The Pogues – Red Roses for Me by Andrew Whyte

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When did you first hear this album, and what were your first impressions?

In what must be a common habit these days I started listening to The Pogues with no album context at all. By the time I bought this cd I had already listened to it many times through in bits and pieces, so it wasn’t a totally new experience. It is possibly my favorite, however, as it contains the most of The Pgues early rawness. I don’t begrudge the later extensions to their orchestration, but the early banging away on banjos and bellows has a characteristic energy which lightens the soul.

Why did you choose this album?

I chose this album because I like the band a lot. The poetry is fantastic and they are the only example of this style of music done correctly, in my opinion. I also chose it because I enjoy its central theme, which appears to me at least to be the romanticizing of London’s (and cities in general, really) scummier bits:

“I like to walk in the summer breeze down dalling road by the dead old trees, and drink with my friends in the hammersmith broadway dear dirty, delightful, old drunken old days.”

These songs are more or less peerless in their lyrics, in clarity, beauty and singularity.

If you had to suggest one track from it, which would it be (and why?)

The illustration I did is largely inspired by Transmetropolitan and Dark Streets of London. Dark Streets…. is better poetry so I would say that’s my favorite. I enjoy the confident combination of these sort of pastoral, natural poetic flourishes with deep city revelry “the pubs and the bookies where you’d spend all your time” yet the old men are singing “when the roses bloom again” etc. It’s fairly concise, which is necessary for the song, but effective by my calculation. Also, as a human who despises cynicism, the earnest nature of the music and the lyrics is very appealing. Though it would be a complicated argument, I’m sure music can be described as sincere or not.

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What is your favourite album cover?

I don’t own enough records to have a good opinion on their covers. However, I will say this about Red Roses: I actually enjoy it. You’ll notice they’ve had to include Andrew Ranken in a little corner bubble, presumably because he missed the cool shot they took with comrade JFK. This is the kind of design concession you make only because stalwart ideals conflict with a good heart. Very endearing (I will assume they made this decision with no particular reasoning).

What is your favourite cover version?

My favorite cover is hard to pick because I don’t listen to a great deal of original music. I’ll say The Glendalough Saint, by The Dubliners.

What is your own personal theme song?

Almost certainly “Nell Flaherty’s Drake” by either Tommy Makem or Dominic Behan. I am empathetic to the woman’s love of her duck, as well as her righteous fury at its murder.If the album you chose was to soundtrack a comic, what would it be?

CoverTM
THE COVER

THE COVER

You can buy the print here, find out more about Brain Tumour Research here, Andrew here, and the Pogues here.

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