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The Pogues: “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” and “Body of An American”

The Pogues were formed in London but really are an Irish band. I don’t know much about Irish music other than there is a whole lot of very great stuff. In the year since I’ve been doing this website, one of my favorite clips is The Clancy Brothers’ rendition of Finnegan’s Wake. There also is Black 47 and Flogging Molly, which whom I (and many others, of course) share a great love of Johnny Cash. Bands I haven’t gotten to yet include The Dubliners, The Chieftains and the Dropkick Murphys.

Two other things that are obvious is that I’ve missed a ton of other great performers and bands and that the Irish–both here and in Ireland–greatly influenced the broader vision of American music.

Here is the beginning of Wikipedia’s entry of The Pogues:

The Pogues are a Celtic punk band from London, formed in 1982 and fronted by Shane MacGowan. The band reached international prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. MacGowan left the band in 1991 due to drinking problems but the band continued first with Joe Strummer and then with Spider Stacy on vocals before breaking up in 1996.[1] The band reformed in 2001, and has been playing regularly ever since, most notably on the US East Coast around St Patrick’s Day and across the UK and Ireland every December. The group has yet to record any new music and, according to Spider Stacy on Pogues.com, has no inclination to do so.

Their politically tinged music was informed by MacGowan and Stacy’s punk backgrounds,[2] yet used traditional Irish instruments such as the tin whistle, cittern, mandolin and accordion.

The Pogues were founded in Kings Cross,[3] a district of Central London, in 1982 as Pogue Mahone—pogue mahone being the Anglicisation of the Irish póg mo thóin, meaning “kiss my arse”.[4] (Continue Reading…)

The very good site Leading Us Absurd was a source for opinions on the top songs. Above is If I Should From Grace With God (here are the lyrics) and below is Body of an American (lyrics).

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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