Hell's Ditch is the fifth full-length album by The Pogues, and the last to feature front man Shane MacGowan as a member. Released in 1990, the album continued the group's slow departure from Irish music, giving more emphasis to rock and straight folk rock, and forsaking their earlier staples of traditional compositions almost entirely. MacGowan parted with the band after the release of the album, due to problems with his abuse of alcohol and drugs, which had been leading to deterioration of his reliability as a performer.
The Hell's Ditch demos (commonly known as the Falconer demos for the studio in which they were tracked) were recorded prior to Hell's Ditch, released in 1990. "Murder Ska" and "Redemption Song" are both unreleased tracks featuring Spider Stacy on lead vocals. "Victoria" and "Lust for Vomit" are both instrumental versions of songs appearing on Shane MacGowan and the Popes' 1995 debut album The Snake, the latter retitled "A Mexican Funeral in Paris". "NW3" is an early version of "Mother Mo Chroi," which was released on MacGowan's second solo effort, 1997's The Crock of Gold.
"NW3" and "Murder Ska" were played live as early as 1988 but never properly recorded. A studio version of "NW3" was recorded for inclusion on Hell's Ditch, but MacGowan was unable to deliver a satisfactory vocal performance, thus leaving the track as an unfinished instrumental.
The Falconer demos are widely available on the Internet, and pirated copies occasionally surface on the online auction site eBay. Also, the Falconer demos appear on the Pogues box set of rare and unreleased material released by Rhino Entertainment on March 17, 2008.