Home Read Classic Album Review: The Pogues | Streams of Whiskey

Classic Album Review: The Pogues | Streams of Whiskey

The Celtic punks’ live set teeters between the edge of collapse & the edge of glory.

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


There are incomprehensible vocalists and there are incomprehensible vocalists — and then there’s The PoguesShane MacGowan, a man whose enunciation makes James Brown and Bob Dylan seem like speech therapists.

Shane is at his unintelligible best on Streams Of Whiskey, a live album recorded in Switzerland back in 1991 and previously issued as the bootleg Live On Rain Street. Live On Bourbon Street would be closer to the mark, as this set captures the seeminly well-lubricated Celtic punks galloping through a 16-song set with the impatient, anxious pace of a rummy trying to make last call. But even if the performance is a little dishevelled — and the sound is still basically bootleg-quality — the set is still a raucous hoot, with MacGowan and co. teetering recklessly between the edge of collapse and the edge of glory on spirited renditions of If I Should Fall From Grace With God, Rain Street, Dirty Old Town and Sally MacLennane. Have a few whiskeys yourself and it’ll all make sense. Even Shane. Maybe.