Pogues front-man Shane McGowan is almost as famous for the hideous state of his mouth as he is for his music.
McGowan’s propensity for excess, his heroin use, binge drinking and total failure to look after himself wrecked McGowan’s health and at one point even led to Sinead O’Conner reporting him to the Police in an attempt to help him break his heroin habit.
It seems like McGowan has finally acted to repair a mouth that was the epitome of the stereotype of Brits with bad teeth.
According to the Independentdental surgeon Darragh Mulrooney described repairing McGowan’s mouth as “The Everest of dentistry.”
McGowan recorded most of his great works when he had some teeth to work with,” Dr Mulrooney says. “The question on everyone’s lips is how it will affect his voice. The tongue is a finely attuned muscle and it makes precise movements. We’ve effectively retuned his instrument and that will be an ongoing process.”
McGowan now has a full set of teeth but Shane being Shane he likes to make a statement and does so by adding a single gold tooth to his pearly whites.
The Daily Mail reports that McGowan, who is 58 on Christmas Day has now been able to reclaim his voice. If he can stay clean who knows, perhaps we might once again be able to see an artist who at his best was spellbinding, at his worst a shambles, perform live again.
Who knows perps McGowan’s future will see him produce performances like that he produced with the late, great Kirsty MacColl on “The Fairytale Of New York.”
Here goes with day 43 of my countdown of 75 Albums that in my opinion should have a place in everyones music collection. They are not in any particular order though the top 10 will be my personal take on the top 10 albums ever released. You might be surprised at some of my picks and some of my omissions. Feel free to chime in with your comments and let me know if you love (or hate my choices).
The Pogues – If I Should Fall From Grace With God
I suspect that the argument over whether this album or Rum, Sodomy and the Lash is the Pogues strongest album will rage eternally. The earlier album undoubtably showed the Pogues at their wildest but under Steve Lillywhite’s guidance this album manages to capture the wild side whilst being more disciplined. The band sound much tighter and more structured whilst at the same time still demonstrating the fury and wildness that they are so famous for.
Shane MacGowan had continued to grow and mature as a songwriter and many of the songs on ‘Fall from Grace’ showcase him at his brilliant best before alcohol and heroin took their toll. His lyrics and melodies on this disc demonstrate McGowan’s obsession with the finer points of Anglo-Irish culture and in many cases the lyrics are more discernible than on Rum Sodomy & The Lash. Throughout the album The Pogues demonstrate a very high level of musicianship and a willingness to innovate beyond a Celtic Punk thrash. That innovation would introduce splashes of Middle Eastern, Spanish and gentle balladry to the core musical backdrop with “Fiesta” and “Turkish Song of the Damned”. These were a wonderful contrast with the normal snarling gutter punk poetry, backed by lightning fast and aggressive jigs.
The most memorable moment from the collection is the emotionally charged “Fairytale of New York,” a glorious sweet-and-sour duet with Kirsty MacColl which is, was and remains one of the best songs ever written. “The Broad Majestic Shannon” was subtle, “Thousands are Sailing” nostalgic and “Birmingham Six” found him addressing political issues for the first time. The lightning fast jigs are still there with the title track and “Bottle of Smoke” which are more traditional Pogues fare mixing passion with streetwise lyrics and fast paced arrangements.
“If I Should Fall From Grace With God” is the most coherent, complete and balanced recording The Pogues would ever assemble. This was McGowan at the height of his creativity, it is brilliantly produced and doesn’t have a single bad track. A truly superb piece of work which should have a place in everyones music collection.