Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"I'm sad to say I must be on my way/So buy me beer and whisky 'cause I'm going far away."

The Song: "Sally MacLennane," The Pogues. Words & music by Shane MacGowan. Track 6 of Rum, Sodomy and the Lash, 1985.
How/when acquired: Purchased LP, 1987
Listen/watch here.

A good traveling song, brought to mind by John Connolly's special radio show on the Best Albums of the 1980s this morning. (It airs again on Saturday afternoon, 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. Listen here.) While I'm plugging John's work — which he pays me to do, though I'd do it for free — I should add that anyone who received an e-reader for Christmas should download his short story "On the Anatomization of an Unknown Man (1637) by Frans Mier," here. John wrote the story for a collection to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International, and will donate 20 cents to Amnesty for every copy sold.

Anyway, The Pogues have been favorites of mine for — erk — going on 25 years, and this album in particular. It was one of the first I remember buying as a bona fide adult, someone out of college and living on her own. I remember hearing it for the first time in the apartment of my then-fiance's old housemate, 1st Lt. C.B. Stevens, and I remember dancing to this song at someone's wedding (Carmen's?) the following year.

Yesterday was too messy to drive, so I'm off to Northern Virginia as soon as the sun gets bright enough to melt what's left on the roads. Thanks to James and Sara for a wonderful holiday celebration, and for not minding that it lasted a few extra days.

For the longest time I was sure this song was about a wake:
I'm sad to say I must be on my way
So buy me beer and whisky 'cause I'm going far away
I'd like to think of me returning when I can
To the grandest little boozer and to Sally MacLennane.

Friends argued me out of it, and I later learned that "Sally MacLennane" is a brand of Scotch. Hmpf. I still prefer my original interpretation.

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