She said she’d always love me
She said I’d be the one
Now look at the way she treats me
Just like a piece of scum
That woman’s got me drinking
Look at the state I’m in
Give me one, two, three, four, five, six,
seven, eight, nine, ten bottles of gin
One look at the brilliant cover picture of Shane MacGowan & The Popes That Woman’s Got Me Drinking and even if you had no knowledge of Mr MacGowan’s lifestyle I suspect you’d come to the conclusion that there was a fair chance he was just looking for the excuse anyway. I bought this 12″ all the way back in 1994 on the strength of hearing the excellent ‘Church of The Holy Spook’ on a compilation, well that and the fact I liked the Pogues so much*. Once MacGowan split the Pogues teamed up with Joe Strummer** and Shane was cast adrift for a while before he came roaring back with the Popes.
Put together from former sidekicks and musical acquaintances and featuring a drummer from 1537 faves the Exploited, the Popes had a much rockier sensibility than the Pogues, from the off. Adding Johnny Depp on guitar for ‘That Woman’s Got Me Drinking’ didn’t hurt any, at all, the boy can play – he can certainly direct a video too.
Warning: The following video contains graphic scenes of a man being hit by a handbag wielded by a woman whose knickers you can just about see if you freeze-frame it in exactly the right place. I’m only trying to protect you. True story.
I really like the swaggering barroom attitude of this track, Shane slurring his words for effect here and there. How much this was just all playing up to his image is difficult to say and I wonder sometimes, remembering all those drunken performances and TV appearances if there was something a bit morbidly voyeuristic about it all. This is a great track but very much second division MacGowan compared to the beautiful, lyrical likes of ‘A Rainy Night in Soho’ and I think it’s a real shame that sometimes he doesn’t get the credit for being the writer he is/was when at his best.
But enough moralising nonsense – this track is a great romp, with a hidden kernel of real feeling.
If I had the guts to do it
I’d take a long goodbye
Instead I’ll love her long and hard
And love her ’til I die
The three B-sides ain’t great though, two rearranged trad numbers that don’t stir anything for me and a cover of Gerry Rafferty’s ‘Her father Didn’t Like Me Anyway’, so don’t bother just stick the needle back on the beginning of ‘That Woman’s…’ and shout along as best you can.
470 Down (the hatch).
*one of the roughest gigs I’ve ever been to was seeing them back in 1990, I thought I’d bust at least one rib in the crush when they played ‘Fiesta’ and just didn’t care.
**releasing one of my favourite tracks of the 1990’s in the wonderfully romantic ‘Tuesday Morning’,