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Baker's Dozen

Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Albums: Alex Kapranos' Baker's Dozen
Ian Wade , August 19th, 2013 09:04

The Franz Ferdinand frontman distils his record collection into a top 13 favourite albums


The Pogues - Rum Sodomy & The Lash
What a great songwriter and lyricist Shane MacGowan is. It’s funny as last night I was going through some of these again to listen to them, as they’re maybe records I hadn’t listened to for a while. Rum Sodomy & The Lash is one I hadn’t played for a while, but I knew it was one I’d played to death at different points in my life, so I thought “I’ll go back and listen to that again, I wonder if it does hold up”. There are other records that I thought would make the list that didn’t make it, that I still thought were good and I can appreciate why I loved them when I was 16, like Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, which I still think is a great record, but there’s something that makes Shane MacGowan one of the greats of the century, like 'The Old Main Drag' – you don’t know when it’s written, like 1912 or 1982, you know? Very few people can write songs like that. Music that is specifically about place and characters yet it seems timeless. To pull that off is astonishing. Also they saved folk music from the twats; unfortunately they seem to have reclaimed it in recent years. Suddenly folk music became violent and soaked in whiskey again as it should be! In a way that the Irish community in London are neither Irish nor London, they’re just their own thing; The Pogues were neither punk nor folk. Shane McGowan’s delivery – he can take a song like Ewan McColl’s 'Dirty Old Town' or 'A Pair Of Brown Eyes' or 'The Band Played Waltzing Matilda' and give them a poignancy or life or meaning, or a dirt and raw-bloodied abrasiveness which most performers could never bring to a place like that.