How important are The Pogues?

How important are The Pogues?

There is presently a discussion on another site(where I’m keeping a low profile just now) about this band. It’s claimed that they are "highly influential" in the spread of Irish music.

http://www.footstompin.com/forum?threadid=70756

However, my "alter ego" felt obliged to make comment, as you’ll see.

Anyway, my point is that despite the fact that The Pogues were(are) a "fun band" who have brought a certain brand(very commercial type) of Irish music to the masses, I’d suggest that their influence has actually been very limited in the great scheme of things.

How many of you out there, for instance, started playing or performing;-) tunes after listening to The Pogues? I’m sure the journey (for most of you) has been much more complicated than this.

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I should also state that Shane McGowan has written a few great songs and I’ve enjoyed much of The Pogues music over the years. However, I’ve also enjoyed U2, Thin Lizzy, early Van Morrison and much more along with other British and American rock music. None of this has had any real bearing on my interest in Irish(and scottish) traditional music now.

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I did. The Pogues were my first taste of Irish music. Theres nothing wrong with them at all and they sit nicely in their own little niche.My taste has become more refined since those days and diddly diddly has more appeal than "feck off to bed" spewed from whiskey decayed teeth. Initially, it took me and my mate around 6 months to identify the instruments the Pogues were playing - we had never come across such strange sounds as pipes and concertina. If I had a choice of the Pogues in concert or Lunasa I would go to the Pogues every time. I find trad bands live a little bit boring.

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I totally agree with you. The Pogues are fantastic to listen to, great fun, and being a tipp man myself I suppose I would be slightly bias towards them. But they have no true relevance in the traditional Irish music scene. They certainly had no contribution to make towards my interest in ITM.

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while the Pogues didn’t inspire me to get into ITM, I beleive that they have influenced other bands who have. the band who really got me interested in iris music was Black 47, and they are influenced by the Pogues. i thinks that they are limited as far as influencing individuals, yet the bands they influence make a differece. does that make sense?

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The Pogues were one of my first tastes in Irish music too. Shane really is a talented songwriter and performer. Their music helped whet my appetite for trad. I still enjoy them when I happen to hear them but I find I don’t play their albums much.

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I got into the Pogues after listening to Flogging Molly a lot, I wanted to listen to FM’s influences. I started getting into the real trad as I wanted to know where these things came from, plus I couldin’t get enough of those "odd instruments." I have been hooked on trad ever since.

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Re: How important are The Pogues?

Important for ten minutes, unless your’e pi**ed, in which case, important for 15.

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I never liked them for years in the same way I never really got that turned on by christie moore. I like their lesser known songs like broad majestic shannon, thousands are sailing, and rainy night in soho, it certainly got me into singing a few songs alright after a while it becomes a bit infectuous. As for getting me into playing heaps of tunes on the banjo and mandolin it was more like fairport and steeleye and stocktons wing, something with a bit more substance

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In their grotesque way they are / were entertainers, picking up that particular thread where the Dubliners (in their early incarnation) left off. Different in this respect, as far as I know, from Planxty and the supergroups in general, though I have seen very little of these live, who haven’t set out to interact much with audiences but rather have wanted them just to sit tight and be impressed. (If I’m wrong on this, someone out there put me right.)

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In my case, FWIW, The Pogues were exactly what led me to Irish sessions. Clueless self-taught American fiddler seeks acoustic rock band, joins one that plays a lot of Pogues songs, decides to brave traditional pub sessions in order to make his playing just a bit more authentic… followed by a quick slide into total obsession, no more Pogues for me. Don’t need all that extra noise and misbehavior, just the good tunes.

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They weren’t my first intro to Irish music—my dad had a few tapes we used to listen to on road trips: The Irish Tradition, Planxty, Silly Wizard, and others—but it was hearing the Pogues in high school that inspired me and a group of friends to start playing music. We began playing Pogues covers, then moved on to the Dubliners, and it wasn’t long before I’d been bit by the trad bug. It’s been many years now since I’ve listened to the Pogues, and when I do pop Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash into the cd player I realize quickly just how much my tastes have changed, but I have to begrudgingly credit them with getting me started down the road to trad.
I think the Pogues and groups like them and other flashy, poppy, or otherwise processed versions of Irish music are good for the tradition in terms of hooking new listeners who otherwise might never have discovered trad. Even though they have a negative influence, causing some sessions to be invaded by kids wanting to play A Pistol for Paddy Garcia on their piano accordion, I still think overall their existence is a positive thing.

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Shane MacGowan is currently contributing the odd article to the Arts section of "The Guardian" (accessible on the Internet).

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Nothing wrong with the Pogues.

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Absolutely love ‘em. I’ve listened to ‘Rum, Sodomy & the Lash’ since it came out. They have inspired countless modern punk/Irish copiers. The use of Irish music and the popularization of it by genuine, no-BS folks like Shane MacGowan has to be a good thing, no matter what. If it wasn’t for that album in 1985 this classically-trained and classically-disgusted teenage fiddler never would have picked it back up again. Thank God I did, and it’s all their fault. If not for them, I’d have though Irish music was nothing but me Ma’s Clancy Brother’s records.

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Of course, the Pogues didn’t and don’t have a fiddler, but the point was that it showed me (when adults wouldn’t) that there were other sorts of music that I LOVED that I could play on the violin instead of having classical music pounded into my brain daily. More importantly, it showed a teenager that Irish music was COOL, and not old dudes in sweaters.

Now, I’m the old dude in the sweater…well, not here in Florida. Now I’m the old dude in the Bermuda shorts, but that’s a different story.

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I assume they had much the same effect as the Dubliners did on an earlier generation. They were considered to be wild, drinking Irishmen, and most fans had never heard too many jigs and reels before. Coupled with the songs, they introduced ITM to a whole new audience and generation.

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Well done Bliss! They also showed that strong driving rhythm had a place in ITM which spawned a plague of bodhran players. Brilliant.

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That was the Chieftains, at the same time.

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"Spawned a plague of bodhran players"? With friends like that……………

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1-2-3-4,1-2-3-4

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Like some others here, I agree, they had minimal impact on the tradition, but worked like a safety valve for initially the London-based 2nd generation Irish diaspora going through the Punk era. Their influence spread rapidly of course. McGowan always claimed they were a punk band first of all, with Irish influence second. Sounds a bit self-deprecatory to me.
It could even be argued they had a negative impact on the tradition, by giving people the false impression that Irish players (ie, players of Irish music) are unruly p!ssheads, and even polluting some sessions with MacGowan wannabes - I’ve seen and heard them.

But Shane’s songwriting is sublime, and many of us can identify with many of his portayals.

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I forgot to mention, but have mentioned here ages before, I used to have a mate who has in his possession Shane McGowan’s Drinks tray with which he used to bash his head against, during gigs. And I’ve seen it, complete with dents.
The story goes he was p!ssed at a Pogues gig (when they still did London pub gigs). He found his way to the front, below the stage and picked up the tray between numbers, put it under his jacket and made off with it. This is true.
He is now a GP in Sydney. Any more than that I will not reveal. But would you have this man as your doctor?
(I would - he’d probably be more sympathetic to people with alcohol-related problems [which doesn’t include me.])
:-)

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Shane McGowan is now a GP in Sydney? Wow!

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That’s right mcknowall. And I’m the fikkin Dali Lama.

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On the continent the pogues started another wave of irish music enthusiasm after the 70es folk festivals. The next wave was rolling after Riverdance. I think the Pogues are much more authentic than the american show. And Shane is just one of the best song writers of the last decades. When Christy Moore i.e. is singing one of his songs it’s easier to get the quality of the song, hidden otherwisw behind all that Gin and smoke, at least for all you fundamentalists ;-)

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Well they convinced me to not p*ss my life away and to visit the dentist on a semi-regular basis.

Oh, and to use soap and water occasionally.

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He helps me at alcoholics anonymous down the road there’s a good name frop for ya danny eh

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They occasioned an acquaintance of mine to come out with the phrase, "Teeth like a row of condemned houses! " - which I still find funny.

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Reminds me of a similar one: "Teeth like a burnt fence"

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Yes, that expression goes back a long way.
The version I heard was "teeth like a row of condemned lavatories" Can we get any more revolting than that? Any offers?

Shane and the Head Bashing Tray

Fantastic Tale, Keys! I’ll be telling that at tonight’s sesssion, footnoted to you, of course.

Condemned lavatories takes the cake.

Side note: Why hasn’t any sort of Dental Hygiene Awareness group signed Shane on as a spokesman?

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Our group in England, Gorton Tank, predated the pogues, and I still believe they modelled themselves on us, as our lead singer/musician had teeth identical to Shane.

Of course we were much better.

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Actually, I had to think about it, and realised I got it wrong. He is actually a GP in the Brisbane area. But I bet he’s still got that tray!

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I wonder if he looks in here?

Obviously, he’ll need the "large text". :-)

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Hmm, well, I’m a BIG Pogues fan. Love them, but even I sometimes skip the really rowdy tracks, and I can easily see where they would offend many ears. But I have never, ever, heard better versions of Dirty Old Town and Waltzing Matilda, and there are some really great original songs in amongst all that noise. Also some good covers Red Roses for Me. They also toyed with Spanish sounds etc, so they are probably as much a world music band, as they are punk or Irish. Groups like the Pogues, and Great Big Sea (not trad., but somehow trad), and even smaller groups like Rawlins Cross (another Newfoundland band of young guys with pipes etc.) got many, many young people into more what I’d call ‘real’ music, and open to what most here would call real trad., when the alternatives are rap, hip hop etc. (which i really hate!). So, we need these groups to keep "it" alive with the young folks. It’s the intro to trad 101 for the young ones. You don’t have to love them, but groups like the Pogues deserve all our respect just like the Bothy Band, Danu, Willie Clancy, etc, do. We do no service to Irish music by denegrating the Pogues etc. I think they’ve had a tremendous impact on many people.

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"I have never, ever, heard better versions of Dirty Old Town and Waltzing Matilda"

Well, I could suggest several. :-)


However, don’t get get wrong. I enjoy much of what The Pogues do. In fact, I had their album on yesterday and listened to "A rainy night in Soho" for the first time since years. What a brilliant track that is!


All I’m suggesting with this thread is that their influence in spreading folk and trad music to a wider audience including younger people has been over stated. It was the same in the seventies with the likes of Fairport, Steeleye Span, Runrig in Scotland etc and several others. Yes, they appeal to a wider audience but the vast majority of the converts remain Pogues, Fairport or whatever fans and not much else. For instance, if you go to an Incredible String Band concert, the majority of the puntres are "Fousty old hippies" from the sixties!!

Some of the comments here might indicate that I’m wrong BUT there’s every possibility these posters might also have come to enjoy Irish music by another route.

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Nah ye’re right John. Although they’re great - really great - unparalleled actually - for what they are and did, and I quite clearly said that also — and I do not believe I denigrated them — they had as much influence in fostering MY interest in traditional music as what Alf Tupper did in fostering my interest in athletics.

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Now there was a man, the "Bliss" of the athletics track, 129 Olympic Gold medals.

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John J,

at least in the 90es the audience of our band (which is not punk at all) asked at each gig for several Pogues songs.

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Yes, but would you not have been happier if they’d asked for yours?

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Sounds like the only thing you’d have got from a track was blissters.
So, tell us your PB’s.

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Ulster schools cross country champion, always said I would win the 1984 olympic marathon, and when you consider John Treacy took silver for Ireland, I still reckon I should have entered.

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Not that I don’t believe you or anything, but which club were you with? What training regime did you do then? and when was it?

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Hello?












Bliss?

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!970. Corrigan Athletic Club. I didn’t train, I just ran everywhere, and ate fish and chips. Mind you I was running for the school, not the club.

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First song got me interested was Rare Old MountainDew on me fathers Dubliner s 25th celebration record. It was a collaboration with the pogues. After that I enquired about "The Pogues" in the local music shop and got rum sodomy and the lash tape. Still to this day travel far and near to see Mcgowan when i can. He is also the reason i get the bus to doolin to sit in mcganns and o connors and mainly listen to geniuses at work!!!