This blog introduces banjo punk by a group that was active in the psychobilly scene, producing many banjo punk masterpieces. This time as well, I would like to continue approaching the finer points of banjo from some Pogues masterpieces; they are, of course, the originators and had a huge impact on banjo punk. Last time I introduced some up-tempo tunes where you can enjoy high-speed rockin' banjo, but this time I’ll introduce some slow & mid-tempo tunes. It would be great if some of you readers got addicted to banjos and The Pogues after listening to a different kind of playing from the group's banjo player Jem Finer.
① The Pogues / Dirty Old Town
The 1ST single from their 2nd album, "Rum Sodomy & The Lash", released in 1985. The original is a folk song by Ewan MacColl. Rod Stewart, the author of the song introduced at the end of this blog, also covered it on his 1ST solo album with a slightly swampy arrangement, a hit that heated the hearts of British people. It is a representative song that is so popular with Pogues fans that it became a big sing-along at live performances. By the way, the arpeggio that started Pogues version has an impressive rhythm that is bouncier than the bass, and it is really cool that the interlude is casually interwoven with high-speed play, which is the real pleasure of UK rock.
② The Pogues / I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day
One more song from "Rum Sodomy & The Lash", following "Dirty Old Town". The female bassist on vocals is Cait O'Riordan, who later became the wife of Elvis Costello, the album's producer. While the arpeggio continues from the banjo intro, the playing that tastefully backs up the melody in the interlude is fantastic.
③ The Pogues / Junk
From the soundtrack to the 1986 movie Sid & Nancy, which depicts the scandalous relationship between Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his lover Nancy Spungen. Like a march of despair, the cutting effect and arpeggio playing on the acoustic guitar and banjo seem to be more disturbing than the entire soundtrack. However, since it is a relatively simple tune among the songs introduced this time, it is recommended number for warming up.
④ The Pogues / A Pair Of Brown Eys
The 2nd single released from "Rum Sodomy & the Lash" from 1985, following "Dirty Old Town". I would like you to note the strength of the banjo arpeggio that accompanies the melody. This song, which can be called a cursed drunken waltz, is a popular number even in live performances, as a live version was also recorded on the 12-inch "If I Should Fall From Grace With God" released later.
⑤ The Pogues / Maggie May
Needless to say, Rod Stewart's hit song. It’s a coupling song on a 12-inch, but a wonderful cover that was also played live for a while (later with recorded live version on the 12-inch "White City"). The banjo tone that is so comfortably entwined from the intro gives the tune a pub rock element-like feel, and the banjo tone shines from beginning to end, including the interlude where it effectively colors the atmosphere with the accordion in the middle! It's a really tasty cover version, reminiscent of Ronnie Lane's band Slim Chance, who once worked with Rod and Faces.
You want to play the Pogues with a deep timbre filled with a tradition feel!
TheRK-R35 from historic banjo brand RECORDING KING combines a classic style ring and flange in the classic mastertone style. The tone is appealing even with the mid-tempo and slow banjo tunes introduced today. Not only fans of The Pogues and Psychobilly, but also UK Trad-folk fans can say that it has a deep tone that will make you want to play more.
The coolness of The Pogues as a banjo punk band! The previous 5 songs and these 5 songs introduced today still don’t tell the whole story! Next time, I'll return to the up-tempo rock tunes to tell you more about the fun of The Pogues and Banjo Punk. See you next time in this blog!