the band, fronted by The Toothless Wonder Shane MacGowan. The song is a Pogue-ified version of a traditional Irish drinking song. Apparently, Waxie's Dargle refers to an annual get together originally held as part of the Donnybrook Fair, and the song is a simple tale of a woman who is trying to raise money to go to the titular event. Our POV character is recounting her woes to a friend--and is being rather vigorously rushed by the owner of the bar in which they're talking. It's not an earth-shaking tale by any means, just an excuse to have something to sing while drinking. But damn if the energy of the vocals and the uptempo playing of the group doesn't make it seem like something more. And even if it isn't--it's certainly got a beat, and I can dance to it.

The Pogues sputtered out after a split over ideologies with MacGowan, producing two albums before breaking up completely....and then reuniting in 2001 as a sporadic touring group. I kind of wish they were still recording so I can get that same thrill of discovery whenever they decide to put out a new album. Still, I'm grateful I still have a chance to see them before I die.

Here's a live performance from 2005.


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