Shane MacGowan once said The Pogues were his way of overcoming guilt for not laying down his life for Ireland with the IRA. He was probably shit-faced at the time. Despite their punk leanings, the sodden violence that often accompanies gigs, and MacGowan's Brendan Behan-influenced — and sometimes radical — freethinking, the Pogues are pure romantics, more apt to revere the Auld Sod than go 12 rounds with it. Classic songs "The Broad Majestic Shannon" and "Sally MacLennane" reveal MacGowan's ability to sentimentalize without turning to schmaltz (a typical Irish folk sin), while the band's rendition of "Dirty Old Town" bleeds with a sincerity absent in other cover versions.
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