Shane MacGowan’s Popes: Across the Broad Atlantic

After a very long wait, we finally have an official live album to add to our collections. Shane MacGowan and The Popes have released “Across The Broad Atlantic” (at least in the U.S., Europe will have it in February I believe.) The album was recorded live on St. Paddy’s Day last year in New York AND Dublin! How the hell can that happen, you may be asking? Well, according to the liner notes in the album sleeve, Thanks to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, the official Paddy’s Day in Dublin had to be moved from March to May and Shane became the first ever Irish performer to be able to celebrate Paddy’s Day on stage in both New York and Dublin in the same year! Yeah, like Shane needs TWO Paddy’s Days in one year to celebrate! As many of you would expect, the album is sometimes spotty. The crowd sounds like it may have been diluted down in the studio a bit, but unlike a few bootlegs, you can actually hear the band in between tracks.(Too bad you can’t understand just what the hell Shane is saying on a few of ’em!) The Popes sound solid throughout the album, but Shane sounds like he may have been drinking warm whiskey out of a dirty ashtray on one or two tracks. He even sings “Fairytale of New York” with his mother, and let’s just say it’s …..a bit off key. Some of the standouts on the album are the eerie “Angel Of Death” the last song Hank Williams wrote, also “Body Of An American”, “More Pricks Than Kicks”, and “Streams of Whiskey” I especially enjoy the great echo effects from Shane when he gives his typical banshee howls during some of the songs. It is definitely about time we can own a “real” live album, although some bootlegs are a better quality show, just not a better quality recording. I also heard a rumor that another live album is in the works from The Pogues. I guess it’s a Show from 1991 in Switzerland, that will be released as another “official” live album. That’s great guys!! How ’bout an “official” album with some unreleased tracks on it?

February 2002

Review by Brian Gillespie.

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