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The Pogues — Dirty Old Town
Album: Rum, Sodomy & The Lash
Avg rating:
7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1969









Released: 1989
Length: 3:42
Plays (last 30 days): 1
I met my love by the gas works wall
Dreamed a dream by the old canal
I kissed my girl by the factory wall

Dirty old town
Dirty old town

Clouds a drifting across the moon
Cats a prowling on their beat
Spring's a girl from the streets at night

Dirty old town
Dirty old town

I heard a siren from the docks
Saw a train set the night on fire

I smelled the spring on the smoky wind

Dirty old town
Dirty old town

I'm going to make me a big sharp axe
Shining steel tempered in the fire
I'll chop you down like an old dead tree

Dirty old town
Dirty old town

I met my love by the gas works wall
Dreamed a dream by the old canal
I kissed my girl by the factory wall

Dirty old town
Dirty old town

Dirty old town
Dirty old town
Comments (233)add comment
Reminds me of my time spent in Dublin, Good ol' days, I wish I never left this magic dirty old town and wonderful people.
Reminds me of an Irish pub at closing time.
Fucking morbid urban poetry... magic of the music... my teenage years living in the outskirts of a town in Spain (Zaragoza) told by an irish group... 
I knew the chorus before I knew the song. How is that? Always a favourite singalong.
we vacationed in Ireland last summer.  Cork.  Our friend took us to his favorite local.  Of course there was a trio playing.  The singer's voice made me think, "bet he does a great version of "Dirty ol' Town"" and, of course, just as we squeezed in at a table with our pints he launched into it and we all joined in.  
 Rotterdam wrote:

I think you mean, Irish. And it's definitely dirty, painful and there's bad dentistry on view. I think that was the whole idea. I think this group was all about poverty and anger - and music that is so gorgeous that it survives in whatever style its performed in. Brilliant group, and the music lasts for me. It's real. 
 
I stand corrected. Thank you, Rotterdam. Point well made. There's definitely a purpose for this band and sound. Like it more now than I used to.
a drink man - but a good singer resp. a good band{#Drunk}
It's Pogues O'Clock.
Odd as it may sound: in my mind I got this one shelved side by side with Factory Girl. Love them both.
mens lives
I remember seeing them live back in the day. Shane was completely plastered of course, but a raucous good time was had by all.
Man this reminds me of my crappy old mining town I grew up in.  Kissed my girl by the movie theater wall.  Never forget it. {#Heartkiss}


I love this, a rough hewn love song. 8^9
 Skydog wrote:
we heard the voices of the residents of the dirty old towns in America last Tuesday

 
Wasn't it great! I still love going to YouTube to watch the talking heads melt down on Nov 8, 2016.
First heard this song when it was performed regularly by the house band in Sweetwaters Bar in Mill Valley, California when I was living in the States in the mid eighties. Now living in Kent, England but brings back memories of good times when I was young, free and easy. Any one else ever hang out in Sweetwaters?
Salford docks , mentioned in the song.

 
 TerryS wrote:

The album title is often attributed to Winston Churchill when approached by a disgruntled Admiral over Churchill's changes to the Royal Navy, Winston actually disavowed the words, saying he wished he had said them.

The original quotes were along the lines of:- Ashore it’s wine, women and song; aboard it’s rum, bum and concertina.

 

OK that's how I remember Martin Gilbert asserting at a Churchill Club meeting  (ca 1989.) I was a guest, not a member, lest Fred takes umbrage.



 
{#Clap}

Churchill struggled to master English as a young boy but the drilling he got in remedial classes at school (Harrow, I think) really helped him nail it. I always thought he coined the terms "blood, sweat and tears" but he missed the mark a bit in his first speech to the House of Commons as Prime Minister with "I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: 'I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.'"

As for Shane...


Daily Mail pic of Shane's girlfriend and Shane with new teeth

...a few dentures, a quick embalming...and love's abloom!
we heard the voices of the residents of the dirty old towns in America last Tuesday
thanks again Bill
First time hearing this,
I tuned in when it was about two thirds over,
kinda rattled me this early in the morning, 
but I wanted to hear it again so i youtubed it,  
I'm rating it an 8 
Yeah, man! Just off work, after getting slammed with customers, with a good beer buzz making the head light and some Purple Alien taking me to a legal orbit, and this great old song making me think of all the times I heard it feeling delightful variations of exactly this!
Excellent band and great story tellers.
 face only a mutha could love!

On_The_Beach wrote:
https://www.stephenmacken.com/images/Shane-McGowan.jpg
"Mmm, breakfast."

 


Dammit, I want a beer as well but I live in a dry country.  :-(

Great song. 

Graham (Somewhere in Q8)



greiffenstein wrote:
Dammit, now I want a beer....

it's 9am on a wednesday

{#Eh}  

 


 Proclivities wrote:

"The Pogues were founded in Kings Cross, a district of Central London, in 1982 as Pogue Mahone—pogue mahone being the Anglicization of the Irish Gaelic póg mo thóin, meaning 'kiss my arse'".

 
Given the number of bars named Pogue Mahone, that's funny. There is a Pogue Fado ( bar/live music) in Halifax NS. Better check what  a Fado is...   


 motobecane wrote:
Great song. Original by Ewan MacColl in 1949.  Father of Kirsty "In These Shoes?" MacColl.

 

 
cool bit of background info.  
Sometimes there's nothing quite like this...it's a priceless, heart-grabbing, soul-warming ditty; so fun to sing — AND DRINK — along to!
I never did like the Pogues. Clearly this is the best track I've heard from them. Giving it a 3.
I saw them once on a concert in germany back in the eighties. Shane was so drunk that he fell off the stage during a song. They picked him up again an sat him on a chair at the side of the stage where he slept for the rest of the show...
 btt wrote:

Did`nt she sing on Fairytale of New York ?

 
Yup.

I stage managed a Dubliners gig with Shane guesting.  Needed a bucket, not a chair, he was so well lubricated when he arrived.

One of Boober's favorite songs....and one that I sing well (and play harmonica on).


Dammit, now I want a beer....

it's 9am on a wednesday

{#Eh}  
good, fun, dirty tune all around, where's that goddamn drink now .. ah! joy, cheers! pass that little spliff while your at it jonny
 motobecane wrote:
Great song. Original by Ewan MacColl in 1949.  Father of Kirsty "In These Shoes?" MacColl.

 

 
Did`nt she sing on Fairytale of New York ?

The album title is often attributed to Winston Churchill when approached by a disgruntled Admiral over Churchill's changes to the Royal Navy, Winston actually disavowed the words, saying he wished he had said them.

The original quotes were along the lines of:- Ashore it’s wine, women and song; aboard it’s rum, bum and concertina.

 

OK that's how I remember Martin Gilbert asserting at a Churchill Club meeting  (ca 1989.) I was a guest, not a member, lest Fred takes umbrage.


Great song. Original by Ewan MacColl in 1949.  Father of Kirsty "In These Shoes?" MacColl.

 
Aye, memories come a waltzin' when I hear this! Walking the streets of Hong Kong, DIRTY OLD TOWN! or Jakarta, DIRTY OLD TOWN! or Bogota, DIRTY OLD TOWN! or Tokyo, DIRTY OLD TOWN! and lately, Denver, DIRTY OLD TOWN! Soon, back in Boulder!
Many memories. Good song
 Kasimausi wrote:
Yaay, thanks for playing that! So many memories come with that song! You would never ever hear this song on one of our radio stations here. One of the many reasons I love RP!
{#Roflol} 
  Many reasons to love RP.  And hearing this song is one of them.
Yaay, thanks for playing that! So many memories come with that song! You would never ever hear this song on one of our radio stations here. One of the many reasons I love RP!
{#Roflol} 
 rdevine wrote:
Here's an interesting tidbit: the Gaelic word for 'kiss' is 'pog' with an accent over that 'o.'  Me ol' Da pronounced it as we would 'pogue.' Could this be a wee joke by the band?

 
According to Wikipedia: "The Pogues were founded in Kings Cross, a district of Central London, in 1982 as Pogue Mahone—pogue mahone being the Anglicization of the Irish Gaelic póg mo thóin, meaning 'kiss my arse'".
One of my least favorite Pogues songs, but its still good to hear any Pogues on the radio.
Here's an interesting tidbit: the Gaelic word for 'kiss' is 'pog' with an accent over that 'o.'  Me ol' Da pronounced it as we would 'pogue.' Could this be a wee joke by the band?
Not a bad version of a legendary ballad :) makes me think of my childhood in Dublin
https://lordsofthedrinks.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/shanemacgowan.jpg?w=700
"Mmm, breakfast."
 Rotterdam wrote:

I think you mean, Irish. And it's definitely dirty, painful and there's bad dentistry on view. I think that was the whole idea. I think this group was all about poverty and anger - and music that is so gorgeous that it survives in whatever style its performed in. Brilliant group, and the music lasts for me. It's real. 

 
Nicely put!
 ziakut wrote:
English. Dirty. Painful. These guys need mouthwash and professional dentistry. Otherwise...they're great!

 
I think you mean, Irish. And it's definitely dirty, painful and there's bad dentistry on view. I think that was the whole idea. I think this group was all about poverty and anger - and music that is so gorgeous that it survives in whatever style its performed in. Brilliant group, and the music lasts for me. It's real. 
Love this. I learned this song from the Pogues, then went to Ireland and sang along in a pub to this version. Great memory!
This always makes me smile and remember the happy carefree days when I first discovered it...and I'm happy to hear it here!
English. Dirty. Painful. These guys need mouthwash and professional dentistry. Otherwise...they're great!
 Proclivities wrote:

 I told my boss that very phrase the other day... didn't work out so well.  The persistent problem of existence. 
 
Pffft! Almost choked on my beer. You're funny. 
To early for this over here...
 RoelantSiekman wrote:
I am not drunk enough, yet..
 
 I told my boss that very phrase the other day... didn't work out so well.  The persistent problem of existence. 
I am not drunk enough, yet..
Good song (did Rod Stewart do a version of this back in the 60's?), but a GREAT cd/album title—especially in view of the classic album cover!

 fredriley wrote:

Quite. Other than the Pogues, the only time I hear this song 'sung' is by loud pissants in pubs or staggering home. Which is fine if you're pissed (note for those across the Pond: pissed = drunk in UK English), but tedious and irritating if you're not.

 


UK English is English inn't it? Across the Pond they speak 'merican
 LongGoneDaddy wrote:
it's way to early for this shit...need a few drinks first to deal with this...
 
Quite. Other than the Pogues, the only time I hear this song 'sung' is by loud pissants in pubs or staggering home. Which is fine if you're pissed (note for those across the Pond: pissed = drunk in UK English), but tedious and irritating if you're not.

 BBOGDA wrote:
OK.  Sometimes I wonder why RP doesn't play the occasional or even rare hip-hop or rap song.  I realize those generas aren't everyone's cup of tea and also not my favorite, but there are some good songs out there, and I do like to occasionally listen to them.  Some are every bit as good as this song.  Yuk.
 
Now THAT is a very good point. I'd love to hear some good hip-hip and rap here even though I know it would not be liked by many. 

It only needs to be on occasionally. . . and would balance out this piece of shite. 
it's way to early for this shit...need a few drinks first to deal with this...
Wonder what Ewan MacColl would have made of the various versions of his Salford rant.
Great Music, Great Album!
OK.  Sometimes I wonder why RP doesn't play the occasional or even rare hip-hop or rap song.  I realize those generas aren't everyone's cup of tea and also not my favorite, but there are some good songs out there, and I do like to occasionally listen to them.  Some are every bit as good as this song.  Yuk.
A most excellent album with a most excellent title!


I CAN NOT hear this song and not think about the series finale of Rescue Me...



arrgh.



Seriously at first I thought this was a Monty Python "I'm a Lumberjack" singalong. {#Lol}
Let's all sing-a-long, Dirty old town
 daveesh wrote:
interesting song to play on the day whitey bulger is scheduled to get shipped back to boston to face all those charges.
 
{#Lol}

Ole Whitey is now a "guest of the Commonwealth" as an old crusty judge I used to appear before used to say. 

"...give it their best shot & keep on going."  Keith Richards as poster child for that comment.

...and still knocking it out just last weekend at the London Feis

https://youtu.be/EJo8makTdFA

mad as a fish but still a genius!
interesting song to play on the day whitey bulger is scheduled to get shipped back to boston to face all those charges.
 sirdroseph wrote:
By     far    my favorite    Pogues song!{#Cheers}
 

{#Cheers}    There is a local band that covers this whenever they play our Irish pub! They do a great job, too.
Oh God....just realized...THIS must be where The Decemberists got their sound. Gag!

Kind of a deep cut, but a great one!  I can't get enough of these guys...
Saw then last night in Royal Oak.
Probably last time around for the gang. 
Older but same old spirit(s). 
And this song makes his alcoholism and condition seem all the more sad. {#No}
How Shane MacGowan still breathes is beyond me. More power to him for it. 

Shane MacGowan & BP Fallon NYC Oct 29 2005 by bp fallon
https://www.flickr.com/photos/bpfallon/

Photography by & © Slava Wisey 2005. All rights reserved


By     far    my favorite    Pogues song!{#Cheers}
Oh, please not this stuff!
cool! didnt expect this song at rp!!!
Dirty old frown.
 fredriley wrote:

Robin Hood was a fawning reactionary lackey of the aristocracy. Now Wat Tyler, there was a true people's radical.
 
What is more - he probably didn't exist, unlike Wat Tyler.

And Fred don't forget to Vote Early, Vote Often on 6th May....!
 pauleywalnuts wrote:
Clearly, Shane never paid into the record company dental plan...
 
Even if he did, his teeth were probably getting knocked out every few days.

 pauleywalnuts wrote:
Clearly, Shane never paid into the record company dental plan...
 
LOL!

Fairytale of New York is the best Christmas song - RIP Kirsty 
Nice 80s discoveries: Red Hot Chlli Peppers and the Pogues.
Clearly, Shane never paid into the record company dental plan...

Shane in 2010?  no change!
horrible
 macadavy wrote:

I don't always agree with the Nottingham jury (they'd have hanged Robin Hood, right?)

 
Robin Hood was a fawning reactionary lackey of the aristocracy. Now Wat Tyler, there was a true people's radical.

 iscoot4peace wrote:
Saw these guys at Bogarts in Cincinnatti  in 1988 three weeks away from graduation from UC.  Oh how we guzzled the Guinness and slippy danced on the beer slick floor!  Awesome show! Great song! 
 
The cavernous Bogarts is still hoppin' in Cincinnati, although sadly 'short Vine' isn't what it used to be. 


 fredriley wrote:

I saw these at this year's Nottingham Splendour Festival and f*ck me, was Shane McGowan rat-arsed. His voice sounded like he'd smoked a packet of Capstan Full Strength before coming on stage, and he was staggering about like a right pissant. It was a bit embarrassing, to be honest - what works in a smoky Irish pub (or maybe not smoky now that there's a ban on) isn't so great in the open air in front of a mostly straight audience. At one point he was led off stage, perhaps to recover, and the guy who replaced him on vocals was pretty damn good. The band itself was very professional.

 
I don't always agree with the Nottingham jury (they'd have hanged Robin Hood, right?)
Now that I realize you've been there and done that I've gained a new respect for your opinions.
(And let's remember it's all just opinions here!)  {#Notworthy}

 iscoot4peace wrote:
Saw these guys at Bogarts in Cincinnatti  in 1988 three weeks away from graduation from UC.  Oh how we guzzled the Guinness and slippy danced on the beer slick floor!  Awesome show! Great song! 
 
I saw these at this year's Nottingham Splendour Festival and f*ck me, was Shane McGowan rat-arsed. His voice sounded like he'd smoked a packet of Capstan Full Strength before coming on stage, and he was staggering about like a right pissant. It was a bit embarrassing, to be honest - what works in a smoky Irish pub (or maybe not smoky now that there's a ban on) isn't so great in the open air in front of a mostly straight audience. At one point he was led off stage, perhaps to recover, and the guy who replaced him on vocals was pretty damn good. The band itself was very professional.

 ChrisL wrote:
cosmiclint wrote:
Love the Pogues, but they need to get a job that offers a dental plan.
 
but if Shane got his teeth fixed, he wouldn't be Shane.  The whole point of the Pogues, and their music was summed up in their original name: 'Kiss my Arse'! (translated from the gaelic).

If you suggested that dental work might be a good idea to Shane or the boys, you'd probably find them more than happy to provide you with some for free! {#Beat}

 
Gentlemen.
It seems the pigs are fuelled and taxiing to the runway preparing for take off.

Unless someone is pulling a clever hoax it would indeed seem that Shane actually fixed his teeth this summer... {#Yell}


Saw these guys at Bogarts in Cincinnatti  in 1988 three weeks away from graduation from UC.  Oh how we guzzled the Guinness and slippy danced on the beer slick floor!  Awesome show! Great song! 
Little House on the Prairie - somewhere in Ireland! {#Yes}
I need a girl - a dirty old one.

I love Shane and the rest of the Pogues, but this version of the song by The Dubliners is my favorite. Slainte mhath! {#Cheers}

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCYpgVZ4HrE
 slowhand wrote:
Great pub "singalong" standard!
 
An Irish-Canadian friend of mine plays in a band and he hates this song. He's always getting requests for it and he's probably played it 5,000 times. A shout out to the talented Mr Paul Noonan!

Nothing lower than TEN{#Bananapiano}
Great pub "singalong" standard!
Shane...I have the DVD made about him called "If I should fall from Grace"..Sad to watch. The mans a genius, though.
 Tim_in_N_FL wrote:


Oh my Gawd!  These are all photos of Shane?? {#Skull}{#Drunk}{#Skull}{#Cowboy}{#Skull}{#Fever}
Shane...paleeezzzzeeee slow it down my brother. Enter a rehab program so we'll have you're talented soul around a bit longer... {#Notworthy}

 

ewwww...public health teeth, or meth mouth?
I just read that the Pogues is one of Tom Waits' favorite bands.
Pogues rule!!!!!! A great tune by them too!!!

 RockinBlueVoodoo wrote:

 

Oh my Gawd!  These are all photos of Shane?? {#Skull}{#Drunk}{#Skull}{#Cowboy}{#Skull}{#Fever}
Shane...paleeezzzzeeee slow it down my brother. Enter a rehab program so we'll have you're talented soul around a bit longer... {#Notworthy}

A very rich, moving song from one of their best albums. I wore out the grooves on that album! The digital re-issue added many more songs so well worth the price! 
 aarrgho wrote:
Love these guys.......esp. the recording they did with Steve Earle
 

Nothing wrong with Steve Lillywhite and Kirsty MacColl, either. If we're lucky, perhaps Bill will play Fairytale of New York sometime between now and Christmas.  According to the RP Library, it hasn't been played since Dec 22, 2005

I'll be putting in that request now.


 cosmiclint wrote:
Love the Pogues, but they need to get a job that offers a dental plan.
 

but if Shane got his teeth fixed, he wouldn't be Shane.  The whole point of the Pogues, and their music was summed up in their original name: 'Kiss my Arse'! (translated from the gaelic).

If you suggested that dental work might be a good idea to Shane or the boys, you'd probably find them more than happy to provide you with some for free! {#Beat}


Love the Pogues, but they need to get a job that offers a dental plan.
Love these guys.......esp. the recording they did with Steve Earle
Shane McGowan, wherever you are, bless your sodden Irish heart. {#Drunk}
This dirty old townsman {#Boohoo}{#Iamwithstupid}  can not sing
 donpdonp wrote:
soo slow... i supposed a lot of beer at the irish pub would help.
 

Doesn't it always?
This is one of my favorite albums of all time.
 Excelsior wrote:
What the hell do people see/hear in this band, anyway?  {#No}
 
After you have enough rum you'll be "up" for a little sodomy and lash ;-), See{#Rolleyes}?


Ah...finally a great song for this stretch of music today.

Love these guys so much. {#Bananajam}
What the hell do people see/hear in this band, anyway?  {#No}
Ugh!
I might be able to enjoy this if I was really, really drunk.....or deaf. 

Probably my favorite Pogues album.

I got turned on to these guys by my 'neighbor' Dave, a guy living out of his pickup-camper about a half a click from the abondoned cabin I was shacking up in in Valdez Alaska (Interestingly this was the same year that that kid from "Into the Wild" died doing more or less the same thing).    Dave had a shortwave radio, and when I was feeling cold or social I'd trudge through the snow to his camper and we'd smoke a bowl and listen to the shortwave.    This is one of the songs that stuck out in my mind, and when I later joined the world (getting electricity, heat, running water and all that), this was one of the first 5 CD's I bought.

At the time I had to buy an expensive import version, but it was well worth it.