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The Ultimate Collection - The Pogues

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Genre: Folk - English Folk / Artist: The Pogues / Original recording remastered / Audio CD released 2005-03-07 at Wsm

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      20.08.2008 05:17
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      Mostly the music is astounding. But come on - you NEED the parent albums.

      As a swift, most-bases-covered overview of the songs of Shane McGowan - THE greatest songwriter of the past thirty years - and the work of The Pogues as a whole, The Ultimate Collection does a reasonably fair job. The hits are (mostly) all here, as are a smattering of outstanding album tracks, a couple of excellent E.P numbers and at least one "Why In God's Name Is THIS Here?" moment.

      Any record housing the likes of Fairytale Of New York, Rainy Night In Soho, A Pair Of Brown Eyes and The Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn is obviously beyond criticism from a musical perspective. As a Collection of the recordings of The Pogues, however, it falls some way short of Ultimate - that the fairly mediocre likes of I'm A Man You Don't Meet Every Day and London Girl are included at the expense of genuinely staggering compositions such as The Old Main Drag, Transmetropolitan or Lullaby Of London is proof enough of that.

      What it does offer is yet another chance to dispel the myth of the Pogues as an "Irish band". Even if one puts aside the fact that more than two-thirds of the band are English, a cursory listen to any album from If I Should Fall From Grace With God onwards reveals how intoxicatingly cosmopolitan an outfit they were (and, one hopes, will be again. News continues to flitter about concerning a comeback album following the wildly successful reunion tours of the past few years). Herein, one finds an array of influences clamouring for space - Irish folk music, certainly, but a multitude of middle eastern, American, Latin and English sounds also abound. Hell's Ditch, Summer In Siam, Sunnyside Of The Street, Fiesta - none of these sound for a second like the work of an Irish folk band.

      The question is, given how cheaply one can pick up those first three astounding albums (Red Roses For Me, Rum Sodomy & The Lash and If I Should Fall From Grace With God...), is there any justification whatsoever for opting for this instead? The answer, predictably, is no.

      What it does have to entice the fans is a second CD comprised entirely of recordings made at a reunion show at Brixton Academy in 2001. The concert features many of the classics omitted from the main event, but the versions here - great as they are - are no match for the haunting, devastating original recordings.

      No-one should be without 80% of the tracks that make up The Ultimate Collection. No-one, though, should opt for this over the parent albums.

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  • Product Details

    Disc #1 Tracklisting
    1 A rainy night in Soho
    2 Sally MacLennane
    3 The Irish rover
    4 Dirty old town
    5 Fairytale of New York
    6 Streams of whiskey
    7 If I should fall from grace with God
    8 Fiesta
    9 Body of an American
    10 Misty morning Albert Bridge
    11 Repeal of the licensing laws
    12 Boys from the county hell
    13 Sunnyside of the street
    14 A Pair of brown eyes
    15 Summer in Siam
    16 The sickbed of Cuchulainn
    17 London girl
    18 Tuesday morning
    19 White city
    20 Hells ditch
    21 Young Ned of the hill
    22 I'm a man you don't meet everyday
    23 Thousands are sailing

    Disc #2 Tracklisting
    1 Streams Of Whiskey
    2 If I Should Fall From Grace With God
    3 Boys From The County Hell
    4 The Broad Majestic Shannon
    5 Young Ned Of The Hill 06
    6 Turkish Song Of The Damned
    7 Rainy Night In Soho
    8 Tuesday Morning
    9 Rain Street
    10 A Pair Of Brown Eyes
    11 Repeal Of The Licensing Laws
    12 The Old Main Drag
    13 Thousands Are Sailing
    14 Body Of An American
    15 Sally MacLennane
    16 Lullaby Of London
    17 Dirty Old Town
    18 Bottle Of Smoke
    19 The Sickbed of Cuchulain
    20 Fairytale Of new York (with Lila MacMahon )
    21 Fiesta
    22 The Irish Rove