There aren’t many bands who have effortlessly sewn together the fabric of the past with the safety-pinned textiles of punk. Somehow, however, during the 1980s and beyond, The Pogues did this with aplomb.
We’re taking a trip back to 1988 to see the band in full flow at the iconic Town and Country venue in London, to see The Pogues perform ‘Irish Rover’ for an unbelievably beer-drenched crowd.
The Town and Country club in London (now known as Kentish Town Forum), on a raucous St. Patrick’s Day, was set to host one of the rowdiest nights in its illustrious history when The Pogues came to town with some impressive feature artists and a bagful of Irish charm.
The performance was special not only because it features a Joe Strummer-led Pogues version of The Clash’s ‘London Calling’—but the gig also welcomed Kirsty MacColl giving a wonderful rendition of ‘Fairytale of New York’. An experience only to be topped for the audience by the entrance of The Specials’ Lynval Golding and all the fun and fury of Irish jig Ska, with a special Pogues cover of ‘A Message To You (Rudi)’.
It made for one of the most memorable nights in the history of the band and one we expect they look back on very fondly. But while the special guests are all well and good and made the night jump up a level in the cool-o-metre, the real golden moment came before The Specials’ track, when The Pogues played the traditional folk song, ‘Irish Rover’.
In the video below, The Clash’s Joe Strummer offers up a little background for the band’s musical powerhouse, Terry Woods: “That brings me on to Mr T. Woods, who I see as the master musician of the band.”
He continues: “I don’t know what groups he’s been in and out of but he’s run the whole gamut of rock and roll. I like the story he tells me he used to go ‘In those days you know, I had a white horses head on my head when I go on stage’, and it makes me think ‘wow, we’ve all been through a few trip’,” says the singer, laughing to himself.
If there’s one band who have had a few trips it is the combustible Pogues. The group have had more falling outs than they’ve had pints of Guinness. Nevertheless, they know how to throw one hell of a party.
Below is a perfect example of that party as The Pogues perform ‘Irish Rover’ on St. Patrick’s Day 1988.