Rum Sodomy & the Lash

Wea International
Release date
29 Sep 1998
Running length
13 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 The Sick Bed Of Cuchulainn 2:57 41,189
2 The Old Main Drag 3:17 58,089
3 Wild Cats of Kilkenny 2:47 37,477
4 I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day 2:54 38,250
5 A Pair Of Brown Eyes 4:51 87,977
6 Sally MacLennane 2:45 100,930
7 A Pistol for Paddy Garcia 2:31 30,687
8 Dirty Old Town 3:43 153,686
9 Jesse James 2:58 36,210
10 Navigator 4:11 239
11 Billy's Bones 2:02 33,073
12 The Gentleman Soldier 2:03 33,055
13 The Band Played Waltzing Matilda 8:08 49,701

About this album

Rum Sodomy & the Lash is the second album by the Anglo-Irish musical group The Pogues, released in 1985.

The title is taken from a quote often attributed 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.

In August 1985, the album was launched on HMS Belfast – and one writer at the event was thrown into the Thames. It reached number 13 in the UK charts. The track “A Pair of Brown Eyes” went on to reach number 72 in the UK singles chart. “The Old Main Drag” would later appear on the soundtrack to the film My Own Private Idaho. A remastered and expanded version of Rum, Sodomy and 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.

It has often made its way onto lists of greatest albums. In 2000 Q magazine placed it at number 93 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

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