Sound — 10
The Pogues sound is the main thing which has defined them as a very important band. A mix of rock, folk, and celtic music, with instruments like guitar, bass, banjo, whistles, and other traditional musics, it's an innovative, original sound. There biggest influence was The Clash, and you can hear it on hear at times, but you can hear it more on Hell's Ditch. It ranges from great balladry on "A Pair of Brown Eyes" and "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" and to fast celtic rockers, most notably "The Sickbed Of Cuchalainn" and a great narrative that echoes Tom Wait's on "The Old Main Drag"
Lyrics — 8
This album was made before Shane totally ruined himself with alcohol, so his voice is better annunciated on this album than it was on later albums, and his Irish sounding rock vocals work very well on the songs, whether they're slow or fast. Shane shows us on this album that he's really quite a good lyricist, even if there are a few unfortunate moments of drivel. Rather than having self pitying lyrics that many lesser celtic rock bands have, Shane write's more about history of important history and events.
Overall Impression — 9
This is definitely my favorite Pogue's album, closely followed by If I Should Fall From Grace With God. It's their most solidly consistent album, and also has Shane's best vocals. Some of the best songs are The Sickbed of Cuchulainn, A Pair of Brown Eyes, Sally Maclennane, and the cover songs Dirty Old Town and The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. This is one of those albums that I don't see how a person, whether you like celtic music or not, could not like. If you like bands like The Dropkick Murphy's and Flogging Molly you'll see that the Pogue's were a huge influence on them. This album is even on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums ever made, I believe as number 455. This show's just how great this band was before they fell apart. Buy it, listen to it, love it.