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Hell's Ditch: Expanded & Remastered
     

Hell's Ditch: Expanded & Remastered

4.5 2
by The Pogues
 

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After the embattled recording of the Pogues' Peace and Love, with Shane MacGowan clearly at odds with his bandmates and their musical direction while contributing little in the way of new songs, Hell's Ditch seemed at once like a step forward and a step back for the group. While Peace and Love suggested the Pogues had

Overview

After the embattled recording of the Pogues' Peace and Love, with Shane MacGowan clearly at odds with his bandmates and their musical direction while contributing little in the way of new songs, Hell's Ditch seemed at once like a step forward and a step back for the group. While Peace and Love suggested the Pogues had grown weary of the hot-rodded Celtic sounds that had been their trademark, Hell's Ditch found the band back in more familiar territory and sounding much refreshed; if there wasn't anything as manic as the high points of Rum Sodomy & the Lash or If I Should Fall from Grace with God, these sessions reveal the Pogues had found their feet and were sounding like a band again, and while a few of MacGowan's songs lead them through his fascination with Asian and Latin accents, the musicians were able to fuse them with their own trademark style rather than being subsumed by them; the Pogues rarely sounded as graceful or a comfortable as they do on Hell's Ditch. However, MacGowan's songwriting still hadn't regained the fire and acidity that made the group's first three albums so powerful, and Terry Woods and Jem Finer don't quite pick up the slack. More importantly, while Joe Strummer's production served the band well, he was seemingly too fond of MacGowan to tell him when his vocals were all but unintelligible, and many of the songs are all but sunk by Shane's sloppy, mush-mouthed, and booze-addled delivery, which is difficult to unravel even by his standards. While there are many pearly moments on Hell's Ditch that suggest the work of a happier and more unified band than on their previous albums, MacGowan's poorly focused performances are a handicap the Pogues couldn't overcome, and it seems appropriate this was the band's last studio album with their primary songwriter and frontman. [In 2006, Rhino Records reissued Hell's Ditch with remastered audio, new liner notes (including a poetic appreciation of the band from Tom Waits), and seven bonus tracks. Of the bonus material, the most immediately impressive numbers are the jaunty instrumental "Squid Out of Water," a stripped-down early take of "Rainy Night in Soho," and a full-bodied cover of "Whiskey in the Jar"; however, only serious fans of both football and the Pogues will need to hear "Jack's Heroes," which was written in support of Ireland's team in the 1990 World Cup tournament and hasn't dated especially well.]

Product Details

Release Date:
09/19/2006
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0081227406721
catalogNumber:
74067
Rank:
96735

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Pogues   Primary Artist
Philip Chevron   Guitar
James Fearnley   Accordion
Jem Finer   Banjo
Darryl Hunt   Bass,Bass Guitar
Shane MacGowan   Vocals
Andrew Ranken   Drums
Spider Stacy   Human Whistle
Terry Woods   Mandolin

Technical Credits

Joe Strummer   Producer,Audio Production
Tom Waits   Liner Notes
Philip Chevron   Reissue Assistant
Paul Cobbold   Engineer
Jem Finer   Composer
Darryl Hunt   Reissue Assistant,Photo Courtesy
Steve Lillywhite   Producer
Shane MacGowan   Composer
Spider Stacy   Composer,Reissue Assistant,Whistle
Terry Woods   Composer,Producer
Josh Cheuse   Original Cover Artwork
Gavin Martin   Liner Notes
Rick Conrad   Reissue Assistant
David Jordan   Producer
Traditional   Composer
Carlos Anaia   Reissue Assistant

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