If I Should Fall from Grace with God

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If I Should Fall from Grace with God
Studio album by The Pogues
Released 18 January 1988
Recorded 1987 at Rak Studios, London
Genre Celtic punk, folk punk
Length 51:43
Label Pogue Mahone/WEA (UK & Europe)
Island (US & Canada)
Producer Steve Lillywhite
The Pogues chronology
Poguetry in Motion
(1986)
If I Should Fall from Grace with God
(1988)
Peace and Love
(1989)
Alternative cover
Original 1988 US & Canada album cover
Singles from If I Should Fall from Grace with God
  1. "Fairytale of New York"
    Released: 23 November 1987
  2. "If I Should Fall from Grace with God"
    Released: 22 February 1988
  3. "Fiesta"
    Released: 4 July 1988

If I Should Fall from Grace with God is the third album by The Pogues, released on 18 January 1988.[1] Released in the wake of the band's biggest hit single, "Fairytale of New York", it was their best-selling album, peaking at number 3 in the UK Album Charts and reaching the top ten in several other countries. As The Pogues were not signed to a record label at the time (their previous label Stiff having gone into administration), the album was released on their own Pogue Mahone label and distributed by WEA Records in the UK and Europe. In North America the record was released on Island Records and with a different cover.

Background[edit]

Previous Pogues albums had focused on an Irish folk/punk rock hybrid. On If I Should Fall from Grace with God, jazz, Spanish folk and Middle Eastern folk were added to the mix. The addition of Spanish and Middle Eastern sounds was a sign of things to come; on 1990's Hell's Ditch these would become more prominent. On this album, however, it was very much Irish folk to the fore, especially on songs such as the title track, "Bottle of Smoke", "Lullaby of London", "Sit Down by the Fire", and the rendition of the traditional jig "The Lark in the Morning" as the coda to "Turkish Song of the Damned". These songs were more typical of earlier Pogues albums, mostly fast and heavily textured. The album was also the first by the band to utilize a complete drum kit.

Also prominent were the ballads "Thousands Are Sailing", "The Broad Majestic Shannon", and the Christmas hit, "Fairytale of New York", a duet with Kirsty MacColl. "Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six" showed the political side to their music, the first part being about the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and the second half about the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four, two groups of men wrongly imprisoned for terrorism offences and held in jail. The song also makes a passing reference to the Loughgall Martyrs with the line "while over in Ireland eight more men lay dead, kicked down and shot in the back of the head".

The album marked the most substantial line-up change to date for The Pogues, as it was the first full-length album on which multi-instrumentalist Terry Woods and bassist Darryl Hunt appear. It also marked the departure of one of the original members, bassist Cait O'Riordan.

The alternative album cover is a collage of faked photos of the group's members, in which their faces have been superimposed onto a shot of Irish author James Joyce. The picture of Joyce appears fourth from the left.

Due to time restriction of a vinyl LP the two tracks "South Australia" and "The Battle March Medley" have been omitted and can be found only on the CD release.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Melody Maker unfavourable[3]
Mojo 5/5 stars (2004 reissue)[4]
NME 10/10[5]
Q 4/5 stars[6]
Robert Christgau B+[7]
Rolling Stone favourable[8]
Sounds 5/5 stars[9]
Spin favourable[10]

If I Should Fall from Grace with God was well received by critics. In the UK the NME lauded the record, saying, "If I Should Fall from Grace with God sees The Pogues venturing towards the area occupied by the latter day Madness, troubled words on top of happy tunes, stormclouds casting shadows across forced smiles... With their new LP, The Pogues have given us a thing of beauty, the bleakest of masterpieces which will find few equals in 1988."[5] Sounds stated that "within the grooves of Grace, the third Pogues LP, you get heaven and hell and everything in between. If you've ever viewed The Pogues as a quaint rabble-rousing cult band then think again, for this is a record of rare quality and seductive charm."[9] Q described the album as "old-style Pogues, as dependably garrulous and irreverent as ever, but the album also advances on new fronts with a gleeful sense of adventure".[6] Melody Maker was the only UK music paper to give the album a negative review, being fiercely critical of the idea that traditional Irish music should be mixed with rock music, before admitting "so far removed is this album from my constituency that I feel scarcely qualified to review it at all".[3]

The reaction from US critics was also very positive. Kurt Loder of Rolling Stone stated "obviously the Pogues can do it all. And it sounds as if they've only just begun."[8] Spin stated that "it's got guts and soul, and will make poor people dance until 4 a.m., even if they have to be at work until 7 a.m." and that despite containing a few songs that could be skipped over, "this LP on cassette will cause more wear on the rewind button than on the fast forward".[10] Robert Christgau gave the album a B+ and said that "neither pop nor rock nor disco crossover stays these groghounds from the swift accomplishment of their appointed rounds".[7]

Reviewing the 2004 reissue, Mojo called If I Should Fall from Grace with God "an amazingly original, democratically written and ethnically adventurous album".[4] Allmusic has since awarded the album four and a half out of five stars and its reviewer, Mark Deming, called it "the best album the Pogues would ever make".[2]

In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at #37 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[11]

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "If I Should Fall from Grace with God"   Shane MacGowan 2:20
2. "Turkish Song of the Damned"   MacGowan, Jem Finer 3:27
3. "Bottle of Smoke"   MacGowan, Finer 2:47
4. "Fairytale of New York"   MacGowan, Finer 4:36
5. "Metropolis"   Finer 2:50
6. "Thousands Are Sailing"   Phil Chevron 5:28
7. "South Australia" (CD bonus track, not on vinyl, LP, or cassette editions) Traditional 3:27
8. "Fiesta"   MacGowan, Finer 4:13
9. "Medley: The Recruiting Sergeant/The Rocky Road to Dublin/The Galway Races"   Traditional 4:03
10. "Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six"   Terry Woods/MacGowan 4:39
11. "Lullaby of London"   MacGowan 3:32
12. "The Battle March Medley" (CD bonus track, not on vinyl, LP, or cassette editions) Woods 4:10
13. "Sit Down by the Fire"   MacGowan 2:18
14. "The Broad Majestic Shannon"   MacGowan 2:55
15. "Worms"   Traditional 1:01

2004 reissue[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "If I Should Fall from Grace with God"   MacGowan 2:20
2. "Turkish Song of the Damned"   MacGowan, Finer 3:27
3. "Bottle of Smoke"   MacGowan, Finer 2:47
4. "Fairytale of New York"   MacGowan, Finer 4:36
5. "Metropolis"   Finer 2:50
6. "Thousands Are Sailing"   Chevron 5:28
7. "Fiesta"   MacGowan, Finer 4:13
8. "Medley: The Recruiting Sergeant/The Rocky Road to Dublin/The Galway Races"   Traditional 4:03
9. "Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six"   MacGowan, Woods 4:39
10. "Lullaby of London"   MacGowan 3:32
11. "Sit Down by the Fire"   MacGowan 2:18
12. "The Broad Majestic Shannon"   MacGowan 2:55
13. "Worms"   Traditional 1:01
14. "The Battle March Medley"   Woods 4:10
15. "The Irish Rover"   Joseph Crofts/Traditional  
16. "Mountain Dew" (bonus track, not on original release) Traditional  
17. "Shanne Bradley" (bonus track, not on original release) MacGowan  
18. "Sketches of Spain" (bonus track, not on original release) The Pogues  
19. "South Australia"   Traditional 3:27

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1988) Peak
position
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[12] 52
New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)[13] 4
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[14] 15
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[15] 9
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[16] 9
UK Albums (OCC)[17] 3

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalog
United Kingdom 18 January 1988 Pogue Mahone LP NYR 1
cassette TCNYR 1
CD CDNYR 1
United States 1988 Island LP 90872-1
cassette 90872-4
CD 90872-2
Canada LP ISL 1175
cassette ISLC 1175
CD CIDM 1175
Worldwide 1994 Pogue Mahone/WEA LP 2292-44493-1
cassette 2292-44493-4
CD 2292-44493-2
Worldwide 13 December 2004 Warner Strategic Marketing CD 5046759602
United States 19 September 2006 Rhino CD R2 74069

References[edit]

  1. ^ "D'EMI 'God'?". NME (London, England: IPC Media): 3. 9 January 1988. 
  2. ^ a b Deming, Mark. The Pogues – If I Should Fall from Grace with God > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 3 December 2005.
  3. ^ a b Stubbs, David (16 January 1988). "Review: The Pogues – If I Should Fall from Grace with God". Melody Maker (London, England: IPC Media): 28. 
  4. ^ a b Gilbert, Pat (December 2004). "Review: The Pogues – If I Should Fall from Grace with God". Mojo (London, England: EMAP) (133): 123. 
  5. ^ a b Staunton, Terry (16 January 1988). "Review: The Pogues – If I Should Fall from Grace with God". NME (London, England: IPC Media): 24. 
  6. ^ a b Sinclair, David (February 1988). "Review: The Pogues – If I Should Fall from Grace with God". Q (London, England: EMAP) (17): 75. 
  7. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (May 24, 1988). "Christgau's Consumer Guide: The Pogues: If I Should Fall from Grace with God". The Village Voice. Retrieved 13 January 2012.  Relevant portion also posted at "The Pogues: If I Should Fall from Grace with God > Consumer Guide Album". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Loder, Kurt (February 25, 1988). "The Pogues If I Should Fall from Grace with God > Album Review". Rolling Stone (520). Archived from the original on 16 November 2007. Retrieved 22 December 2006. 
  9. ^ a b Perry, Neil (16 January 1988). "Review: The Pogues – If I Should Fall from Grace with God". Sounds (London, England: Spotlight Publications): 27. 
  10. ^ a b Corcoran, Michael (May 1988). "Review: The Pogues – If I Should Fall from Grace with God". Spin (New York City, USA: Spin Media LLC) 4 (2): 19–20. 
  11. ^ Q August 2006, Issue 241
  12. ^ "The Pogues – If I Should Fall from Grace with God" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  13. ^ "The Pogues – If I Should Fall from Grace with God". Charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  14. ^ "The Pogues – If I Should Fall from Grace with God". Norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  15. ^ "The Pogues – If I Should Fall from Grace with God". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  16. ^ "The Pogues – If I Should Fall from Grace with God". Swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  17. ^ "1988-01-30 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 July 2014.

External links[edit]