TShane MacGowan, a vocalist and songwriter who has led groups such as The Nips, and has been active in the punk scene of London 1970's, got together with tin whistle player Spider Stacy, accordion player James McNally and mandolin, and a player of a wide range of do a musical instrument Jem Finer, to form the Pogues in 1982.
The characteristic punk attitude vocal style, with a UK trad-folk feel played at a high speed, and the compelling lyrics attracted the youth of London, and served as the opening act of The Clash, after releasing their first album in 1984. At a time when the survival of the band was in question, Joe Strummer of the Clash even helped them out, and I think Clash fans became fans.
Well, following up on my blog last time, this time, the banjo, a musical instrument that does not appear very much in the rock scene, made its way into punk via this group active in the psychobilly scene. I will introduce some masterpieces of banjo-punk.
This time I’ll introduce a classic tune from The Pogues, said to be the originators of banjo-punk, to approach the charm of the banjo.
Group banjo player, Jem Finer.
Anarchic arrangements with trad color and brute force. I'm sure many fans remember the great performance of The Clash's masterpieces when The Pogues came to Japan with Joe Strummer.
Since there are many excellent numbers you can listen to and enjoy the charms of banjo, I will split this into three parts. This time I will introduce about 5 songs starting with a Pogues versions of Clash numbers.
It would be cool if some readers became addicted to the banjo and The Pogues as a result of this.
① The Pogues / Streams of Whiskey
The first song is "Red Roses for Me (1984)", from their 1st album. It is often the opening number for their live shows, and I think many fans are familiar with the song. It's a modest offering, but cool for the intro and chorus as they not only have a traditional feel but also a rock-like (rockabilly-like?) feel, and I think this is a number that deserves to be included as a banjo punk tune.
② The Pogues / Waxies dargle
Continuing from "Red Roses for Me (1984 years)", their 1st album, this is one of their most raging songs. One step in the wrong direction, and the banjo supports the song with a sound like that of drunken gana folk on the streets of London, and draws out the beautiful chaos that is Shane MacGowan, and makes it the craziest cowpunk.
③ The Pogues / Repeal of the Licensing Laws
Coupled with a single, this is often played mid-show at a high tempo, and is a number that heats up the audience. A high-speed trad instrument where the banjo plays impressively in unison with Tin Whistle. Realizing that Banjo punk is so excellent, some people may have started banjo inspired by this one song!
④ The Pogues with Joe Strummer/ London Calling
In 1991, Shane MacGowan temporarily withdrew from the band due to a drinking problem. The Clash's Joe Strummer stepped in to take his place. Performances were also held in Japan, but what impressed me even more than Joe Strummer was Jem Finer's banjo and James McNally accordion, as they were desperately trying to get the audience excited. I still can't forget the excitement I felt when I saw the accordion solo together with the cutting guitar during the verse. " This was recorded together with "Tuesday Morning", the 1st single from the album "Waiting for Herb" which was recorded after Shane left, and later the entire live show was released in a box set. The live album was also released on LP.
⑤ The Pogues & The Dubliners / Jacks Heroes
A great performance of the single of the same name (1990) in a live show with the Irish folk band The Dubliners, who have been active since the 1960s. The high-speed banjo fills the gap between The Dubliners, who usually don't play so fast, and The Pogues, who are always bloody. Since the single was not released in Japan at that time, many fans may have heard about this only in the music video collection, Pogue Vision. The music video is also great, and really makes my hands sweat.
Play The Pogues with traditional deep Sounds.
From the historic banjo brand, RECORDING KING, the RECORDING KING RK-R35 features classic mastertone style ring and flange. It has a tough presence when you play high speed songs like these.
I can’t tell you how great as Banjo Punk band The Pogues are in only 5 songs. Next time I’d like to introduce some slow ones as well. See you next time.