Philip Chevron

Philip Chevron of The Pogues died yesterday aged 56. He’d been diagnosed with cancer of the head and neck back in 2007 and in 2012 was given the all clear. The tumour came back and took his life yesterday morning. Philip’s best loved song is the truly great Thousands Are Sailing, which I’ve posted before. This song- Haunted- was from the soundtrack of Alex Cox’s Sid And Nancy film, sung by Cait O’Riordan, and deserves to be more widely known. RIP Philip Chevron.


Breaking Rocks In The TV Studio

I found this somewhat unrehearsed but very endearing version of The Pogues with Joe doing I Fought The Law live on Irish TV back in 1987. Pogues guitarist Phil Chevron has recently been diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the head and neck- best wishes to him and his family. While I’m here, this is for SH and JG as well.

Breton Folk

On the campsite in Bretagne (sorry if you’re getting bored of ‘what I did on my holidays’) I saw two bands play. Just before they stuck the Olympics closing ceremony up on a big screen in the sportsbarn a Breton band played on the basketball court. Breton culture is very celtic so this threepiece had mandolins, tin whistles and a one horned bagpipe thing as well as guitars. Second song in I started singing along to something I recognised (they sang in French, or Breton more likely). After the first chorus I realised it was a cover of The Pogues’ Streams Of Whiskey, which they followed with Sally MacLennan (sung in English, with a French accent). Later on they did A Pair Of Brown Eyes and a rather affecting version of Thousands Are Sailing. Then we all decamped to the sportsbarn for the closing ceremony. As the Kronenbourg kicked in and the scooters charged across the Olympic stadium to the sound of Pinball Wizzard, and people cheered images of Jessica Ennis and Mo Farrah, it all felt very peculiar and for the first time, almost ever, I felt a pang of being patriotic (and not in a following the England football team way but a newer, modern British, multicultural, left-of-centre kind of way. Let’s see how long this lasts).

Thousands Are Sailing

!No Pasaran!

I started May by wittering on about a Spanish Civil War themed mix tape and which songs might go onto it. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions about other songs- Drew, Davy H, Helen and Suggestedformaturereaders. Thus, I can start June with a better, more expansive Spanish Civil War mixtape.

Durutti Column- Sketch For Summer
Manic Street Preachers- If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next
The Clash- Spanish Bombs
The Pogues- Lorca’s Noveno
Billy Bragg- Jarama Valley (available here from The International Brigades website)
Leonard Cohen- Take This Waltz (based on Lorca’s words)
O’Luge and Kornertrone Allstars- Spanish Bombs (cover of The Clash song)
Christy Moore- Viva La Quinta Brigada
The Stone Roses- Guernica
Maxine Peake and Urban Roots- speech by Dolores Ibarruri (aka La Pasionaria, from the Billy Bragg cd linked above)

Can we make a case for Jonathan Richman’s Pablo Picasso on the grounds that Picasso painted Guernica? Reckon so.

Viva La Quinta Brigada

The photo of the militiawoman in heels with a pistol was taken by Gerda Taro, Robert Capo’s partner. Between them they covered the war and helped invent photo journalism. Gerda was killed during the war, run over by a tank accidentally. Stunning picture isn’t?

They Shall Not Pass

I was thinking, following Sunday’s post, about whether I could put together a Spanish Civil War themed mixtape. Stick with me, these are the things that sometimes occupy my mind when driving. I’ve got this far-

1. Durutti Column- Sketch For Summer (it could be any Durutti track really, but this one’s my favourite unless anyone can think of a more appropriate one. Durutti was an anarchist-syndicalist leader during the war, as I’m sure you knew)
2. Manic Street Preachers- If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next (see Sunday’s post)
3. The Clash- Spanish Bombs (obviously)
4. The Pogues- Lorca’s Noveno (posted here a long while back, the song tells of the murder of poet Federico Garcia Lorca by the Francoist Falange)

And that’s it. A fairly short mixtape unless anyone’s got any other suggestions.
I wondered about ABBA’s Fernando but I’m not convinced it’s about Spain.

This could go on actually if we don’t have a rule about the same song featuring in different versions- a dub cover of The Clash’s Spanish Bombs by O’ Luge and Kornerstrone Allstars from a dub tribute album to The Clash called Shatter The Hotel (a line from Spanish Bombs).

Spanish Bombs

Afro-Cuban Bebop

Some nice Afro-Cuban Bebop from Joe Strummer, a short track (only a minute and a half long) recorded with The Pogues (moonlighting as The Astro-Physicians), B-side to the wilderness years highlight Burning Lights. Just to check’s working for me as much as anything.

Afro Cuban Bebop

In The Drunk Tank

It’s become a cliche but the only Christmas song that’s out in the popular consciousness, is actually good and can be listened to on repeat is The Pogues number 2 single Fairytale Of New York. It’s beautiful, a mixture of rawness and romance. The version posted here is an earlier one than the released A-side, an accordian intro, different lyrics and arrangement and Cait O’Riordan in the Kirsty MacColl role. Whatever you’re doing tonight and tomorrow, have a good one. Happy Christmas!

Fairytale Of New York (version)