Tag Archives: The Pogues

The Woods Band and the Mahones, w/ guests Siobhan and The Peelers – Several Canadian Dates (October 2003)

by Ol’ jimmy from Siobhan

I’d like to begin this review with a small message for our American readers. And that message is this:

Ha, ha.

Oh, look at us. We’re the United States. We’re big and powerful. We have most of the money in the world. We grab all the headlines. Our military could conquer Canada 50 times in a week and still have enough time for a relaxing weekend in Bermuda. We have the Dropkicks. We have The Tossers. We have Flogging Molly. We’re the centre of the universe!

Well, let’s just be clear here: Terry Woods and Phil Chevron just did a tour in CANADA. And it rocked both folk and punk ASS.

I mean, The Mahones were awesome, they always are. The Peelers kicked ass. The only real let-down was Siobhan, who played some of the worst music I had ever heard. I mean, I don’t want to be cruel here, but these guys were worse than Creed. They make Creed sound like the Mahones. But anyway, let me get down to the nitty-gritty, the real stuff. The Pogues.

On each night, Terry, Phil and their bad-ass Irish accordion player, James, followed up the Mahones’ set with an acoustic set of their own. This set included some tunes I’d never heard, such as beautiful instrumental “The Lament for Grosse Point” and “Brave New World”, a rousing folk number. And each night, they turned the house lights down, and Phil sang Thousands Are Sailing in an “Unplugged” style.

This was the song that first roused my interest in the Pogues, the song that started me on that long, dark, and drunken road to having a band. And to hear Phil himself sing it was beyond incredible. Shane was great on the album, but seeing this old, frail man sing his own song (on North American soil, even!) gives the tune a whole new power. He also did another song of his, “Faithful Departed”, a Radiators From Space tune that has become an underground classic in Irish music.

The Mahones jumped on stage again as the backing band, and out came “If I Should Fall From Grace With God”, “Young Ned Of The Hill” and “Gartloney Rats”, among others. Those of us in the room who understood what was going on were mesmerized, while those who had never heard the Pogues were amazed to hear Irish music being played so well, better then any band in Canada or the U.S. does. Terry’s fingers absolutely flew on the bouzouki, and his concertina work was masterful. Occasionally, when the sound was bad, I would turn to a band-mate and say, “I wonder if the sound guy realizes he’s fucking up the bouzouki sound for one of the five best players in the world.”

In the end, the shows were magical, and we all have Finny MacConnell from the Mahones to thank for organizing them. The last time Terry and Phil were on this continent, they were playing to five or six thousand people a night, and here they were, in dark underground clubs and halls, playing their hearts out to anyone who would listen. They weren’t trying to get famous, they were trying to show people what Irish music could and should be.

I’ll never forget seeing these guys, and getting to play banjo with them on “Gartloney Rats” is something I’ll take to my grave. But the experience was also humbling for all of us who play this music: there are still giants across the broad Atlantic who play far better than we do. Leave it to the Pogues to put a bunch of Canadians in their place. Health to you, boys, and don’t stay away too long.

Review by:
-Ol’ Jimmy (whose efforts to get Phil to say “Oooh Terrence! You farted!” in a high pitched, squeaky voice were sadly in vain)

James Fearnley (The Pogues): Great Scott, Boston (September 18, 2016)

The small but enthusiastic crowd at Boston’s Great Scott were treated to a great night of music and banter by Pogues legend James Fearnley and friends. With accordion strapped on and in fine voice (despite complaints of a sweaty, smelly hand from holding the accordion), James took us through almost two hours of his post-Pogues material which he described in finest Yorkshire English as either “fast as fuck or slow as shite”. The material was pulled from the 1996 release he did with the Low and Sweet Orchestra and (I’m guessing) new material from the upcoming Cranky George release and despite early on telling us he would not play any Pogues material no matter how hard we stared at him the band ended the night with Drunken Boat (or at least that’s what I remember – corrections welcome). Tonight was a ton of fun and the band (basically a pick-up band for 3 shows – Boston, NYC and the Murphy’s Irish fest) had a tonne of laughs with former Dropkick Murphys Marc Orrell cracking up though out the night – I wish I know who the rest of the band were but introductions only got as far as the bass players first name – George – before taking a detour to a story about James trying to join Boy George’s Culture Club.. Mark Lind of Ducky Boys fame open up with some great acoustic roots rock with a nod to Springsteen.

The Radiators From Space: TV Tube Heart (40 anniversary)

December 27, 2017

Ireland’s original punk band. Sometimes relegated to the footnotes of Irish rock history as Philip Chevron’s (The Pogues) punk band or even the band that inspired U2 to give it a go. The Radiators have the distinction of being the first punk band to have a top 20 hit single anywhere in the world – Television Screen in April 1977. A slightly delayed debut album TV Tube Heart showed up later in ‘77. Forty years later Chiswick Records has re-released TV Tube Heart in all it’s punk rock glory along with an additional 20 bonus tracks. If you are not familiar with the original TV Tube heart it’s a very fine punk album comparable to the best of the 77’ class. Television Screen is teenage frustration and primal rock’n’roll, Enemies an absolute classic and the album as a whole has stood the test of time very well. The bonus track are wide and varied including a 2017 live in the studio re-recording of the album, previously unreleased live tracks from 1977 and the obligatory single versions. Still the greatest band to come out of north Dublin.

Jamie Clarke’s Perfect: Hell Hath No Fury

June 21, 2017

It’s been a few years since we’ve heard anything new from former Pogue Jamie Clarke (guitar on the much underrated Pogue Mahone). Hell Hath No Fury follows in the Folk-a-billy direction of 2011’s Beat Boys – part Pogues, part Rock-a-billy, party outlaw country in a spaghetti western kind of way. The cover of La Bamba is a must hear. A real solid album.

Cranky George: Fat Lot of Good

December 31, 2016

Cranky George sees Pogues accordion player (and now purveyor of the finest Irish Whiskey) regroup with the Mulroney brothers from his 1990s band the Low and Sweet Orchestra along with Sebastian Sheehan Visconti and Brad Wood. Cranky George is musically closer to the Low and Sweet Orchestra then the Pogues. Accordion heavy sounds that evokes the imaginary of pre-civil war Spain or smokey French wine bars then the dark streets of London. If a Pogues reference is needed then it Waiting for Herb or Pogue Mahone (a very under rated album). True Pogues fans will dig this as will fans of Gogol Bordello.

The Radiators From Space: Sound City Beat

July 14, 2012

Sound City Beat has been a project that I’ve been very familiar with over the past year plus. I had met the Radiator’s Philip Chevron in March of last year when he was in Boston gigging with his other band to discuss Shite’n’Onions doing the US release of the Rad’s 3rd album – TROUBLE PILGRIM. He had given me a heads up on what the Rad’s were already planning for their 4th album – a collection of covers of Irish rock/beat groups for the mid 60’s to early 70s ranging from tracks from the legendary (Van Morrison’s Them, Thin Lizzy and Rory Gallagher’s Taste) to the long, long forgotten (Sugar Shack, Blue Ace’s, The Creatures) – the primordial soup era of Irish rock if you will.

Now, while it would be pretty easy for a band as good as the Radiators to knock out the 18 tracks here on SCB and call it a tribute or a history lesson but not so as the boys have obviously spent a tremendous amount of time on picking the right track from each band covered as opposed to picking the bleeding obvious, so that each song on the album flows effortlessly into the next and almost to the point where the listener could be convinced into believing that SCB is an album of originals. How does it sound? While the songs are true to the origins, whether beat/garage/ psychedelic/folk rock or even pure pop but dragged through ’77 for the attitude and snarl and reborn into the 21s century yet still as fresh as it was ’67.

Sound City Beat is out on the legendary Chiswick Records and the Radiators are joined by Henry McCullough (the only Irish man to play Woodstock and who was Paul McCartney’s guitar man for years) who add licks on the version of Eire Apparent’s – Yes, I Need Someone – Henry was Eire Apperent’s guitar player but unfortunately got booted from the band prior to their debut album being recorded with Jimi Hendrix twiddling the knobs – so a nice opportunity to complete some unfinished business for Henry. Also joining the Rad’s is Terry Woods, Philips mate from his other long time gig and Eamon Carr drummer from Horslips who does the spoken word portion of Thin Lizzy”s Dublin….which makes a decent lead into The Lady Wrestler, the long lost, should have been Horslips debut single but was never released that spiritually closes the albums – my involvement with the Radiators came about trying to compile a Horslips tribute (which is still ongoing) and the offer of the band to cover The Lady Wrestler. While never really a beat group it seems to fit the album and symbolically close out the era in the same way the Johnny’s Wedding, Horslips debut single was the beging of the new era of Irsh rock….and rest is history

Not a Pogues album, not a punk album but something that anyone interest in Rock music from Ireland (or just an interest in perfectly performed though uncompromising rock’n’roll) should own.

Jamie Clarke’s Perfect: Beatboys

April 25, 2012

I’m guessing this is the 5th release by Jamie Clarke’s Perfect that we’ve reviewed here at Castle S’n’O, so you all know the story of Jamie and his membership of The Pogues, replacing the might Philip Chevron and playing on and writing material for the final Pogues studio album, 1986’s, POGUE MAHONE. All the prior Perfect releases have been consistently strong – mixing folk, polka and other Cental and Eastern Eurpean souunds with Irish, punk and Pogues. BEATBOYS, I’d argue is Perfects best release to date, a bigger band, a bigger sound – Punk’n’Irish meets Rock-a-billy and strong Tutonic influence (Jamie is based in German) Highlights include, a great version of THE SUN THE MOON from POGUE MAHONE and Johnny / June Carter Cash inspired JACKSON and folk-a-billyBEATBOYS and pretty much everything on the album.

Jamie Clarke’s Perfect: You Drove Me To It

By my count this is the 4th studio release from the former Pogues guitarist. The German based Perfect have now expanded to a 4 piece and there is a definite noticeable filling out of the sound. Style wise, “You Drove Me To It” is very much similiar to previous Perfect releases – classic British pop/rock meets the Irish-punk of The Pogues on the stage of a German beer hall. The disk is a little heavy on Pogues covers (4 out 14) though I do really like the almost polka Tobi’s Fall (IISFFGWG). ‘Adorable’, a really great original, originally on “Sickly men of 30 or so” has been re-recoded as a sparser more guitar oriented version. Well worth seeking out.

2008

The Radiators from Space: Trouble Pilgrim

The Radiators from Space were (are) a band way ahead of their time. They were the first Irish punk band – formed in Dublin back in the mid-seventies. Their first 7” single “Television Screen” is a major punk classic and the first punk single to break the top 20 anywhere in the world. Rolling Stone Magazine ranks “Television Screen” as the best of all the early punk singles. The band released 2 classic LP’s the fast and furious “TV Tube Heart” and the very clever “Ghostown” – unfortunately by the time “Ghostown” hit the shelves punk was dead or at least it’s openness to new ideas was dead and the Rads were way too cleaver for the cartoon punk had become. The band members went their separate ways. Phil Chevron (guitar and vocals) as you all know joined The Pogues, Pete Holidai (guitar) became a member of great 80’s band Light a Big Fire (and the first band I ever saw live at the age of 14 in Arnotts Department Store of all places) and Steve Rapid (vocals) told some band from Dublin called The Hype their name sucked and they should try something cool like “U2” as a name – they did and Bono’s being annoying us since.

In 2003 the band decided to get back together and put out a couple of CD EPs of re-recorded versions of their early classics including an explosive live version of “Television Screen” and “Kitty Ricketts” with new (and now since departed) bass player Cait O’Riordan handling vocals giving the song an extra snarling sleazy edge.

28 years after the release of “Ghostown” the Rad’s have released their 3rd CD, “Trouble Pilgrim” and what a great CD it is. Possibly the best real rock CD I’ll hear this year or next. Everything is about this CD is first class – the songs, the lyrics, the playing, the production. The music is trashy punk, heavily influenced by the early 70’s American punk sound (Iggy & The Stooges, The MC5 and The New York Dolls) mixed with classic British glam (Bowie, Mott the Hoople and T Rex) and 60’s bubble gum pop (Beatles, Byrds). The Joe Strummer tribute “Joe Strummer” is a must hear as is “Huguenot” and the re-recorded “Hinterland”.

Dated? No, not at all, in fact if the Rads weren’t a bunch of Irish men, aged 50 plus but say 25 year old Glaswegians they would be on the cover of Rolling Stone today as the future of Rock’n’Roll. Any justice in this world? No, but let just be thankful that great bands like The Radiators from Space are still making great music for the love of it because it’s music that needs to be heard.

Paddy Rollingstone

PS Check out this indepth and spot on review of “Trouble Pilgrim” by Boz of The Steam Pig – Rabble Rouser Reviews and Sean Holland excellent review of “The Very Best of” for Shite’n’Onions

2007

Perfect: $$ Live Free $$

Live CD’s can be either hit or miss in my book as they rarely capture the true energy of a bands live performance – with both the recent live CDs from the Dropkick Murphys and Shane MacGowans Popes veering towards miss in this humble scribes opinion. Not having seen Jamie Clarkes Perfect live I can’t say if $$ Live Free $$ has captured their authentic live energy but based on this CD a Perfect gig is one powerfully performance; high energy and tight as hell with a lot of Pogues covers – 7 out of 18 songs, often instrumentals, but I guess those are the songs that get the punters in the door and paying asses on the seats and being a 3 piece of just guitars, drums and accordion there is a different twist.

February 2005