Rum Sodomy & the Lash

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For the book by Anthony Blackmore, see Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash (book).
Rum Sodomy & the Lash
Studio album by The Pogues
Released 5 August 1985
Recorded Elephant Studios, London
Genre Celtic punk, folk punk
Length 45:25
Label MCA/Stiff/WEA International
Producer Elvis Costello;
Philip Chevron (track 7)
The Pogues chronology
Red Roses for Me
Rum, Sodomy & the Lash
Poguetry in Motion
Singles from Rum Sodomy & the Lash
  1. "A Pair of Brown Eyes"
    Released: 18 March 1985
  2. "Sally MacLennane"
    Released: 10 June 1985
  3. "Dirty Old Town"
    Released: 19 August 1985

Rum, Sodomy & the Lash is the second studio album by the London-based folk punk band The Pogues, released on 5 August 1985.[1]

The album's title is taken from a quotation often misattributed[citation needed] to Winston Churchill: "Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash." Singer and primary songwriter Shane MacGowan claimed that the title was suggested by drummer Andrew Ranken. The cover artwork is based on The Raft of the Medusa, a painting by Théodore Géricault, with the band members' faces replacing those of the men on the raft painted by the artist and illustrator Peter Mennim.[2]

The album reached number 13 in the UK charts. The track "A Pair of Brown Eyes", based on an older Irish tune, went on to reach number 72 in the UK singles chart. "The Old Main Drag" later appeared on the soundtrack to the film My Own Private Idaho. A remastered and expanded version of Rum, Sodomy & the Lash was released on 11 January 2005. The cut "A Pistol for Paddy Garcia", and the B-side of "Dirty Old Town", which only appeared on the initial cassette release, was moved to the bonus tracks. A poem by Tom Waits was also added to the expanded release.[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[4]
Robert Christgau A[5]
CLUAS (8/10)[3]

Rum, Sodomy & the Lash received positive reviews from critics. Mark Deming of Allmusic awarded the album four and a half out of five stars and said that it "falls just a bit short of being the Pogues best album, but was the first one to prove that they were a great band, and not just a great idea for a band."[4] Robert Christgau gave the album an A and said that "none of it would mean much without the songs—some borrowed, some traditional, and some proof that MacGowan can roll out bitter blarney with the best of his role models."[5] Daniel Bristow of the Irish music website CLUAS awarded the album an eight out of ten, calling it "a record that will never cease to delight, always a pleasure to hear and highly, highly recommended if you're not familiar with it already".[3]

In 2000 Q placed it at number 93 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 445 on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. Pitchfork Media named it the 67th best album of the 1980s.[6]

Original LP track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "The Sick Bed of Cúchulainn" (Shane MacGowan) – 2:59
  2. "The Old Main Drag" (MacGowan) – 3:19
  3. "Wild Cats of Kilkenny" (MacGowan/Jem Finer) – 2:48
  4. "I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day" (traditional) – 2:55
  5. "A Pair of Brown Eyes" (MacGowan) – 4:54
  6. "Sally MacLennane" (MacGowan) – 2:43

Side two[edit]

  1. "Dirty Old Town" (Ewan MacColl) – 3:45
  2. "Jesse James" (traditional) – 2:58
  3. "Navigator" (Phil Gaston) – 4:12
  4. "Billy's Bones" (MacGowan) – 2:02
  5. "The Gentleman Soldier" (traditional) – 2:04
  6. "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" (Eric Bogle) – 8:10

Outtake "A Pistol for Paddy Garcia" was added as a bonus track on subsequent cassette and CD issues between Sally MacLennane and Dirty Old Town.

2004 CD release[edit]

  1. "The Sick Bed of Cúchulainn" (MacGowan) – 2:59
  2. "The Old Main Drag" (MacGowan) – 3:19
  3. "Wild Cats of Kilkenny" (MacGowan/Finer) – 2:48
  4. "I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day" (traditional) – 2:55
  5. "A Pair of Brown Eyes" (MacGowan) – 4:54
  6. "Sally MacLennane" (MacGowan) – 2:43
  7. "Dirty Old Town" (MacColl) – 3:45
  8. "Jesse James" (traditional) – 2:58
  9. "Navigator" (Gaston) – 4:12
  10. "Billy's Bones" (MacGowan) – 2:02
  11. "The Gentleman Soldier" (traditional) – 2:04
  12. "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" (Bogle) – 8:10
  13. "A Pistol for Paddy Garcia" (Finer) – 2:31
  14. "London Girl" (MacGowan) – 3:05*
  15. "Rainy Night in Soho" (MacGowan) – 5:36*
  16. "Body of an American" (MacGowan) – 4:49*
  17. "Planxty Noel Hill" (Finer) – 3:12*
  18. "The Parting Glass" (traditional) – 2:14

*Tracks previously released on the EP Poguetry in Motion


Additional personnel[edit]


  1. ^ "Pogues Tour". Melody Maker (London, England: IPC Media): 3. 10 August 1985. 
  2. ^ "Rum Sodomy & the Lash - Credits on MSN Music". Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  3. ^ a b c "Album Reviews | The Pogues 'Rum, Sodomy and The Lash'". CLUAS. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  4. ^ a b Mark Deming. "Rum Sodomy & the Lash - The Pogues | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  5. ^ a b "CG: The Pogues". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  6. ^ "Staff Lists: Top 100 Albums of the 1980s | Features". Pitchfork. 2002-11-20. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  7. ^ "The Medusa Fora • View topic - The Star of the County Down?". Retrieved 2014-05-20. 

External links[edit]